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1982   -   Celebrating 36 Years of Superior Service!    -   2018

Air - Cruise

Planning Your Trip
& Contingency Plan

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M.S. Ocean Nova - Antarctica

Planning Your Trip

The Nature of Expedition Travel

Our air-cruise expeditions are suitable for adventurous travelers who enjoy full mobility and reasonably good health.  Expedition travel to Antarctica requires flexibility and adaptation to ever-changing circumstances.  There is no airport or port infrastructure at King George Island, or anywhere in the Antarctic Peninsula.  Travelers reach the ship by Zodiac boat.

Your Travel Companions

Antarctica21 offers its expeditions worldwide. Each year we welcome travelers from over 40 different countries.  They may travel alone, as a family, or as part of a group.  While some of your traveling companions may speak different languages and have different customs, they will share your passion for adventure and interest in the natural world.

About Your Arrival and Departure

Magellan Explorer Inaugural Air-Cruise will start with a 3 PM transfer from the Cabo de Hornos Hotel in Punta Arenas to the ship.

If you are joining any other air-cruise starting in Punta Arenas, you must plan to arrive with a flight that is scheduled to land in Punta Arenas no later than 2 PM on Day 1 of the itinerary.  The same deadline applies to travelers arriving directly at the hotel on Day 1.  That afternoon, all travelers must attend a mandatory safety and Antarctic guidelines briefing, and an information session covering important practical details.  You must also attend a fitting session for your expedition boots. Participation in these activities is essential for the success of the expedition.  Travelers who miss the 2 PM arrival deadline will be considered “no-show”.  They will not be able to participate in the expedition and will receive no refund.  Remember that scheduling tight connections is never wise when traveling to remote places with limited services. Protect your travel investment by building some buffer in your travel plans in case of problems with luggage delivery, flight delays etc. In case your flight into Punta Arenas is delayed for reasons beyond your control, Antarctica21 will do everything possible to accommodate your late arrival. However, Antarctica21 cannot assume any responsibility for any resulting complications, including your inability to join the expedition.  We recommend you purchase a trip cancellation and interruption insurance policy to cover this risk.

For Antarctica Express Air-Cruises: boarding in Ushuaia is between 3 PM and 4 PM. At 4 PM boarding will close.  Antarctica21 strongly suggests that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home in case you need to change your travel arrangement following a delay of the return flight from Antarctica. Please ask your travel consultant for assistance.  See also the sections on possible flight delays and related contingency plans further down.

Participation Form

Participants are required to fill and sign an on-line Participation Form, and to return it to Antarctica21 at least 120 days prior to departure.  Participants 75 years of age and older must submit a medical certificate.

Medical Insurance

Antarctica21 requires participants to be adequately covered by a travel insurance policy that covers aero-medical evacuation from Antarctica as a result of a medical emergency during the trips, including emergencies related to pre-existing health conditions.


Every effort will be made to adhere to the planned program.  However, with this type of adventurous travel to Antarctica, changes to the itinerary may occur due to severe and unpredictable weather.  We need to emphasize the fact that weather conditions are unpredictable and that safety is always the paramount concern on any Antarctic voyage.  For this reason Antarctica21 reserves the right to change the itinerary described due to weather conditions or other factors beyond Antarctica21’s control without consulting the participants.

Cancellation Insurance

Antarctica21 strongly urges participants to be adequately covered by trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Baggage and Baggage Allowance

We recommend that clients avoid expensive designer luggage that is easily damaged.  We also strongly recommend that clients take out a luggage insurance policy that covers the cost of repairs or replacement in case their luggage is damaged.  Due to the nature of the expedition, and as stated in our Terms and Conditions of Sale, we cannot be responsible for any damage to a customer’s luggage.

The maximum weight allowed on the flights to and from Antarctica is 20 kg (44 Lb.) per passenger, including hand luggage.  For Classic Antarctica and Polar Circle Air-Cruises, excess luggage will be kept in custody in Punta Arenas and will be handed over to travelers upon their return from Antarctica.  For Antarctica Express Air-Cruises, excess luggage will be disembarked at Port Williams and will be sent to Punta Arenas by air cargo at the traveler’s expense.  It will be available for pick up in Punta Arenas upon the traveler’s return from Antarctica.  The baggage weight limit is a technical requirement imposed by the flight operation.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to purchase extra allowance.

Note that at certain points during the expedition you will be required to handle your own luggage.

Expedition Language

The official expedition language of our air-cruises is English.  The voyage will take travelers to remote destinations where the interaction with our polar guides is essential.  In the interest of safety and for the enjoyment of the experience we strongly recommend that travelers who do not understand English are accompanied by someone who does, such as a friend, a family member, or a Tour Leader.

Possible Flight Delays and Contingency Plan Flights to and from Antarctica operate based on weather conditions.  While historically only a minority of flights have experienced a delay, you should be prepared for that possibility.

Useful Tips

Suggested Clothing

The average temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula area during the austral summer is about 0°C (32°F), although sometimes it may feel a little lower because of the wind chill factor.  For this reason, it is best to wear several layers of light, warm clothing.  The suggested clothing for Antarctica is very similar to that recommended for skiing: thermal underwear, a couple of warm and wicking mid layers, and windproof and waterproof jacket and pants as the outer layer. You will also need a hat, a scarf, waterproof and insulated gloves, and sunglasses with high UV protection.  The pre-departure material provides further details.

Waterproof Boots

As most landings in Antarctica are “wet landings”, the best footwear is knee-high waterproof boots.  You will not need to carry them with you since Antarctica21 will provide you with a pair of thermal rubber boots before arriving in Antarctica.

Face Protection

Good quality UV filtering sunglasses are essential.  Glacier glasses have leather flaps at the sides to stop the light from passing through.  Due to the high reflectance of UV radiation, you will also need good sun block lotion for your face (protection factor 30 and above) and lip balm.


To see the wildlife you should have a good pair of lightweight binoculars (the suggested magnification is 7x or 8x).  If you are passionate about photography, do not forget a good zoom lens to shoot wildlife while avoiding close approaches.  Also, take with you a good supply of memory cards and spare batteries since cold temperatures can reduce their life span.


Do not forget to take with you:

• Personal medications.
• Backpack to carry your belongings during shore excursions.

Travelers with Gear


Contingency Plan

Antarctica21 has been organizing Antarctic air-cruises since 2003.  Over these years we have gained extensive experience in the delicate coordination of land, air and sea operations in the extreme Antarctic environment.  While historically a majority of flights has operated on the scheduled day, in some instances weather conditions have required that adjustments to the departure time of Antarctic flights be made to avoid protracted delays.  In the unlikely event that the flight to Antarctica cannot take place on the scheduled day due to unfavorable weather conditions, we will apply a Contingency Plan.

The Contingency Plan is included in the cost of your expedition.  The primary goal of the plan is to provide an engaging and comfortable travel experience while we adapt to the weather.  A change in the flight schedule can impact travel to Antarctica or return back to Punta Arenas, and the plan includes a range of activities determined by the circumstances.  Additionally, the Contingency Plan offers you financial protection by providing a refund should weather conditions prevent us from reaching Antarctica.

The Details

In case the outbound flight to Antarctica is moved forward

In some cases it may be necessary to move forward the Antarctic flight to the afternoon or evening of Day 1 of the itinerary.  This will result in early departure from Punta Arenas and early arrival in Antarctica.

In case the outbound flight to Antarctica

is delayed The group will remain in Punta Arenas while waiting for an improvement in the weather and for the opportunity to fly to Antarctica. Included are accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar, meals, and guided excursions to local attractions.  If by 2 PM on Day 4 of the itinerary it is still impossible to reach Antarctica, the trip will be interrupted and the cruise fare will be refunded.

In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is moved forward

In those cases when the forecast suggests the likelihood of unfavorable weather conditions in Antarctica persisting for several days, the flight back to Punta Arenas may be moved forward to the previous evening as a way to avoid a protracted delay in Antarctica.  Accommodation at the Cabo de Hornos Hotel or similar is included upon arrival.  All other inclusions will remain per the original itinerary.

In case the return flight to Punta Arenas is delayed

The group will remain in Antarctica and wait for the opportunity to fly to Punta Arenas.  In the extremely unlikely event that the delay exceeds 2 days and the weather forecast indicates the impossibility to fly over several more days, on OCN10-PC, OCN18-PC, MAG08-CA and HEB05-CA for safety reason the captain of the vessel may decide to sail back to South America. Included are meals and accommodation on the ship, and local excursions.  Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, the trip will end at the airport.  Travelers are responsible for any expenses associated with the rescheduling of their airline tickets or onward travel plans.

Please refer to the Contingency Plan section of our Terms and Conditions for further details.  Terms and Conditions are covered in our PFD pages 33-35.

Tour group an shore with glaciers - Antarctica

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|   Antarctica Air-Cruise Tours   |  Hebridean Sky  |  Ocean Nova  |   Magellan Explorer  |  BAE-146 Aircraft  |   Itineraries   |   Tour Dates   |  Planning Your Trip  |   Download PDF   |

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