If you have plenty of time and are flexible with departure dates, it is advisable not to pre-book. There are lots of last minute deals available, ranging fom around US 4-6 thousands dollars (everythung is advertised in American dollars), often this is sharing with a twin or double cabin. You will need at least a week before departure date to organise paperwork and payments. Another handy tip is use ‘Transferwise’ to avoid currency conversion rates.
We booked via a company called ‘Freedomstyle’, we did shop around but found that they all were quoting the same prices. Sarah Scott from Freedomstyle was amazing. Very informative, replied to emails quickly, flexible and English is her first language (which made things a little easier).
We went on a 10 day expedition on the ‘Ocean Diamond’ which caters for 180-passengers, ensuring that we had two landings and two zodiac rides per day. (This is something you should also check, ensuring that you do have landings, as some vessals only do zodiac rides).
First you cruise through the Beagle channel, which is generally smooth, the drake passage on the other hand is famous for it’s rough crossings, so ensure you have seasick tablets, (We both felt queasy at least once). We had a moderate crossing however it still felt pretty rough. A lady we subsequently meet on a bus shared that she also went to Antarctica but had 11 metre waves, ours was only 3-4 metres and that still felt rough, we felt very fortunate after hearing that.
We had a twin room, with shower/toilet. It was very clean and our beds were kindly made for us twice a day (I definitely could get used to that, especially the little chocolates left on your pillow).
Food was in abundance (which wasn’t really our thing) but all our meals were delicious.
Onboard you have the crew and the expedition leaders, which was a fantastic mixture of experts, marine biologist, geologist, historian, photographer, botomist etc. They all do educational talks throughout the expitidion. We were lucky enough to have meet Federico Gargiulo, as Jon was in the middle of reading his book. He hiked eastern most part of Terra del fuego in the winter with two colleagues and wrote a book about his experiences. Very inspirational guy!
What was great about the trip was that ‘it was not a cruise’ but an expedition. Woody our expedition leader worked closely with the captain of the ship to set out a route and rough quide for the day, but like most expeditions you don’t know if reaching the desired points are achievable depending on conditions, icebergs and ice, until you get there.
Another amazing, extremely terrifying but altogether adrenaline pumping must do, is the ice plunge. Jon dived in head first, where Vanessa took a slow but graceful dip.
Here’s our route for the 10 days
Day 1 -2 drake passage
Day 3 -Halfmoon bay
Day 4 -Paulet Island & Brown Bluff
Day 5 – Mikkelson harbour & Graham Passage
Day 6- Paradise harbour & Niko harbour
Day 7 – lemaire channel & Planeau bay
Day 8-9 drake passage
We met so many amazing people, which we will always share such a magical connection with. P.S this was our 7th continent!