Exploring the Antarctic |  <i>Peter Walton </i> King Penguin parade on South Georgia |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i> We undertake numerous shore excursions while exploring the peninsula |  <i>Peter Walton</i> Surreal scenery on the Antarctic Peninsula |  <i>Peter Walton</i> Camping on the ice in Antarctica |  <i>Justin Walker</i> The wildlife rich beaches of South Georgia |  <i>Peter Walton</i> Kayaking in Antarctica |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i> A perfect day in the Antarctic Peninsula |  <i>Peter Walton</i>

Antarctica Cruises & Voyages

A simple guide to choosing the right Antarctica tour

Antarctica is a dream travel destination, however, many don't realise the variety of cruise choices available to explore the great white continent. Read our guide on the different cruise vessels, the best months to visit based on your interests, as well as fun activities and excursions to do.

With a focus on responsible and sustainable exploratory voyages, embark on a polar expedition that values the preservation of these fragile and pristine environments. Engage with the enchanting landscape by getting active on foot, by kayak or diving; hear from experts in research stations; and enjoy the company of expert guides on your Antarctica trip of a lifetime. Geologists, naturalists, ornithologists, historians, botanists, scientists and archaeologists are frequently found aboard our Antarctica cruises.

The great thing about our small ship style cruising is that you will experience superb landings and wildlife viewing opportunities on otherwise inaccessible coastlines.

Jump to a section:
Top Antarctic Peninsula cruises
Top Polar Circle cruises
Top Weddell Sea cruises
Top Falkland Island & South Georgia cruises
Top Ross Sea cruises
Choosing the right ship: compare Antarctica cruise vessels
When to cruise to Antarctica
Fun activities to do in Antarctica
Antarctica cruise reviews
Combining your Antarctic cruise with a Patagonia tour
Antarctica blog articles

Cruising Antarctica: the main destinations

Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is the most commonly visited cruise destination in Antarctica, home to spectacular highlights such as King George Island, Paradise Bay and Penguin Island. Voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula typically depart from Ushuaia, the southern most tip of South America, crossing the Antarctic Convergence and into the Southern Ocean via the fabled Drake Passage.

Antarctic Peninsula basecamp expeditions offer many active options to such as kayaking, zodiac cruising, diving, standup paddle boarding, hiking, snowshoeing and climbing excursions. A not-to-be-missed destination is the narrow and spectacular Lemaire Channel, surrounded by mountains and glaciers and a popular passage for several species of whales. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter minke, orca and humpack whales, as well as the ferocious-looking leopard seals.
Ice fills the Lemaire Channel |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i>

Over the pure beauty and the fauna that makes this place so unique, there is also this constant feeling that everything you experience here is a privilege that only nature can give you. Rivers of ice and mountains, hundreds of thousands of years old, tower above you on either side, all carving a unique mark on the landscape.   There's no place on earth quite like it, here's a glimpse of my Antarctic adventure!


Antarctic Polar Circle

Travel to the end of the world to the southern Polar Circle, a place where daylight and nighttime can last 24 hours. Voyaging to this remote region is an opportunity to cross the most southernly point reached by Antarctic cruises, with opportunities to visit rarely explored bays and coves only few are fortunate enough to experience.

Located between the Southern Temperate Zone and the Antarctic, explore the world’s final frontier and cross this fabled region home to impressive mountains and huge glaciers. Cruise to wildlife-rich areas and utilise the ship’s fleet of zodiacs to make landings and walk among penguin rookeries and seal colonies. The Antarctic Circle accounts for around four percent of the Earth’s total landmass and crosses through Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Balleny Islands.
Seals relaxing in the Antarctic sun |  <i>Peter Walton</i>


Weddell Sea

Take a voyage in search of the elusive emperor penguin on a Weddell Sea expedition in the company of an experienced naturalist who knows the area well. There are magnificent wildlife viewing opportunities with our Antarctica cruises, venturing into the remote Weddell Sea and to rarely visited areas around the Antarctic Peninsula.

Step off the ship and venture deep on the island coastlines via zodiac and hopefully spot Adélie and gentoo penguin populations on the ice floes, nesting snow petrels, as well as kelp gulls and skuas with a backdrop of jagged peaks, staggering icebergs and beautiful ice-capped volcanic creations to set the scene. If weather permits, some cruises include a scenic helicopter ride to shores for a closer encounter with an emperor penguin colony and time to explore the penguin rookery.
Up close with the majestic Emperor Penguin |  <i>Kyle Super</i>


Falkland Islands & South Georgia

Combine your journey to Antarctica with an exploration of the lush islands of the Falklands and South Georgia. Come face-to-face with majestic landscapes, abundant wildlife and maritime history of the sub-Antarctic islands. Cruising to the Falkland Islands, you'll visit Port Stanley – the capital of the Falklands, before crossing the Antarctic Convergence to head to South Georgia, which boasts a diversity of mammals, whales and birds, and a series of harbours that once sheltered large fleets of whaling ships.

Disembark the ship and access spectacular wildlife-rich shorelines with king penguin colonies, macaroni and rockhopper penguins, elephant seals, sea lions and more! Exploring parts of the Antarctic Peninsula provides a further highlight to your cruise, with regular shore excursions to stretch your legs while enjoying the sights and visiting scientific stations.
King Penguins on South Georgia |  <i>Peter Walton</i>


Ross Sea

As one of the most remote regions in the world, the Ross Sea is a considered the more wild and challenging region of Antarctica and is only accessible for two months each year when the ice thaws.

Steeped with exploration epics, the gateway was discovered by Sir James Clark Ross in 1842. If you're a bit of a history buff, our Ross Sea cruises follow the paths of the early explorers with visits to huts which capture the history of legendary explorers (including Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Edmund Hillary) and their achievements. You'll also stop by the US and New Zealand research bases at Ross Island for an all encompassing voyage of discovery.

The region is the breeding ground for millions of Adelie and Emperor penguins, with ideal wildlife sightings for king, gentoo and southern rockhopper rookeries, as well as minke and orca whales. A Ross Sea cruise is a complete Antarctic odyssey!
Visiting Mawson's Hut |  <i>©NJRuss</i>


Choosing the right ship: compare Antarctica cruise vessels

Our exploratory program of voyages to the Antarctic offer a fantastic level of comfort, whilst remaining true to our small ship style of travel. The expedition cruises and vessels will see you stepping off the ship and into some of the world’s most untouched landscapes that larger cruise ships can't access.

Explore by kayak or on foot, engage in a photography workshop, or gain a deeper understanding of the region thanks to our team of expert naturalists.

VESSEL ABOUT THE SHIP
CABIN TYPES
 

Plancius

 

Complies with the latest Safety Of Life At Sea regulations; originally built as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy; vessel was completely rebuilt in 2009.

The Plancius anchors in Antarctica |  <i>Scott Pinnegar</i>




116 passengers

53 cabins


Superior, Twin Deluxe, Twin Window, Twin Porthole, Triple Porthole, Quadruple Porthole

 

Mv Ushuaia

 

Ice-strengthened polar vessel; ample deck space; open bridge policy; originally built for the United States agency National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

MV Ushuaia Antarctica |  <i>© Facundo Santana</i>





90 passengers

46 cabins


Triple, Standard, Standard Plus, Premier, Superior, Suite

 

Ortelius

 

Built in Poland as a special-purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science.

Enjoying the view from the bow |  <i>Kyle Super</i>





116 passengers

53 cabins


Superior, Twin Deluxe, Twin Window, Twin Porthole, Triple Porthole, Quadruple Porthole

 

Greg Mortimer

 

World-class purpose-built expedition vessel; capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, designed in close consultation with expedition specialists.

Top Observation Deck Looking PS Mod





120 passengers

80 cabins


Aurora Stateroom, Balcony Stateroom, Balcony Suite, Junior Suite, Captain's Suite

 

Spirit of Enderby

 

Ice-strengthened expedition vessel; originally built for polar and oceanographic research; voyages are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides.

Zodiac cruising in the Ross Sea |  <i>©SOtt</i>



 

50 passengers

26 cabins


Heritage Suite, Mini Suites, Superior Plus, Superior, Main Deck Twin, Main Deck Triple


Fun activities to do in Antarctica


When to cruise to Antarctica

The available times to cruise to Antarctica is between November and March, which is during the continent’s late spring and summer season and each month has its own special highlights.

November is ideal for travellers hoping to see towering glaciers and magnificent icebergs in its glory. It’s also an exciting time to go on zodiac excursions and kayak along shorelines with a spell of courtship rituals among penguin colonies and fur seals.

December and January are Antarctica’s warmest months with wildlife activities in full swing. The summertime hails krill species which attract beautiful marine life, penguin chicks begin hatching by mid-January and seal pups are visible. With more daylight during the day and splendid photo opportunities at midnight, this season is a photographer’s dreamland.

In February and March, see the penguin colonies at their busiest and young fur seals at their most playful. And for those keen to go whale watching, the late summer months are ideal.


Antarctica cruise reviews


Pair your Antarctica cruise with a Patagonia tour

Combine two spectacular places on earth by extending your Antarctica trip into South America and explore the amazing peaks and parks of Patagonia.

Situated at the very bottom of South America, Patagonia is a wild, remote and beautiful place punctuated by the stunning Andes mountains, so it makes sense to take advantage of your airfare and explore this fascinating region while you're 'in the neighbourhood'.

Antarctic cruises that depart from Ushuaia match perfectly with a trip to the southernmost reaches of Chile and Argentina. Browse our wide range of adventure tours, walking opportunities and challenging backcountry treks – there's one for every fitness level.


Antarctica articles from our Blog

Cruising to Antarctica FAQs

When is the best time to travel to Antarctica, and how 'rough' is the Drake Passage crossing? We answer the 11 biggest questions about voyaging to Antarctica

How to choose your Antarctica expedition

Spoilt for choice when planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica? Read our tips to help narrow down the options to the right one for you

Antarctica: the best wildlife encounters

Encounter king penguins on a day walk, paddle alongside whales in your kayak, keep your eyes peeled for the majestic albatross, or catch sightings of leopard seals

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