Taking an Antarctic Cruise is a unique experience for people who want to see more of the world than just sandy beaches and tourist traps. Here are a few fun facts about Antarctica that can enhance your trip!
Yes—You Can Go Swimming in Antarctic Waters!
The water temperatures are frequently below freezing so think of it more like an adventure sport rather than a luxurious, beachy soak. Still, this is a fan-favorite activity for those aboard any Antarctic cruise, as it makes for a great photo op and some fun stories to share back home. Many cruise ships have hot tubs, saunas, or spas on board so you can warm right back up after taking an icy plunge.
Antarctic Tours Are Notas Cold as You’d Think
This is because most Antarctic travel takes place between November and March, the Austral summer period where temperatures are more likely to linger around -2 to 2 degrees Centigrade (28 to 35 Fahrenheit). Pack warm clothes, of course, but depending on where you’re from (*cough* most of Canada *cough*) this may barely register as “cold.” Touring, hiking, and kayaking are a few activities that are bound to warm you up if you decided to explore a bit, too.
You Might See an Active Volcano in Antarctica
The most active volcano in the region is Mount Erebus, with a summit elevation of 3,794 meters. Mt. Erebus is a fun sight-seeing expedition because it hosts a series of ice fumaroles, which are ice towers that form where hot gasses escape vents in the surface of the rock. Antarctica is actually home to the largest volcano range on Earth, only many of them are trapped beneath ice sheets of up to 4KM thickness so you can only spot them with radar mapping tools.
Humpback Whales Can Eat Up to 3,000 LBS of Food Per Day
On an Antarctic cruise, you might spot penguins, seals, Orcas, and Humpback whales. Humpback whales are fascinating because they are huge lumbering creatures that are, for the most part, completely harmless despite weighing in at around 25-30 Tonnes each. They obviously must eat a lot to sustain such a large frame but laying out the numbers is still pretty wild. What do they eat to make up a whopping 3,000 lbs. of food each day? Crustaceans, krill, plankton, and other small fish!
Russian and English are the Most Commonly Spoken Languages in Antarctica
Здравствуйте and hello! Depending on where you land, the locals will most likely be speaking Russian, English, or both. There are only about 1,106 (non-permanent) residents so you will most likely socialize only with your tour group, though. Antarctica doesn’t have its own dedicated currency so different areas may accept one (or all) of the U.S. dollars, the Sterling Pound, and/or the Euro. Be sure to talk to your travel advisor and ask what currency they recommend carrying before you go.
Enjoyed this article? We recommend a 15-Day Whale Science Voyage. Watch for Minke, Humpback, and Orca whales of the Antarctic peninsula while we shepherd you from Ushuaia through Drake Passage and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica (and more).