House of Travel's Beth Allison voyaged to Antarctica with her family...
We’ve found far-flung travel brings us closer.
Nobody can remember whose idea it was to try our first family cruise, but that person was a genius. (Must not have been my brother.) Family cruising is a no-brainer when you think about it: With tons of on- and off-board options (and, let’s be honest, a couple of bars), everybody can find something. Then it’s time to meet for dinner, trade stories and anticipate the next day’s excursions.
This Christmas, my family did our most adventurous itinerary to date - Antarctica. It’s so remote that cruising is the only way to tour. I can say it was constantly breath-taking, but nothing will explain it. Playful penguins, whales passing 100 meters from the ship, mountains rising from the sea, unblemished silence. Even my mother was speechless. Every day we raced each other in kayaks and pummelled each other with snowballs, and that leaves no time to argue over politics or who forgot a birthday. Then, back to your own stateroom!
If you’re considering Antarctica, make it happen. It’s worth every penny. And hey, why not invite your family?
Here are some of my favourite photos from this incredible trip.
Doing something incredible like this with your family really brings you closer. It makes the experiences even more memorable. I feel so lucky I got to snowshoe in Antarctica…with my mother!
It turns out a cruise ship deck is the perfect vantage point: 360 degree views of these staggering sights. You’d be surrounded by mountains in the distance and whales playing in front of you. And if you felt chilly, it’s easy to pop inside for a hot whiskey or a nice coffee!
Without a doubt the coolest (heh) part of the cruise was riding Zodiacs straight into the Antarctic ice. You just felt so close to everything. I thought I’d be terrified seeing huge whales near our tiny Zodiacs, but it was just too incredible to seem scary.
This is a commute I could easily get used to! There was great banter on these things too. We met people from all over the world, including a great crew from Long Island, NY. Everyone was trying to make sure the whole Zodiac saw the seal or whale each time one was spotted.
A highlight of the excursions was visiting historic bases from early exploration, some of which are still operating studies and observatories. We were warmly welcomed by Chileans at one base and Argentinians at another.
Penguins are the quirkiest fellas! They’d waddle right over if you waited and they had as difficult a time walking on the ice as we did! They were always flopping over. They did love an orderly march though.
Penguin colonies look like fun places to live. I love the wee fella in the foreground who is beached out and loving life. Now there is a role model.
There is just no way to explain these sights or the total silence. It makes you think about how truly far from home you are and how very lucky you are to see this place.