Antarctic Circle Voyage
Marguerite Bay and Detaille Island are two places that we might visit while traveling south of the circle. Who knows, we may even try to camp ashore south of the circle. We will slowly make our way back up the peninsula, visiting penguin rookeries as we go When we arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, be prepared to be dazzled. Even our experienced crewmembers many of which have visited the southern region a hundred times or more are still astonished by its pristine beauty. The abundance of wildlife here is truly extraordinary including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of gentoo, Adelies and chinstraps as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. It is nature you will experience up close and personal on frequent excursions inland.
Our journey will take us to Petermann Island or Wilhelmina Bay where we encounter colossal icebergs and, of course, the ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yen for history have the chance to camp out on the ice overnight and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent.
As with all our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
February 18th voyage spends one further day on the ship
Antarctic Circle Voyage itinerary:
Designed for polar research, the MS Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
Enjoy the sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team in our dining room, which can host all clients in a single seating with ample room.
Comfort and Stability
Designed and built as a scientific research vessel in Finland, theMS Akademik Ioffe is very stable, quiet and comfortable. Refitting and refurbishment over the last five years oriented towards her role as an expedition cruise vessel has greatly improved the comfort and calibre of the facilities aboard the ship.
There is little if any ambient noise from engines or machinery and with most of the public spaces on a separate deck from the majority of the cabins there is little issue with passenger-generated noise.
Vessel stabilization is gained through a combination of internal stabilizers and a built-in ballast trimming system. The rapid transfer of ballast between special trimming tanks reduces vessel motion and coupled with a modern hull design gives us a stable platform for science and exploration.
The MS Akademik Ioffe is a Russian-flagged vessel and carries all current certifications required by Russian and international maritime law for ensuring passenger safety and wellbeing. An extremely experienced captain, crew and an ice-strengthened hull ( Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B) provides an exceptionally safe combination for polar expedition cruising.
Safety and emergency equipment onboard the vessel is inspected and tested on a regular basis and a passenger lifeboat briefing and drill will be conducted on the first day of each voyage to ensure that passengers are familiar with onboard emergency procedures. The emergency equipment onboard the vessel includes two fully-enclosed lifeboats with a total capacity of 132 and four life rafts with a total capacity of 200.
The MS Akademik Ioffe has two main engines and twin propellers to propel the vessel through the polar waters at up to 14.5 knots. Coupled with a bow-thruster and a stern multi-directional propulsion unit, the One Ocean Navigator is extremely manoeuvrable and has a built-in propulsion back up.
Located aft of the lobby on the main deck and with a seating capacity of about 25 and/or sufficient standing room for many more, the bar becomes one of the activity hubs on the ship. With outside views through portholes and a door out onto the main deck, the bar is a comfortable place to enjoy a fresh fruit smoothie before breakfast, grab a bottle of water before an excursion or enjoy a cocktail before dinner. A stereo with MP3 player dock and a monitor showing live video footage of the view forward from the bridge at all times can be found in the bar.
The ship’s bridge is located on Deck 6 and is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The officer on watch and a helmsman can always be found on duty on the bridge and it is also the best place to meet the master of the vessel. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge.
In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to sightsee and view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks can be found on the bridge and during much of the day, an expedition guide will be watching for wildlife from the bridge.
The ship carries all required communications and navigation facilities and equipment. An Iridium satellite communication system is in place for both voice and personal email use. Equipped with Inmarsat telephone and fax equipment as well as a variety of shortwave, SSB, and VHF radio systems, she also carries fully current GMDSS (Global Marine Distress and Safety System) equipment.
With buffet breakfasts, buffet and/or plated lunches and plated dinners, the dining room can seat all passengers in one sitting. Attractively lit and comfortably furnished, it is served by our ship’s stewards and hosted by our Adventure Concierges. Our culinary team includes four chefs who are creative and outstanding in their commitment to quality, outstanding taste, and healthy preparation.
To keep up to date with the view from the bridge, live streaming video can be viewed on a television screen in the dining room during meals. A small lounge can be found in the forward part of the dining room along with a small bar used during meal service.
A lift (or elevator) services Deck 1 through 5, allowing access to and from the presentation room on Deck 1. The bridge and cabins on Deck 6 are not accessible by lift. Access to the zodiacs is by way of gangway stairs from the main deck (Deck 3).
The gift shop carries a supply of souvenirs and sundries and is open most days of the voyage and can be opened at anytime for your convenience. From warm hats and gloves to polar books and t-shirts, the gift shop has something for everyone. In addition a small selection of toiletries and sundries can be purchased from the gift shop.
Fitness & Fitness Room
Our onboard fitness program allows even the most dedicated enthusiast or those interested in starting a new regime, the opportunity to keep up or start their individual or group fitness. The fitness room onboard the vessel has a set of free weights, exercise bike and rowing machine. Exercise mats and balls are also available in the fitness room, as is a stereo with an MP3 player dock.
With our registered massage therapist, fitness trainer, sauna/spa (Antarctica 11/12), and bouldering wall (Antarctica 11/12), your mind and body will be rejuvenated and ready for either the next round of activities or a chance to curl up in a cozy spot in front of our fireplace. Having the option to start and end each day with healthy and whole food options, provide the base for your system to be running optimally.
Located on Deck 5, the infirmary can cater to basic medical needs. Although containing an impressive quantity of medical supplies, passengers with pre-existing medical conditions requiring medication or supplies should come self-reliant. We will carry an English speaking emergency physician on every voyage. If there is a need to consult the ship’s doctor and receive medications from the infirmary, passengers will be invoiced for the cost of any items supplied.
The library is located on Deck 5 and has wonderful forward viewing windows. A quiet part of the ship containing a large conference table, seating for about 18 and numerous polar reference books, the library is a great place to relax and learn about the region being visited. Just outside the library, there is additional seating in wingback chairs, another great place to sit and read.
The library has a slide screen and whiteboard and is often used for small group focus sessions and discussions.
Adjacent to the bar on the main deck, the lounge has a piano, television, board games and puzzles. It seats about 25 and has direct access to the outer deck, where a covered viewing and seating area is located. Be sure to take a cozy blanket with you from the lounge while you go out to sit and enjoy the view from the starboard side of the ship.
A 24-hour coffee and tea station can be found in the lounge, which also serves as an overflow area for the bar during Happy Hour and for after dinner card games. Of course, what lounge would be complete without a fireplace?
An expedition requires expedition gear and a place to keep it. Our passenger mudroom is the ideal spot to prepare for excursions and keep your gumboots and foul weather gear separate from your cabin. Shelves on the aft wall of the mudroom help in the storage of gumboots and a pegboard is in place for drying gloves.
The mudroom is on the main deck, between the reception area and the bar and we use this direct access to outside for boarding the zodiacs via the gangway.
Our presentation room can be found on Deck 1, the lowest and most stable deck on our vessel. With seating for all passengers and elevator access, the presentation room is equipped with theatre style seating and modern multi-media presentation system.
Sauna and Polar Plunge Pool
Following a day of excursions, a sauna with complimentary aromatic oils can be a wonderful way to unwind. Located on Deck 5, the sauna and adjacent plunge pool is open each afternoon and evening. The sauna seats approximately six people and the plunge pool can be filled with polar water on demand or for special events. There is a change room with towels and a shower room between the sauna and the plunge pool.
Top Deck and Observatory
The top deck enjoys 360 degree views around the ship. A great place to enjoy calm sea days and spectacular Antarctic scenery, the top deck also has a small observatory where a spotting scope is stored as well as warm blankets and a comfortable bench.
Bring your travel mug with you to the top deck on pleasant afternoons and our Adventure Concierges will bring carafes of steaming hot chocolate or other hot beverages to you. Refill your travel mug as often as you like.
Our multimedia room contains Apple Macintosh computers with the latest software for photo management and manipulation. External hard drives, a battery recharging station (110 V and 220 V powerbars for plugging in your charger), multi-card readers and a selection of cables for connecting various cameras to the computer can be found here. Manage your rapidly expanding polar image library, burn DVD’s or prepare slide shows to entertain fellow passengers or family at home. In addition we have available a portable 4”x6” photo printer to print out copies of some of your favourite photos.
We do recommend that you bring your own recharger cables and download cables, as well as spare memory cards for your camera.