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Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. An international treaty signed by 46 countries, representing the large majority of the world’s population, governs Antarctica. The continent, the treaty parties concur, is too large and important to belong to just one country. They further agree that Antarctica, unique among the world’s landmasses, should remain a peaceful, free and demilitarized place of international cooperation and scientific research, open to all, with a minimum of human development. Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. It’s known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor, striking, iceberg-flanked passageways, and Port Lockroy, a former British research station turned museum. The peninsula’s isolated terrain also shelters rich wildlife, including many penguins.

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