#1 Does it cost more if I book through The Polar Travel Company?
Absolutely not, we work with all operators and there are no extra costs on our services. We will always offer our advice, whether you book with us or not. Should you decide to book with The Polar Travel Company the price of your cruise will be the same as if you had booked it directly with the operator.
#2 Why an Antarctic/Arctic cruise is so expensive?
A voyage to the White Continent or to the Arctic is going to be expensive. Some of the reasons why a polar trip is expensive are:
-The cost to build, and maintain a ship, in particularly these especially built ships to navigate to Polar Regions.
-The cost of fuel (Usually in the remote regions fuel tends to be more expensive as there is an additional cost of transporting the fuel there).
-The remoteness of the destination that translates into more logistics and operational costs.
-The crew and staff on board to look after, that in many cases the ratio is 1 crew every 2 passengers, and on some ship even more, almost 1 to 1. Often, the more crew and staff on board to provide a more personalised service is reflected in the price of the cruise.
However, despite the costs, in all our years of experience bringing people to the Polar Regions no one has return thinking that it was not worth the effort.
#3 Will I have extra costs if I´m travelling alone?
We have several solo travellers on trips to the Polar Regions. The prices are based on share, if you don´t mind sharing with a fellow traveller, the cost will remain the same. The ship´s company will pair you up with a traveller of the same sex (and usually they also try to pair up the ages). If you would like to have your own cabin, then you can book the single supplement. The Single supplement can vary from 50% to 100% of the share price, depending on the operator.
#4 Will I have additional major expenses?
Besides the cruise itself, you will need to cover:
-Transportation to the place where the expedition begins (the starting point) and from the place where the expedition ends. We can arrange flights at your request.
-Hotel for the night before the cruise (we always recommend to arrive one or two days before the cruise to the starting point in case there are any problems with the airline and to book a flight at least after noon at the end of the cruise).
-Meals before and after joining the selected cruise.
-Gratuities or tips for the staff and crew on board. Gratuities are always at your discretion.
-A comprehensive travel insurance coverage and emergency medical coverage that includes repatriation (mandatory).
#5 At what time embarkation starts?
Embarkation occurs on the day of the expedition, usually about 4 PM (16:00), local time.
#6 At what time is disembarkation?
At the end of the cruise, leaving the ship often requires the completion of some formalities like the clearance from the authorities. Usually, disembarkation starts after breakfast on board the ship on the final day of the itinerary. We recommend that homeward flights are booked to depart after 12:00 (noon).
#7 Is there a laundry on board?
Laundry service is available on most ships. For those operators that offer laundry service, costs are reasonable. Usually, excess baggage charges on an airline will often exceed the laundry charges on board, so we recommend that you pack fewer items and use the laundry service.
If you would like to know if your ship has laundry service, please let us know and we will get back to you with the answer.
#8 Is there a doctor on board?
There is a doctor on board, who is responsible for the health of guests and crew. The clinics on board are equipped to handle minor emergencies and they carry emergency supplies of medication. It is important that you bring sufficient prescribed medicines with you.
#9 How risky is to travel to Polar Regions?
There is risk involved in travelling to any region where extreme conditions are possible. Weather, ice and natural phenomena, can cause problems on shore and on the ship. The experts on board the ships will do everything to mitigate the risk. Most ships are purpose-built for the Polar Regions, and the crew is experienced in high latitude travel. Safety will be always paramount while travelling to Antarctica or to the Arctic. However, there will be always some risks involved while travelling to remote destinations.
#10 Is there dress etiquette on board?
Most expedition ships are informal. However, on some ships, the Captain and his officers will dress in uniforms for the welcome, farewell and Captain’s cocktail parties and passengers dress formal for those occasions. If you book a trip where you will need a gala dress we will let you know. But as we said before, most ships dress casual and informal.
#11 What can I do on board the ship?
The voyages are focused on entertaining but educational components to make you ready to enjoy landings and activities ashore. There are lectures and presentation given in the conference room, but also bird and wildlife watching sessions on deck. Also, open decks are excellent platforms for photography. There are also daily informal recaps and briefings that you can attend while having a drink in the bar. There is always something to do.
#12 What is the food like on board?
Internationally trained chefs prepare the meals served aboard. The menus change every day and it varies from ship to ship. Breakfast is usually buffet style. Lunch often features a buffet, and dinner is most of the time a plated service. On most ships there are 3 choices: Meat, fish or vegetarian. A vegetarian choice is always offered (you may have to ask for it though). Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is also provided every day.
#13 What is the profile of people who travel to Polar Regions?
They are people like you: they are curious, they like to travel off the beaten path, but also the enjoy coming back to the comfort of the ship after a full day of adventures. The age range is wide, from family with children (age from 6-7) to 80-year-old explorers, but the majority of guests’ age varies from 45 and 65 years. The nationalities of guests are from all over the world.
#14 How healthy I have to be to join a trip to Antarctica or the Arctic?
You will be travelling to a remote destination with not access to complex medical facilities; you should not join this type of expedition if you are suffering from a life-threatening condition. This type of voyages requires independent mobility to negotiate: stairs on a moving ship, steep gangways to board Zodiacs, and rough uneven and slippery terrain. If you have difficulty walking or you need an assistance device to walk around, this type of expeditions may not be for you. Please call us or drop us an Email to discuss your situation with us and we will provide you with our best advice.
#15 What documents do I need to complete to join a trip?
Operators require that guests complete a number of forms before they travel.
Please be aware that the forms should be completed as soon as possible after receiving them and returned to us:
Personal Information Form - one for each person travelling.
Medical Information Form - one for each person travelling.
Cruise Contract - signed.
Flight information form - we need to know when you will be arriving by air and when you will be departing.
Some companies may also ask for:
Parka Form - one for each person travelling.
Visa Express Kit - only required when travelling through Russia.
#16 How long does my passport need to be valid for travel to the Polar Regions?
Passports should have at least six months of validity when travelling to the Polar Regions. Most countries will not permit a traveller to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel. That means if your passport has less than six months remaining until the expiration date, you should renew it right away!
#17 What type of insurance is required for the voyages?
Please have in mind that participation on an expedition cruise is at 100% your own risk.
A proper travel insurance that also includes coverage for (medical) evacuation/repatriation costs by helicopter, plane or ship is obligatory. After the booking process, you will be asked to provide us with details of the acquired insurance policy.
#18 Do I have to make a payment at the time I make a reservation?
To confirm a reservation a payment of a deposit is required. This deposit varies from operator to operator, but as a general rule, 30% of the total price is required to confirm the booking. The rest of the payment has to be done before 120 days prior to departure. If the reservation is done within 120 days prior to departure, the full amount is due at time of booking.
#19 What is the temperature on board the ship?
The temperature on board the ship and in the cabins is pleasant; inside the ship people normally wear t-shirts or a light fleece or jacket. In most ships you can regulate the temperature in the cabin yourself.
#20 What is included in the price? Are there any extra charges?
What is included and what it’s not varies from operator to operator. Please find all inclusions and exclusions on the specific voyage page. This information will also be provided to you in the information forms.
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