What Is in Store for the Upcoming 2020-2021 Season?The Antarctic cruise season typically begins in November and continues until late February or early March, during the Southern Hemisphere's summertime. With the start of the season just one month away, numerous lines have already cancelled or postponed their Antarctica voyages for the coming months.As of this writing, most operators that routinely offer expedition cruises to Antarctica, including Hurtigruten, Quark Expeditions, Seabourn, and Silversea, have all cancelled their 2020-2021 Antarctica sailings. Scenic has removed all Antarctica voyages departing in January, February and March 2021 from its website, though voyages are technically only cancelled through December 31 of this year.
Other operators have only cancelled part of the season. Boutique polar expedition company Oceanwide Expeditions still has a handful of departures in March 2021 to Antarctica available for booking; and Heritage Expeditions wrote in a blog post on October 16 that its nimble Spirit of Enderby was repositioning from Vladivostok, Russia to Lyttleton, New Zealand in preparation for that vessel's season of expeditions to the Ross Sea.For those who hold reservations on Antarctic cruises still scheduled to go ahead in late 2020 or early 2021, it is best to keep in contact with your cruise line and airlines. Air lift, or the lack thereof, continues to be a major issue for cruise operators around the world. And most governments are understandably not thrilled about the idea of charter aircraft carrying leisure travellers through major airports to reach the ships.However, Antarctic tourism brings in a significant amount of income for smaller towns like Ushuaia and airline operators that rely on lucrative charter business transporting passengers down from places like Buenos Aires and Santiago.So while this upcoming season will likely not go ahead for most operators, it is entirely possible that some could still go ahead as planned, with COVID health and safety restrictions in place.