Antarctica Warnings Or Dangers Tips by globetrott Top 5 Page for this destination
Antarctica Warnings and Dangers: 61 reviews and 84 photos
the lounge & "cinema"
Another big disadvantage against other Antarctic ships is the fact that public rooms are quite small and there are only a few of them for all of the crew and passengers.
My pics 1-3: this is the lounge, where all meals are held, but it is also the only place to show a movie : the black spot in the middle of my pic is the TV-set.
that small table on the left is for the breakfast&lunch-buffet, on the small green seats there will be dishes places, so only a single person can help himself, so it takes a long time for everybody to queue up.
narrow tables for 6-8 people and most of them have to stand up, whenever someone wants to go to the buffet...
My 4th & 5th pic: the deckshouse with 6 large tables for a total of 48 passangers !
In case of an emergency,there are several life-rafts onboard, they will inflate automatically as soon as they touch the water and there is a small boat as well for maybe 15 people maximum plus the 2 Zodiaks that were also used for taking us ashore in Antarctica. Everybody has a life-vest and a neopren-suit in his cabin, so you will not freeze in case that you have to leave the ship.
A crewmember showed us how to take it on and that looked quite funny. On a real cruiseship jumping into the water is a lot more dangerous than from such a small ship,where you will have the waterlevel just about 1,5 meters below the main deck.
In my last picture : see the package with the life-vest and neopren-suit on top of my berth.
"Playing Seamen" was done in an organized way, whenever we had several days at sea, like the first 3 days of our cruise, when cruising through the Drake Passage and on the way back. Our passengers were divided in 3 groups and we had different periods of "watches" in a system of 4 hours watching followed by 8 hour free time. There were always 2 people eighter on the watch-out in front of the ship or holding the course of the ship on the big, traditional stirring-wheel, and the rest of the group was on stand-by. In addition there was one of the professional sailors on the watch as well, he would have gotten an alarm, in case that the given course was not followed by us.
b.t.w.When booking onboard of the Bark Europa you will not get a ticket as a passanger, but instead as a "Sailing-trainee", in my opinion this is mainly a trick to avoid to be forced to have a doctor onboard, because normally all ships with more tha 12 passangers will need to have a doctor onboard !
the wardrobe for 6 passengers
I expected a "romantic" cabin in such an old ship, but in fact these passenger-cabins were a lot worse than the ones we had as crew-cabins onboard of the cruiseship "M/S Vistafjord", here I was working for 4 more than years :
No chair, no table, just a tiny wardrobe that was rather a box. 5 such boxes in total for 6 berths plus one single "hanging-box" for all of us at the same time and it was
just 30 cm wide, that was really rídiculous !!!
6 hooks - a single hook for each of us, partly at places, where you could hardly hang anything except maybe wet gloves
Absolutely no place for your suitcases, I had some of it at my legs inside the berth, the rest of our suitcases we had stored in the 6th berth that luckily was not occupied on this cruise with just 34 passengers instead of a possible capacity of 48.
The first cruise in November is mostly not fully booked, but all other cruises of 2008/09 were fully booked since a long time, and that means, that also the 6th berth will be occupied then...
In my pic : this is the wardrobe for all of us : about 170 cm high and 80 cm wide, 5 "small boxes", one for each of us and a sharing box to hang our clothes...
Sea-sickness is of course a major problem, mainly in the "Drake Passage", but on a tiny ship like the "Bark Europa" it is certainly a lot worse than onboard of an ordinary cruiseship.
Also the fact that there was no table or chair in our cabin added a lot to this problem, because the only way to get dressed was standing, or rather tumbling from one side of the cabin to the other, while taking on your socks etc...
Our ship needed 3,5 days to cross the Drake-passage to the Antarctic and 6 days we needed from Port Lockry to Ushuaia on our way back. Take a look at the itinerary of other ships, they mostly need not even half of that time, and every day in the Drake-passage is a potential day of sea-sickness, at least onboard of smaller ships !
The meals onboard were totally different from other cruise-ships: You might feel like beeing on a vacation with the whole family, the food was nutricous and somehow quite "basic" in the best sense of the word.
Breakfast : white and grey bread,3 different kinds of cheese, 1 kind of sausage, ham and smoked ham, butter and 2 kinds of jam. A single toaster for everyone and a brown toast prepared with that slow machine needed about 10 minutes.
Breakfast was set up at 2 places and at each of these places not more than 1 person could serve him/herself. Every morning there was also a special dish for breakfast like ham and eggs, prepared in small portions, or maybe a sweet bread with cinnamon etc.
breakfast is held at the galley, there are 3 long tables where the person on the right and left has to stand up, whenever somebodys else wants to sit at the same table, that was really annoying!
Lunch : The same coldcuts as for breakfast, plus a soup and another hot dish served again as a selfservice-buffet
Dinner: you have to queue up at the kitchen to get your dish with the maincourse, there is no soup with it, but after some time a desert will be served at the table.
Vegetarian meals are available, but you obviously have to order them in advance for the whole cruise.
NO menu to choose from, no alternative to get some other food,in case that you dont like what is beeing served, except that you bring it onboard by yourself.
In addition to the meals there was hot tea and coffee available almost all the time, you just had to help your self with the large jugs in the lounge. At the meals there was water, milk or juice as well on display and without charge.
When coming home from wet excursions we often had a hot soup or hot chocolate as well served in the lounge.
The crew was really always friendly and helpful, they ate the same meals with us in the lounge and the person who was driving the Zodiak in the afternoon might serve you the desert in the evening or set up the buffet.
It was all like in "a big family"
me in my berth
Try to be the first in your cabin and Choose your berth carefully.
Onboard of the old, romantic sailing-vessel "Bark Europa" I had my berth in a 6-berth-cabin and unfortunately the best berths had been occupied already and I only got one on the outside of the cabin, along the ships-hull, where I could feel the icy-cold water through the thin skin of the ship.
There also was some condensation at some places, because of the warmer cabin not having been isolated enough against the ships-hull. This was extremely bad in the Antarctic while it was very cold outside, the closer we got back towards the Drake-passage the better the situation became.
In my pic : that is me lying on the back in my berth, the isolation-matress on the right, but it covers only half of the berth that touches the outside-hull of the ship, the red safety-box fixed on top of the berth and above my feet
Bring enough clothings, so you are able to change easily when getting wet.
Many times in my cruise there were different excursions 2 or even 3 times a day, and every time we got wet eighter by the weather-conditions or by the transfers in the small zodiaks,when we had to drive over a large wave and were spread by seawater all over.
The best place to dry your clothes is in the engine-room, in front of the ship, but there is never enough place for all of the wet clothings of all passengers, and we even had been only 34 passengers instead of the possible full capacity of 48 passengers.
Leopardseals will mostly be hunting penguins in the same shallow waters, where also the best and mostly the only places are found in order to land the zodiaks safely. In some cases these seals came close to the zodiaks, they were partly jumping inside of them and bite or attacked people in the zodiaks.
I am glad that this never happened in our trip, but we had met sealopards 2 times ( Almirante Brown and Port Lockroy) that way and I could see the reaction of our zodiak-drivers, who had always mastered any danger in a cool way, but when such a Leopard-seal was around, they always carefully watched it and were always "on the jump" to any better place inside of the zodiak than the exposed place at the end, where these seals sometimes are attacking the people in the Zodiaks.
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