What Can I Do While In Antarctica
Passengers spot a whale fluke while on a zodiac cruise. Photo: David Merron
Expedition trips to Antarctica provide daily opportunities to get off of the ship and into the environment. While sailing the coastlines of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia, most voyages make landfall at least once, during which you can walk amongst penguins and seals, hike up to vantage points to take in the immensity of the wilderness, or just sit contemplatively in a cathedral of glaciers, icebergs, and wildlife. Additionally, youll go on daily Zodiac cruises to explore beautifully sculpted icebergs, marine life including seals, penguins, and whales, and infrequently visited areas that make us all feel small in this beautifully massive environment.
For those with a thirst for something extra, there are various add-on adventure options that allow travelers to personalize their journey. These include overnight camping trips on the ice, where the true meaning of disconnecting can be fully understood.
Our Top Antarctic Cruises
A rare and popular voyage which flies one way and sails the other, maximising both expediency and experience. Spend 5-7 days exploring Antarctica on a small, newly-built expedition ship, with kayaking & snorkelling available. January – March
- 9-14 Days
The ultimate Antarctic adventure, this trip is specifically for the active traveller. Spend 6 days kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snowshoeing, all included in the price. A medium-sized expedition ship acts as your floating basecamp. Great value for money backed
- 12-13 Days
Looking for an Antarctic adventure without compromising on comfort and service? This stylish 139-passenger ship, with its cavernous suites, fine dining and compelling itinerary, offers a very polished Southern Ocean adventure, at a fair
- 20 Days
For maximum time in Antarctica with flights both ways, this trip really stands out. An extended fly & cruise voyage spending eight full days actually in Antarctica onboard a small, state-of-the-art expedition ship. Optional kayaking & polar
- 12 Days
The great strength of this trip is choice – the widest selection of departure dates and optional adventure activities available across four first-rate ice-strengthened ships . Spend a minimum of four full days exploring Antarctica. Enjoy daily
- 1112 Days
How To Get To Antarctica
Antarctica can be reached from South America and New Zealand. The best international airports to use as your stepping stone are Santiago , Buenos Aires , Montevideo , and Christchurch or Wellington . All of these cities field a full roster of international flights every day, as well as convenient regional flights to get you to your cruises port of departure.
Where do Antarctica cruises depart from?
Many cruises depart from the port of Ushuaia, Argentina. Its easy to get here by plane from Buenos Aires and Santiago. Other cruises actually start with a flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas in order to avoid sailing over the Drake Passage. Fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas for this itinerary. Some other cruises depart from the port in Montevideo, Uruguay since Montevideo is Uruguays capital city, its easy to get from your international flight to the port. Slightly less easy is the journey to Bluff, New Zealand. Youll need to fly from Wellington or Christchurch to Invercargill and take a bus or car to Bluff.
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Adventure Cruises In Antarctica
A Polar cruise will surely amaze with it’s awe inspiring scenery and wildlife.
Antarctica cruises are the gateway to an otherworldly world, one that is immensely different from everything else on Earth. The awe-inspiring majesty, scale, and bounty of this land, set against a backdrop of harshly extreme temperature and weather conditions, will stay with you forever. Visitors cruise Antarctica to witness never-ending glaciers, navigate snaking paths through sea ice, gaze up at huge mountains, and be transported by the plentitude of wildlife flying, swimming, and waddling around Antarcticas shores.Antarctica was hypothesized to exist by scientists as early as Aristotle, but was not sighted by humans until the 1800s! Even now, it has few to no permanent human residents, and much of the continent is dedicated to science.
Drake Passage – Named after the British privateer Sir Francis Drake, this is the shortest route to Antarctica and its known for rough water. But dont let queasiness stop you from enjoying the sight of gliding albatross, glittering icebergs, and enormous whales. If the passage is peaceful, lower your gaze to the water, where Hourglass Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and Fin Whales can be seen. Also make sure to look out for the ships crossing of the Antarctic Convergence, where cold and warm currents meet, and the birdlife changes in species composition.
What Kind Of Planes Fly To Antarctica
DAP Airlines, our partner since 2003, with over 25 years of experience flying in Antarctica, operates all of our direct flights to Antarctica.
The aircraft were manufactured in the United Kingdom by British Aerospace, which later became part of BAE Systems. They are high-wing aircraft with short runway requirements, which means they are particularly suited for Antarctica.
The planes we fly to Antarctica are the BAE 146-200, the AVRO RJ 85, and the AVRO RJ 100.
If you are looking for more comfort, check out our Preferred Seating benefit.
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What Are The Key Places To See When Visiting Antarctica
The key places to visit in Antarctica include the Antarctic Peninsula and its most notable islands and bodies of water, including the Antarctic Sound, Danco Coast and South Shetland Islands. At the northernmost tip of the continent, the Antarctic Sound is known for its proliferation of giant icebergs and Adélie penguin colonies, while along the Danko Coast, you find some of Antarcticas most scenic channels and bays. Famed for polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and his expedition aboard Endurance, the historic South Shetland Islands are also home to Antarctic research stations, volcanic geology and abundant wildlife, such as gentoo and chinstrap penguins.
Types Of Cruise Ships
Choosing the right cruise ship is very important and will impact how you experience Antarctica. Ship sizes will vary significantly and understanding what size ship you want will make your Antarctica journey all the more enjoyable. Ship sizes range from 45 passengers to over 500!
Larger ships are generally better appointed and have a more luxurious feel. Large Antarctica cruise ships are also more sturdy when crossing the Drake Passage and, if you suffer from sea sickness, a large ship is probably the way to go.
However, smaller ships often have much more landing opportunities as bigger ships will be restricted to certain larger landing points. The largest ships of all are not even allowed to land at all. Smaller ships also mean smaller queues. Often there will be a rota to go ashore and youll find yourself waiting hours to go on-shore, this is not the case on small cruise boats.
Small yachts are another option, however, this is a more specialist option and is not common for tourists. There are a number of registered yacht tours and most leave from Ushuaia. Yacht tours have great versatility in terms of landing locations, however, they are far more susceptible to rough seas and cost in the region of a US$1,000 per day.
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Antarctica Is Becoming Easier To Visit Heres How To Get To The Bottom Of The World
A few weeks ago, I was standing in the immigration line at the Buenos Aires airport, inching closer to Antarctica, when I learned about a drive-by cruise to the White Continent.
We dont get off the ship, the American traveler said, but I am still going to count it as my seventh continent.
I dont know if Shackleton would approve he worked hard for his landing stamp but the polar explorer would be amazed at how Antarctic travel has evolved. The isolated destination with the unforgiving environment no longer feels so far away, or so grueling. A sea crossing from the tip of Argentina takes about two days, shorter than a transatlantic cruise. By plane, the flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, lasts all of two hours. Once there, you can ski or stand-up paddle sip champagne in an inflatable tender boat surrounded by seals or ask your private butler to press your favorite humpback whale pajamas. You can even see and sniff penguins from the comfort of your stateroom balcony, without sullying your boots with guano.
Antarctica is becoming more accessible, said Colleen McDaniel, editor in chief of Cruise Critic, who recently traveled to the southernmost continent with Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury tour operator. There are a lot more options than there used to be.
We have as many luxury polar operators as we do more traditional expedition cruise operators, he said.
King George Island Antarctica
Largest of the South Shetland Islands, King George Island lies 65 nautical miles west of the Antarctic Peninsula and a comfortable two-hour flight across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas. On clear days, views from the BAE-146 aircraft are spectacular as we fly to or from the airstrip at Chiles Frei Base on KGI. Whether boarding or disembarking Polar Pioneer, we plan a short visit to Frei Base as well as Trinity Church, a small Russian Orthodox chapel near Bellingshausen Station. Flights are weather dependent and our voyage schedule is designed to allow for possible delays.
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Best Time To Cruise Antarctica
No cruise will visit Antarctica with winters polar ice, roiling seas, and sub-freezing temperatures. Therefore, youll cruise Antarctica between November and March. In November, the ice floes and bergs are freshly chiselled and the snow is pristine. Of course, its also colder. Wildlife is not at its most plentiful however, youll see penguins and sea-birds conducting bizarre courtship displays, mating, and nest-building. December to January boast the most sunlight, the most plentiful wildlife and of course, the most tour bookings. Still, its worth braving the crowds to see hatching penguin chicks, seal pups, and all the other wildlife that makes Antarctica cruises so special. By February and March, popular landing grounds are muddy and some wildlife has departed, but the crowds also decrease while whale populations are at their peak! The warming weather also provides opportunities to venture farther south.
Treat Yourself To A Unique Adventure
Far from major tourist routes, Antarctica remains one of the few preserved areas on the planet. Tourism is regulated. Vessels departing for the White Continent do not carry more than 200 passengers at a time. It’s an opportunity for everyone to enjoy an extraordinary experience and to create unforgettable memories.
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Mingle Within A Penguin Colony In South Georgia
Once a major whaling station, South Georgia is now a favourite spot for many seabirds. Among them, the king penguin is a happy resident. If you’re lucky enough to stop off at Salisbury Plain, you’ll enjoy a unique experience in the middle of a colony of no fewer than 250,000 penguins. They move around happily without regard for the few human beings who come to visit them. A unique and touching moment.
How To Get To Antarctica From The Usa
Getting to Ushuaia via Buenos Aires: Daily direct flights to Buenos Aires operate from New York, Miami, Dallas and Atlanta . Once in Buenos Aires, there are regular flights to Ushuaia.
Getting to Punta Arenas via Santiago: There are daily, direct flights to Santiago from New York, Miami, Dallas and Atlanta . Once in Santiago, there are regular flights to Punta Arenas. There is also an indirect flight from Los Angeles to Santiago via Lima .
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Expedition Cruise Ship Antarctica
The G Expedition offers once-in-a-lifetime small ship cruises to Antarctica. The 105m Expedition vessel was completely refurbished in 2009 and has been built with safety, stability, and comfort in mind. She holds up to 134 guests, but Expedition was built to be your new home-from-home during your unique Antarctica adventure. There are 6 categories of cabins onboard to suit every budget, ranging from shared quad cabins to suites. All cabins feature private en-suite bathrooms, ocean views, and daily cabins service.
The extensive social areas include the Expedition Lounge with padded sofas and magnificent views, the Lonely Planet Library with extensive reading material, the Polar Bear Pub – a cozy place to unwind with a wide selection of beverages and also a gym & sauna so you can work up a sweat. Three freshly prepared meals a day are served in the large Albatross Dining Room, along with an afternoon tea service and complimentary snacks.
How To Get To Antarctica From Australia
Getting to Punta Arenas via Santiago: There are direct flights from Sydney to Santiago 4 times a week . You may find it’s more convenient to go via Auckland, New Zealand, which offers direct daily flights to Santiago. Once there, there are regular flights to Punta Arenas.
Getting to Ushuaia via Buenos Aires and Santiago: There are no direct flights to Buenos Aires, so the most efficient way to get there is via Santiago . Once in Santiago, there are regular flights to Buenos Aires , and regular onward flights to Ushuaia .
Snowshoeing in Antarctica
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Day : Deception Island
Passing through Neptune’s Bellows – Antarctica travel
At 7:30am, we reached Deception Island, a remarkable volcanic island among the otherwise Antarctic-looking South Shetland Islands. Its a circular island with a narrow entry called Neptunes Bellows, which we passed through to enter the crater.
After days of seeing virtually nothing but white, to see black volcanic sand, dark red rocks and the other bizarre aspects of Deception Island was quite extraordinary. However, our proposed landing at Whalers Bay was postponed, and ultimately cancelled, due to 30 knot winds with gusts of 35-40 knots.
That left us with only one landing left, at the Aitcho Islands in the South Shetlands. The wind was not as fierce there, but it was still a cold landing in dull conditions.
It wasnt the best of landings, but we did see an elephant seal for the first time, which was the fourth different seal species we saw during our Antarctica cruise. He was too young to have acquired the elephant-like features hes named for, though.
And since we knew that this was our last landing, we soaked it up as much as we could, admired the gentoo and chinstrap penguins, and reminisced about everything wed done and seen in the last four or five days.
After dinner, we headed into the dreaded Drake Passage for the long journey back to the Tierra del Fuego.
How Hard Is It To Go To Antarctica
How hard is it to get to Antarctica? With a little planning it is not hard at all. The easiest way to get to Antarctica is to fly to Ushuaia, Argentina and take an Antarctica cruise. Indeed 90% of all visitors to Antarctica get there this way. You can also fly to Antarctica as part of a tour or cruise.
There are many ways to get to Antarctica. Read on to learn how to go to Antarctica from South America, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand the U.K and Europe.
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How Much Does It Cost To Go To Antarctica
An iceberg tunnel in Iceberg Alley, Antarctica
This depends on a number of factors, including when you book, the time of year you want to travel, and the type of cabin you choose.
Many people assume that an Antarctica cruise must cost tens of thousands of dollars and is something they could never afford.
While Antarctica is certainly not a budget destination, there are ways to do it without using up your entire life savings.
If you wait until the last minute, you can often get a good deal. When Nick and traveled to Antarctica a few years ago with Antarpply Expeditions, we booked about a month before our departure and paid $4,175 per person.
That was several years ago, however, and prices have gone up since then. The cheapest price currently listed on the Antarpply website for the same trip is $5,460.
Some budget travelers head to Ushuaia without booking anything in advance, hoping to find a last minute Antarctica cruise at a rock-bottom price.
Any berths that have not been filled will typically be sold to walk-ins at a steep discount. That was the case with our trip, and if we had waited until we arrived in Ushuaia we could have paid $1,200 less per person.
This is a gamble, though, as all the ships might already be full when you arrive. And with more people traveling these days, and Antarctica becoming such a popular destination, the likelihood of finding a last-minute deal is decreasing.
Day : The Gerlache Straits
Humpback whale sightings were common on our Antarctica holidays
As you can see, conditions are quite Antarctic today came the morning announcement over the intercom.
Owing to heavy snowfall and poor visibility, we abandoned our first planned landing of the day at Hydruga Rocks and instead did a cruise in the zodiacs through Gouvernøren Harbor.
We saw a 1916 shipwreck, but otherwise it wasnt a great outing thanks to the cold and the virtually horizontal snow fall, and we were glad to be back on the ship once it was over.
In the afternoon, we reached the Antarctic continent for the first time and began navigating alongside it. This was a pattern that we would follow for the next several days.
We also saw humpback whales for the first time, but certainly not the last, as sightings soon became routine. Our afternoon landing at Danco Island yielded more penguins and what would have been a spectacular 360-degree viewpoint, but clouds obscured the view in all directions.
The conditions had made it a pretty disappointing day, but, as we entered Andvord Bay, where we would anchor for the evening, our moods began to improve.
The mist that had hung over Antarctica for most of the day disappeared and was replaced by a blanket of deep grey clouds that, while still obscuring the views beyond the shoreline, created a surreal atmosphere.
Navigating through this land of ice and snow and eerie light, I felt as though we were on a completely different planet.
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