Remembering Explorer Nils Larsen As Antarctic Cruises Boom

Apr 27, 2021 9:00 PM ET

Remembering Explorer Nils Larsen As Antarctic Cruises Boom

Decades ago, voyages were popular for famous explorers like Nils Larsen, an antarctic explorer. Now, many tourists are following in his footsteps, taking cruises to and around Antarctica.

The cruise industry has enjoyed a lot of popularity in recent years. While the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary halt on many cruises, the industry is starting to heat up as vaccines are rolled out. When you think of cruises, you might first think of the Caribbean, but Antarctic cruises are very popular too. Once popular for explorers like Nils Larsen of Norway, the South Pole is attracting more and more tourists.

Antarctica cruises reached an all-time high in 2018, with over 46,000 tourists heading to the most Southerly continent. In some ways, Antarctica is among the final frontiers on earth. Besides a few science stations, there are no permanent settlements in Antarctica.

Yet humans have been coming to Antarctica for many years. The first explorers came to Antarctica in the early 19th century. Still, exploration was rather limited in the 20th century. Harsh weather conditions made it difficult to explore the continent.

Nils Larsen and the Exploration of Antarctica

In the 20th century, renewed interest in Antarctica and improving technology resulted in the increased exploration of the continent. Among the most famous explorers was Nils Larsen. Born in 1900, the Norwegian captain extensively explored Antarctica.

Now, some parts of the continent are named after Nils Larsen. There’s Mount Nils Larsen, Mont Nils, and the Nils Larsen glacier, for example. Yet despite the exploratory efforts of Nils Larsen and others, Antarctica remains a largely untouched land, at least as far as humans are concerned.

That’s slowly changing with the boom of the Antarctica cruise industry. If you want to follow in the footsteps of famous explorers like Nils Larsen, you can do so from the comfort of a cruise ship.

Antarctica is a land of always winter with temperatures rarely rising about the water freezing point. Since the continent is located in the Southern Hemisphere, the warmest months are typically December and January.

Still, if you’re going on a December or January Antarctica cruise, you’ll want to pack a winter jacket. Temperatures rarely rise about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can put up with the cold, however, you can see lands and seas all but untouched by human civilization.

While humans have not established any major settlements in Antarctica, many animals call it home. You can see penguins and seals on the coasts. In the waters, you’ll find Orcas and other marine mammals. Even in the coldest regions of the world, life finds a way.

Antarctica offers stunning snow-swept landscapes and is unlike perhaps anywhere else on Earth. Today, Norwegian cruise lines are among the most prominent in the region, perhaps taking inspiration from Nils Larsen, the famous Norwegian explorer.

While cruise visitors won’t be the first to visit Antarctica, they’re still among the first. Few people have ever visited the most Southerly continent.

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