Above: Zodiac excursion from the National Geographic Explorer

Antarctica is the place of the moment. Cruises sell out a year in advance, and the Andrew Harper Travel Office is deluged with inquiries. Perhaps this is because the continent is far removed from the world’s troubles. On an overcrowded planet,Antarctica’semptiness and purity could be part of the appeal. For many, the teeming wildlife is probably the primary draw. And in an era with too few leaders of stature, maybe the nobility of explorers like Ernest Shackleton is especially magnetic. But for whatever combination of reasons, the Great White Continent is a staple of cocktail party conversations and the 2016 destination of choice.

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Above: Zodiac excursion from the National Geographic Explorer

Read More from Our Trip:

What to Pack for a Trip to Antarctica The Many Guises of Ice Antarctic Cruise Options A Wealth of Wildlife An Antarctic Reading and Viewing List Time Travel at Port Lockroy