Over the past decade I’ve been able to travel the world using miles and collect passport stamps from 6 continents. But the final frontier remained elusive.
When Moishe Hersko, better known as “Something Fishy” on DDF, approached me about organizing a cruise to Antarctica, I jumped on the opportunity.
Many readers know that in 2016 I bid over a million Starwood points to throw out the first pitch at game 7 of the World Series, but some readers may recall that in 2016 I also bid 770K Starpoints to take a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly I was outbid for that, but perhaps that was for the best. That cruise ship refused to cater kosher food or allow us to bring our own perishable food, so it was far from ideal.
Moishe has run some amazing photo workshops across several continents. I traveled on one of his workshops to breathtaking Arctic Norway and Svalbard in 2016, home to the closest commercial airport to the North Pole. We stayed in Longyearbyen, the northernmost city in the world and went snowmobiling into polar bear country, went dogsledding, and experienced the Northern Lights. Truly an unforgettable experience!
And now we’re going to go as far south as we can get. We will fly as far as commercial airplanes can take us, to Ushuaia, which is the southernmost commercial airport and city in the world.
From there we board our ship to reach Antarctica. It takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage, 5-6 glorious days are spent in Antarctica, and 2 days are spent cruising back.
It’s a land of incredible beauty and wildlife and it’s the last great frontier on our planet. Of course those who have Antarctica on their bucket list already know this and other people will just think it’s crazy to invest so much to reach the farthest corners of our planet. For me though this is something exciting and you don’t get that level of excitement from a trip to Miami.
Our time in Antarctica will be spent walking among thousands of penguins, zodiac cruising between towering icebergs, and watching whales breaching and seals hunting. You can join guided hikes, snowshoe up mountains, and even camp overnight in Antarctica if you like. Or you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning views that few have ever seen.
There are a myriad of halachos (Jewish laws) when it comes to cruises that travel over Shabbos. You are not allowed to charter a boat or go on a boat over Shabbos if the majority of passengers are Jewish, so we would have to tag onto an existing trip. Due to Shabbos, you are only supposed to board a cruise on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, which eliminates many trip options. If you depart on Sunday you would need to spend the previous Shabbos in Ushuaia, so we wanted to avoid that. If you depart on Tuesday then you would be stuck in Ushuaia for the following Shabbos, which we wanted to avoid as well. That meant we had to find a ship departing on a Monday. More crucially, we had to find a ship that was willing to work with us to arrange a kosher group with all of the special logistics that go into travelling as a religious Jew.
After months of research and negotiations, we found one ship operator that was not only willing to tolerate the kosher aspect, but was actually happy and proactive in working with our needs and challenges. Over the next 2 years of their sailings, they have one cruise departing on a Monday. We plan to depart Ushuaia on Monday, December 10, 2018 and return to Ushuaia on Thursday, December 20. That way travelers can be away from home for just one Shabbos.
The luxurious RCGS Resolute will take us to the 7th continent:
Cruises to Antarctica are notoriously expensive and sadly, this will be no exception. But if you do decide to raid your bank account, you will experience the trip of a lifetime.
Have a ton of miles to burn? We can also work out a method to pay for the cruise with them!
All rooms, meals, snacks, drinks, and wine are included in the price of the journey, as are Ushuaia airport transfers, pre-cruise 5-star hotel night, and much more. An expedition gear package will be provided for all passengers, including a windproof and waterproof jacket, boots, backpack, binoculars, trekking poles, and more.
I’ll be giving seminars on credit cards and miles while the boat is in transit from Ushuaia to Antarctica and Moishe will help you capture amazing photographs and perfect them in post-processing as well.
Join us and be one of the only people in history to daven with a minyan on all 7 continents 😀