penguins, a zodiac and a cruise ship in Antarctic

Spotlight On: Antarctic Cruises

Have you ever dreamt of witnessing a landscape untouched by time? Where towering glaciers carve their paths through sculpted mountains, and vast icebergs shimmer on pristine waters? A cruise to Antarctica is your portal to this extraordinary reality. Here is a brief introduction to what you can expect from an Antarctic Cruise!

Where & When?

On an Antarctic cruise, you’ll explore one of Earth’s most remote and isolated places. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience something extraordinary. These unique voyages typically depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, often dubbed the “End of the World.” And go on to explore the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

[Photo Credit: Rebecca Hausner via Unsplash]

However, for the ultimate adventurer, a select few cruises venture into the Weddell Sea on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. These cruises promise an even more remote and untouched experience.

All the commercial operators run their cruises during spring and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. With the majority going from November to February. November is a beautiful time to visit as the cold icy winter is just beginning to recede leaving behind an absolutely pristine landscape. But the seas and weather are still a bit unpredictable and landings may not be possible.

[Photo Credit: Jeremy Stewardson via Unsplash]

December and January are the peak months with the best weather and also the highest number of people. Finally, February and March see the incredible humpback whale migration. This balances against a dirtier landscape as much of the snow and ice has started to melt and been trampled on all through the summer.

How Long is An Antarctic Cruise?

Antarctic cruises themselves typically range from 11 to 18 days. However, reaching the continent takes a minimum of two days of sailing each way across the infamous Drake Passage.

Therefore, the actual time spent exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and its wonders is closer to 4-5 days. Don’t forget, to reach Ushuaia, you’ll likely need at least one to two days of flying, depending on your origin. So, when you factor it all in, an Antarctic expedition becomes a minimum two-week commitment.

[Photo Credit: 66 North via Unsplash]

taking a photo on an antarctic cruise

What to Expect: The Ship

A ship and ice flow on an antarctic cruise

Luxury cruising in Antarctica is a unique experience compared to its tropical counterparts in the Caribbean. While you’ll find a range of ships, Antarctic cruises prioritize intimacy and exploration over extravagant amenities.

[Photo Credit: Torsten Dederichs via Unsplash]

The most recommend voyages are between 100- 300 passengers. This is because international regulations to protect the pristine environment restrict the number of visitors. At any one time, a maximum of 100 people may be on land. This smaller guest count translates to a more personalized experience. With rotations ensuring everyone gets ample time exploring via Zodiac landings and cruises. Think simple elegance in staterooms. And, a focus on communal areas designed to gather and share stories of the day’s adventures rather than to entertain.

Beyond the awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife encounters, Antarctic cruises offer a thrilling array of excursions. Imagine kayaking amidst ice floes, feeling the exhilaration of a polar plunge, or even camping overnight under the stars. You can choose to explore Antarctica via kayak each day of the cruise. Or you can do a day paddle as a one-off experience.

[Photo Credit: 66 North via Unsplash]

Experienced guides lead hiking, mountaineering, and climbing excursions on the continent. Most excursions last 1-2 hours, and a moderate level of physical fitness is essential to fully enjoy all that an Antarctic adventure has to offer.

What to Expect: On Land & Wildlife 

two travelers in red survey the icy landscape of an arctic adventure

Antarctica boasts no traditional ports, you’ll take Zodiacs directly onto the continent. There are no facilities or amenities here – the focus is on appreciating the raw beauty and untamed wildlife in its natural habitat. Your expert guides mark out specific paths to ensure environmental protection. So, while the vastness stretches before you, you’ll always be within sight of your fellow explorers. Once you exit your Zodiac, you’ll see research stations, viewpoints, and unique wildlife.

[Photo Credit: Cassie Matias via Unsplash]

The thrill of encountering penguin colonies teeming with life, lounging seals basking on the ice, and majestic whales gliding through the frigid waters is unparalleled. While respecting a 15-foot distance is encouraged, some curious creatures may approach you for an unforgettable close encounter. Most commonly, you’ll see Gentoo and chinstrap penguins, whales like minke, humpback, and orca, and a variety of seabirds and seals. Each wildlife encounter is unique and unpredictable. Have your camera ready at all times – you never know when you might spot these incredible animals.

[Photo Credit: Tam Minton via Unsplash]

What to Expect: Day-to-Day on an Antarctic Cruise

Your days will be a captivating blend of exploration and education. Seadays are filled with enriching lectures by your onboard experts. They’ll delve into the fascinating history, geology, and wildlife of Antarctica. No two days are the same, with the ever-changing scenery and exciting wildlife sightings keeping you enthralled. In between lectures, you might find yourself relaxing on deck with a steaming cup of tea, captivated by a pod of whales breaching in the distance.

a small dingy in front of an ice arch on an arctic expedition
[Photo Credit: Long Ma via Unsplash]

Shore excursions are the undeniable highlight, with most days offering two opportunities to explore. You may find yourself marveling at penguin colonies on land in the morning, and then hopping on a Zodiac for an exhilarating cruise along the dramatic coastlines after lunch. Evenings conclude with a comprehensive debrief from the expedition team, recapping the day’s adventures and outlining the exciting possibilities that await you tomorrow.


The cost of such an incredible journey is what one might expect. Between extraordinary shore excursions and a crew of experts, you can expect to pay between $5,000 – $50,000 per person for the cruise. It all depends on the size of the ship, the luxury of the amenities on board, and the length of the journey.

Are you inspired to begin planning your own Antarctic adventure? Reach out and let us help you find the perfect ship, itinerary, and price point for your adventure into this pristine, unparalleled other-world.


You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)