This cruise was the 13 day cruise tour to the Antarctic Peninsula. We spent the first 2 days in Buenos Aries, then flew on to Ushuaia where we boarded the Marco Polo. This whole cruise was most enjoyable & the scenery was just fantastic. The Marco Polo is rather old, but it has been redone. Our cabin was very roomy and had loads of storage space so we (my daughter & I) could completely un-pack. We had been instructed to bring clothing that could be layered, plus knee high waterproof boots--the sort that farmers would wear. The Marco Polo provided all of us with red parkas which we could keep, if desired.
Our first day at sea we sailed in the Drake Passage and it was windy, but not too bad. We soon began seeing icebergs and the further south we went, the calmer the water got. Everyone was very busy oohing/aahhing and taking pictures of the many icebergs. The ship limited this cruise to about 500 passengers due to the on shore Zodiac excursions . Our first trip out in the Zodiac was like a trial run. Mostly it was to see if everyone could get in and out of the Zodiacs with no problems. There were some very senior citizens--80's or so--but all went well with the help of very patient & understanding crew members of the Marco Polo. The ship had arranged to have lecturers on board for this cruise to help us understand the Antarctica and the the wildlife which most of us had never seen before, except maybe in a zoo. All of the lectures were very worthwhile. In addition, the ship provided us with additional informative handouts each day, along with the normal newsletter. Our second trip out in the Zodiac (and all the other ones) was so much fun. There were orange ropes placed on the ground which formed paths were we were to walk, plus signs that said "Penguins only past this point"--but the penguins could care less...Several times I would turn around & there would be a penguin right behind me. Tooo cute... These were Gentoo penguins & they were a little over knee high. They had their babies with them & we learned that this kind of penguin has 2 babies...Before we got back into our Zodiacs, the Marco Polo crew members had a boot washing station all set up. Those poor guys...I don't know how they were chosen for that job...maybe they drew the short straw?? When we got back to the ship our boots were removed, given a spray of something and put in a plastic bag for us to take back to our cabin, ready for the next trip out. On our last trip out, we say Chin strap penguins, about the same size as the other ones. I was so surprised to see that there were thousands of penguins--I had no idea..We also did some whale looking, but they were few and far between.
All and all this was a fantastic experience....We were very lucky in the weather department..The temperature was in the high 30's and low 40's all the time, with mainly sunny skies. The only thing that I didn't care for was the fact that we had two formal nights. It seemed totally un-necessary for a cruise such as this.....but don't let this stop you from going---it was STILL fun, fun, fun !!