Sometimes when you hear about a ship having trouble, it causes concern about whether to visit yourself. The Akademik Shokalskiy was a science vessel that recently was stuck in the ice of Antarctica. Passengers were stranded Christmas Eve, and finally rescued on the third attempt this week. The point of the trip was to recreate the work of Douglas Mawson in celebration of his expedition 100 years ago. Thick ice trapped the Shokalskiy, and prevented two icebreakers from reaching them. The passengers were finally rescued by helicopters.
Should you cruise to Antarctica? The fear of getting stuck in the ice yourself is reasonable considering what’s happened in the last week. But there’s one major difference: the Shokalskiy was on a scientific mission. They had specific ports to be in and specific things to do. A cruise ship captain has the luxury to say, “We’re not going there because of weather or ice concerns. We’ll go to this other area to look at other things.” And most passengers are okay with the captain changing the itinerary, because they also do not want to get stuck in the ice.
If Antarctica is on your bucket list, don’t scratch it off because of this incident. It’s still a fantastic cruise destination, and worthy of your consideration.