On Location: Antarctica Cruises Led By World-Renowned Expedition Team

On Location: Antarctica Cruises Led By World-Renowned Expedition Team

For many travelers a cruise to Antarctica is the adventure of a lifetime. The earth’s most remote continent, Antarctica is full of mystery and wonder with much to discover. But what is the climate really like? Are there seasons? What types of wildlife live in Antarctica? All of these questions and more will be answered by a special “Expedition Team” that will be onboard ms Prinsendam and ms Zaandam when the ships head south.

As part of the “On Location” onboard enrichment program, the Expedition Team is composed of one team leader and two team members on each ship. These world-renowned Antarctica experts will mingle with guests and give history, geology and zoology presentations; wildlife observations; scenic cruising commentary; lead marine animal and bird watching encounters; and host question-and-answer sessions.

But the “On Location” experience doesn’t stop there. In addition to the Expedition Team, the cruise director, event manager, show host, techspert, Culinary Arts Center host, location guide and librarian will all support Antarctica activities. Are you looking to send home gorgeous snapshots of glaciers or create a memory book? Be sure to attend a Digital Workshop powered by Windows class. Would you like to read more about Antarctic expeditions? Ask the librarian for recommendations.

Antarctica cruises are filled with spectacular sights like the ones in these photos taken by Prinsendam's Chief Engineer Jaap Wise (top) and guest Sharon Johnson (bottom).

On your cruise you’ll see stunning sights like Prinsendam’s Chief Engineer Jaap Wise (top) and guest Sharon Johnson (bottom) saw on theirs.

With access to the Explorations Team members who know Antarctica intimately, each cruise will be not only stunning to see, but also enriching to experience.


LouLou Sanson – Expedition Team Leader

Lou Sanson was appointed director-general of the New Zealand Department of Conservation in September 2013 after 11 years as chief executive of Antarctica New Zealand where he was responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

While onboard, Lou will lecture on:

  • “Amazing Discoveries in Antarctic Science”
  • “Sub-Antarctic Islands — Wonder Places of The World”
  • “Polar Discovery — 200 Years of Antarctic Exploration”

He has led the development of Antarctica’s largest wind turbine project focused on reducing consumption of fossil fuels at McMurdo Station and Scott Base; carried out a major upgrade of facilities at Scott Base; placed a significant emphasis on outreach of the New Zealand Antarctic Program and led environmental, education and training coordinating groups.

He first worked in the Antarctic on glacial drilling and geohydrology projects for the New Zealand and United States Antarctic research programs in the Dry Valleys in 1982-83. He also has worked as a New Zealand government representative.

Prior to that Sanson was conservator for Southland Conservancy in charge of Fiordland National Park, Stewart Island and the Sub-Antarctic World Heritage Area. He also led the establishment of Rakiura National Park and some of the world’s largest island eradication projects, and he helped establish a network of marine reserves in Fiordland.

PeterDr. Peter Carey – Expedition Team Member

Dr. Peter Carey is a zoologist who has made over 70 trips to Antarctica, including research expeditions as a scientist with the New Zealand Antarctic Program and the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. In the course of conducting research on such varying topics as penguin behavior, fish physiology, seabird ecology and the social behavior of seals, Carey has acquired an extremely broad knowledge of the Far South.

Carey will discuss:

  • “A Beginner’s Guide to Penguin Appreciation”
  • “Furry Slugs: The Seals of Antarctica”
  • “Lifestyles of the Poor and Grimy: How Biologists Live and Work in Antarctica.=”

Carey is co-author of the authoritative “Antarctica Cruising Guide” and continues to visit Antarctica each summer. His current research interest is in the Falkland Islands, where he works to ecologically restore a group of small islands he has purchased there. As director of the Sub-Antarctic Foundation for Ecosystems Research (SAFER), a nonprofit conservation organization, Carey is actively involved in improving the wildlife habitat on these islands.

In recognition of those efforts, Carey was awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Society’s Conservation Award in 2008. He is a contributing lecturer in the Antarctic Studies Department at the University of Canterbury and an affiliate professor with the Geography Program at the University of Alaska.

CraigCraig E. Franklin – Expedition Team Member

Biologist and professor of zoology at the University of Queensland, Australia, Craig Franklin has been studying fish, sharks, frogs and reptiles for more than 25 years. Craig serves as director of research for the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, and is a handling editor for the Journal of Experimental Biology (Cambridge, U.K.).

Franklin will present:

  • “A Cool Web Life: The Antarctica Ecosystem”
  • “World’s Greatest Divers: The Secrets of How whales, Seals & Penguins Dive So Deep”
  • “The Flight of the Albatross.”

Examining how animals respond to environmental change and how they function within their environment has taken Franklin on expeditions from the tropics to the poles. He has published more than 200 scientific articles, including papers in the prestigious journals Science, Nature and Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Franklin is a strong proponent of wildlife conservation and has a number of research projects assessing the impact of environmental change and human disturbance on threatened species. He is interested in highlighting the threats to the conservation of wildlife in Antarctica, which he covers in his book “Antarctica Cruising Guide” co-authored with Peter Carey. He has undertaken 10 research expeditions to Antarctica.

Franklin has received a number of prestigious prizes during his career, including being appointed an Australian Professorial Fellow by the Australian Research Council; receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Göthenborg, Sweden; and receiving the President’s Medal from the Society for Experimental Biology in the U.K. He is also received the University of Queensland Award for Excellence in Teaching and twice was a finalist in the Australian Awards for University Teaching.


DavidDavid Bresnahan – Expedition Team Leader

David Bresnahan retired from the Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, in July 2007 and now has a consulting firm that specializes in operations and logistics for polar and remote locations throughout the world. A Virginia native, he made his first trip to Antarctica in June 1967, working as a research diver during the austral winter at McMurdo Station. After a second trip to McMurdo for the 1968-69 austral summer he completed his undergraduate degree at Old Dominion University and continued his Antarctic career working for the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, as systems manager, operations and logistics.

Bresnahan’s onboard lectures will include:

  • “What’s Changed in My 40 Years of Involvement in Antarctica”
  • “Virtual Tour of Various International Antarctica Stations”
  • “Spend a Day in the Field … Camping in Antarctica”

Bresnahan possesses in-depth knowledge of the unique support requirements of remote polar operations, including land, sea, air, snow and ice transportation, and a strong understanding of changing priorities and the needs of personnel in the field.

During his career he has spent significant time at all of the U.S. stations in Antarctica, serving as the Nation Science Foundation representative, Antarctica. He also played a key role in public outreach activities, including hosting and briefing high level VIPs, tourists, media and other visitors to Antarctica and throughout the world. Bresnahan also twice served as a U.S, Department of State Antarctic treaty inspector, visiting numerous Antarctic stations, and was an official observer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of large-scale Antarctic tourist activity.

He has received numerous awards and recognition during his career, including the Antarctic Service Medal, New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus), Antarctic Geographic feature (Mount Bresnahan) and NSF Special Awards.

ChristopherChristopher J. Wilson – Expedition Team Member

Christopher J. Wilson FZS is the great nephew of Dr. Edward A. Wilson who died with Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his party during their return from the South Pole expedition in 1912. He is widely traveled, having spent time on all the continents of the world, and has completed nine full seasons in Antarctica, having first traveled there in 1999 to participate in an Antarctic circumnavigation.

Wilson will discuss these topics:

  • “Hidden by Feathers — An Ecology of Birds”
  • “Penguin — An introduction to Penguins”
  • “Southern Wings — An Introduction to Antarctic Seabirds”

Wilson completed a field ecology diploma at University College Cork in the mid-1990s. Currently he is self-employed as an environmental consultant based in County Wexford, Ireland, specializing in field-survey work — particularly birds.

A highly respected ornithologist with over 35 years of bird-banding experience in Ireland, the U.K. and Australia, Wilson includes in his scientific accomplishments the organization of staff and volunteers in numerous ornithological surveys of national and international significance.

Before taking early retirement in 2007, Wilson worked for the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service for 16 years, serving as warden of Ireland’s Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. He regularly contributes to a variety of wildlife magazines, makes radio and television programs, and is an accomplished photographer, contributing to numerous wildlife books. His own publications include: “High Skies – Low Lands, An Anthology of The Wexford Slobs and Harbour”; “Wildfile – A Guide to Irish Wildlife”; “Wildlife Quiz and Amazing Facts Book”; “Edward Wilson’s Nature Notebooks”; “The Lepidoptera of County Wexford” and “Edward Wilson’s Antarctic Notebooks.”

Christopher is an adviser and active member of the Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club, which he co-founded in 2004 to help broaden various wildlife interests in his local county. He lectures extensively on birds, butterflies, dragonflies, Antarctica and his great uncle.

GuyGuy Guthridge – Expedition Team Member (onboard Zaandam Dec. 22, 2014, through Jan. 30, 2015)

Guy G. Guthridge began his association with Antarctic research and logistics in 1970 at the age of 29 when he joined the National Science Foundation to edit the Antarctic Journal of the United States, which the foundation published from 1966 to 2005 to report on U.S. and related activities in Antarctica.

Guthridge will present:

  • “Antarctic Science: The Golden Age is Now”
  • “Antarctic Peninsula: The Ice Continent’s Near Side”
  • “Imagining Antarctica”

Guthridge managed the Polar Information Program that served as a clearinghouse and a source of information regarding Antarctica and the U.S. Antarctic Program, and included production or acquisition of antarctic scientific, technical and public publications, translation services and the world’s premier polar bibliographic service.

He managed NSF programs for Antarctic field participation by artists, writers, photographers, youth and educators. Guthridge retired from the foundation in February 2005, returned for a one-year assignment in 2009, and is working on a book with Lynn Teo Simarski about science and society around the Chesapeake Bay.

MichaelMichael Parfit – Expedition Team Member (onboard Zaandam Jan. 30 through Feb. 18, 2015)

Michael Parfit is an award-winning writer and filmmaker based in British Columbia who has often traveled to Antarctica. He has written five books, including a New York Times Notable Book of the Year about Antarctica, titled “South Light.” He also has written numerous magazine articles for National Geographic, Smithsonian and others, including articles about Antarctica’s dry valleys, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the clean-up of the historic East Base on Antarctica’s Stonington Island.

Parfit will discuss:

  • “Writing Antarctica”
  • “The Whale”
  • “Antarctic Ice 101: What it Tells Us; How We Use it”

Parfit co-wrote the script for the IMAX film “Antarctica,” and wrote the script for the award-winning IMAX film “Ocean Oasis.” He also co-directed and wrote the scripts for “Saving Luna” and “The Whale,” feature documentaries released theatrically and broadcast worldwide. “Saving Luna” won 25 awards from around the world and “The Whale” was named critic’s pick by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Parfit won the Panda award at Wildscreen 2008 for best script for “Saving Luna.” He co-directed, filmed and wrote the scripts for more than 20 news-feature stories for the National Geographic Channel on subjects as diverse as puffins, melting ice in Greenland, the Inuit of Nunavut, Newfoundland fisheries, rising sea levels in the Netherlands, ecological hotspots in the South Pacific and minorities in Europe. He also directed and wrote “The Search for the Never Never,” a one-hour documentary about the Australian environment.

Will you be joining ms Prinsendam or ms Zaandam in for an Antarctica adventure? What questions would you ask Expedition Team members?


Join the Discussion


  1. LUIS MARCHESI April 1, 2015 at 10:52 am - Reply

    We are planning to go in the ZAANDAM cruise January 2016.
    Could we see pinguins, wales, sea lions…. close? How far is the coast from the ship? I know that forecast the weather is impossible but how is the weather in January?(Blue sky perhaps?)
    Thank you very much . Kind regards. LUIS

  2. Wally Brown May 13, 2015 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    It is the best time of year to be at the Antarctic Peninsula. Temp in the mid 30’s. Fantastic scenery. I was disappointed with the wildlife viewing.

  3. Sue June 18, 2015 at 1:05 am - Reply

    We did the late Feb 2015 cruise.
    We were very lucky with the weather – except for one day when it snowed and we had white out for a few hours.
    We say millions of Penguins, quite a few whales, including Orcas – we were VERY lucky to witness an Orca Kill (apparently very unusual to see this)
    Seals – on ice bergs – not a lot and not very close.

    We got closer to the coast, especially the glaciers than I ever imagined a big ship could go, sometimes it felt like we were only 50m away.

    The expedition crew, Ice Captain and our Captain were all fantastic and did everything to give us the best viewing of everything, that they could.

    We wanted to see Patagonia as well and we were very satisfied with the itinerary and what we saw of both Antarctica and Patagonia. Fantastic Trip.

    I would recommend the Valparaiso to BA direction if you have a choice so that you see Patagonia before Antarctica – we did this more by luck than good management.

    I would recommend that you do NOT book a Guaranteed cabin – we were sold this by our travel agent – when the so called UPGRADE happened it was to a smaller cabin, in a terrible location with a porthole that was not worth the space (the porthole counted as un upgrade to HAL. Because the ship was 100% full they would not change us back to our original cabin location.

    If you are cruising Valparaiso to BA – they are both worth a good few days – a lot of people did not spend time in Valpo and regretted it – we had 3 days there and really endeared to it.

    hope this helps

  4. […] To read more about Holland America Line’s Expedition Teams click on this previous blog post. […]

Leave A Comment

Related Articles