Reflections From Our 2022-23 Antarctica Season
An interview with Ragnhild Granfeldt, Cruise Manager at Antarctica21
Our 2022-2023 season just reached a close, and Antarctica21 Cruise Manager Ragnhild Granfeldt tells us about her first season aboard Ocean Nova. Even though she has over six years of experience in the cruise industry, she finds it difficult to convey the breadth of experiences she witnessed during her time exploring the Last Continent with Antarctica21.
“Having spent an extended period of time in this remarkable continent from November to March, I can confidently say that no two outings or landings are the same,” says Ragnhild. “Each day offers a distinct and unforgettable moment to enjoy the magic of Antarctica.”
Of Antarctica’s most magical aspects, Ragnhild believes its unpredictability may be the most alluring. While there’s no guarantee of spotting breaching humpback whales, Weddell seals lounging on a bobbing ice floe or seeing curious leopard seals swimming in the icy waters, Ragnhild can now guarantee that each expedition to Antarctica is sure to be unique.
During her time in Antarctica, she noticed many valuable insights on how to make the most out of the trip. One of the most important lessons, she observed, was allowing herself to savor the landscape and taking the time to disconnect from her life back home.
“I do encourage our guests to leave behind the distractions of the outside world and engage all their senses during their time in Antarctica,” says Ragnhild. “From the stunning scenery to the diverse wildlife and fascinating historical sites, each day in Antarctica offers something new and exciting to learn and explore.”
For Ragnhild, she feels her season in Antarctica was an unparalleled opportunity to witness the natural and cultural wonders of such a remote destination. With Antarctica’s ever-changing landscapes and awe-inspiring wildlife, Ragnhild promises a trip to be an unforgettable experience that is entirely unique to each guest.
Fresh from her time on the Last Continent, we interview Ragnhild to discover her many reflections after six months in Antarctica.
What did you love about being the cruise manager this season?
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as cruise manager has been witnessing the transformative impact that a journey to Antarctica can have on our guests. When they first arrive on board, they may feel out of their comfort zone and uncertain of what to expect. But there’s a special moment that occurs when they set foot on the continent for the first time—I marvel at observing the genuine spark of wonder and amazement in our guests’ eyes as they witness breaching whales or calving glaciers for the first time. Being able to facilitate such a profound moment for our guests is a privilege I hold in high regard; witnessing this transformation has been a highlight of my professional career.”
How was your first season in Antarctica?
“My first season working in Antarctica has been an amazing experience. As cruise manager, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow both professionally and personally, navigating a unique and challenging environment that demands the utmost attention to detail and commitment to excellence to be able to deliver a good product for our guests. While every role and contract has its ups and downs, I have never experienced a contract that has been so consistently rewarding and fulfilling. Despite occasionally being tired, which naturally comes with the demanding nature of the work, the warmth and camaraderie of the Antarctica21 family, combined with the inspiring natural surroundings, make it impossible not to feel a sense of joy and gratitude.”
How long did you spend in Antarctica as a whole? Is it really a dream job?
“I have had the privilege of spending a total of six months in Antarctica, which includes fulfilling roles such as naturalist guide, cruise manager, and, most recently, as a member of the team on Magellan Explorer. As someone deeply passionate about this remarkable continent, I can say with certainty that this has been an absolute dream job for me. Being onboard Ocean Nova or Magellan Explorer and sailing through the serene and awe-inspiring landscape of Antarctica is such an incredible adventure. And being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share a deep appreciation for this unique and remarkable place is the cherry on top. The entire experience surpassed my wildest dreams. For those who have had the opportunity to join us as guests, or for those who are considering a visit in the future, I am confident that you will share my enthusiasm and understanding of why this is truly a dream job.”
Why should everyone go to Antarctica at least once in their lifetime?
“A trip to Antarctica can be a thrilling adventure as visitors navigate icy waters and brave the cold temperatures to explore this remote part of the world. Antarctica is known for its breathtaking scenery, with towering glaciers, icebergs, and snow-covered landscapes—not to mention it is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including penguins, seals, whales, and seabirds. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat can be a life-changing experience. Antarctica is also a crucial part of our global ecosystem, and visiting this extraordinary continent can help us all gain a better understanding of the impact of climate change and the importance of protecting our planet.”
What makes visiting Antarctica with Antarctica21 the trip of a lifetime?
“Antarctica stands as a remarkable destination on its own; however, I am convinced that embarking on an Antarctic expedition with our esteemed Antarctica21 family and collection of boutique vessels presents an exceptional opportunity for a top-tier educational experience and an exclusive guided adventure that’s unparalleled in the industry.”