Once in Antarctica it was time to see and experience the expedition operation in action. Zodiacs collect passengers from the marina which is located on the stern, access to which is through the main lounge. Everyone makes their way to the lounge where they kit up in their outer layers before heading down to the zodiacs. There is a maximum of 200 expeditions aboard which means that for Antarctica this is divide into two groups that head ashore one after the other, with the group orders rotated so everybody has a chance to be first... and last. The usual length of time ashore is around 1.5 hours per landing, with two landings per day.
Aboard there is an expedition team of ten lecturers, naturalists and guides - they present lectures throughout the voyage as well as hosting recaps and briefings each evening. The guides are ashore for the entire landing time, resulting in a great staff: passengers ratio due to the fact there is never more than 100 passengers ashore at a time with the fill attention of guides throughout. The other aspect that I was pleasantly surprised to find was that the ship Captain, officers and crew have embraced expedition cruising, and we spent many hours whale watching and wildlife spotting with the Captain delighting in spending time around all whale species, especially Orca.
This is not the Antarctic expedition for everybody - if you want adventure options like kayaking or camping or the maximum amount of time ashore then I would recommend some of our great 100 passenger expedition ships. But if you like a little luxury, french cuisine and still want the Antarctic expedition experience, then I would highly recommend the expedition voyages aboard Le Boreal, or its sister ship L'Austral.
General Manager, Wild Earth Travel
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