When I booked my expedition cruise, there were some excursions that were optional that I could pay for and book in advance. One was paddling and one was kayaking. The kayaking was more expensive and for the more seasoned kayakers, and you went out multiple times whenever the rest of the guests were doing land excursions. The paddling was cheaper, for less experienced kayakers, and only went out 1 time for the price you pay. I opted for the paddling because I did not want to have to make decisions on whether to do kayaking or land excursions each day, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend all my outdoor time in a kayak. The paddle boat was an inflatable boat that you can see in the picture above. You sit on top of it and not inside like you do a kayak. It uses the same oars and is basically kayaking in a different kind of boat.
I’m so glad I chose paddling over kayaking. The kayakers spent a lot of money and only went out 3 or 4 times, and if they were able to do a land excursion while kayaking, the time was greatly reduced for them to enjoy the snow and penguins. There were 4 groups that signed up for paddling. Each group would have one shot to go out. I was in group 3, and on the last day of excursions, group 3 was called to go out! Group 4, unfortunately, never got to paddle.
I wore all my layers and we were provided with a dry suit to put over everything. With our life vest over that, I didn’t need my big yellow parka. I didn’t even wear gloves. Yes, my hands got cold. But I didn’t like any of the gloves I brought on the trip, so there’s that.
Kayaking (or paddling) was the highlight of my trip. I’m so glad I did it and got to go out. It was serene and peaceful. The only sounds I heard were the tapping of my oar on the ice as we paddled through the sometimes dense sea ice. I also did not miss any land time because when my group went out, everyone else was going zodiac cruising because a shore landing was not feasible. I much preferred the paddling to the zodiac cruising. Definitely give it a try!!! I’m not a super experienced kayaker…sure, I kayak and have been trained, but I don’t kayak every weekend. Just once in a blue moon. 🙂
The kayaks had a choice of single or double, whereas the paddle boats were all double. I kind of liked having a partner in the boat with me because I wasn’t sure how much stamina I would have in the cold weather.
There were some avid kayakers on the trip that did the kayaking every time they went out. But that would not have been me. I was content with going out one time.
Hopefully, this will help you decide on the type of excursions that you want to do . By the way, you cannot sign up for both; at least you couldn’t on my expedition cruise. The people in group 4 who did not get to paddle were refunded their money.