Antarctica Continues To Heat Up, As A Cruise Destination

Crystal Cruises

Antarctica is the southern most continent on Earth and can reach temperatures as low as −129°F (−89°C). But to cruise travelers, the home of the South Pole is one of the hottest new destinations around and cruise lines are sending them there in ever-increasing numbers. Once seen as a place of treks for hearty explorers, burly men of substance and adventure travelers, luxury cruise lines are finding Antarctica a popular choice, offering a variety of itineraries.

In ‘Antarctica For Sissies? Hardly, As Luxury Cruise Line Turns New Page‘ Gadling reported luxury line Seabourn refitting Seabourn Quest to make 21- to 24-night expedition sailings later this year. The 450-passenger ship will sail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, stopping by Montevideo, Uruguay, then the Falkland Islands before spending five days in Antarctica, running Zodiac landings to a variety of ridiculously amazing places.

Now, Crystal Cruises is sailing to Antarctica for a Christmas/New Year’s cruise beginning December 21, 2013. The Buenos Aires-Valparaíso voyage aboard 922-passenger Crystal Symphony sails through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Falkland Islands, Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and the Chilean Fjords, going ashore on the Antarctic continent multiple times.Unique to the Crystal version of Antarctica, passengers can fly, hike, and zodiac over and on the icy continent and overnight at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base (INACH). Neither are cheap rides though, prices start at $7,450 per person.

Ice Melting in Antarctica From Underneath

Traveler Visits Every Country In The World Without Boarding A Plane

Graham Hughes managed to visit every country in the worldA British man has accomplished what many world travelers have only dreamed of. Over the course of the past four years, he has managed to visit every country on the planet, which is a very impressive feat considering some of the places he had to go to in order to earn this unique distinction. But perhaps most impressive of all is that he traveled to all of those places without ever stepping foot on a plane, something that is increasingly difficult in this day and age.

Graham Hughes (33) set out on his journey on January 1, 2009. He began his travels in Uruguay and continued on for 203 weeks before finally reaching his 201st, and final, country earlier this week. His last stop was South Sudan, the Earth’s newest nation and one that didn’t even exist when he started his wanderings.

Hughes tells Australian newspaper The Age that he traveled with four rules as his guiding principles. First and foremost, he barred himself from ever flying. He also vowed to not drive himself anywhere either, which meant that in order to get around he had to take scheduled ground transportation. Finally, in order to say that he officially visited a country he had to step foot on dry land.In order to visit every country on Earth he of course had to find ways to get into places like Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. You would think that those places would be extremely challenging to enter, but Graham says that many of them lack the infrastructure necessary to properly patrol their borders, making it relatively easy to slip in or out. Other countries weren’t quite so easy, however, as he was arrested while trying to sneak into Russia and was detained for a week in the Congo as well.

The most difficult countries to reach, at least in terms of logistics, were island nations like those found in the South Pacific. Hughes says that supply ships visit them infrequently and he often had to time his travel just right or risk missing a ship and end up waiting for weeks for the next one to embark. Most of us would obviously just hop a flight, but when you ban yourself from using that form of travel, it can really limit your mobility.

In 2009, Graham set a world record for visiting the most countries in a single year at 133. After that, he spent the ensuing months knocking off the remaining 68 countries while also raising funds for WaterAid, an organization dedicated to promoting clean drinking water around the globe.

So, what do you think of Graham’s efforts? Is he the ultimate world traveler or the ultimate guy with a checklist? While I admire his ability to travel to so many places, particularly without flying, I can’t help but think that many of those destinations were just a blur for him. I think I’d like to replicate the same journey, but do so at a much slower pace. How about you?

[Photo Credit: AFP]

Cyber Monday 2012: Our Favorite Airfare And Entertainment Deals

Cyber Monday is the newfangled cousin of Black Friday, when the Internet bursts with the money-saving deals that Black Friday offers in stores the Friday before.

Cyber Monday is probably best known for deals on tech and electronics, but the online shopping extends to airfare and other travel deals, as well. In fact, Gadling has already covered the best hotel deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s a sampling of the best airfare and entertainment deals we’ve found to celebrate Cyber Monday. Find any awesome travel deals, yourself? Let us know in the comments.
Air Deals
LAN and TAM: Up to 40% off flights to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Cathay Pacific: Up to 15% off flights, plus a prize drawing in which 30 passengers are selected to win 10,000 Asia Miles.
Vayama: Special Cyber Monday rates on international airlines such as China Airlines, Emirates, El Al, Korean Air, TACA, AirEuropa and more.
PayPal airfare matching: From now until December 31, PayPal will match prices for airfare you purchase, if you find that the tickets are advertised for a lower price at any merchant within 30 days of purchase. If, say, you buy tickets for $200 and the price goes down to $150, PayPal will simply pay you the difference, with a maximum $1,000 total and $250 payout per item.
StudentUniverse: Planning to offer up to $65 off certain flights to locations like Latin America, South Pacific, within the U.S. and more.
Other Travel Deals
MSC Cruises: Offering special “Cyber Monday Sale” rates on select 7-night, round-trip Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, beginning at $399.
Mauiva AirCruise: If you want something rather untraditional, you can try a sky version of a cruise with Mauiva. They’re offering 20% off select departures as part of a Cyber Monday sale.
Crested Butte ski package: Airfare to Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado and 41% off the regular season rate, starting at $649 for four nights of lodging and three days of lift tickets (plus taxes and resort fees).
Goldstar deals on entertainment: Cyber Monday offers include 20% off all Goldstar gift certificates, 40% off Cirque du Soleil’s “IRIS” in L.A., 38% off the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” 60% off the Snowbomb Tahoe Platinum Card – which grants four lift tickets, ski rentals and two free nights at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno – and more.
Extra Tips
Check out airlines that have had Cyber Monday deals in past years: Many Cyber Monday deals aren’t announced until the day-of, so start by checking out airlines that have worked in the past. These include American Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier, Southwest and AirTran.

Follow them on Twitter: Often, airlines update Twitter with their most by-the-minute deals. Try following @Delta, @AmericanAir, @VirginAmerica, @SouthwestAir and @JetBlueCheeps.


[Image credit: Flickr user Mike Miley]

South America Captured Beautifully In Video

Watching this journey through South America will fill you with wanderlust unparalleled. The composition of this video is amazing. It captures the beauty of the region, from the people to the cities to the landscapes, and the score is subtle and moving. Cheers to Vimeo user Vincent Urban for a job well done. We’re amazingly jealous.

Gallery: A guide to South American cocktails

Margaritas, Cuba libres, piña coladas and mojitos are drinks with Latin American origins that have become staples at bars across America. But what about the drinks being mixed up further south? Whether you want to know what to order up at the bar during your next trip to South America or you are looking for a way to raise the bar at home, these mixed drinks will leave you thirsty for more.

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