IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO
To travel to Antarctica with Atlas Ocean Voyages, it’s not necessary to be at peak, athletic levels of physical fitness. You can take it easy or be as active as you want on shore. As you are journeying to the most remote part of the world, we encourage you to check in with your doctor if you would like peace of mind.
HEALTH AND MEDICAL
If you have a life-threatening illness, we recommend speaking with your doctor to ensure your ability to embark on an Antarctic expedition, as there are limitations for the medical facilities available. It’s recommended
you schedule your medical prescriptions with your doctor 4-6 weeks prior to sailing. Likewise, if you have pre-existing conditions that may require medical attention, we ask that you notify Atlas before your sailing.
PASSPORT AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
You do require a valid passport when entering Antarctica, as well as to travel through the country in which you’re starting your journey. Check with the Department of State Travel for specific visa and passport requirements for the ports you are traveling through. Make sure your passport is active for at least 6 months after your travel to Antarctica is complete and that it has enough blank pages for the necessary stamps.
WHAT TO PACK
During the height of Antarctica summer (October to February), temperatures usually reach between 30-and-40-degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s not as cold as many would think for a place known for its glaciers and icebergs. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get chilly (due to how windy it is!) so, it’s important to layer up when heading out on an Antarctic expedition.
2-3 PAIRS OF LEGGINGS OR THERMAL UNDERWEAR
2-3 LONG SLEEVES OR SWEATERS
These are your basic long johns, leggings, and thermal underwear for warmth and to control moisture. It’s recommended you bring two to three pairs to switch between from day to day, but you’re welcome to bring more as you see fit. Make sure they’re either wool – preferably merino wool – or a similar synthetic blend like polyester or acrylic, as these fabrics will keep you the warmest. Fleece is another good option as it’s lightweight enough to move around but still keep you warm. High-tech fabrics like Capilene are also recommended as they’re designed for warmth retention and dry quickly.
1-2 LOFTED VESTS; 2-3 LONG SLEEVES OR SWEATERS
WOOL OR FLEECE SOCKS (2 PAIRS PER DAY)
Choose these layers based on weather conditions and your personal comfort level.
These should be a combination of light-to-mid-weight layers for optimized warmth with minimal bulk. Lofted vests are also great to maintain warmth even when wet, and they’re light and compact. Insulation layers include socks (at least 2 pairs per day). Your mid-layers should be made from the same materials as the base (wool, polyester or other synthetic blends, and fleece).
WINDBREAKER OR RAIN JACKET
The point of outer layers is to keep you dry and protect you from the elements – rain, snow, and sleet. You will want waterproof pants that can fit into your boots and give you a little wiggle room for the inner layers. They should also be sturdy enough to withstand more rugged adventures, like riding in the Zodiac that takes you ashore. You’ll also want to bring waterproof gloves and windbreaker to keep the moisture from reaching your skin. Knee boots are an essential to keep the feet dry and warm. As you make it to the shores of The White Continent, you’ll be stepping in the shallows of the water, so these boots will protect you from their cold temperatures. On an Atlas luxe-adventure expedition, your gear on board includes waterproof knee boots and you will receive a complimentary parka. But we also recommend bringing a lightweight rain jacket for extra protection against moisture.
TOP LAYERS & ACCESSORIES
2-3 SWEATERS, SWEATSHIRTS OR JACKETS WITH HOODS
SCARF OR NECK GAITER
WATERPROOF GLOVES OR MITTENS AND LINERS
POLARIZED SUNGLASSES (2 PAIRS)
Whether you prefer sweaters, sweatshirts, or T-shirts, whatever you pack should at least fall down to your hips to cover for warmth. These can also be wool or fleece and light to mid-weight for easy movement.It’s easy to forget the face and neck, but these are absolutely important to keep warm. Opt for a scarf or other protection, like a ski mask, which acts as protection for the face, neck, and ears. Remember to keep your head warm also, so bring a knit wool cap and/or jacket with a hood to cover up. Neck gaiters are also recommended to keep your throat warm and are a versatile piece that can be pulled over your head. Remember you need to keep your hands warm and dry, so bring waterproof gloves or mittens. We also recommend glove liners – which are thinner gloves usually made from cotton, wool, or thermal silk – for an added layer of warmth for your fingers. And for a little more warmth add a couple of heat packs to your belongings. While it may be cold and icy, that does not mean the sun isn’t shining and hitting you with its UV rays. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen (without oxybenzone for environmental protection) and lip balm to protect from sunburn. You’ll also want a couple pairs of polarized sunglasses to protect you from the glare of sun against the ice.
WHAT TO WEAR ON BOARD
When spending time aboard World Navigator or World Traveller, you can keep it
casual, as the whole ship is climate controlled for comfort.
LIGHT SHIRTS AND PANTS
NON-SLIP, CLOSE-TOED SHOES
WATERPROOF JACKET OR WINDBREAKER (FOR ENJOYING WATER’S EDGE
OR TOP-MOST DECK)
COMFORTABLE ATTIRE FOR DINING/EVENINGS
BACKPACK OR DUFFEL BAG?
There are no backpacks of any kind allowed on shore in Antarctica.
DON’T PACK A PEST
Keeping Antarctica pristine is our ultimate goal. So, it’s important to know what to pack/not pack. You might be surprised what you can bring from home if not careful.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU GO
Antarctica is a delicate ecosystem and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure it remains pristine. That means doing your best not to bring in foreign particles to the environment. One of the ways you can do this is by avoiding use of products with microplastics.
Many bath amenities such as exfoliants, facial scrubs, and body washes contain these tiny beads that are not a natural part of the environment. Even after washing the product away, some of
them can still cling to your skin and become embedded in your clothing, which can then fall off when stepping on shore.
If you’ve ever been to national parks, you may be acquainted with their environmental regulations. When you visit an ecosystem, many of those microbes and organisms can
stay stuck to your clothes and shoes, so it’s best practice not to use those same articles of clothing when visiting another sensitive environment. The same concept can be applied to visiting Antarctica. Make sure not to pack clothes and shoes that you’ve worn in the past within other fragile ecosystems, such as caves, to avoid cross contamination of natural environments. Please refer to our ‘What to Pack’ section for a detailed list.
A: This is a pristine destination with a fragile ecosystem, so it’s important to remember to be a responsible explorer, including being mindful of packing clean gear, not taking anything from shore, and following the instructions on board for properly decontaminating your footwear and clothing. For a complete guide on what to do to be a conscious traveler, check out the IAATO “Don’t Pack a Pest” pamphlet.
A: From October to the beginning of December you’ll see the land covered in snow all way to the edge of the water, which means you’ll likely see penguins as they make their highways to the water. During these months, you may also have the chance to see penguins, seabirds and shags courting and laying their eggs.
December through February there’s less snow, exposing the rocky peaks for a more rugged landscape. This is also the best time to see penguin chicks hatch. From mid-February to March you’ll have the best chances of catching sight of whales as they return to the peninsula to feed and watch for penguins molting.
A: During Antarctica summer, temperatures tend to stay in 40-degree Fahrenheit range, so it’s important to pack properly to keep warm.
A: The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) does not allow the use of drones, quadcopters, UAVs, and other such hardware for recreational purposes from the ship, during scheduled landings, or on excursions. Furthermore, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands government has banned the use of such recreational technologies in their territories.
A: Yes! Our brand-new, small expedition-style Explorer Class fleet is made of Polar Category C and Ice Class 1B ships, purpose-built for remote navigation. As our expeditions take place during Antarctica’s summer, there will be mild ice conditions and more open water, which is what our categorizations allow our ships to navigate. With these polar code categorizations, our expedition-style ships offer safety and stability.
A: To travel to Antarctica with Atlas Ocean Voyages, it’s not necessary to be at peak, athletic levels of physical fitness. You can take it easy or be as active as you want on shore. As you are journeying to the most remote part of the world, we encourage you to check in with your doctor if you would like peace of mind. And if you have pre-existing conditions that may require medical attention, we ask that you notify Atlas before your sailing.
A: While we aim to make our voyages inclusive for all guests, Antarctica is a destination that presents challenging elements. Our Antarctica journeys also use Zodiacs to transport guests between shore and ship, so if you have a disability that does not easily allow for such transportation, we cannot serve you well for an Antarctica expedition at this time.
A: Zodiacs are highly buoyant rubber boats built with inflatable hulls with several air-filled compartments for optimum floatation. World Navigator is equipped with 18 custom-designed Zodiacs, complete with reinforced bow chests. Trained staff and crewmembers drive and operate the Zodiacs when taking you to your Antarctic adventures off the ship. Please make sure to always follow their careful instructions when embarking and disembarking from the Zodiac.
A: Atlas is pleased to provide a set of binoculars in every suite and stateroom for you to use freely for your wildlife viewing adventures.
A: Antarctica is a paradise for animal lovers with plenty of wildlife. You’ll see various species of penguins, seals, birds, and whales. Check out our “Wild Antarctica” page to discover what you may see.
A: Atlas Ocean Voyages provides every guest with a pair of knee boots for wet landings for complimentary use.
A: To help preserve the beauty and environment of Antarctica, your expedition leader will guide you every step of the way. This way, you experience your journey to the fullest while leaving only footprints behind. Before you head to shore, your expedition team will brief you on conservation and best practices for exploring the land. It’s important to follow their instructions.
A: We’re pleased to have Henry Páll Wulff aboard World Navigator as the Antarctica expedition leader. We will also have Dr. Patrick Treuthardt aboard the Antarctic Solar Eclipse voyage as our expert astronomer, Dr. Edwin J.C. Sobey, an experienced researcher in Antarctic study, and Michel Verdure, an experienced cruise ship photographer who will be providing assistance to make sure you come home with bucket-list worthy photographs. Additional team members are being added weekly; check out our “Antarctica Expedition Team” page to learn more.
A: Atlas is pleased to offer accommodations for children age eight years and older – accompanied at all times throughout the voyage – for our Antarctica luxe-adventure journeys.