Imagine waking up to a New Year with nothing but expansive icy-white sheets surrounding you. You step into 2020 with the calming winter breeze ringing in your ears, as the waddling penguins cheer you on. With The Q Experiences, you can now make your dreams of this polar voyage come true with an all-inclusive expedition to Antarctica. By Bayar Jain
There’s nothing greater than the joy of opening your eyes to a new adventure every day. With so many stories out there in the world yet to discover, luxury travel organisation The Q Experiences wishes to unravel each twist and turn one story at a time, the greatest of which is their surreal New Year’s expedition to the quietest continent on Earth – Antarctica. “The Q has been the pioneers in luxury travel for long, inspiring passionate globetrotters to encounter exotic cultures and places, beyond their imagination,” says Vasim Shaikh, the founder and CEO of The Q experiences.
Speaking about the expedition, we even got in touch with the experimental Imtiaz Ali himself. He says, “Antarctica is the farthest rock. It is beyond any other places on the surfaces of the Earth. I’m expecting to see things on the Antarctica cruise, which I have not even imagined. I’m expecting to know the world much better having seen its farthest outpost. Very excited about the Antarctica trip.”
Starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this two-week-long expedition of a lifetime begins on December 26, 2019, and extends well into the New Year. From Buenos Aires, guests will first be flown to Ushuaia, which is also known as ‘The Edge of the World’ owing to its geographical position. While here, the team will put together a little holiday to prepare you for the adventures that lay ahead. You can choose to stroll through the Tierra del Fuego National Park, or even sip on the city’s fine Argentine wine and devour meats in one of their artisan steakhouses.
Day two and three is when the actual journey begins. Over the next two days and nights, the Majestic Explorer – the luxury cruise liner journeying you to the White Continent – will voyage through three oceans in a single journey. As you traverse the confluence of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, you can get yourself acquainted with your co-adventurers and the luxury cruise itself.
The Majestic Explorer is designed in a way to provide you with a cosy haven to contrast the chilling wintery breeze of the seas. Warm tones of natural wood, airy greys and whites, and French-inspired décor within the ship give you a sense of comfort, while the presence of only 132 elegant staterooms and suites provides an opportunity for intimacy. Complimenting this homely familiarity of the suites is a specially curated Indian regional dining experience. They will not only be handling your dietary needs but will also be conducting a masterclass for food enthusiasts onboard. Whether a sophisticated gastronomic restaurant on Deck 6 is your choice of dining atmosphere or a more casual poolside restaurant serving themed buffets is your preference, the taste is sure to remain par excellence. Spas, theatres, and live dance and music performances further heighten the grandeur of the explorer.
After having crossed the three mighty oceans, the journey meanders its way to the Neko Bay and Paradise Bay — the entry points of the seventh continent. The eerie silences of the ocean are broken by cries of birds like Cape Petrels and Cormorants dipping into water replete with gulls. If weather permits, the ship will try dropping anchor at three ports of the South Shetland Islands. This tiny ice-covered desolate rock is home to various wildlife species. In fact, Port Lockroy on this island doubles as a research station on Gentoo penguins. The Port’s true treasure, however, is a little store with a tiny post office from where you can send postcards to your loved ones back home. By day seven of the expedition, you would have reached Deception Island, a territory administered by the Antarctic Treaty and completely devoid of human habitation. Seals and whales are your only neighbours here.
This sense of desolation reaches its zenith at the Weddell Sea. Famous for being one of the quietest places on Earth, this icy expanse hides the rare Weddell seal in its deepest crevices. As you sail away back towards the coast of Argentina’s Ushuaia, the occasional call of a wandering albatross and the booms of calving icebergs echo behind. Reaching closer to the coast, you wouldn’t be able to resist looking back and soaking in the mesmerising sea sunset for one last time. The blue tinge of the icy sheets seems to drown as the natural greens of the coast begin to appear. The sight, however, is sure to remain etched in your memories forever.