Antarctica sits in all times zones! The South Shetland Islands are 3 hours behind GMT.
A breathtaking land of shimmering ice
In the first few centuries AD the ancient Greeks believed that there must be a vast landmass in the South to counteract the huge continental masses of the north otherwise the planet would tip up. However this incredible foresight, albeit with poor reasoning, would not be proved correct for many centuries and Terra Australis Incognita (Unknown Southern Land) remained undiscovered.
Top hotels in Antarctica
The first recorded sighting of any Antarctic land was of Livingston Island by English mariner William Smith in 1819 and it would another 80 years before the continent was first inhabited.
In order to make the most out of the experience and enjoy your holiday to the full there are a few considerations to take into account. When taking part in shore excursions throughout the tour you will be transported on small zodiac boats to get to those otherwise inaccessible places. It must be noted that launches and landings can sometimes be a bit tricky, therefore a good level of physical health is needed. You should also be prepared for slightly rough seas as the weather, especially the wind, in Antarctica can be somewhat unpredictable; what can be predicted however is that it will be cold and you should pack accordingly.
One of the major appeals of an Antarctic cruise is the wildlife that you may encounter. Of the 17 varieties of penguin worldwide only 4 like to live and breed in the chilly waters of the Antarctic including Emperor penguins. During the summer large pods of minke and humpback whales feed in the nutrient-rich waters, joining the elephant, fur and leopard seals. The final draw are the huge number of seabirds that fly south during the summer – albatrosses, turns, shags and petrels amongst others.