Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the world's largest luxury cruise line, has added four new Antarctica cruises in late 2007 and early 2008 due to overwhelming demand. These new cruise dates offer guests a rare opportunity to experience the stark beauty and abundant wildlife of the White Continent amid the comfort of the world's top-rated expedition cruise ship, Explorer II.
"We have seen such a strong demand for Antarctica as a destination that our initial two charters quickly sold out," said Mark Conroy, Regent's president. "So we are pleased to have secured some group space to be able to offer our guests additional opportunities to visit this rarely seen part of the world."
Guests yearning to explore the largely unknown continent of Antarctica can choose from four new departure dates - November 8 and 24, December 20, 2007; and February 25, 2008. Each of these 10- or 16-night cruises will depart from the world's southernmost city and capital of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Argentina, also known as "the end of the world." (These dates will be offered in addition to the already sold-out departures on January 21, 2008 and February 1, 2008.)
Explorer II will then cross the Atlantic to the wildlife-rich shores of the Falkland Islands, where guests can explore the photogenic British outpost of Port Stanley, followed by the dramatic glacial coastline of the South Shetland Islands and the mountainous peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula. Guests can be among the very few to step foot on Antarctica and explore, weather permitting. Explorer II then sails along Cape Horn, located at the confluence of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, before moving onward through Drake Passage and returning to Ushuaia. The extended 16-night cruises also include a call at South Georgia, featuring large colonies of king penguins, fur and elephant seals.
These four new cruises will take place during Antarctica's spring and summer seasons, which bring milder temperatures, longer days and unrivaled wildlife viewing including the famous shoreline gatherings of thousands of penguins. Guests may also see seal pups and parents, whales, blooming snow algae, albatross and other seabirds, and spectacular glaciers and icebergs. Explorer II's team of naturalists, historians, marine biologists, geologists, and ornithologists will add immeasurably to guests' adventures in these pristine realms. An onboard enrichment program hosted by a professional photographer will include group discussions and tips on how best to capture these wildlife sightings on camera.
Though a range of shore excursions can accommodate more adventurous travelers, the state-of-the-art Explorer II provide guests a way to experience the beauty of Antarctica in stylish comfort, and its small size and maneuverability brings guests face-to-face with each of the sites. Recently rated among the world's top small cruise ships by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, Explorer II features a polished brass and wood interior with all ocean-view suites and staterooms, two open-seating restaurants, a full-service health club and a salon. Although the ship is designed to accommodate up to 394 passengers, space is limited aboard these cruises to 198 guests for maximum comfort. The vessel's expedition team of highly trained naturalists and biologists, along with the high crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.5, ensures the ultimate relaxing and enriching voyage.
Per person prices for Regent's Antarctica cruises start from $9,795 for the 10-night voyages, including a one-night pre-cruise stay in Santiago (Chile); complimentary roundtrip economy air from one of Regent's 86 North American gateways, round-trip charter flights from Santiago to Ushuaia; a city tour and Patagonian lunch on day of embarkation in Ushuaia; and a complimentary backpack and parka. As with all Regent Seven Seas cruises, fares include all shipboard gratuities; complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship; and a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer and bottled water replenished daily in higher stateroom categories.
Through The Regent Travel Concierge, guests may select from a variety of exciting pre- and post-cruise land adventures, from horseback riding in Ushuaia to a guided walking tour of the city's Tierra del Fuego National Park, including a trek across the border to Chile.