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Antarctic Shipping Suspends Antarctic Dream Cruises

by Todd Smith

Antarctic Shipping S.A., owner and operator of the Antarctic Dream, has announced it will suspend cruises to Antarctica. A statement released by the company states “The Antarctic Dream’s operating expenses and limited passenger capacity due to the vessel’s size have made it impractical for us to continue with our tours to the Antarctic regions.”  The statement also advises that  “all monies received shall be refunded immediately.”

Antarctic Shipping S.A. was founded in 2002 through the acquisition of a decommissioned Chilean Navy vessel, the historical “Piloto Pardo.” The ship was completely refurbished as an expedition cruise ship and rechristened the Antarctic Dream.  The Antarctic Dream began operating Antarctica cruises in 2004.  In 2008 the company began operating similar expeditions to the Arctic region. Last year the company began operating “Fly and Sail” expeditions that combined a flight to or from the Antarctic Peninsula with an expedition cruise.

The Antarctic Dream is a Dutch-built, ice-reinforced vessel that was completely remodeled in 2004. The ship accommodates 78 passengers in double occupancy with beautiful outside cabins with private bathrooms and ample storage space. At only 78 guests, the ship attracted travelers seeking an upscale Antarctic expedition aboard a smaller vessel.  It seems this strength was ultimately the company’s greatest weakness.

Antarctic Dream Cruises is the second Antarctic cruise company to go out of business in the past two years.  Last year, after its expedition ship Polar Star ran aground, Polar Star Expeditions closed its doors leaving numerous Antarctica cruise travelers scrambling to rebook their cruise.  These situations highlight the importance of booking your Antarctica cruise with a trusted operator or agency who can help travelers select a reliable Antarctic cruise operator.

Other Antarctica Cruise Options

Travelers seeking to rebook their cancelled Antarctic Dream Cruise have a number of options.  Antarctic cruises to consider as an alternative to the Antarctic Dream include:

Antarctic Explorer Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula in style aboard a selection of premier expedition ships (Sea Spirit, Ocean Diamond, Clipper Adventurer). These vessels offer comfortable accommodations with excellent service. Antarctica cruises combine wildlife viewing, shore landings, visits to scientific bases, breathtaking waterways, glaciers and icebergs. Kayaking, camping, cross country skiing and mountaineering are available aboard select cruises. Overnight in Ushuaia is included.

Introduction to Antarctica This is the perfect trip if you’re looking for an Antarctic experience without the time or costs involved in a longer voyage. You still get it all — from penguin rookeries and glacier hikes to leopard seals and giant icebergs. An Antarctic experience with a lifetime of memories and wildlife encounters packed into 10 short days. Aboard the Sea Spirit or Ocean Diamond.

Antarctic Peninsula aboard Expedition A true adventure to the world’s most remote wilderness! The 11-day Antarctica Classic expedition focuses on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, home to some of the planet’s most impressive wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Aboard the M/S Expedition.

Antarctic Peninsula aboard Plancius This 11-day Antarctic voyage is packed with icebergs, glaciers, high mountains and the abundant yet tame wildlife of the Peninsula. With the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica, this Peninsula cruise is sure to astound! Aboard the M/V Plancius.

Antarctic Peninsula Including South Shetland Islands Cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands aboard a small, intimate research vessel, allowing you to get up close and personal with the land of snow and ice. This Antarctica cruise encompass all the highlights you dream of: penguins, icebergs, seals, seabirds and more! Aboard the M/V Plancius or M/V Ortelius.

National Geographic The White Continent Simply put, the National Geographic Explorer has the finest naturalist program of all Antarctic cruises. The cruise features a fleet of eight Zodiac landing craft, sea kayaks, ROV (remote operated video) and underwater cameras and 10 extremely knowledgeable naturalists and expedition crew. Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula with overnights in Santiago, Chile. Aboard the National Geographic Explorer.

Antarctica Air Cruise Introducing the first Antarctic flight and adventure cruising combination. Experience an antarctic cruise in only seven days without crossing Drakes Passage. In less than 2 hours of flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island, you will be cruising Antarctica, the white continent. Aboard the M/V Ocean Nova.

How To Obtain Your Antarctic Dream Refund

Travelers affected by suspended Antarctic Dream Cruises should contact the company’s  Commercial Department by email (María del Pilar Fernández, mpfernandez@antarcticdream.com) or telephone (56-2-481-6910 and/or mobile 56-9-9888-2954) to secure their refund.  Travelers seeking to rebook their Antarctic cruise can contact AdventureSmith Explorations: telephone 1-800-728-2875 or 1-530-583-1775.  View all AdventureSmith Antarctic Cruises.

Has your Antarctic cruise been cancelled by Antarctic Dream?  How is Antarctic Shipping handling this situation?  Please share your experience with our readers.

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