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Newsmakers

‘Get Polarized’

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
âGet Polarizedâ
Antarctica: Where penguins dance.

I’ve been to the Arctic Circle, via the Lapland in Finland, and even had a photo opportunity with the man touted to be the “real” Santa Claus. (Because this Santa’s village is the only one with the authorized postmark “the North Pole.”)

The magical tour to the Arctic Circle I took in 2017 was curated by the creative and energetic Shan Dioquino David, president of Corporate International Travel and Tours (CITTI). Recently, Shan invited some friends in media to the launch of CITTI’s newest tour — to Antarctica, in the South Pole! This tour is being launched in partnership with Silversea Cruises, which has raised the bar for cruising forever, according to Shan.

World traveler Shan Dioquino David, shown in photo in the Arctic Circle, is now curating tours to its polar opposite — Antarctica.
Photo by JOANNE RAE RAMIREZ

Why Antarctica? I asked Shan, who has visited virtually every continent in the world.

“What can be more adventurous than exploring one of the most untouched places on the planet? A trip to the world’s southernmost continent — Antarctica — is said to be a life-changing experience,” she says.

“Most seasoned travelers have been to all the six continents, and for sure they want to tick off Antarctica on their bucket list,” this jetsetter adds.

Silversea guests take a ‘zodiac’ to explore the wonders of Antarctica.

***

The CITTI-Silversea Cruise briefing at the Manila House was the first face-to-face press conference I attended since the lockdown was first imposed in March 2020. All covered up with a face mask and shield, I was ready to be “Polarized,” so to speak.

Silversea’s sales manager for Asia Nini Chaiyanara, in a video presentation from Singapore, gave us some good reasons to visit Antarctica, which is also known as the “White Continent.” Since I haven’t been to Antarctica, just to its polar opposite, the Arctic, I’d like to quote from her presentation:

• An Antarctica cruise is unlike any other and not just because of the continent’s isolation and “otherworldly” beauty. “It’s more like traveling to another planet.” (Silversea has access to up to 44 landing sites, not including South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.)

Kayaying in the South Pole

• Each day is planned by the Captain and expedition leader. Weather dictates the daily itinerary. All this means the cruise has unique ground rules and a rhythm all its own. Plus, an Antarctic voyage is an exclusive “pinch-me” experience.

• Conrad Combrink, Silversea Cruise’s senior vice president of expeditions, turnaround operations and destinations management, has visited the “White Continent” no less than 75 times. He says, “It’s still thrilling every time.” “The beauty of Antarctica,” Combrink says, “is you don’t necessarily need to be ashore to experience it.” He encourages tourists not just to make the most of the expeditions but also to just sit back and relax on board the ship, “and watch the penguins and just appreciate the ice and the water and the scenery.”

• There are detailed daily briefings, so Silversea guests know what to expect — from the weather and the terrain.

• There is a high expedition staff-to-guest ratio of one expedition leader for every 10 guests. Combrink says, “Antarctica is not as difficult as some people might perceive it to be. I feel that everybody can do it, despite their physical limitations. We’ve actually had guests with wheelchairs. We encourage people to just go ashore and enjoy the landing site itself so they don’t miss out, even if they don’t go on the hike.”

• Despite all the snow and ice, Antarctica is considered a desert with annual precipitation of less than two inches. That’s why proper hydration — and proper nutrition for some of the more strenuous activities — is so important.• Dress for success — the success of your trip, that is. “Three layers of good, technically-advanced clothing is enough,” says Combrink. If you wear too much, you end up sweating. I remember in the Arctic, we were told to zip up our Arctic suits only when we were about to disembark from our bus. Silversea advises, “Sunblock is important, I’ve been to the Arctic Circle, via the Lapland in Finland, and even had a photo opportunity with the man touted to be the “real” Santa Claus. (Because this Santa’s village is the only one with the authorized postmark “the North Pole.”)

The magical tour to the Arctic Circle I took in 2017 was curated by the creative and energetic Shan Dioquino David, president of Corporate International Travel and Tours (CITTI). Recently, Shan invited some friends in media to the launch of CITTI’s newest tour — to Antarctica, in the South Pole! This tour is being launched in partnership with Silversea Cruises, which has raised the bar for cruising forever, according to Shan.

Why Antarctica? I asked Shan, who has visited virtually every continent in the world.

“What can be more adventurous than exploring one of the most untouched places on the planet? A trip to the world’s southernmost continent — Antarctica — is said to be a life-changing experience,” she says.

“Most seasoned travelers have been to all the six continents, and for sure they want to tick off Antarctica on their bucket list,” this jetsetter adds.

***

The CITTI-Silversea Cruise briefing at the Manila House was the first face-to-face press conference I attended since the lockdown was first imposed in March 2020. All covered up with a face mask and shield, I was ready to be “Polarized,” so to speak.

Silversea’s sales manager for Asia Nini Chaiyanara, in a video presentation from Singapore, gave us some good reasons to visit Antarctica, which is also known as the “White Continent.” Since I haven’t been to Antarctica, just to its polar opposite, the Arctic, I’d like to quote from her presentation:

• An Antarctica cruise is unlike any other and not just because of the continent’s isolation and “otherworldly” beauty. “It’s more like traveling to another planet.” (Silversea has access to up to 44 landing sites, not including South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.)

• Each day is planned by the Captain and expedition leader. Weather dictates the daily itinerary. All this means the cruise has unique ground rules and a rhythm all its own. Plus, an Antarctic voyage is an exclusive “pinch-me” experience.

• Conrad Combrink, Silversea Cruise’s senior vice president of expeditions, turnaround operations and destinations management, has visited the “White Continent” no less than 75 times. He says, “It’s still thrilling every time.” “The beauty of Antarctica,” Combrink says, “is you don’t necessarily need to be ashore to experience it.” He encourages tourists not just to make the most of the expeditions but also to just sit back and relax on board the ship, “and watch the penguins and just appreciate the ice and the water and the scenery.”

• There are detailed daily briefings, so Silversea guests know what to expect — from the weather and the terrain.

• There is a high expedition staff-to-guest ratio of one expedition leader for every 10 guests. Combrink says, “Antarctica is not as difficult as some people might perceive it to be. I feel that everybody can do it, despite their physical limitations. We’ve actually had guests with wheelchairs. We encourage people to just go ashore and enjoy the landing site itself so they don’t miss out, even if they don’t go on the hike.”

• Despite all the snow and ice, Antarctica is considered a desert with annual precipitation of less than two inches. That’s why proper hydration — and proper nutrition for some of the more strenuous activities — is so important.

• Dress for success — the success of your trip, that is. “Three layers of good, technically-advanced clothing is enough,” says Combrink. If you wear too much, you end up sweating. I remember in the Arctic, we were told to zip up our Arctic suits only when we were about to disembark from our bus. Silversea advises, “Sunblock is important, too, and hand warmers are also helpful.”

After all, Antarctica is also a desert. A frozen desert. (And maybe a frozen “dessert” for those who believe travelling is a multi-course meal.)

***

According to Shan, all embarking crew and guests must be fully vaccinated prior to sail date and are required to take a COVID-19 test prior to boarding.  Guests will be required to wear facemasks in all indoor public areas, terminals and during shore excursions.  The crew will be wearing facemasks at all times.

“Guests will not be required to wear facemasks while seated in restaurants, at tables in bars and in outdoor areas where physical distancing can be maintained,” Shan adds.

She is curating two cruises next year to Antarctica in partnership with Silversea, both in November, which is spring in the continent with temperatures ranging from -5 to 2 degrees Centigrade. The guest flies to either Argentina or Chile before embarking on the cruise ship.

The Silver Cloud departs on Nov. 27, 2022. According to Silversea, this luxury ship can take you from polar region to polar region in “supreme comfort.” It has four “superb” restaurants, 16 zodiacs (inflatable boats that take you ashore) and up to 22 expedition team members and a crew of almost one to one.

The Silver Explorer departs on Nov. 28, 2022, said to be the “perfect choice when it comes to sailing pristine destinations.” *

 

(For more info, please contact CITTI at 0917-631-6541 or email info@corporateintl.net.)

ANTARTICA
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