A Day In Antarctica

In Antarctica there is no such thing as a “typical” day, so we’ve done our best to give you a taste of life on board a Polar Latitudes voyage.

5:00 AM

Our Captain has positioned the ship overnight and we awake to a breathtaking panorama. The sun has already been up for several hours, but early-risers are just beginning to stir, some are headed to the club, where a fresh pot of pre-breakfast coffee and sweet rolls are waiting. Meanwhile, the Expedition Staff is readying the Zodiacs and equipment for the morning’s adventure.

7:30 – 9:00

Buffet breakfast service in the main dining room includes a sumptuous assortment of cooked and continental items, including crispy bacon, eggs to your liking, oatmeal, fresh rolls, toast, cold cuts, condiments, fresh fruits and a selection of juices. Coffee and a variety of teas are served at your table. The hour and a half long service allows everyone to arrive and dine at his or her own pace. Soon after breakfast, most are eager and ready to participate in the day's activities.

9:30 – 12:30

Life in Antarctica is dynamic, and daily programs are, of course, adapted to fit the weather conditions. Today the conditions are perfect, and it’s time to don outdoor gear and partake in a shore landing. Some of us go directly to shore to visit a Chinstrap penguin rookery, others take a more casual route; “Zodiac cruising” in search of Leopard seals and whales which abound in this area.

Antarctica is a photographer’s dream location, and many of us are furiously filling our cameras with once in a lifetime shots and wishing we had brought spare memory cards! 

12:30 – 14:00

Full lunch service commences in the main dining room and a light buffet is offered in the bar. In the dining room, the choices are extensive; a selection of salads and condiments along with hot appetizer dishes are available buffet style. A daily changing set menu is also offered which includes a soup and selection of four entrees, including vegetarian and healthy dining options. The energy expended on our shore excursion offers a ready excuse to indulge in the tempting confections prepared by our onboard pastry chef, and many take full advantage.

14:30 – 17:30

While lunch was being served, our captain positioned us at our next landing site. Back to shore we go to visit a historic British research base, preserved as it was decades ago. Here we can get an authentic Antarctic stamp in our passports.

Upon return to the ship, many of us gather in the lounge to share stories and pictures. But this is interrupted by an announcement over the P.A. system that a pod of Orcas has been spotted. The outside decks quickly fill with onlookers and the photographers are once again snapping away.

The decision is made to lower the Zodiacs and gain a closer look. All this is done with streamlined precision from the Expedition Staff and ship’s crew. The Zodiacs are on the water, and before long, boat loads of guests are in awe of the Orcas a short distance away. Strangely all is quiet as if this wonder of nature has left us speechless.

All this has been going on under the watchful eye of a small group that stayed on board to view the Orcas from the comfort of the ship’s lounge. The lounge opens in the late morning and provides an ideal space to relax, enjoy live music, and meet new friends.

18:30

The Expedition Team and the passengers now meet for the daily re-cap. We will review the day’s activities; confirm wildlife sightings, and exchange stories and adventures. We will also review the proposed landings and activities for tomorrow.

19:30 – 21:00

Entering the main dining room on the Magellan Deck, you can instantly tell the chefs have been busy. A pleasant aroma of fresh herbs greets us as we walk in, along with our smiling waitstaff!

A subtle transformation has taken place, and what had been a group of guests on board a polar cruise, has become a band of expeditioners, who have braved the elements together, and have begun unraveling the mysteries of Antarctica. Easy smiles and laughter abound, heralding our new-found camaraderie.

A complimentary selection of wines and beer are being offered, and here and there the festive sound of champagne corks popping marks celebratory splurges taking place around the room. The happy hubbub begins to die down as everyone settles into the serious business of deciding which entrée will be selected to follow the appetizer and soup courses. Tonight’s offerings of seafood, meat, and vegetarian main course dishes all sound delicious, so the decision will not be an easy one. On top of that, the Pastry Chef will soon be tempting us with something decadent. Hand-made chocolates and a selection of cheeses accompanied by dessert wine will follow.

After dinner, many of us will retire to our cabins or to the lounge to upload and edit photos on our laptops. Some of us will meet in the bar to share stories over a nightcap, or gather round the piano, and others will head out to the deck to enjoy the passing scenery before heading off to bed.

It's been another great day in Antarctica.