Wild Earth Travel

Small Ship Cruising for Big Adventures

Luxury Antarctica Aboard Le Boreal

Le Boreal cabin Le Boreal zodiac deck Le Boreal deck

Antarctic expedition cruising with this vessel might not be what you imagine when you think of an expedition to Antarctica.  This is expedition cruising aboard a modern and luxurious 5-star vessel.  The first thing that struck me upon arriving at the ship in Ushuaia was the sleek lines and all the balconies - essentially everybody aboard the ship has a balcony suite.  Once we were sailing down the Beagle Channel the next thing that was apparent was that modern technology is remarkably good at reducing noise - I couldn't hear or feel the engines despite being at full power.  The next morning as we crossed the Drake Passage the third aspect that became apparent was that the four large fin stabilizers kept the ship remarkably stable, even with a sizable Southern Ocean swell rolling through on our beam we were still enjoying a comfortable ride with the glasses sitting on the tables.

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.


Aaron Russ

General Manager, Wild Earth Travel


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