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Have You Ever Had It Blue? The Antarctic, Feb 8-18, 2010

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After the savoury sights, sounds and craziness of the past four or five months, I may have come to the Antarctic with the least expectations of anybody on this expedition cruise. It's hard to top the splash of a saffron robed monk collecting alms at six in the morning in LuangPrabang, or scaling the wild, crumbling ramparts of the Great Wall. And I knew I couldn't count on penguins to provide the same cultural charge as a Bangkok tuktuk driver kamikazing to Khao San Road.

Nevertheless, there are travellers for whom the Antarctic is the holy grail for penguin watching. Throw in some humpbacks, orcas and icebergs, and people dutifully pay up to fifteen grand on some boats. You even get bragging rights for knocking off the last of seven continents, as some do.
Our ship the Antarctic Dream, is twenty shy of it's 78 capacity. I'd expected a fairly well-heeled, sixty-ish age, kind of crowd. But the median was brought down closer to the low forties by a sizable contingent of …