Antarctica!

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Hello, world! Our family is scheduled for the December 20 cruise, and I just noticed that ABD’s health protocol page differs from the email guidance we received last week. In addition to the PCR test required prior to entering Argentina, the site states that a PCR test must be taken within 72 hours of boarding. Also, the Antarctica cruise includes a second antigen test on Day 2.

Do we think this is older guidance that has been superseded by the email?
I'd call ABD to make sure, but my assumption would be that the email is more current than the website.

Sayhello
 

OhhBother

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 20, 2000
More thoughts from someone who’s been there…

The Drake Passage
On the way to Antarctica, we got the full effects of the Drake Shake. I’m not normally prone to sea sickness, but I didn’t get out of bed for a day and a half. As long as I laid still, I was generally OK. But with 30-foot seas and howling wind, it was just too hard for me to be up and about. I skipped meals and everything - my husband (who handled it somewhat better than I did) brought me crackers to the room. That’s all the food I wanted. I found the thing that best kept motion sickness at bay was a Reliefband, which uses electrical impulses on your wrist to prevent nausea. It was a little expensive but worth it. On the return trip, we had a much calmer crossing - not quite the Drake Lake but tolerable.

The penguin smell
We went end of season (late February), so your experience may be different than ours. Those penguins are a stinky bunch! We soon learned a dab of Vicks under the nose helped a lot. And once you are out among the penguins for a few minutes, your nose adjusts. Plus, you just stop caring because you’re surrounded by penguins all around. They literally come right up to you. They’re so curious and unafraid. I had more than one peck my leg and my boot. :-) We saw adele, chinstrap and gentoo. The chinstraps were my favorite - so adorable!

Wildlife
No matter how much you look at photos, nothing can prepare you for being there. The animals are just so close. A couple of my favorite memories…
- The ship was stopped for the day. We were back on deck after completing our two outings (land and zodiac). As my husband and I stood on the back of the ship and looked out over an endless parade of icebergs, we were suddenly surrounded by more than 20 humpback whales. There were maybe 10 people out on deck total, and we all just stood silently. All you could hear was ice cracking and the sound of whales breathing. I hope I never forget that sound - it was otherworldly.
- On a snowy afternoon, we were ashore for a hiking excursion. Snow was pouring down, and I’m not the steadiest person on my feet. So I stayed on flat land while my husband and others hiked to the top of a hill. There were three other people who stayed at the bottom with me. As we stood there right at the edge of a cove filled with icebergs, suddenly an orca surfaced in shallow water no more than 10 feet from us. The water was so shallow the whale was on its side - almost surfing through the water clearly in search of a meal. I’ve never been so close to such a powerful animal in the wild. It left us all speechless. It was a perfect example of how Antarctica surprises you - those of us who didn’t make the long climb were rewarded with the most spectacular experience of the day.

The brutality of nature is on full display in Antarctica. We had an up-close view of a leopard seal devouring a gentoo, and you quickly get used to finding penguin skeletons on the ground as you hike. But we also got to see the sweetest part of nature - adult penguins feeding their chicks. I loved watching those fuzzy chicks endlessly chasing their parents around begging for a regurgitated meal. :-)

Everything about Antarctica is just so wild, so undisturbed. I found it incredibly humbling to realize how small we are in this vast world. We’ve traveled extensively, and Antarctica is, without question, the best trip we’ve ever taken. It changes you, and it’s absolutely addictive. We’re already planning a return trip.

Just let me know any questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer.
 

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Mathmagicland

Disneyland - the original since 1955
Joined
Jul 26, 2014
Hello, world! Our family is scheduled for the December 20 cruise, and I just noticed that ABD’s health protocol page differs from the email guidance we received last week. In addition to the PCR test required prior to entering Argentina, the site states that a PCR test must be taken within 72 hours of boarding. Also, the Antarctica cruise includes a second antigen test on Day 2.

Do we think this is older guidance that has been superseded by the email?
For our Alaska AbD in June, I found the Disney health protocols were changing every 4-5 weeks. So things could change again between now and your departure date. Disney would update the website and not send additional emails, so I was checking the website weekly.
 

Mathmagicland

Disneyland - the original since 1955
Joined
Jul 26, 2014
More thoughts from someone who’s been there…

The Drake Passage
On the way to Antarctica, we got the full effects of the Drake Shake. I’m not normally prone to sea sickness, but I didn’t get out of bed for a day and a half. As long as I laid still, I was generally OK. But with 30-foot seas and howling wind, it was just too hard for me to be up and about. I skipped meals and everything - my husband (who handled it somewhat better than I did) brought me crackers to the room. That’s all the food I wanted. I found the thing that best kept motion sickness at bay was a Reliefband, which uses electrical impulses on your wrist to prevent nausea. It was a little expensive but worth it. On the return trip, we had a much calmer crossing - not quite the Drake Lake but tolerable.

The penguin smell
We went end of season (late February), so your experience may be different than ours. Those penguins are a stinky bunch! We soon learned a dab of Vicks under the nose helped a lot. And once you are out among the penguins for a few minutes, your nose adjusts. Plus, you just stop caring because you’re surrounded by penguins all around. They literally come right up to you. They’re so curious and unafraid. I had more than one peck my leg and my boot. :-) We saw adele, chinstrap and gentoo. The chinstraps were my favorite - so adorable!

Wildlife
No matter how much you look at photos, nothing can prepare you for being there. The animals are just so close. A couple of my favorite memories…
- The ship was stopped for the day. We were back on deck after completing our two outings (land and zodiac). As my husband and I stood on the back of the ship and looked out over an endless parade of icebergs, we were suddenly surrounded by more than 20 humpback whales. There were maybe 10 people out on deck total, and we all just stood silently. All you could hear was ice cracking and the sound of whales breathing. I hope I never forget that sound - it was otherworldly.
- On a snowy afternoon, we were ashore for a hiking excursion. Snow was pouring down, and I’m not the steadiest person on my feet. So I stayed on flat land while my husband and others hiked to the top of a hill. There were three other people who stayed at the bottom with me. As we stood there right at the edge of a cove filled with icebergs, suddenly an orca surfaced in shallow water no more than 10 feet from us. The water was so shallow the whale was on its side - almost surfing through the water clearly in search of a meal. I’ve never been so close to such a powerful animal in the wild. It left us all speechless. It was a perfect example of how Antarctica surprises you - those of us who didn’t make the long climb were rewarded with the most spectacular experience of the day.

The brutality of nature is on full display in Antarctica. We had an up-close view of a leopard seal devouring a gentoo, and you quickly get used to finding penguin skeletons on the ground as you hike. But we also got to see the sweetest part of nature - adult penguins feeding their chicks. I loved watching those fuzzy chicks endlessly chasing their parents around begging for a regurgitated meal. :-)

Everything about Antarctica is just so wild, so undisturbed. I found it incredibly humbling to realize how small we are in this vast world. We’ve traveled extensively, and Antarctica is, without question, the best trip we’ve ever taken. It changes you, and it’s absolutely addictive. We’re already planning a return trip.

Just let me know any questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer.
Thank you for this and your other post - so much valuable info here!!
 

2PrincesseInTow

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
MEDICAL FORMS $&@!

This form is not a basic form, I encourage those on the January expedition make an appointment with your PCP. We thought we could do CVS Minute Clinic but they refused saying it’s not in their scope. We don’t have a PCP and are spending $2,000 for the four of us at a travel medical clinic. Blood work, ekg (even though no water sports). They won’t take my DD’s blood work done 2 weeks ago… beyond annoyed that they just gave us the form and it’s due immediately and trying to coordinate a DD at college. 🤯😩
 

Vetinari

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
MEDICAL FORMS $&@!

This form is not a basic form, I encourage those on the January expedition make an appointment with your PCP. We thought we could do CVS Minute Clinic but they refused saying it’s not in their scope. We don’t have a PCP and are spending $2,000 for the four of us at a travel medical clinic. Blood work, ekg (even though no water sports). They won’t take my DD’s blood work done 2 weeks ago… beyond annoyed that they just gave us the form and it’s due immediately and trying to coordinate a DD at college. 🤯😩
We are on the December cruise, and this is the first I've heard about the forms. How did they arrive from ABD?
 
  • 2PrincesseInTow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2010
    Holy cow, what exactly are they wanting?
    I've attached a set below. I think if we had a PCP this wouldn't be so bad except for trying to get a quick appointment. We've been talking about finding a new PCP for a while and now DH is on a mission.... We know that the Travel Medical Clinic is expensive but with our circumstances and timeframe it's the only option we were able to make work.

    It's just frustrating because we've been asking for the forms and if we would have received them even in October we probably could have found a less costly solution. Hopefully this will help those on the next trip.
     

    Attachments

    Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    I've attached a set below. I think if we had a PCP this wouldn't be so bad except for trying to get a quick appointment. We've been talking about finding a new PCP for a while and now DH is on a mission.... We know that the Travel Medical Clinic is expensive but with our circumstances and timeframe it's the only option we were able to make work.

    It's just frustrating because we've been asking for the forms and if we would have received them even in October we probably could have found a less costly solution. Hopefully this will help those on the next trip.
    Thank you so much for sharing this info and posting them!
     
  • aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    Wow, that's a lot for a trip, but I can see how they would want to be prepared, given how isolated you'll be. I wonder if they ever disqualify someone after they've signed up.

    So, at a bare minimum you need an EKG if you want to get in the water somehow. I don't see any bloodwork required except Cr for those with kidney disease, and maybe to be fully answer "any liver disease?" Interesting they want to know LVEF. That's very specific.
     

    2PrincesseInTow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2010
    Wow, that's a lot for a trip, but I can see how they would want to be prepared, given how isolated you'll be. I wonder if they ever disqualify someone after they've signed up.

    So, at a bare minimum you need an EKG if you want to get in the water somehow. I don't see any bloodwork required except Cr for those with kidney disease, and maybe to be fully answer "any liver disease?" Interesting they want to know LVEF. That's very specific.
    The blood work is because we are dealing with a travel medical group and not a PCP that has history with us. The health care provider is attesting to a lot when they sign the form so they need to be sure we are healthy. It’s the travel med group that won’t take the 2 week old blood work… thinking that may be a profit strategy on their part and we are backed in a corner and have no choice. 😝
     

    *WDW*Groupie*

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2006
    I've attached a set below. I think if we had a PCP this wouldn't be so bad except for trying to get a quick appointment. We've been talking about finding a new PCP for a while and now DH is on a mission.... We know that the Travel Medical Clinic is expensive but with our circumstances and timeframe it's the only option we were able to make work.

    It's just frustrating because we've been asking for the forms and if we would have received them even in October we probably could have found a less costly solution. Hopefully this will help those on the next trip.
    Wow. That is a lot of medical information they are asking for.

    What would happen if Le Ponant deems you not fit to travel? Would ABD fully refund your money? Dd has chronic asthma (managed) -- would she be barred by Le Ponant from boarding the cruise?
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    The blood work is because we are dealing with a travel medical group and not a PCP that has history with us. The health care provider is attesting to a lot when they sign the form so they need to be sure we are healthy. It’s the travel med group that won’t take the 2 week old blood work… thinking that may be a profit strategy on their part and we are backed in a corner and have no choice. 😝
    Ah, yup, that would do it. Bummer. I hope it all works out. That's certainly an added expense and time I wouldn't have anticipated.

    What would happen if Le Ponant deems you not fit to travel? Would ABD fully refund your money? Dd has chronic asthma (managed) -- would she be barred by Le Ponant from boarding the cruise?
    If they're asking for ejection fraction of congestive heart failure patients, I'm thinking controlled asthma would be fine. If they ruled out everyone with any medical conditions, they'd never get any passengers. As a 53yo, who's body is determined to NOT age gracefully, I think the Venn diagram of people with enough money to travel to Antarctica and those with no health issues at all is very small!
     

    Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    ust let me know any questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer.
    Another question for you - how did you find temperatures on board the ship in the indoor public areas? Was it cooler than expected or more like typical indoor cruise ship temps? Not sure how much the outside temps might impact it. Thanks!
     

    Vetinari

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2021
    OK, medical forms are in. Now I just need to work out the timeline for (1) the PCR test for entry into Argentina, (2) registering for travel to Argentina (which requires upload of the PCR test) and receiving the travel certificate, and (3) getting the family set up in VeriFly for the return trip to the US.

    Since we arrive before the official “ABD Arrival Day””, we will need to work out the ABD health assessment and vaccination card uploads in Buenos Aires.

    BTW, I spoke with ABD last week regarding the testing for the cruise. At that time, they said 4 tests total (all administered by ABD)—one at the hotel on arrival day, one at the port prior to embarkation, one on Day 2 of the cruise, and one at the end of the trip before flying home.
     

    OhhBother

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 20, 2000
    Another question for you - how did you find temperatures on board the ship in the indoor public areas? Was it cooler than expected or more like typical indoor cruise ship temps? Not sure how much the outside temps might impact it. Thanks!
    On our Hurtigruten ship, it was always HOT indoors. It’s a common complaint for many of the expedition ships - I saw it frequently when I was planning our trip. Another reason why layering is important. Onboard, I often wore a t-shirt and jeans and carried a coat with me in case we needed to run out on deck.

    Speaking of being on deck, the temperature on deck could range from very comfortable with no coat needed (when sunny and stationary) to absolutely frigid (when overcast and the ship was moving). The only time I was super cold throughout the trip was when outdoors on a moving vessel - either on deck or on a zodiac. And it wasn’t always cold - even on the zodiacs. But when it was cold, it was bone chilling.
     

    Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    Since we arrive before the official “ABD Arrival Day””, we will need to work out the ABD health assessment and vaccination card uploads in Buenos Aires.
    On the Alaska AbD, the vac card upload email came from Anvil five days before AbD start date, so you should be able to get that part done before you leave.

    The health assessment questionnaire email came day before AbD start date, approx 6am ET if I remember correctly.
     

    Mathmagicland

    Disneyland - the original since 1955
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2014
    BTW, I spoke with ABD last week regarding the testing for the cruise. At that time, they said 4 tests total (all administered by ABD)—one at the hotel on arrival day, one at the port prior to embarkation, one on Day 2 of the cruise, and one at the end of the trip before flying home.
    This differs from their Health & Safety Protocols on the AbD website, last update 17 November, which Ponant will also do weekly testing. See below, BOLD added by me -


    Duration of Trip: Guests will be required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms daily. Should a Guest display COVID-19 symptoms, a telehealth medical consultation will be conducted to determine whether they can continue on the trip. Adventure Guides will include health and safety reminders specific to each day’s itinerary in daily briefings. For PONANT expedition cruises, all Guests, Adventure Guides and crew will undergo weekly antigen testing administered by PONANT medical staff.
     

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