It is expensive to travel to Antarctica, there’s no doubt about that. However there are many different ways of getting there, and important choices to be made depending on what you want to get out of your trip of a lifetime. Here is a summary of the types of cruises on offer to help you navigate your way through the options.
Antarctic Peninsular Cruises
This is by far the most popular way to travel to Antarctica; and deservedly so! Most people are not looking to recreate the epic voyages of the explorers. These Antarctica Cruises allow you to experience the beauty and incredible nature in Antarctica at a reasonable price. The best options are the ice reinforced cruise expedition type ships with a maximum of around 100 passengers. Ships come with teams of polar experts onboard to enhance the Antarctica experience. Craft are often supported by zodiacs to allow closer exploration. Many cruises have additional kayaking and camping options- a great way to sneak up on penguins or experience sleeping on a land of ice.
See our MS Expedition Cruise to The Antarctic Peninsular
Some options include an extra couple of days in order to cross the Antarctic Circle at 66 degrees 33.7′ South; a feat only achieved by very few travellers.
This involves flying to and from the Peninsular; or you can fly in one direction and sail the other. Flying for some of the journey does save the two days needed for the Drake’s Passage crossing, and avoid the some of the roughest seas on an Antarcica cruise. Fly sail option are more expensive, though, and you do miss out on that feeling of adventure as you set sail in the steps of the explorers down to the southern seas.
See our Antarctica Fly and Cruise
South Georgia, Falklands and Antarctic Peninsular Cruises
These extended trips last around 20 days but the reward is the incredible variety in landscapes and wildlife to be seen. The Falklands Islands are a home to Magellanic, Gentoo, Rockhopper and King Penguins. It is also a fascinating British outpost with some unusual, cozy pubs. South Georgia is known as the ‘Galapagos of the South’ for its wealth and variety of wildlife including elephant and fur seals, rookeries of thousands of King penguins and whales. The cruises then generally follow the route of the Antarctica Cruises before returning to Ushuaia, Argentina. See Hebridean sky, a more luxurious option and ask us about other ships that make this voyage.
Note: There are options visiting only South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsular only.
This extended voyage combines the best of the Western Peninsula with the less visited, more remote Eastern side. Here are abundant penguin rookeries, incredible icebergs and unforgettable landing sites. A perfect voyage if you’re looking for an in depth exploration of Antarctica with voyages lasting 14 days.
Travel in the footsteps of explorers such as Mawson and Shackleton, take a special cruise in Nov/Oct to search for Emperor penguins, or climb some Antarctic mountains. Ask us for more options.
Big ship cruises by the likes of Princess Cruises. These huge ships are high on comforts and entertainment and facilities. They often follow the route Buenos Aires to Valariso, Chile, or vice versa. The nearest you will be able to get to Antarctica though will be the Falkland Islands. Restrictions in Antarctica mean that only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at any one time; making the logistics of getting the 1000 or so passengers ashore impossible.
On some cruises, it is possible to visit Antarctica as a shore excursion. This involves flying there from Punta Arenas, Chile and prices are in the region of US$3, 000.