Christmas in Antarctica
Talk about a winter wonderland… Santa Claus should seriously consider moving his operation from the North Pole to the South! For anyone who loves a white Christmas as much as I do, the glistening snow of Antarctica is truly the most magical backdrop imaginable to enjoy the holidays.
The mid-sized expedition ship, Sea Spirit, was the perfect floating home-away-from-home, with a warm, inviting atmosphere (not unlike grandma’s house, honestly!) and a truly jolly crew of staff and passengers. Hailing from around the globe, the wonderful group of people (117 passengers and 75 staff) onboard represented nearly 30 countries, which is particularly special and unique to this ship and shipping company, headquartered in London.
Approximately half the guests were from North America, with the others joining the voyage from China, Russia, India, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. This diverse mix of cultures blended beautifully with the group of 8 naturalists (who were mostly European), and the ship’s crew (who were primarily Central American, Southeast Asian, Russian and Ukrainian), making for a fun, eclectic Christmas celebration that included a festive champagne happy hour, a boisterous holiday sing-along, and fascinating accounts of historical Christmas Days in Antarctica read from the journals of the most notable polar explorers from nearly 100 years ago!
Families, couples, and solo travelers alike came together on this holiday voyage to explore the spectacular ice, awe-inspiring scenery and, of course, revel at the hysterical antics of the thousands of penguins traversing the miles of “penguin highways” that stretched as far as the eye could see or sitting on their eggs, eagerly awaiting the birth of their adorable fluffy chicks. And with guests spanning an age range from 14-74, the spirit of the group was remarkably similar to a large family gathering once we were all back onboard enjoying the Expedition Leader’s briefings and savoring the wonderful meals served up by the terrifically attentive staff.
I’ll confess that I embarked on the journey with the teensiest bit of apprehension about spending the holidays away from home, yet my experience aboard the Sea Spirit could not have been more fun, enriching, or genuinely remarkable – and in my next letter to old St. Nick, I’ll be sending a resounding endorsement for this snowy paradise.
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