How Antarctica became the hottest destination in luxury travel

Henry Cookson, of Cookson Adventures, explains how explorer superyacht Planet Nine opened up the South Pole as a viable vacation destination

Travelling is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern world. Not literally, of course — it’s never been easier to hop on a plane and discover a new city or country. Rather, it’s getting increasingly harder to find an unexplored corner of the world, somewhere that feels completely untouched and new.

But, if you’re looking for somewhere genuinely unexplored and ripe for adventure, then we’ve got just the place. Cookson Adventures recently launched expeditions to Antarctica, giving you the opportunity to follow in the intrepid footsteps of explorer Henry Cookson and discover this frozen wilderness for yourself.

Pushing the boundaries of human exploration and luxury at the same time, Cookson has partnered with explorer superyacht Planet Nine, for charter through Edmiston, to embark on this bucket list-worthy journey. We sat down with the explorer to discuss why the Antarctic is such an attractive new hotspot, and why Planet Nine is the perfect vessel aboard which to get there.

"The continent is nothing short of spectacular"

While some people may long for a holiday on a sunny beach on the Med, or lazing on a Greek island, there are those who seek out adventure and challenge from their getaways. Cookson caters for the latter, and he believes that there has been no better time to conquer this coldest corner of the planet.

“The inspiration behind this itinerary was a combination of personal fascination for Antarctica — having kite-skied myself to the Southern Pole some years ago. In fact, that trip was my inspiration for founding Cookson Adventures. The continent is nothing short of spectacular, with unprecedented opportunities for explorers to enjoy stunning scenery, amazing wildlife and an incredible array of activities – for those who know how to explore.”

"Antarctica is, in its entirety, a natural reserve"

It’s no surprise that few people travel to the Antarctic for their holidays. The hazardous conditions, paired with the fact that it is incredibly remote, creates any number of challenges. But, when travelling with Cookson, when you reach the snowy tundra you will be required to follow strict regulations put in place to help preserve the beauty of the natural environment.

“Antarctica is, in its entirety, a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science, and there are strict regulations in place to maintain the harmony of the region. Transport is a key element of this; for example, the use of aircraft, helicopters, ships, small boats, or other means of transport that might disturb wildlife in any way, either at sea or on land is strictly regulated.

“There are also specially-protected areas, cultural heritage sites and historic sites which require permits for access. That’s why Cookson works to ensure we are adhering to such rules and leaving the region in pristine condition.”

"Planet Nine is designed for those who want more from their adventure"

Cookson Adventures never slum it. Even in the wildest destinations, if there is even the slightest room for luxury, they will find it and give you a 5-star experience. Previous expeditions, from Vietnam to Svalbard, have been equal parts adrenaline and opulence. And Planet Nine, the explorer’s choice of superyacht, is the perfect option for the Antarctic.

“When you see Planet Nine,” says Cookson, “you quickly realise there’s no settling or compromise. The outside is an ice class hull. The inside is fitted with a striking array of facilities, like a spa, gym, cinema, jet skis, an impressive art collection and a helipad big enough to play basketball on.”

“It’s designed for those who want more from their adventure,” he adds, “so fits perfectly with our vision ‘to provide unique and elegant adventures to the curious and the daring’.”

"There’s enough to impress even the most seasoned of travellers"

So, while most of us will only experience Antarctica through our TV screens — narrated by the dulcet tones of David Attenborough — the option to conquer the continent ourselves has been made tantalisingly real by Cookson Adventures.

“Whether you have an interest in meeting Antarctica’s resident wildlife, sea kayaking between pristine and cathedral-esque icebergs or taking to the skies in a helicopter to go sightseeing, there’s enough to impress even the most seasoned of travellers,” says the explorer.

“Managed correctly, under strict supervision of guides and experts, there are almost endless Antarctic experiences available to the willing and the daring — and Cookson can provide an itinerary that is completely tailored to you.”

“The keen explorers out there,” he continues, “can visit research stations to collaborate with scientists, take to the water for paddle-boarding or even scuba dive. You can also venture onto the ice for hiking, skiing or ice climbing — perhaps even spending a night on the ice.”

So, given you’re aboard the right vessel with Planet Nine, and in the right hands with Cookson Adventures, there’s no place better to spend your next trip. It may sound quite unlikely, but somehow Antarctica has become the hottest place in travel.

If it still sounds a little chilly for you, take a look at our must-visit destinations of 2018…

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