South America or Antarctica CRUISES

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Look at a map of South America, and its cultural and environmental diversity begins to make sense. This is a continent that stretches from north of the equator to some 800 kilometers (500 miles) shy of Antarctica. Here you’ll find the rain forests of the Amazon, the towering Andes, the Atacama Desert and the glaciers of Patagonia. The cultural highlights are similarly varied and fascinating. It’s home to ancient Inca sites, restored Spanish-colonial towns and cosmopolitan, sophisticated cities with a European flair—Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro. Many cruises to South America also include the world’s last true frontier: the frozen white continent of Antarctica.

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The Antarctic Sound

The Antarctic Sound was first navigated in 1902 by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, and was named after the first vessel to sail successfully through, the Antarctic. The sound, which is about 56 kilometers (35 miles) long and 13 to 22 kilometers (eight to 14 miles) wide, is difficult to navigate because of the prevalence of barrier bergs—chunks of flat-topped pack ice with clifflike sides, most of which have broken off from the Larsen Ice Shelf.

Cruising through the Antarctic Sound affords amazing views of the Joinville Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, hundreds of icebergs and such native animal life as gentoo penguins and Weddell seals.