Antarctica enjoys a healthy tourist trade by way of the cruise ship industry. The remote and icy continent boasts abundant fish in its waters and marine animals along its coasts (such as seals and whales), although there are no land mammals residing within the massive land mass.
Those who have not visited the continent then may think of it in terms of a frigid, uninviting environment. However, cruise ships regularly visit the area and most travelers relate, with excitement, their experiences of visiting this last frontier and snow-and-ice-covered wilderness.
Summer Takes Place from October to February
If you visit Antarctica in the warmer months (November to March), you’ll find, to your surprise, that the temperature is agreeable for a cold-weather locale. Usually, during this time of year, the mean temperature is around 40 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. The sun also stays out during most of the day, shining on the snowy landscape for approximately 20 hours.
In Antarctica, the winter season takes place from March through September while summertime starts in October ends in February.
Most of Antarctica’s Residents are Penguins, Seals, Seabirds, and Whales
Tourists to the continent typically visit what is called the Banana Belt, the part of Antarctica that is considered milder than other parts of the land mass.
When you visit Antarctica too, you’ll see plenty in the way of sea birds, whales, seals, and penguins, all which have the blubber and insulation to keep them comfortably warm. The Weddell seal, in particular, is well-equipped to handle the icy conditions with a layer of blubber that measures as much as three to four inches thick.
A Home to Penguins
It’s hard to believe that many years ago Antarctica had a mild, pleasant environment, given its sub-zero conditions today. However, evidence from fossils proves that the continent was once home to forests of evergreens and a diversity of wildlife.
Now, Antarctica is the primary residence for a number of species of penguins, including the Emperor, the Chinstrap, the Rockhopper, the Adelie, and the King. Indeed, the Emperor Penguin lives up to his name as he is the tallest and largest of the penguin species.
Antarctic Cruise Ships
Antarctic cruise ships offer some of the same offerings of ships that visit warmer climates, and feature banquet rooms, bistro bars, and accommodations that can include suites with balconies. Spa amenities are also offered onboard ship that feature saunas, massages, and body treatments.
On some cruises, you can even kayak among the floes and icebergs and obtain some first-hand views of the amazing wildlife off the ship.