Silversea introduces direct flights to Antarctica for luxury fly-cruise

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Silversea is introducing a new Antarctica Bridge fly-cruise service, that will offer guests a faster way to reach the continent. Guests on these shorter, nine-night holiday packages will spend the same amount of time discovering the White Continent as those sailing out.

Travellers will fly down to Santiago de Chile then go to Punta Arenas, Chile, with an overnight hotel stay, and on to a business-class flight to King George Island in Antarctica to join their luxury cruise expedition.

The direct flights from Chile’s Punta Arenas to King George Island are 670 nautical miles (1,240 km) and go over the Drake Passage. They are operated on a private aircraft reserved exclusively for Silversea’s guests, which has been specially adapted to land on King George Island. Hosted by Silversea representatives and outfitted in a business-class configuration, the flight will take two hours each way, saving guests four days at sea on the return journey. A bespoke inflight entertainment programme, which will include Zodiac and IAATO briefings, will be tailored to prepare guests for Antarctic expeditions.

Travellers will then spend five full days – the same amount of time as on Silversea’s conventional Antarctica voyages – travelling deep into the destination, accompanied by Silversea’s team of expedition experts.

“This is a defining moment for Silversea’s expedition offering: Antarctica Bridge will revolutionise the way in which our guests discover Antarctica,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s senior vice president of tour operating, expedition and destination management. “The luxury of choice is a key feature of our cruise line’s offering; our new Antarctica Bridge service expands our guests’ choices. Many will still choose to cross the epic Drake Passage, which is an unforgettable experience in itself, but Antarctica Bridge is perfect for time-conscious travellers, as it will immerse guests into the White Continent in a shorter timeframe. This builds on our existing offering, which comprises many 10-day voyages, as well as 18-day expeditions and longer, which are the ultimate in deep exploration. With the launch of Antarctica Bridge, our guests will be able to choose from 59 Antarctica voyages.”

Silver Explorer offer ocean-view suites with the personalised service of a butler; a 24-hour in-suite dining service; a bottle of champagne upon arrival and a drinks bar, stocked with guests’ preferred beverages; fine dining, including complimentary caviar on demand, canapes and a rich offering of seafood and steak; and an array of other inclusive amenities.

The Antarctica Bridge fly-cruise packages will include roundtrip economy-class air travel to Punta Arenas; private flight to and from Antarctica (King George Island); one night pre- and post-cruise hotel stay in Punta Arenas; a welcome reception and bon voyage dinner (in Punta Arenas); pre- and post-cruise meals; transfers between airport and hotel; and luggage handling, when guests take international air through Silversea. They also include expedition gear comprising a parka, waterproof trousers, walking poles (rentals), rubber boots (rentals), expedition backpack and water bottle. Silversea’s standard expedition inclusions are also included – these comprise guided Zodiac tours and shoreside activities, led by the expedition team, as well as enrichment lectures and other amenities.

Enlarged to 14 members for the 2021-2022 season, Silversea’s expedition team will offer lectures, workshops, tours on the ship’s enlarged fleet of 14 Zodiacs, kayak tours and shore experiences.

Sales of the new Antarctica Bridge packages opened on 10 December 2019, with a collection of 12 fly-cruise voyages on Silver Explorer departing from December 2021.

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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