Polar FAQs

Antarctica FAQs


Do I need a visa to travel to Antarctica 
No specific visa is required to visit Antarctica beyond the requirements of the country your trip departs from (our trips depart from Argentina).

Are there any age limitations?
There is no maximum age on our Antarctica trips. The minimum age is 12, and children will be required to supply their own life jacket and rubber boots.

What will we eat onboard?
The menu changes every day. Breakfast is buffet style. Lunch often features a buffet. Dinner is plated service, with a choice of four main dishes, as well as a fifth healthy option. A vegetarian choice is always offered. Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is provided every day. Free tea, coffee and water are available 24/7, but you will need to purchase or BYO any other beverages. Please let us know of any specific dietary requirements at the time of booking.

How often can I go ashore?
With luck you'll go ashore most days once we reach the Antarctic. You’ll have the opportunity to go on zodiac excursions to research stations, penguin colonies, pebble beaches and around icebergs. However, we operate under IAATO guidelines that limit the number of travellers and expedition staff allowed ashore during each landing. No more than 100 people can be ashore at any one time, and in some locations that number is 50. None of our Antarctic vessels carry more than 128 travellers.

What other activities are available? 
Daily briefings, lectures and information sessions from the ship's expedition crews are a great way to learn more about Antarctica. Depending on the ship, there are also massage and wellness programs, photography lessons and onboard libraries. TVs and DVD players are found in most rooms. For a full list of onboard activities available on your trip, check the trip notes.

What will the weather be like?
While conditions in Antarctica can be extremely unpredictable, we choose to travel during the southern hemisphere’s summer season (November to March) when the temperatures in the day can range from anywhere between -5°C and +10°C.

What medical facilities are available? 
The ships carry an onboard doctor who will be able to assist with medical issues and emergencies. Passengers are required to bring their own personal medication with them, as the onboard clinic is only equipped with basic emergency supplies.

Will I get seasick?
Our experience is that a small majority of people are seasick on any trip and most of these people get their 'sea legs' after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. It's also recommended that passengers come equipped with motion sickness tablets or patches, and avoid eating greasy foods or consuming alcohol before embarkation.

What currency should I take and how much?
Our expedition ships accept US dollars, and credit card payment is also available. Onboard expenses are put on an account that is then settled before disembarking.

Can I send emails/make phone calls?
Satellite telephone, fax and internet facilities are available onboard for an extra charge. Keep in mind that due to the extremely remote location, these services can be quite expensive.

What equipment is provided?
The expedition crew will provide you with a complimentary parker, and a pair of rubber boots will provided on a loan basis for the duration of the voyage. For a full packing list, see the trip notes. 

The Arctic FAQs


Do I need a visa to travel to The Arctic?
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

Is tipping customary in The Arctic?
Tipping is done on a voluntary basis in Norway and at the discretion of the customer. If the service in a cafe or restaurant is good, feel free to leave spare change or round up the bill.

What is the internet access like in The Arctic?
Several public internet terminals exist in Longyearbyen, all with very good connections. Do not expect internet connectivity elsewhere.

Can I use my mobile/cell phone while in The Arctic?
There is good quality telephone coverage in Longyearbyen, though do not expect it elsewhere. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.

What are the toilets like in The Arctic?
Western-style, flushable toilets are the standard around Svalbard, though at very remote outposts a pit toilet will likely be the go.

What will it cost for..
A Beer = 50 NOK
A pizza = 80 NOK
Meal at a mid-range restaurant = 120 NOK

Can I drink the water in The Arctic?
The tap water in Svalbard is considered safe to drink. Surface water should be boiled before consumption because it could possibly contain tapeworm eggs.

Are credit cards accepted widely in The Arctic?
Credit cards are accepted in Longyearbyen, though don't rely on them for small purchases.

What is ATM access like in The Arctic?
There is one ATM in Longyearbyen¹s post office. It's best to withdraw your money on the mainland, however, in case it's out of order.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling in The Arctic?
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-intrepid/our-services/travel-insurance

What public holidays are celebrated in The Arctic?
Svalbard celebrates the same public holidays as the rest of Norway.