The last landing site of our Antarctica Cruise – Deception Island/Telefon Bay. Deception Island is one of the volcanic islands; the landscape looked different than the other sites where we had the landings on previous days. The temperature here seemed warm, most of the ice melted so you can see the land instead of being covered with snow.
The red soil looked much like any other volcanic island.
There were a lot of penguins on this side of the bay.
Our boat group was the last for the landing so we had plenty of wait time. We stopped by Restaurant Aune to check out the huge gingerbread house!
For lunch, we went to Restaurant Fredheim to have our blueberry smoothies and I ordered a light lunch – spaghetti in garlic sauce. It was really plain, I hope they can add some meat but the taste was okay.
Finally, our turn for the landing and we saw a sea lion on our zodiac boat to the landing site.
The sea lion woke up and got into the water to swim, look how cute it is!
The landing site was on a beach where they were doing polar plunge!
Towels were provided for those who want to do it……
Lots of dead shrimps on the beach, they were pretty decent in size.
We decided to do a quick hike first and then Jeffrey and them can do the polar plunge afterward (they’ll be warmed up haha). The hike up the first hill was very steep and slippery with loose rocks. Then, it was flat till the 2nd hill up the climax.
The view from the first hill was spectacular; you can see the vibrant green and blue colors of the water!
The second hill in the background, it was a long way to go.
The scenery was well worth the effort.
On our hike up the 2nd hill, I stopped here and there for photos. It got really windy up there!
Half-way there yet?
Another lake that the water was more milky in color.
We made it to the top, phew!!!
Since Jeffrey and they need to get back to do the polar plunge, the crew recommended that we turn back the way we came as the loop-around route would take too much time.
More photos at the top:
The crew helped us to take our group photo, our last day in Antarctica!!!
We were the last group to head down, not many people did the hike to the top.
The way down the first hill was so slippery with the loose rocks yikes! We got down and time for their polar plunge! You can tell by Jeffrey’s facial expression – it was frozenly cold LOL!!!
They did it and each got a certificate 😀 They said the cold was so painful afterward and they ran to the sauna once we got back to the ship hahaha!
I went up to the deck for photos as we sail away and headed back to Ushuaia, goodbye Antarctica!
The dinner was buffet-style at Restaurant Aune, it was better than the set menu, at least we have choices. The roasted beef was okay. They have white rice!!! The pepper beef was salty.
However, the duck breast was surprisingly good; compared to other food at Restaurant Aune.
The next day at sea, the condition was rough but not as bad as the first day going to Antarctica. We walked to the science center and saw the maps of our route so we took photos of them:
We were also scheduled to return our boots which we helped to scrub; much easier than having the crew clean hundreds of boots!
We did our usual lunch at Restaurant Fredheim and then for dinner, we went to Restaurant Aune for their beef wellington. The hot and sour soup wasn’t what I expect it to be sigh…otherwise, would be good for the rough sea.
The beef wellington was a disaster, I never taste beef so bad! The flavor was I don’t even know how to describe it, like a bitter herb that totally ruin the beef! I only took one bite and that was it!!!
The chocolate cake was too sweet too.
So then, we ran to Restaurant Fredheim for our second dinner…
The activities were mostly lectures/presentations of other destinations that Hurtigruten cruises to, their marketing was pretty smart to do that. The only activity we were interested in was the “open bridge” where we got a tour of the bridge. I was expecting a lot of buttons but instead, modern ships are very much computerized!
The big screen of the navigation route:
It looked surprisingly empty!
The traffic of the sea:
This was the corner that looked more like what I have imagined with all those binders.
The 2nd day at sea was what they called “Drake Lake”, it was so calm that the ship was able to pick up speed and we arrived at Ushuaia at night instead of the next morning! I went to the front desk to settle the bill and unlike the cruises I had been on, they did not add those mandatory gratuities and fees which easily add up to give you a sticker shock! Instead, the only extra charges were the €65 COVID antigen test, €25 dinner at Restaurant Lindstrom, €62 snowshoeing, and €124 kayaking per person to a total of €533.40 minus the onboard credits I got €350 and I signed up for the Hurtigruten’s free loyalty membership for 5% off excursions. My total bill was only €183.40!!!
There was a gratuities box next to the front desk and I peeked that people tipped €100 by credit card so I did the same.
The paperwork to dock our ship was taking so much time so by the time we were cleared, it was pretty late at night. The crew made an announcement that we were free to leave the ship if we want to :O I messaged Jeffrey and them to ask if they want to head out to town for a second dinner. This was our chance to try their famous king crabs!
We grabbed our jacket, badge, and wallet and it was a around 10 minute walk to town to the Chinese restaurant where we saw lots of king crabs in their tanks. On our way, we passed by a restaurant where they were grilling lamb the local way!
We got there and the owner speaks Mandarin, we asked if we could just have the king crabs and not the buffet. She was really nice and helped us pick out two medium-sized crabs.
Our steamed king crabs with white rice, yum!
The meat was so sweet, what we called seafood sweet! We all agreed that the flavor and texture of the Argentina king crab are better than its more famous counterpart – the Alaskan king crab. Each crab was like $50 USD so it was so cheap, fresh, and good! 5 of us finished two crabs in no time lol and they wanted more! Jeffrey and Judy ordered 2 more, so crazy, but hey that was our only chance to have Argentina king crab! We almost used up our Argentina pesos and the rest we were able to pay in US dollars.
By the time we finished our dinner and walked back to our ship, it was almost midnight but it was well worth the trip to get out and have good food after a full week of bad food on the ship. I wish they got the paperwork done early so we can have a proper dinner in town!
The next day was disembarkation day, and the whole process was smooth. We got on our assigned bus and headed to town where we have an hour or so to do some shopping.
We got those cute chocolates but they were super sweet 🙁
Our flight back to Buenos Aires was smooth and when we landed, it was so hot!!! It also happened the day that Argentina was playing versus the Netherlands in the quarter-final of the World Cup. The airport was live-streaming the game and everyone, including the airport staff and security was watching! When Argentina won, people were cheering, singing, and hugging. The whole atmosphere was amazing to watch!
There were limited seatings so we decided to head over to McDonald’s. When Peter asked me how many pieces of McNuggets I want, 11 pieces or 22 pieces? I found it odd on those numbers, shouldn’t they be 10 or 20 pieces? Well, when I saw the packaging, I know why!!!! Messi is #11 LOLLLLL
We had a few hours of layover but needed it because the line to check our bags was crazily long. Peter, Judy, and Jeffrey paid to upgrade to premium economy so they had a shorter line to check their bags. We were lucky that we checked in online and when one of the agents came around asked who just need to bag drop and already checked in? I raised my hand and she took us to the shorter line, which saved us at least an hour of wait. Our flights back home were okay, I slept through most of the time, I was that tired haha.
The cruise to Antarctica was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience due to its cost and accessibility. The landscape was totally out of this world and as a photographer and travel addict, I would say it was worth the hassle. Was it worth the price we paid? Well, we got the lowest rate so from that perspective yes. For others who are not well travel like us might not; there are other amazing and picturesque places (in a different way) for a cheaper price tag. Do I recommend Hurtigruten? Depends, if you are seeking a more budget-friendly way to get to Antarctica, yes! But be prepared for their bad food, just don’t expect the quality to be on par with the price you paid. However, their ships are new, the rooms were comfortable, and their activities and excursions were generally good. Will I want to go on another Antarctica cruise? No, not for the price we paid and I don’t expect the price to drop to a level that it’s more affordable and plus the 4 days at sea, I don’t want to go through that again ;D One thing I do recommend is if Antarctica is on your bucket list, do it while you are physically fit! Don’t wait till retirement due to the risk of falling and the remoteness of the location that you won’t be able to get medical attention. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! I can claim that I have visited all 7 continents 😀