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On board the

Greg Mortimer

in Antarctica


What to expect on a polar expedition cruise

A typical expedition day in Antarctica on the Greg Mortimer includes a zodiac cruise and a landing, where conditions allow. A zodiac is a small motorised boat that carries up to 15 people, which will be driven by one of the expedition crew. In what order you do the cruises and landings will depend on the weather and your group number - you may do a zodiac cruise in the morning and a landing in the afternoon; sometimes it will be the other way around. You may choose to kayak or snorkel (at additional cost) instead of doing the zodiac cruises - you'll have your own dedicated guide to brief you on the activities and let you know where and when you're going.

You'll get regular briefings in the ship lecture theatre to talk you through the plans for the expedition, but be aware that things can change at last minute depending on the weather - but you can be sure your expedition crew will always have a plan B (or C if needed!). On board you'll find the daily plan on your cabin TV, your phone or at reception so you'll be able to keep an eye out for any changes.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast

Start your day with a cheery wake-up call from a member of your expedition crew half an hour before breakfast - these take all forms, from poems to songs!

Enjoy a delicious breakfast served by your friendly on-board crew. Breakfast comes buffet-style with a huge variety on offer. Whether you fancy a cooked breakfast, pancakes, pastries, fruit or yoghurt... you won't be disappointed! Fill up and prepare yourself for the busy day ahead. If you're heading off the ship this morning for a zodiac cruise or landing, now's the time to put on your thermal and mid layers of clothing and pack your day bag with anything you may need, like camera equipment, spare batteries, gloves and sunglasses.

Take to the water on a zodiac cruise

You'll be called down to the mudroom, a clean and tidy area where you'll store your mud boots, lifejacket and coat, plus anything else you want to keep down there like waterproof overtrousers, hats and gloves. This keeps the kit out of your cabins - helpful when things get a bit smelly after you've visited the penguins!

Put on your waterproof overtrousers and change your shoes for the supplied mud boots. Add your outer 2-in-1 coat (an insulated inner and waterproof outer coat which you'll be supplied with when you first board), your hat and your lifejacket and head to the doors to get your ID card scanned as you leave the ship.

The Greg Mortimer has four loading platforms, doors at the side of the ship, where you can quickly and easily step out on to the zodiac. A member of the expedition crew will take you out on the waves to explore the area, rewarding you with close-up views of the icebergs and hopefully plenty of wildlife too. Keep an eye on the waters surface for whales, seals or penguins popping up! You may also get the chance to help your expert crew with some citizen science projects, like testing the water clarity or testing for micro plastics.

Take a break for lunch

Once you get back onto the ship and have taken off your extra layers, there's time to sort your kit out for the afternoon. If your gloves or hat got wet in the morning, you can lay them on the heated floor in your cabin bathroom to dry them off.

Then it's time to warm up and fill up with some lunch. This is an a la carte meal so you can choose from a number of options. With a salad bar, hot meat and vegetarian dishes, soup, bread and more on offer, you won't go hungry. And don't forget to finish with your choices from the tasty dessert section.

Depending on the time of the afternoon zodiac cruise or landing, there may be some extra time between for recaps or briefings in the lecture theatre or a lecture by one of the expedition crew. There may also be periods where you're cruising through a scenic channel, so the crew will let you know when to head to the observation deck for the best views.

Step on to Antarctic mainland

There's a real thrill to stepping on to Antarctic mainland and feeling the anticipation of what you're about to see in this unique landscape. As before, you'll load into the zodiacs, but this time the crew will head to the beach for a landing. Your expert expedition crew will have found a suitable visitor landing site that has been approved by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), and you will be following the IAATO guidelines on land. Once you get to the beach one of your expedition crew will brief you on the site, where you can go and where you can't, what there is to see, where to finish and what time the last zodiac will be.

Then it's time to get exploring! The landing sites all have so many highlights to see. Sometimes it may be a walk up to a stunning viewpoint, or it may be a historic hut to discover. Often, you'll get to walk right up to explore a penguin colony, one of the most exciting thrills to be experienced on land. Keeping within respectful distances and following the guidelines, you'll get to witness these beautiful creatures up close, hear their noisy squawks and learn their personalities. Depending on the time of year, keep an eye out for eggs, chicks or molting penguins. Position yourself alongside the penguin 'highways', the most well-used paths created by the penguins, to see them running up and down, and sometimes sliding down on their bellies. And keep an eye out for other wildlife like skua and terns flying around, and fur seals lazing around.

Dine and unwind in style

Back on board and freshened up, you'll probably have worked up quite the appetite during your day. Take your time to unwind or head to the Elephant Island Bar to try some canapes and the cocktail of the day before dinner, while you enjoy recapping on the day with your fellow passengers.

On the Greg Mortimer you'll enjoy delicious and sophisticated food for dinner, served at your table by the fantastic waiting staff in the dining room, or out on deck on barbecue night if the weather suits. Choose from the selection of starters, main and dessert on the menu, and sample the wine of the day. The dishes are refined and flavourful, and there are plenty of side dishes also available like truffle fries or grilled vegetables, so you will finish satisfied and content. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included with your dinner so it's a perfect opportunity to toast an enthralling day.

Once you're fed, head to one of the bars to socialise, to the library to read or sort your many photos or perhaps relax in your cabin with a movie. Then sink into your comfortable bed for the night and re-energise for another exciting day on board.


Explore the polar regions on the Greg Mortimer

The M/V Greg Mortimer visits Antarctica as well as other polar regions including the Arctic, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, Greenland and Iceland. We also offer tours to polar regions on the her sister ship, the M/V Sylvia Earle
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