Last year, Hans Lagerweij and wife Isabelle took their young son, Kevin, and daughter, Aimee, on an Antarctic cruise with Quark Expeditions®. A former president of Quark, Hans is now Portfolio Managing Director European And Canadian Expeditions, Travelopia.
In Part 3 of our Traveling with Kids series, Hans answers a few of the more frequently asked questions our Polar Travel Advisers hear from families planning a polar expedition.
Are Antarctic cruises appropriate for kids?
An expedition cruise is a perfect family trip. It gives you a comfortable “home base” (your cabin), so there's no need to pack and unpack. At the same time, it's adventurous and offers a different environment and experience every day.
Can kids get bored on a family cruise?
Don't underestimate how interesting even tiny animals can be! When we went to Costa Rica, our children were very excited to watch leafcutter ants on “ant highways” and looked for (not touched!) small poisonous dart frogs. In Antarctica, there was the thrill of actually holding krill in their hands. The wonder they experienced when they saw things like “black ice,” which is thousands of years old, was just magical. No, they didn't get bored!
What's life like for children on an Antarctic cruise?
The guides and crew love having children on board, and they went out of their way to create fun and interesting activities for them. For example, joining the captain on the bridge, the chef in the restaurant and the lecturer in the library are great experiences for kids.
Which cruise ship is best for families?
It really depends on your family's personal trip goals, the ages of your children, your travel history and more.
Quark's Antarctic fleet is ice strengthened and offers different amenities and features. Sea Adventurer is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, so if you prefer more modern accommodations, you'll want to check it out. Ocean Diamond is a super-yacht and one of the most eco-friendly cruise ships in Antarctica. Ocean Endeavour is the only polar adventure ship in Antarctica focused on health and wellness, and offers a spa, contemporary cuisine and several wellness and fitness features. And Island Sky, the newest ship in the fleet, is the first all-suites, all-inclusive experience in Antactica.
Quark's Polar Travel Advisers are incredibly knowledgeable about the features of each ship; if you tell them what matters to your family, they can recommend the best expedition and ship to suit you.
Are there tips for parents traveling with kids to Antarctica?
We traveled on a fly/cruise program. That meant we flew across the Drake Passage, which can be choppy, to Antarctica. Flying in a small plane and landing on a gravel runway was a great start to our adventure, and it saved us valuable time getting there!
Join the Quark community for more polar travel tips and advice from experienced travelers like Hans and his family.