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L'Austral Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
107 reviews
8 Awards

Amazing Antarctica in Style

Review for L'Austral to Antarctica
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gottago2mexico
2-5 Cruises

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Sail Date: Jan 2012
Cabin:

We took L'Austral to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands from Ushuaia, Argentina. This is an expedition cruise on a boat with less than 200 passengers, so a different experience from your usual cruise. The boat is armed with a fleet of 8 zodiacs, staffed with several naturalists, all the things you'd get on a more rugged cruise, except you got plush accommodations and good food.

BOOKING - Booking was easy over email, Lisa was very helpful. It was a bit disorganized at the end when we were suddenly asked for all the documentation that we'd already provided, just days before the cruise, and we actually had to write and ask for our boarding passes the day before the cruise because they hadn't been sent. Other than that, all was fine with the booking.

LANGUAGE - The boat is French, and so the main language on board is French, but they always spoke in English too, and worked hard to ensure that English speakers were together on the expeditions, also at meals, so that there wasn't a language problem. There was also one German speaking naturalist for the German contingent, though they weren't as well catered to as the French and English speakers. We didn't find the language to be any problem, it was well dealt with by the ship crew.

Cabin Review

Beautiful, new cabin. Comfortable bed, good size, flat-screen tv. Separate toilet & shower. Balcony with table & chairs. Drafty back door. Go for lower floors if you get seasick easy. Lots of storage space. Nespresso machine.

Port Reviews

Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)

Our Ports of Call were really off the map since this was an expedition cruise.

FALKLAND ISLANDS - We made two ports on West Falkland, rookeries of Rockhopper and Gentoo Penguins and Brown-Black Albatross. Nice scenery for sure, very nice.

SOUTH GEORGIA - Wow. We were here for three days, six stops, all were great. The Shackleton hike wasn't that exciting, but the elephant seals, fur seals, and the massive rookeries of King Penguins were wow. We saw elephant seals mating, King Penguins in all stages of life, an incredible and wild place. A zodiac ride at Cooper's Bay was also very fun, lots of Macaroni Penguins and seals with spectacular mountain scenery on all of the outings.

HEROINE ISLAND - This was the first time they were able to port here, and it was absolutely spectacular. One million Adele penguins, leopard seals, weddell seals, wow. We came back smelling like guano, but everyone was awed.

SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS - These were big rookeries of Chinstrap penguins, but by now we were ready for ice. Could have skipped here, even though it was an amazing place. One beach looked like the French Riviera for Penguins, spectacular. But, should have done ice instead. We sailed inside an extinct volcano, that was really cool.

ANTARCTICA - The bay was spectacular. We saw glaciers falling into the sea, penguins on icebergs, zodiac cruising showed us blue ice up close which was amazing. A big colony of chinstrap penguins with newborn chicks was entertaining as well, but the ice and glaciers were wow. We only did one morning here, which was a disappointment, but wow.

CAPE HORN - We stopped at Cape Horn to have a photo op on the end of the continent, quite nice. Beautiful, wild and windswept.

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