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HAL Antarctic Experience-which direction??

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We are thinking about doing the 20 Day South America and Antarctic Experience in 2021.  Which direction should we travel?  West (Santiago) to East (Buenos Aires) or East to West?

Thanks,

Don

antarcticexperience.PNG

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Others will probably have more erudite responses, but...

We booked just what you are looking at and ultimately decided that we wanted to head down from Santiago, as there will be plenty of time and port stops where we can recover from any jet lag before we arrive at the prize of Antarctica.  It seems a bit of a beeline from Buenos Aires.

 

Not very scientific, but just my two cents worth.  I'll be curious to hear others' input on this.  It's still early enough to change our own booking!

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West to east definitely. In that case you have a nice build up to the finale, antarctica.

East to west antarctica comes fairly quickly and although the west coast of south america is gorgeous, it pales compared to the antarctic highlight.

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We did West to East. Great trip. Getting off in Buenos Aires was another story. Three cruise ships fighting for a single line of taxies. Two hours later mob still fighting for the same taxies. Arrange your own transportation or book something through HAL. Just a suggestion. Fabulous trip.

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Definitely West to East. The Chilean Fjords are a great build up to the majesty of Antarctica. If you go to Antarctica first the Fjords will be a ho-hum. Also, you will see lots of penguins through to Antarctica but for the most part they are off the ship in the water or on land, so binoculars. But then you hit the Falklands and walk among them. Truly amazing. Again, if you do the Falklands first the penguins in Antarctica are going to be ho-hum.

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When we did this in 2015, we never thought about the direction, it was more the timing and we lucked out on doing the West (Chile) to East (Argentina) direction. The buildup of the Chilean Fjords before Antarctica is definitely the way to go. While we have not done the other direction, everyone seems to agree that if you do the Fjords after Antarctica, its just not as impressive. 

 

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I agree with everyone's answers, west to east, Santiago to Buenos Aires. We went this past January and it was simply amazing. We had the best time and I think the east-to-west route, while very good, just wouldn't have had the impact that the west-to-east route had.

 

If you have time at the end of the cruise in Buenos Aires, try to get out to see Iguazu Falls. We did it on a day trip and  by the time you fly out there, it's already late in the day and HOT and HUMID. It was still incredibly impressive, but I wish we'd taken more time.

 

Have a GREAT trip!

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Thanks for all the replies!  West to East it is!  How was everyone's experience with the Drake Passage?  That is my biggest concern about this adventure. 

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1 hour ago, I like vacation said:

Thanks for all the replies!  West to East it is!  How was everyone's experience with the Drake Passage?  That is my biggest concern about this adventure. 

Only time will tell. When we did this in February 2015, the cruise before us had 40 foot seas on the passage between Antarctica and Cape Horn. We had maybe 8 foot seas, going from Cape Horn to Antarctica, at the max. So there is really no way to predict what you will get for that 24 hours or so for that part of the cruise. 

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39 minutes ago, drowelf said:

Only time will tell. When we did this in February 2015, the cruise before us had 40 foot seas on the passage between Antarctica and Cape Horn. We had maybe 8 foot seas, going from Cape Horn to Antarctica, at the max. So there is really no way to predict what you will get for that 24 hours or so for that part of the cruise. 

Same,

 

Jan 2008 30 to 40 feet waves from the Falklands to Antarctica across the drake. 4 days later calm sea back to Ushuaia.

The ship , Rotterdam, took it wel, but the corridors were mighty quiet. Luckely the movement didn't bother us, and it was quite spectacular riding up and down the waves.

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Based on other cruisers' advice, we are booked on the HAL Zaandam, west to east, January 9, 2020.  We have a Roll Call and are starting to book private shore excursions.  We plan to leave the ship on the day it arrives in BA, rather than stay overnight.  We have made plans to fly to Iguazu Falls for 2 nights and then return to BA for a couple of days before flying home.  We booked our airfare through HAL.  There do not appear to be many flights to SA, like there are to Europe.  Come and join us.

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You might want to check the roll call for the Zaandam Jan 30, 2019. Lots of good info on shore excursions etc.

 

Our crossing to Antarctica was smooth as glass. We departed Antarctica about 6 hours early to avoid a major storm coming through and the swells were overnight so didn't really feel them.

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I am considering the 22 day solar eclipse cruise in Nov. 2020 and looking at airfare first class prices, the airfare is more affordable returning to the USA from Buenos Aires (EZE) than from Saniago. (SCL) I have done East to West on the Zaandam in the past and it was spectacular, but this time West to East looks like the better deal.

 

Karen

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The 2021 Westerdam Antarctic Peninsula cruise dep. BA on 30th Jan. is likely to be the last Antarctic cruise for HAL.

Due to the new Polar Code coming into full force on 1st Januany 2022 - nearly all ships that currently are able to go past 60 degrees N or S will no longer be certified under the new code. This is why Zaandam will not be there after its next docking.

West to East is the best way to go - but you then have to deal with the TAXI  MAFIA in BA.

Best to arrange your own transport or HAL transfer.

 

So if you want to see Antarctica at a reasonable price - the two January 2021 cruises are your last chances.

IMO-Polar-Class.jpg

Antarctic-Polar Code.jpg

Arctic-Polar Code.jpg

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Thanks everyone for your advice.  We booked the January 10, 2021 sailing from Santiago.  Another birthday cruise for me. :classic_biggrin:

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