Before you book – Important trip details
Before you book we recommend you read the following important trip details. Make sure you fully understand before contacting us to proceed.
We put safety first and that means weather, ice, wildlife, political or other conditions may require us to modify the itinerary as we go. We consider this half the intrigue of Polar exploring. Every expedition we undertake is a little different. It may mean we have to cancel certain shore excursions including polar camping if conditions are not suitable but we always find other fun things to do. Polar exploring is not predictable which is one of the many reasons we think it is so special.
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned to Ice Tracks Expeditions no later than 90 days prior to departure.
Well before travelling, please ensure you have a current passport with an accurate photo, valid for at least six months after your scheduled return flight home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport. Some countries may require you to have a return air ticket or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket.
It is a good idea to bring along some $US cash. There are some onboard expenses such as those incurred at the bar, in our gift shop, and for satellite communication, as well as several souvenir shopping opportunities throughout the voyage including at some of the research stations in the Antarctic Peninsula. Mail can sometimes be posted from these stations as well.
We do not need to tell you it is cold in Antarctica. So make sure you come prepared with clothes that will adequately protect you from the weather and wet conditions (sea spray is common onboard Zodiacs). Expensive specialty gear is not required, but you should have warm, waterproof clothing available upon your arrival in Ushuaia. Please read the our Pre-departure Information for more details about what to bring in the journey. We also have foul weather gear for rent or purchase on board the ship. You should prearrange the rental of this gear should you require it.
Like the weather, sea conditions can also be unpredictable. Rough waters are not uncommon particularly through the Drake Passage. You will be safe and comfortable aboard with your experienced crew in control of our ship, but you may suffer the effects of motion sickness, unless you have taken precautions. We recommend visiting your doctor prior to departure for medication that can help you avoid this easily treated condition.
We suggest you allow the equivalent of $US10 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise.
If you have some experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. We cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand.
Due to new International Security Regulations, you will not be able to come to the ship on your own. Guests arrive with the rest of the group accompanied by one of our expeditions’ Representative. Full details of embarkation/disembarkation procedures will be supplied with your final documentation. Once onboard, you will be participating in an obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures and Zodiac operations.
On all our expeditions’ voyages, you must have comprehensive travel insurance. Your own domestic government medical insurance and private health care plans will not cover you in most overseas countries. Your travel agent can recommend a policy designed to cover participants on these cruises.
Your policy must provide coverage for your medical costs in case of hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation. We require that you obtain adequate insurance before joining the voyage. Cancellation insurance is also recommended. Please check the terms of your policy carefully, particularly with regard to limits of cover (i.e. replacement of photographic equipment, baggage loss, claims procedure, costs due to airline delays etc). Also ensure you are familiar with the procedure for making claims (for example, most policies stipulate that claims must be made within a certain time after completion of your journey). Once you have paid your deposit or full payment, certain fees will apply if you have to cancel your holiday (see the cancellation provisions in our terms and conditions). For this reason you should take out insurance at the time of paying your deposit, which should then protect you in such a situation.
No visas are required to visit the Antarctic continent or its offshore islands, however, you will need a valid passport with you throughout the journey. For most voyages, our ship departs for the Antarctic continent from the port of Ushuaia, Argentina.
At the time of printing, no visas for Argentina are required for holders of Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian, U.S.A. or European passports. Passengers holding passports issued by other countries should carefully check with their travel agent or Argentinean consular authorities. If your flight to Ushuaia is via Santiago, tourist visas are required for Chile for some nationalities. If you plan any side trips to other countries you will need to investigate visa requirements as it is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip.
Although no visas are required to enter Argentina, Falklands and dependencies or Antarctica, Australian, Canadian and American passport holders, will have to present a reciprocity fee which must be acquired and paid online before departure. For more information follow the link below:
Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing and vary for different nationalities. You should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travelling. The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind and check with us if you want to be sure about anything. The document was correct at time of printing but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you!