No place on earth compares to this vast white, pristine wilderness. Antarctica is simply stunning. Cruises to Antarctica are journeys of a lifetime and touch your soul in a profound way. Anticipation builds as you make your way across the Great Southern Ocean to visit this magnificent Continent - one of nature's great wonderlands!
The shear enormity of its ice shelves and mountain ranges invariably heightens feelings of humanity's insignificance and nature's grandeur. Antarctica cruises take passengers to witness nature in its most pristine and rugged state!
It's said that Ice and weather, not clocks or calendars, determine the itinerary and the timetable of all travel here so cruises to Antarctica each have their own unique signature! Onboard Antarctica cruises, naturalists offer lectures and lead sightseeing excursions. Uniquely Antarctica has never had a native population - even today, scientists and naturalists at research stations are only temporary residents - Antarctic wildlife is still unafraid of people.
On your Antarctica cruise, observe whales, penguins, sea lions and albatross as your ship sails past towering blue picture-book icebergs. Almost all visitors to Antarctica find that their experiences here exceed their expectations.
Getting there and getting around
Because you'll need to fly a long distance to reach your port of departure (unless you are on a world cruise or larger cruise itinerary), we suggest that you arrive at the port city at least one or two days in advance of your Antarctica cruise. This will give you time to rest and get oriented before boarding the ship. Most cruise lines offer pre-cruise hotel packages and your Member Service Agent will be able to help you with a full range of options and pre/post cruise itineraries.
Once onboard all your shore excursions will be from your cruise ship via smaller zodiac landing crafts dependent upon the itinerary.
Some antarctica cruises are specialized utilizing ice-breakers and expedition-type ships. Your travel consultant can help you with these specific one-of-a-kind exploration voyages.
Places to go and things to see
Depending upon which itinerary that is chosen Cruises to Antarctica include some amazing highlights and unforgettable place names such as the South Shetland or South Orkney Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, Lemaire Channel, Elephant, Half Moon or Deception Island.
For those seeking nature, history and wildlife these places to see and shore excursions should be on your list
- Antarctic Sound - Welcome to "iceberg alley" and the accompanying views that can be described only as amazing.
- Deception Island - a huge Chinstrap penguin colony share this island with a rumbling volcano and a former whaling station.
- Drake Passage - Named after the famed 16th-century explorer, Sir Francis Drake, this watery thoroughfare flows between South America and Antarctica and is a popular migratory route for the Wandering, Black-browed and Sooty Albatross.
- Elephant Island - where Sir Ernest Shackleton's crew from the Endurance spent four months awaiting rescue.
- Lemaire Channel - One of Antarctica's most scenic passageways, narrow with towering mountain & pristine glacier views
- Port Lockroy - of historical significance. This former British base has been restored as a museum offering glimpses of Antarctic from years-gone-by.
- Ross Island - known for its three eerie, ghost-inhabited huts from explorer's past, it sits near two active scientific research stations of the present!
- Scullin & Murray Monoliths -teeming with some of East Antarctica's greatest breeding seabird colonies.
- South Georgia Island - Infamous King penguins and famous fur seals call this home.
- South Shetland Islands - prolific wildlife fill its crowded beaches!
- Weddell Sea - East of the Antarctic Sound lies the Weddell Sea. Chocked with ice shelves, rock faces and tabular icebergs, it's an explorer's delight.
- Wilhelm Archipelago - includes Anvers Island with is US scientific Biological Research Station and Cuverville and Petermann Islands with their well-studied gentoo and adalie penguin colonies
Most cruises to Antarctica typically depart from South American ports like Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and Buenos Aires or Ushuaia in Argentina, and cruise the Drake Passage. Often they are part of a longer round South American itinerary.