Good News, Bad News Emails
It is not fun to wake up to an email with the subject line “Good News, Bad News – Patagonia and Antarctica.” Even before this pandemic, that kind of email with suck. However, what I have been through these past 2 years makes it even harder.
In case you missed it, I LOVE TRAVELING!!! My oldest brother, Mike, also loved to travel. Any time I would plan a trip, I knew I could tell him all about it and he would understand my excitement. If he had already been to the location, he would tell me things not to miss. Quite often, he knew someone from these places too. It was a fun passion we shared and could talk about for hours. That all changed 2 years ago when Mike suddenly passed away. My life drastically changed in an instant. I began to spiral into a very deep depression.
In February 2020, Disney announced the opening date for Avengers Campus in Disneyland. That was the first thing I was truly excited about since losing my brother. I was literally bouncing through the office at work like Tigger. Of course, that trip was canceled because of Covid. Then in August of 2020, I had the opportunity to sign up for Antarctica. After an extremely tough 10 months, I had some joy again and a light at the end of my very dark tunnel. Even with all my other trips canceled (5…I had to cancel 5 other vacations), I was holding out hope for this one as it was so far from when this pandemic started.
Like most people, I did not plan for this pandemic to last this stinking loooooooooonnnnnngggggggg!!!!! Here we are, 2 months from when I am supposed to leave, and things have been in limbo. That ended today with that email I woke up to.
Here is the gist of it:
The good news: Argentina announced it will officially open for foreigners on November 1. However, you MUST be vaccinated AND get a negative covid test. Additionally, you must get another one 5 days after arrival.
The bad news: Tour company has decided to cancel/postpone their voyages in December anyway, deciding internally that it may be too risky if the government changes their mind. I think they're also having a hard time getting their expedition team there since most of them are Australian.
The good news: Tour company is of course offering to transfer anyone who wants to be transferred to next year (last week of November) free of charge and honoring your initial pricing (since Antarctica prices are already going way up starting next year), OR you can get a refund.
The GREAT news: The part-owner of the tour company contacted the host and offered spots on a BRAND NEW super epic expedition ship called the Ocean Victory with a Danish company called Albatros, which is still going out in December of this year with the same itinerary as ours!
We were then told to select the option that best fits us:
1. Still go to Antarctica and Patagonia this year but switch ships
2. Postpone Antarctica and Patagonia to 2022 with original tour company
Being that I have been looking forward to this trip since August of 2020, I selected to still go this year on the other ship. My travel for the entire year has been planned around this trip too.
Now, let me introduce you to the Ocean Victory. It is considered one of the most modern small ship vessels on the market. There are 93 staterooms on board that all have ocean views. Additionally, (BRAG ALERT) 90% of the staterooms have their own balcony. Guests can use the several restaurants, wellness area including a gym, Albatros Nordic Bar, open deck dining facility, modern lecture lounge, library, infinity pool, jacuzzis, and other amenities. The Ocean Victory will also be environmentally friendly onboard, with an implementation of the Green Initiative Program, ensuring both absolute comfort and sustainability for our guests.
(I do not own the right to these pictures. They were sent to us from the new tour company).
One amazing added bonus is the hydraulic observation platform. The route to Antarctica goes through the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage is considered one of the most treacherous voyages for ships to make. Currents at its latitude meet no resistance from any landmass, and waves top 40 feet, hence its reputation as "the most powerful convergence of seas". Being that we will be going in summer in the southern hemisphere, the waves can also be calm like a lake. You just don’t know what you are going to get until you are there. The hydraulic observation platform is the best place to go so you won’t feel the waves (aka get seasick).
The itinerary stays the same. We leave a day earlier, which is fine with me as it lessens my stress on getting back to California for Christmas. The boat is different but extremely fancy. I say this is a win!!!
I look forward to sharing my top bucket list adventure with you!! <3
Wander With Mekela