Antarctica cruise - your tips

Old Sep 28th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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Antarctica cruise - your tips

I am travelling to Antarctica on the MS Fram in December with Hurtigruten. I'm getting quite excited about the trip but also a little anxious about some aspects, particularly what clothing to pack. I have already received some really helpful advice on another thread about footwear, but I was worried about hijacking that thread and decided to start my own.

I have been reading other threads about what people pack and am starting to make a list of the sorts if things I'll need, but I'm also limited by the baggage weight we can take, so I have to pack smart (something I'm not really known for!).

Therefore, if anyone who has been on an Antarctica cruise would like to offer advice about what they found useful to take (or what they would leave behind) I would be very interested to read it, and grateful for your help.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 07:15 AM
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Oh, and how annoying, I've just realised I should have tagged my post 'Antarctica'!
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 07:23 AM
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We took heavy winter jackets with us and really didn't need them. Better to layer with silk underwear, a fleece and a good windbreaker. Gloves were helpful.

Take something for seasickness as you might run into a bad storm as we did. I used wristbands successfully but the crew were handing out Dramamine (for a cost) and the line was long. Our worst time was in the middle of the night when we rolled from side to side for hours--you could not have even gotten to the doctor to get anything. It was so bad the crew had barf bags hanging everywhere--elevators, railings, on countertops, etc.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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I second the seasickness preparation. I never get sick anywhere, but I did on this trip.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 10:15 AM
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Thanks for the tips about sea sickness remedies.
It's good to hear that the heavy winter jackets were not needed as we have quite limited baggage allowance. Layers of thermal or silk underwear are on my list. I'm grateful that casual dress appears to be the order of the day on board.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 06:01 AM
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At least on our trip, I'm not sure things have changed, we had to dock and then board a smaller boat to actually get onto and walk on the smaller islands. We constantly had to change into certain types of overwear, like A snowsuit, and boots, which they provided on the boat. I guess that was so that our own soil and such would not contaminate their land.
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Old Oct 6th, 2014, 05:55 AM
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Very helpful - WATERPROOF bags [they come in several sizes]. Can be purchased at sporting goods stores. Since you will be jostling around boarding a boat/Zodiac, knowing that water splashed won't get camera wet. If you only use a small digital camera...attach it to a lanyard that goes over your head; then it can always be close/ready and you can tuck it inside your jacket if splashing occurs while in the boat/Zodiac. LOTS of batteries! Take MANY photos..

Antarctica is the favorite of all my trips!!

Bon Voyage
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Old Oct 7th, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Random tips from our trip:

- we used the seasickness patches -- neither of us tends to suffer from seasickness and we had quite the Drake Shake on the way back with no ill effects. (it was the Drake Lake on the way down)

- we had laundry done a couple of times which enabled us to cut down on what we took - at least in Quark's case the charges were reasonable

- we took hand warmers but never used them - it wasn't very cold (although we are Canadians!)

- we bought thin gloves (liners actually) and wore mittens over them for the zodiac ride. The mittens were nice and warm and then we could take them off and the thin liners were enough. My husband bought the "fagan" kind of liner (bare fingers) which he found better for taking pictures

- take lots of camera storage/memory!
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Old Oct 8th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Take more batteries and memory cards than you think you'll need! I generally rotated through 3 or 4 camera batteries as the cold can wear them down a bit faster and you never want to run out. That way I could always have one on the charger and have two or even three good ones in my pockets.

For memory, I took a handful of memory cards, a netbook and a small external hard drive. That meant that even if/when I had to clear off some of the memory cards to reuse them I still had not one but 2 copies of all photos and videos. Someone on my trip backed his photos up to a friends computer as well as his own. Thankfully he did because he's an amazing photographer and his computer crashed on the way home. Do NOT risk having only a single copy of your photos.

Some ships provide coats which really cuts down on the packing needs. It works out really well if you take one of those roll up storage bags so that you can put anything fluffy (like a big coat) in it and then squish the air out and toss it into a bag, using half the space it would otherwise. I did that with my snow pants and such on the way down so that I could put the bare minimum in my carryon. That way if my suitcase took a vacation without me, I'd still be good to go.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 07:15 PM
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Fram provides coats I believe.
I am envious of you LadyL. I hope you have a fabulous time.

Layers is the way to go. Better several light layers than a couple of thick ones.
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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Definitely take thermal undershirts, scarves for sure, wool socks and gloves. As for jackets; there are down jackets that don't take much room and if they come with a hood it really helps when its windy.

I was concerned with the Drake Passage since it doesn't take much to get me motion sick, but all you really need to do is be ahead of the game. I take 1/2 a chewable dramamine ahead of time and that worked wonders(it did not make me sleepy either) and I had extra dramamine already unwrapped and ready to go. If it got really bad I would take another 1/2 dose and at night I would take some of the meds the ship gave out or a whole dramamine + ginger candy. The elastic wristbands just don't do it for me.

Are you going to any penguin colony? We stopped at Otway Sound in Punta Arenas, Chile - that was by far the coldest part of all our trip.

Antartica is spectacular and you will have a trip of a life time.
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Old Oct 13th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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Thank you so much for all your replies. I have taken notes of all the things you have suggested. Itspat, that was interesting to hear about all the changes of clothes and boots.

Iowa_Redhead, I have been wondering about an external hard drive, but I was planning to take my iPad and it doesn't lend itself to transferring images. I shall have to think more about that one. It would be awful to lose any images.

I have been considering a GoPro camera for taking time lapse photos of the trip through the icebergs. Also, I thought it would be useful for any photos taken in the zodiac/polarcirkel boats. It sounds, from the posts above, that extra batteries and memory cards are vital.

You have all provided great info on clothing. I have thermal underwear that I use for ski holidays and I will look into the more specialist tops - although they can be very expensive. Hetismij2 I have concerns that any jacket they might provide will not fit my rotund shape, as I have trouble finding regular clothes that fit, so I have purchased a serious sailing jacket so I will have something wind proof and protective. If I also get a jacket from Hurtigruten that fits, that will be a bonus.

4holdings, we hope to see penguins on the Falkland Islands and possibly South Georgia. I am also concerned about sea sickness. I don't usually suffer that badly, but I think fear and high seas could make any queasiness worsen, so I appreciate your advice about Dramamine. (And lucky you, Elizabeth_S for experiencing the Drake Lake!)

Lady2cats, I was looking at waterproof bags at the weekend, but was having a hard time convincing my husband that this was necessary. He was convinced that any rucksack will do.

With so much to plan, I'm sure the weeks until our departure will fly by.
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Old Oct 14th, 2014, 05:59 AM
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>

Toss in a couple gallon or two gallon size ziplock bags. That way you can put your camera or other stuff inside of that and inside a regular backpack.
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