Advice re flights from SYD for Antarctica cruise

Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Posts
356
Back in 2019 we booked a cruise to visit Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands to sail from Ushuaia in February 2021. In mid 2020 we moved it to January 2022 and we then moved the booking to the January 2023 departure when that was released since it seemed that we would be unlikely to be able to leave Australia by January 2022. Even though the borders have now opened this week some of the Antarctica cruise companies have cancelled the 2022/2023 season while several companies are operating this season with restrictions like having to travel on charter flights from MIA to USH and not spend any time away from the passenger group so being unable to spend time in places like Buenos Aires and Ushuaia before or after the cruise, and several other companies are planning to run cruises from Chile. This is not how we would like to travel.

We are booked with G Adventures and they have not released their 2023/2024 itineraries yet. We are still trying to decide whether to move our booking to early 2024 or keep our January 2023 booking. Everything is still so unknown on how travel will go in Argentina and Chile in the coming year, although the situation will hopefully improve over the next 14 months. Even when the new itineraries are released I think we'll wait and see how travel goes in South America in the next few months before making a decision.

Before Covid shut everything down we were planning to book to fly SYD-AKL-EZE with NZ rather than through SCL with QF or LA since I thought that would save a transit through Chile. We would like to book in J but before Covid I wasn't seeing many J Classic Rewards released for SYD-SCL with QF or LA using QFF points so realise that we are likeley to have to purchase J seats. I have plenty of points in Amex Ascent Premium that could be used to transfer to SQ if I thought that there could be a chance to book Star Alliance airlines but don't know if award flights would be released for travel to EZE or SCL.

I've been thinking that while in South America in January/February we could fly to Europe after the Antarctica cruise to visit Switzerland in Winter. I would be interested if anyone has any idea of how much more a ticket flying say SYD-EZE-ZRH-SYD in J would have cost, whether as a multi city or RTW, before Covid compared with just booking SYD to EZE return, whether through SCL or AKL, with any airline or airline alliance. We will also have to fly AEP or EZE to USH so hopefully we may be able to include those flights on the same ticket. Of course we have no idea yet how ticket prices are likely to be over the next couple of years compared with 2019 and earlier, and I would think probably higher than before.
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Posts
29,312
The problem is we really don't know what options will be available.The best option is a circle pacific fare.We were fortunate that LAN was still in oneworld when we did our cruise out of Ushuaia. So we did a lot of our bucket list flying QF to SCL and then LAN LIM-CUZ-LIM-IGR-AEP-USH.
As our cruise went on to Capetown we used terest of the circle fare on another trip.

Obviously that has gone.Star alliance has a circle pacific fare for wen NZ starts flying to south america again and does have acvianca to use.
Sky team has aerolineas but looking at their Circle pacific option it doesn't include Australia at the moment.

Another option is if LAN brings back the South American pass so you could replicate our sort of itinerary or even include the Galapsgos.However I couldn't find anything on their site at the moment.
It might be best waiting a while to decide whether 2023 or 2024.
 
Virgin Wines Australia Has Exceptional Red, White & Sparkling Wines On Offer. See Online. See Our Exclusive Wine Selections From Around Australia & Around The World. Shop Now! Advent Calendar 2021. Better Wines for Less. Cancel Anytime. No Membership Fees.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Posts
356
Thanks drron. We are looking at the chance to fly to Europe after the cruise as we'd like to visit Switzerland in Winter again so a Circle Pacific fare will not help.

In 2014 we booked 280K OWA J tickets and flew SYD-LAX, LAX-LIM-CUZ, IGU-LIM-JFK, JFK-LHR, LHR-ZRH, ZRH-LHR-SYD using QF, LA and BA. In between we used a South America Air Pass to fly CUZ-LIM, LIM-SCL, SCL-GIG, AEP-IGR. We also booked an EK flight GIG-EZE using QFF points. On that trip we saw a lot of places in South America that we wanted to see and also did a Celebrity cruise from Buenos Aires on a 2000 passenger ship to Antarctica which wasn't an expedition cruise so we just sailed by in Antarctica but we did stop at Stanley in the Falkland Islands and did a trip to Volunteer Point to see King Penguins - an incredible experience. We're very much looking forward to visiting South Georgia on our cruise in 2023 or 2024.

For the upcoming trip we just want to do the cruise from Ushuaia with a few days before and after the cruise in Ushuaia and Buenos Aires to allow for possible flight delays. We have loved visiting Switzerland four times between 2011 and 2019 in Summer and since we loved seeing Switzerland in Winter in March 2014 I've been thinking it would make sense to try to book a fare that takes us to Europe from Argentina on that trip while we're away at that time of year.

I'll just have to wait and see what is offered when things start to return to some sort of normal. I was wondering if anyone has any idea how much more than a return fare SYD-EZE in J may have cost before Covid to come home via Europe, whether as a multi city or RTW fare. I guess it would depend on how many stops you make. 50% more?
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Posts
356
While it seems very unlikely that I will see any SYD-EZE J award flights using QFF points as a Bronze member I've now seen that I should be able to book award flights from SYD to EZE via LHR. As I mentioned previously we hope to visit Switzerland after the Antarctica cruise in January 2023. While it will be a long way to go to EZE via LHR at least it means I can book with points which gives much more flexibility to cancel flights if necessary if we still have major Covid problems 13 months from now.

Can I ask for advice from others who have flown to Argentina to go on Antarctica cruises. I have read that flight delays in South America can often happen and want to allow plenty of flexibility when booking the long haul flights in case of delays. If we book these award flights over the next few months as they are released we will still wait to book AEP or EZE to USH return flights until much closer, when we can be sure we are still going to try to do the cruise in January 2023. If we decide to move the cruise to 2024 at least the award flights can be cancelled without losing too much.

At this stage I am thinking of booking a BA flight to arrive in EZE from LHR on a Saturday morning. Our cruise trip starts on a Wednesday when you stay in a hotel in Ushuaia and then board the ship on Thursday. I'm thinking of booking 2 nights in Buenos Aires so would have Sunday free there. I would then book to fly to USH on Monday and book 2 additional nights there so would then have the rest of that day there, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday, when most passengers will arrive.

For the return trip from USH to AEP or EZE - the cruise finishes on a Tuesday morning so I'm thinking of flying from USH the same day and then staying in Buenos Aires on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and booking to fly EZE-LHR-ZRH on the Thursday on a flight departing at 12:15.
I am trying to allow that when we arrive, if there is a delay with the LHR-EZE flight we have another day before flying to USH, and also then have extra time in Ushuaia so if the flight to USH is delayed it also gives extra flexibility in case of delays to be sure we don't miss the ship.

I'm thinking that we should also consider allowing one more day after the cruise and book to fly USH-LHR-ZRH on Friday rather than Thursday.
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Posts
29,312
Great idea to spend the 2 extra nights in Ushuaia.We did that before our South Georgia cruise.There is plenty to do there.
We also liked our time in BA but beware there is a fair bit of crime. Just keep vigilant. As well you do get a better rate on exchange on the streets - beware anyone that wants to take you up a side alley to their shop. could be dangerous and in my experience they didn't offer better prices.

So again a good idea to have those extra days in BA on return.
Both Aerolineas and LAN had several flights a day to USH.Not likely they will miss a day when a cruise ship comes in.
My TR gives the story of BA and Ushuaia. BA starts on page 9 which I have linked.We went to the Sacred Valley,Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls before getting to BA.
 

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top