Buckle up. I’m about to turn your concept of cruising upside down. Now before we get started, let’s face some elemental truths. Like most people, you probably think of cruising as being on big ships sailing in idyllic warm weather destinations. If you’re anything of a dreamer, in fact, you can practically hear the calypso music wafting off of the steel drums as you sway on the outer deck with your partner. Hand in hand you amble up to the bar for another parasol-adorned cocktail. Put that Piña Colada down and pull up a seat. I’m going to tell you about a cruise that is completely the opposite of big ship Caribbean (or Mediterranean). I’m talking about cruises on small ships in cold-weather destinations that are positioned in brochures as expedition cruises, and they are, for me at least, some of the best cruises that you could ever experience.
Spin the globe (or Google Earth) and then tilt it upward. If you’ve done it properly, you’re looking at a white mass of continent known as Antarctica. It is, as some scientists have put it, the “least understood place on earth.” Think penguins, not polar bears. Think temperatures that plunge, but not as much as you’d think. Yes, you’ll need a parka, which most cruise companies provide, and other cold-weather gear, but to see what one expedition leader characterized “as close to another planet as most people will ever get” is simply priceless.
This week, I am cruising to Antarctica on Silver Cloud. Follow me here on Avid Cruiser to learn more about Silversea’s “newest” expedition vessel and about what for many is the trip of a lifetime. We set sail from Punta Arenas, Chile, today (Sunday, November 11) at 6 p.m. I hope you’ll join me.