Antarctic tourism is getting to be more and more popular – and that means cruise ships. Further up the Peninsula (at Port Lockroy, for example) they can deal with two or three cruise ship visits a day. Here at Rothera we restrict ourselves to two ships a year, mostly because it’s a huge disruption to the work of the base to spend an afternoon showing tourists around.
Anyway, our first cruise ship of the season cancelled, and so our only visit was from the Hapag-Lloyd ship MS Bremen. The ship arrived on Monday afternoon and tied up at the wharf and I spent a pleasant afternoon showing the 150 passengers around the base. They all seemed to have enjoyed themselves, even though they were only on the base for two hours!
Tourists on the point
Later in the afternoon I got invited (together with a few colleagues) for dinner on board with the captain. We got a very brief tour of the ship as well. Unlike our ships, where the bridge is on the top of the superstructure and has the best view, on the Bremen the prime space is given over to the Panorama Lounge, which is a huge room with enormous windows giving a forward view. The bridge is immediately below, and is very “traditional” compared with our two ships – it has big meters and gauges everywhere and the minimum of computer wizardry. It is, however, very spacious.
Dinner on the ship was very nice indeed, consisting of about seven miniscule nouvelle cuisine courses – although we were hurried off the ship after our dessert as the captain was keen to leave the wharf before an approaching iceberg got within range.