Health and safety guidelines may have forced us to press pause on immediate travels, but there’s no time like the present to plan farther ahead—especially if your sights are set on venturing to Antarctica in 2021 and beyond in one of the most exclusive and time-efficient ways possible. Because that’s when a new fly-cruise offering from Silversea Cruises will allow passengers from a select number of sailings to skip the dreaded Drake Passage crossing—which can take up to two days each way—and instead land directly on the White Continent quickly and in the utmost comfort.
Beginning with its December 11, 2021, departure, Silversea Cruises’ Antarctica Bridge program–which is now available to book–will allow a limited number of passengers sailing on 12 voyages aboard the Silver Explorer to fly direct from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Antarctica’s King George Island, on a private 90-minute flight operated by DAP Airline. “The fly-cruise option is for the traveler that would like to visit the Antarctic Peninsula but does not want to cross the Drake Passage, or perhaps has limited time (but still) wants the opportunity to experience the magic of this spectacular continent,” says Silversea executive Conrad Combrink, who spearheaded the development of Antarctica Bridge.
Combrink adds that, although the fly-cruise concept isn’t new, “Silversea is the first luxury expedition company to offer the program, with some service delivery enhancements that will set us apart.” Those enhancements include all-business-class seating aboard a pair of BAE 146/200 jets specifically adapted to land at the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva base on King George Island—a site otherwise used only by scientists en route to the island’s research stations. Flights will also feature on-board amenities, such as light bites, Champagne and Chilean wine, and iPads loaded with useful pre-cruise content. In addition to the direct flight, perks for guests who book the Antarctica Bridge offering include pre- and post-cruise hotel nights and meals in Punta Arenas, a welcome reception and bon voyage dinner in Punta Arenas, and expedition gear, as well excursions and everything else included on the sailing. Antarctica Bridge is available on twelve select 2021-2022 itineraries aboard the expedition ship Silversea Explorer; rates start at $15,750 per person.