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Ryten

Antarctica Cruise- Balcony a Necessity?

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DW and I are seriously looking at a 2021 Antarctic cruise and looking for opinions as the the necessity of having a balcony for the cruise. As we will likely be looking at the Westerdam (with a lot more veranda/suites available than the S class) we are wondering if the balcony is a necessity or strictly a luxury. Is it worth almost double the fare of a inside or outside? And before I get some of the " only you can make that termination" replies which I truly understand, I guess that I'm looking for your personal opinions and experiences of the positives and negatives that went into your selection. Thank you all in advance for your experience and learned opinions.

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A balcony is NEVER a necessity. Unless you are cruising with DW.

 

Some people really want a balcony all the time. Others don't. All personal preference.

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We were on the Zaandam in January 2018.  Originally, I booked an outside because of the significant cost difference between an OV and a balcony.  We later received an upsell offer and I was able to get a port side cabin (we were going east to west).  The upcharge was still significant, but I’m glad we did it.  Much of this trip is about scenery viewed from the ship, so being able to see a lot from the cabin was a big plus.  We still viewed a lot from the public decks, but we saw more than we would have otherwise seen because of the convenience of being able look out from the balcony.  Personally, I think a balcony on the Antarctic Cruise is a bigger plus compared to an Alaskan Cruise.  Regardless, I would encourage you to book this cruise while it’s still available.

8FCA819F-CFED-4CDB-A6E0-C378E1C29C5D.jpeg

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My sister and I are doing the Westerdam Antarctica.  We chose a balcony for the following reasons:

 

  • Sometimes you are in your room when you happen to notice you are passing by beautiful scenery, wildlife, sunsets, etc.  It is super simple to pop outside to capture that moment in a pic or to just enjoy the beauty of it all.
  • This is a long cruise and we are independent personalities.  The extra space is a pre-emptive measure. LOL
  • This is a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary for us.  We want to make the most of it so now is not the time (for us) to be penny-pinching.  We are not coming back so we do not want to live with regrets.

Having said that, if an Inside or an OV were the only way we were going to get there then I would be happy with that choice.  The main thing is going there.

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9 minutes ago, Mtn2Sea said:

We were on the Zaandam in January 2018.  Originally, I booked an outside because of the significant cost difference between an OV and a balcony.  We later received an upsell offer and I was able to get a port side cabin (we were going east to west).  The upcharge was still significant, but I’m glad we did it.  Much of this trip is about scenery viewed from the ship, so being able to see a lot from the cabin was a big plus.  We still viewed a lot from the public decks, but we saw more than we would have otherwise seen because of the convenience of being able look out from the balcony.  Personally, I think a balcony on the Antarctic Cruise is a bigger plus compared to an Alaskan Cruise.  Regardless, I would encourage you to book this cruise while it’s still available.

8FCA819F-CFED-4CDB-A6E0-C378E1C29C5D.jpeg

 

Wow.  That picture is spectacular, Mtn2Sea.  Thank you.

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1 minute ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Wow.  That picture is spectacular, Mtn2Sea.  Thank you.

The scenery on this cruise is just outstanding!  You’ll love it.  Whenever you can book an excursion to see penguins, go for it - very memorable.

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I did an Antarctic Cruise back in 2012.  At the time, I could not afford a balcony so chose an oceanview.  I am still kicking myself that I didn't wait another year to save sufficient money to book the balcony cabin.  I practically lived on the Promenade Deck looking at scenery and wildlife.  It would have been so much easier to live on my balcony.

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43 minutes ago, Ryten said:

DW and I are seriously looking at a 2021 Antarctic cruise and looking for opinions as the the necessity of having a balcony for the cruise. As we will likely be looking at the Westerdam (with a lot more veranda/suites available than the S class) we are wondering if the balcony is a necessity or strictly a luxury. Is it worth almost double the fare of a inside or outside? And before I get some of the " only you can make that termination" replies which I truly understand, I guess that I'm looking for your personal opinions and experiences of the positives and negatives that went into your selection. Thank you all in advance for your experience and learned opinions.

 

We didn't didn't think of our balcony as a necessity or a luxury but more as a convenience . Food , warmth , a drink or a bathroom was a door away . BTW you can't eat or drink on the balcony in Antarctic waters . We spent most of our time on the balcony looking for whales , penguins , orca and beautiful scenery like glaciers , icebergs and mountains . Many times we spotted wildlife that the bridge didn't see and to try to gear up and run up or down stairs you may miss . We kept our cameras outside since they would fog up if you took them from a warm room to the cold . We would recommend the Glacier Alley side .

 

Glacier Italia

 

IMG_2011-001_zpsb39fc663.jpg

 

Romanche

 

IMG_1844-001_zps6c975036.jpg

 

Alemania glacier

 

IMG_1885-001_zps80fe86a3.jpg

 

 

IMG_8373_zps8kjjkc2s.jpg

 

IMG_8375_zps0uztceyg.jpg

 
 
IMG_8986%201_zpsctvhrkop.jpg
 

 

 

 

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I'm sure a balcony would be nice, but we did just fine with an inside cabin. We spent most of our time on the Lido deck, at the back.  We could go in and out to warm up, or get something hot to drink. We could go from side to side easily.  There were chairs to sit on.  And we were outside, to get those pictures without glass. As someone previously stated, you cannot take any food outside while in the Antarctic. We were impressed when the Captain came on and told any staff that could leave their job, to grab their cameras and go out on deck to enjoy the scenery.

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We cruised San Antonio to Buenos Aires about 11 months ago, with the Antarctic "drive by" as we called it. We were on the Zaandam and it was our first cruise without a balcony. I was pretty nervous about it, as we always like our private space. But the cost for a balcony was double+ the o/v. I researched the deck plans and I don't know how we got so lucky that the cabin wasn't booked, but we were incredibly fortunate enough to be able to book one of the two o/v cabins at the back of deck 7. We had basically 7-9 steps from our door to the outside on the back deck. And there was a short flight of stairs up to deck 8 for 180+ views all around.

 

I looked at the plans on the Westerdam and don't see any o/v's like we had. Regardless, go when you can and in what cabin category you can, it's a wonderful, magical cruise. I wish we were joining you!

 

Best wishes!

 

 

Antarctica 02-2019 iceberg.jpg

Whale Tail 01-2019.JPG

Tabular ice bergs 02-2019.JPG

penguins.jpg

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A balcony is absolutely, positively, not a 'necessity' on an Antarctic cruise. I have done it three times in an inside cabin, and know I didn't miss a thing; you need to be out and about on deck to get a full appreciation of the views. You need to be able to move from side to side, or see forward or aft, depending on what is out there---and the weather. 
It can get pretty darned cold, with a wind that cuts right through you. You don't want to be on that side of the ship, or at least want to have the ship superstructure as a windbreak, when that happens. Other times THE view is on the side opposite your cabin side. A balcony misses half the attractions. 

Save the price of the balcony to upgrade your flights to business class. Those flights are exhausting! 

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A veranda cabin for such a cruise?  No!  One needs to be "out and about" to fully experience the cruise experience in this part of the world.  And, if the weather conditions become too formidable for such, taking up residency in the Crow's Nest is recommended.

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Another advantage of being out on a public deck is that there is often commentary about what is going on - you likely would not hear that on most balconies.

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Did Antarctica in 2012 in an OV. It was an upgrade from an inside. The thought crossed my mind that In the unlikely chance I became  ill and confined to quarters at least I had a window. ( I had just read a blog written by someone that happened to.😧)

 

As it turned out, I spent almost the entire cruise all over the outside of the ship. It was Veendam and she has some pretty good outdoor spaces.

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Thank you all who have taken the time to give great insight into this cruise and shared adventures and incredible photographs. It's amazing to have you all as a resource when trying to make these (tongue in cheek, first world problem) decisions. When ultimately decide what to do, it will have been with much consideration given to your responses. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all.

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