At cazenove+loyd we specialise in mind-expanding trips that linger in your mind long after you’ve returned home. Over the past 25 years, we’ve explored the hottest deserts, wildest rainforests and highest peaks in search of finding the best for our clients. Perhaps the most striking landscape of all is the great White Continent of Antarctica.
This is a holiday we can only create for clients with a bit of extra time, but we think it should be because for true adventurers nothing quite compares to Antarctica. It presents the chance to follow in the footsteps of those revered explorers Scott and Shackleton, and exposes travellers to a completely unique way of life, the jaw-dropping scenery creating that heady mix of feeling special for being one of the few there, but also wholly insignificant among the endless icy plains.
A trip to the Antarctic is truly a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list journey, which makes it all the more important that every element of the experience meets expectations and is right for each client. This means choosing the best vessel to travel on, which in our minds has to be the MS Hebridean Sky. Given that it is still a wild and unexplored land, most of the ships that traverse the polar region are practical above anything else, with shared bathrooms, squashed cabins and tiny portholes the norm.
In contrast, The Hebridean Sky is a more luxurious ship, which does not compromise on the adventure element. It is extremely comfortable, but crucially it is also well run, with the best professional guides in the region on board. Having undergone a 10-million-dollar refit in time for the 2017 season, the 112-passenger ship is more impressive than ever, which is why now is the best time to share Antarctica with our clients.
The upgrades have been both technical and aesthetic, for instance, there is now a state of the art stabilisation system and improved satellite navigation, while the spacious suites and indoor areas have been brought up to date with a full stylish refurbishment. Unusually for Antarctic vessels, there are also 18 suites with balconies and sliding-glass doors, allowing our clients to take full advantage of that otherworldly scenery.
While the thoughtful design, rainfall showers and faster Wi-Fi are certainly welcome, in our eyes the most impressive element of the Hebridean Sky is the guiding. All passionate experts in their field, the guides on board have plenty of time to chat informally to those on board and also host more formal lectures to fully reinforce the incredible sights you are seeing.
Each day, there are trips to shore on zodiacs (inflatable, but sturdy motor boats) to trek the peninsula and experience the raw power of nature. There are excursions to penguin colonies and plenty of chances to spot seals, albatrosses and even huge whales.
As of this year, you can now reach the Hebridean Sky via both Argentina and Chile, making the journey much easier. If you are short on time, we recommend a flight from Punta Arenas in Chile straight to King George Island. This option skips the crossing of the Drake passage, which can prove a trying experience for those who are prone to seasickness, although for those with stronger stomachs it can be worth the trip as there bird and whale viewing opportunities on this journey. These fantastic new options mean that there are now more comfortable ways than ever for our clients to experience a continent that is still so little travelled and yet so ready to be explored.
We have a wealth of knowledge that we are just waiting to share and we can’t wait to start planning your trip.