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Antarctic Circle Crossed by Large Cruise Vessel

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The first crossing of the Antarctic Circle by MS Amsterdam, a large cruise vessel with a passenger capacity of some 1,300, was made twice in the 2003–2004 austral summer on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. MS Amsterdam is the largest cruise vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle, and the second largest ship to do so, the first being the U.S. aircraft carrier Philippine Sea during Operation Highjump, 1946–1947. Sea-ice conditions in the area cruised were unusually light, with minor scattered icebergs. Advantages of multiple cruises using a non-ice-strengthened vessel in the same areas in an austral summer include determination of sea-ice distribution and weather patterns over several months, leading to better predictions for avoidance of areas with difficult ice conditions, thus saving valuable cruise time and fuel, in addition to a safety factor.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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