Categories
Over-the-Counter-Medications

How to cruise to antarctica

Antarctica is exceptionally remote and it takes time to get there, but this is part of what makes the experience so special and unique. Your two main considerations should be which part of the continent to visit and whether to ​travel​ by ship or plane​. Either way, the journey will be part of the adventure!

Getting to Antarctica

  1. Which route to take: While 98% of visitors approach Antarctica via the tip of South America, as this is the quickest and most accessible route, there are other ways to reach the white continent. Discover the main routes to Antarctica.
  2. Cruise or fly? Traditionally, sailing was the only way to reach Antarctica, and it still remains the most common route, but it’s now also possible via a short 2-hour flight, for those for whom time is a luxury. Read our guide on sailing vs flying.
  3. How do I get to the start point for my trip? Discover flight routes and international airports so that you can plan your international travel.

How to cruise to antarctica

How to cruise to antarctica

Expedition ship pushing through pack ice

How to cruise to antarctica

Flying past the Pirrit Hills

How to cruise to antarctica

Your vessel among icebergs

How to cruise to antarctica

Taking off from the continent

Watch our expert advice on how to get to Antarctica.

How do I get to Antarctica?

  1. Sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina – The most popular gateway to Antarctica for 90% of visitors with the widest choice of voyages.
  2. Flying by charter plane from Punta Arenas, Chile – Reach the Antarctic Peninsula in just 2 hours, instead of 2 days at sea. Perfect for time sensitive or anxious travellers.
  3. Sailing from South Island, New Zealand – Only four voyages each season depart from here to Antarctica’s remote Ross Sea, home to emperor penguins.
  4. Flying into Antarctica’s interior from Punta Arenas, Chile – Land on a blue ice runway in the heart of the white continent. Limited departures each season.
  5. & 6. Flying to the South Pole – For a lucky handful each season, you can fly to the South Pole from either Punta Arenas, Chile or Cape Town, South Africa, and spend some time in Union Glacier Camp.

You can get to Antarctica by boat or plane. Sailing the Drake Passage from the tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula takes 48 hours. Flying to Antarctica takes 2 hours. Approximately 54,000 visitors make the journey each year, with around 50 expedition vessels sailing Antarctic waters each season.

Can I cruise or fly to Antarctica?

Cruising to Antarctica

How to cruise to antarctica

Sailing remains the most popular way to get to Antarctica, and for good reason. For purists following in Scott and Shackleton’s footsteps, or for those looking to enjoy every minute of the adventure, sailing to Antarctica is all part of the experience. Cruise ships depart from Ushuaia, commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world, before leaving South America behind to reach Antarctica.

Pragmatically, an Antarctic cruise offers the widest choice of voyage types, ships, departure dates and prices, and has the advantage of departures in November and March when flights to Antarctica don’t operate. The following Antarctic cruises are available:

  • Antarctic Peninsula& South Shetland Islands
  • South Georgia, The Falkland Islands & Antarctica
  • Polar Circle
  • Weddell Sea
  • Ross Sea

Cruising to Antarctica involves crossing The Drake Passage, a fairly notorious stretch of water. Approximately 30% of voyages experience rough weather, however it can also be surprisingly placid too, at which time it’s euphemistically called ‘The Drake Lake’. The reality for the majority of our customers is that it’s rarely as bad as it sounds, and it’s certainly a ‘price’ well worth paying.

  • Expeditions
    • Antarctic Air-Cruises
      • Classic Antarctica
      • Polar Circle
      • Antarctica Express
      • Antarctica & South Georgia
    • Sea Voyages
      • Falklands (Malvinas) & South Georgia
      • Cape Horn & The Falklands
      • Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
  • Destinations
    • Antarctica
    • Cape Horn
    • The Falklands
    • South Georgia
  • Ships & Aircraft
    • Magellan Explorer
    • Ocean Nova
    • Aircraft
  • Plan Your Trip
    • Health & Safety Plan
    • Essential Travel Tips
    • Download Your Brochure
  • Our Company
    • About Us
    • The A21 Journal
    • Contact Us
    • Our Team

How to Fly to Antarctica?

Flying to Antarctica is easier than you think!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Can you fly to Antarctica?

Yes, you can fly to Antarctica! Logistically speaking, the 7th Continent is one of the most isolated places on Earth, and specialized resources are needed to operate in the region. Our expeditions are carefully and thoughtfully planned out. Permits are secured in advance, and aircraft and ships with crews and staff have to be brought to the region for the short Antarctic season.

But, flying to Antarctica and the Antarctic air-cruise is something Antarctica21 pioneered. From our more economical air-cruise expedition, the Antarctica Express Air-Cruise, to our most popular Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise, there is something for every type of traveler looking to experience Antarctica.

How to cruise to antarctica

Below you will find the five most common questions about flights to Antarctica.

  1. Why should I fly to Antarctica? Why not sail to Antarctica? Most cruise ships cruising to Antarctica sail over the Drake Passage. This trip is a long two-day and often stormy crossing that many travelers avoid when getting to Antarctica. Flying instead of sailing over the Drake Passage allows you to reach Antarctica quickly and in comfort. You also save your vacation time and the possibility of getting seasick while crossing the Drake. Read more about our flights here .
  2. What kind of planes fly to Antarctica? Our direct flights to Antarctica are operated by DAP Airlines, who have over 25 years of experience flying in Antarctica and have been our partner since 2003. The planes we fly to Antarctica are the BAE 146-200, the AVRO RJ 85, and the AVRO RJ 100. These 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. Read more about the aircraft here.
  3. How long is the flight to Antarctica? Antarctica’s flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, takes 2.5 hours, pretty quick considering Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations in the world. Our air-cruises carry a maximum of 75 people, ensuring comfort on your flight and lots of personal space on your expedition ship. If you are looking for more convenience, you can also check out our Preferred Seating benefit here .
  4. Where does the flight depart from to get to Antarctica? Most of our expeditions to Antarctica start in Punta Arenas, Chile. All of our flights to Antarctica also begin here. To get to Punta Arenas, you can go through Santiago, Chile, from pretty much any location in the world. The flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas takes about 4.5 hours. We suggest a short stopover in Santiago and have developed some mini-travel guides to help you find your way in this city too. Check them out at the bottom of our Antarctica Travel Tips page.
  5. What should I expect when I land in Antarctica? Our flights to Antarctica land on King George Island, there is where you start your time in Antarctica. There is no airport, and the weather can vary. It is about a one-mile walk to the shore to get to your expedition vessel and then a quick zodiac ride to the ship, all part of the adventure. Our team will be with you every step of the way. From your arrival in Punta Arenas to your walk to your expedition ship, our experts will make sure you enjoy every part of your trip. To learn more about our team, take a look here !

Are you interested in flying to Antarctica? Check out our expedition video overview here!

Sailing to Antarctica: More On The Drake Passage

Most cruises to Antarctica sail The Drake Passage. This passage is an unpredictable body of water where the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans meet. The crossing here is variable at best. And at worst, it is the stuff of folklore. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship can be an experience, good and bad.

It takes at least two days to sail across the Drake Passage, assuming somewhat calm waters. Spending those two days at sea can be an opportunity to get to know your crew and fellow shipmates. However, the four days at sea (to and from Antarctica) can chip away at vacation time.

If the weather does not cooperate, you can have a delayed arrival in Antarctica, or you might have to leave the continent ahead of schedule to avoid incoming storms. For those with sensitive stomachs, seasickness is a definite possibility. This issue can change excited and happy travelers to be distressed and uncomfortable. Read more about the Drake Passage here .

Flying to Antarctica: What Makes Antarctica21 Different

  1. Small Groups & One Flight: We operate a single flight to Antarctica, which is important due to the changeable Antarctic conditions. There is no waiting on a 2nd group´s arrival.
  2. Priority Flight Window: Antarctica21 has flight priority at the Punta Arenas airport, which means we fly when there are the best conditions for crossing to Antarctica.
  3. Home in Punta Arenas: Antarctica21 is the only company formed and based in Punta Arenas, Chile. Since 2003, we have created an important network of local suppliers and services that make our Antarctic operation as smooth as possible. We can respond and quickly adapt our travel plans depending on the ever-changing conditions in Antarctica.

Learn more about how flying to Antarctica works here , or contact us for more information!

Share in

Related posts

How to cruise to antarctica

Sail on a Small Antarctica Ship

When traveling to Antarctica, there are several ship options to consider.

How to cruise to antarctica

How to Choose your Antarctic Ship

The first question many of our guests ask when deciding their polar adventure is: “which is the right ship for me?”.

Share This Post

Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:33 am

How Do You Get to Antarctica?

The best way to get to Antarctica is by plane or by cruise, typically from the southernmost part of the continent. Depending on the type of Antarctica tour, you can depart from either the southern part of Argentina or Chile. Then come the questions – do you leave from Chile or Argentina? Should you skip the Drake Passage & fly from Punta Arenas? How far is Antarctica from South America? What is the best or easiest way to get there? Read on to learn how to get to Antarctica!

Fly to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas

To begin your journey to Antarctica, you first need to get to Ushuaia, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile. The easiest way to do this is by flight from the capital cities. For example, after a few days on a tour of Buenos Aires or a tour of Santiago, take a flight to either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.

We usually recommend adding at least a day in either city, so that you can visit some of the attractions they have to offer, for example, a day tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, or a city tour in Punta Arenas.

There are other connecting cities, though, for the easiest and best Antarctica trip, we recommend traveling from southern Chile and or Argentina to get to Antarctica.

Get to Antarctica by Cruise

The first and by far the most popular way to get to Antarctica is on a commercial Ushuaia Argentina cruise. These Antarctica cruises offer shore visits, land excursions, boat excursions, and more! This is typically the most cost-effective way to travel. The downfall is that it takes the longest to get there. How far is Antarctica from South America when doing a cruise? Crossing the Drake Passage can take anywhere from 2-4 days depending on the weather.

This is an adventure in its own right, and many people are interested in getting to experience crossing one of the world’s most famous and legendary parts of the ocean. This can only be done with the cruises leaving from Ushuaia towards Antarctica.

The other major advantage of the cruise leaving from Ushuaia is that some of them include other important south Atlantic islands, as the Falklands (Malvinas), South Georgia, and the South Shetland Islands.

Recommended Antarctica Cruise from Argentina

SouthAmerica.travel offers a classic commercial cruise tour to Antarctica titled the Best Antarctica Ushuaia Cruise! This classic cruise takes care of all your worries about how to get to Antarctica by departing directly from Ushuaia, Argentina. Highlights along with this 14-day, 11-day, or 8-days Antarctica cruise include the Beagle Channel & Mackinlay Pass, Drake Passage, South Shetland, the Antarctic Peninsula, and of course Petermann Island, where you will get up close and personal with the gentoo penguins colony. Our cruise tours to the ‘White Continent’ are the best tours in the world because we can offer the highest standard of quality to all the Antarctica tour operators. Our tours include the following.

  • Voyage aboard the polar vessel Ushuaia.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee, and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • All transfers
  • English-speaking guides

Reach Antarctica by a Fly Cruise

The second most popular way of how to get to Antarctica is by embarking on a fly-cruise which includes a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile. This short 2-hour flight is the quickest way to Antarctica and embark on your cruise. This is more costly than crossing the Drake but it is the best choice for anyone not used to boats or several days long cruises. Also, it is great for people wanting to include Antarctica as another destination on a comprehensive South America tour.

When researching this topic, one of the key issues can be time because most people want to include other parts of South America in their itinerary.

We know this better than anyone as we plan trips from 7-days to 3 months all through the continent of Antarctica, including Argentina, Patagonia, and Chile. In another blog post on our website, we made a case for skipping the Drake Passage and flying directly to Antarctica.

After flying into Antarctica, you will board a cruise that will visit the area and give you a wide range of experiences ashore.

Pros of a Fly Cruise

  • You have more time to explore
  • You can avoid boats and the chance of getting seasick!

Cons of a Fly Cruise

  • Potential flight delays due to weather
  • Cost

Recommended Fly Cruise from Chile

Antarctica XXI is the pioneer company offering Air Cruises in Antarctica. With a variety of itineraries from short Antarctica visits to longer trips including the South Atlantic Islands.

Our team has done multiple trips, both by crossing the Drake and flying. We are always eager to help guests plan their dream trip to the white continent.

Contact Us an Expert Travel Consultant

Because a trip to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you should weigh your options carefully. We’d love to discuss the best way for you to get there with you! Please contact us to get started. We can also create a custom tour that includes other highlights of South America. The sky is the limit!

Share This Post

Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:33 am

How Do You Get to Antarctica?

The best way to get to Antarctica is by plane or by cruise, typically from the southernmost part of the continent. Depending on the type of Antarctica tour, you can depart from either the southern part of Argentina or Chile. Then come the questions – do you leave from Chile or Argentina? Should you skip the Drake Passage & fly from Punta Arenas? How far is Antarctica from South America? What is the best or easiest way to get there? Read on to learn how to get to Antarctica!

Fly to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas

To begin your journey to Antarctica, you first need to get to Ushuaia, Argentina, or Punta Arenas, Chile. The easiest way to do this is by flight from the capital cities. For example, after a few days on a tour of Buenos Aires or a tour of Santiago, take a flight to either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.

We usually recommend adding at least a day in either city, so that you can visit some of the attractions they have to offer, for example, a day tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park in Ushuaia, or a city tour in Punta Arenas.

There are other connecting cities, though, for the easiest and best Antarctica trip, we recommend traveling from southern Chile and or Argentina to get to Antarctica.

Get to Antarctica by Cruise

The first and by far the most popular way to get to Antarctica is on a commercial Ushuaia Argentina cruise. These Antarctica cruises offer shore visits, land excursions, boat excursions, and more! This is typically the most cost-effective way to travel. The downfall is that it takes the longest to get there. How far is Antarctica from South America when doing a cruise? Crossing the Drake Passage can take anywhere from 2-4 days depending on the weather.

This is an adventure in its own right, and many people are interested in getting to experience crossing one of the world’s most famous and legendary parts of the ocean. This can only be done with the cruises leaving from Ushuaia towards Antarctica.

The other major advantage of the cruise leaving from Ushuaia is that some of them include other important south Atlantic islands, as the Falklands (Malvinas), South Georgia, and the South Shetland Islands.

Recommended Antarctica Cruise from Argentina

SouthAmerica.travel offers a classic commercial cruise tour to Antarctica titled the Best Antarctica Ushuaia Cruise! This classic cruise takes care of all your worries about how to get to Antarctica by departing directly from Ushuaia, Argentina. Highlights along with this 14-day, 11-day, or 8-days Antarctica cruise include the Beagle Channel & Mackinlay Pass, Drake Passage, South Shetland, the Antarctic Peninsula, and of course Petermann Island, where you will get up close and personal with the gentoo penguins colony. Our cruise tours to the ‘White Continent’ are the best tours in the world because we can offer the highest standard of quality to all the Antarctica tour operators. Our tours include the following.

  • Voyage aboard the polar vessel Ushuaia.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee, and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • All transfers
  • English-speaking guides

Reach Antarctica by a Fly Cruise

The second most popular way of how to get to Antarctica is by embarking on a fly-cruise which includes a flight from Punta Arenas, Chile. This short 2-hour flight is the quickest way to Antarctica and embark on your cruise. This is more costly than crossing the Drake but it is the best choice for anyone not used to boats or several days long cruises. Also, it is great for people wanting to include Antarctica as another destination on a comprehensive South America tour.

When researching this topic, one of the key issues can be time because most people want to include other parts of South America in their itinerary.

We know this better than anyone as we plan trips from 7-days to 3 months all through the continent of Antarctica, including Argentina, Patagonia, and Chile. In another blog post on our website, we made a case for skipping the Drake Passage and flying directly to Antarctica.

After flying into Antarctica, you will board a cruise that will visit the area and give you a wide range of experiences ashore.

Pros of a Fly Cruise

  • You have more time to explore
  • You can avoid boats and the chance of getting seasick!

Cons of a Fly Cruise

  • Potential flight delays due to weather
  • Cost

Recommended Fly Cruise from Chile

Antarctica XXI is the pioneer company offering Air Cruises in Antarctica. With a variety of itineraries from short Antarctica visits to longer trips including the South Atlantic Islands.

Our team has done multiple trips, both by crossing the Drake and flying. We are always eager to help guests plan their dream trip to the white continent.

Contact Us an Expert Travel Consultant

Because a trip to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you should weigh your options carefully. We’d love to discuss the best way for you to get there with you! Please contact us to get started. We can also create a custom tour that includes other highlights of South America. The sky is the limit!

Here are my very best budget Antarctica tips, in hopes of saving as much as you possibly can on the experience of a lifetime! Those Antarctica tours are not cheap! Many dream about it, few have done it. I recently booked for the coming season and saved over $7000 off the listed price of travel to Antarctica and $3000 off even the best group trips I could find. Let’s save some money on an Antarctica cruise!

The average listed price for a cruise to Antarctica is now up to $12,000 with insurance, flights etc. factored in, which is why these tips are so valuable. It’s not unusual though to see luxury trips at $20,000, eep!

Moneysaving before buying your ticket

If you don’t have one already, grab a creditcard that has amazing perks.

You’ll be able to squeeze airmiles out of it, and maybe even cashback. You can even get rewards from paying your rent via this site. Amex is always a good choice of plastic for really big spends so long as you repay it in full every month! I’m hoping to pay for my flight to Antarctica using this card’s fab loyalty scheme.

If you can’t use your trusty creditcard, a cashback site is the next best option. Make sure that whenever you pay for something, even if just everyday things, you work to get something returned to you.

You may need a visa for Antarctica, and if you’re British here’s the details on permits and details for US travellers. They vary for other countries! To get one usually takes around 4 months (!), but if you’re on an organised cruise, it’s likely the operator will have handled that already.

Most cruises leave from Ushuaia argentina, so you also need to pay the landing tax in Argentina, which will be around $140.

A post shared by Lev L. Spiro (@llspiro) on Jul 26, 2017 at 7:56am PDT

Last minute antarctica deals

Your next step is to sign up to every newsletter, and like every Facebook page of all the Antarctica tour operators, and feverishly hunt for discounts.

Many travellers will tell you to go last minute, or even fly to Ushuaia and hunt for a last minute Antarctica cruise bargain there. I’d say that if you are open to almost any cruise, even ones without activities or which don’t visit base camp on Antarctica, that’s great.

But if you have dealbreakers in mind, you cannot risk the last minute deals. You might find yourself with no valid options or only expensive tickets left.

Getting an Antarctica cruise from Ushuaia

Ushuaia has its own airport, a line of somewhat samey tourist shops and some good restaurants. Friends who stayed there longer than a day or two usually got bored, although the Tierra del Fuego national park right nearby is a total stunner.

Luckily, the town has a well connected airport with flights from Buenos Aires and coaches that will take you to the harbour. It’d be a shame to miss a quick whizz of the camera by their famous ‘end of the world’ sign.

You’ll only need roughly a one day buffer in Ushuaia on either side of your trip – unless you want to stay longer!

Factor in the cost of your flights

Before you jump at the deal you’ve just spotted, remember that Argentina has it’s own peak season during which flights will cost heaps more. The season is primarily December to Jan.

Most tours also ask you to stay 2 days on either side of your cruise in Ushuaia, so hotels are a factor. The reason is that, unsuprisingly, weather affects budget cruises to Antarctica a lot!

A post shared by 2041 (@2041climateforce) on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:50am PDT

Save on essential accessories and gear for your Antarctica cruise

Rent your gear and book the sizes required in advance from Ushuaia; no need to purchase anything or carry it in your luggage. Also sign up to newsletters; you can leave any time but the hottest deals will be within.

When you do food shops in the run up to your trip, start buying almost exclusively products with that yellow discount sticker- most often spotted around an hour before closing or sometimes just after lunch. I now buy these items during most trips to the supermarket and have noticed a marked decrease in food costs. This will pay for a lot of your trip!

A post shared by Freestyle Adventure Travel (@freestyleadventure) on Jul 25, 2017 at 4:36am PDT

Book the perfect cheap Antarctica cruise

Start searching for the best deal on a budget Antarctica cruise that the web has to offer. Once you find one you like, immediately check if you are eligible for the berth, as some can only be taken by male or female passengers.

A nifty tip is to ask the travel agent to reserve the ticket for you for 1 week while you thoroughly explore your options, which they will do without charge. This gives you time to research and pick up your travel insurance. If you find a better deal online, ask your original agency to match it. You might even be able to pick up some extra income while travelling!

Here’s a list of agencies where I found surprisingly discounted prices:

Freestyle Adventure Travel – who offered 40% off and a free internal flight plus hotel stay, so I jumped at their offer.

My top tip for bagging a cheap Antarctica trip

The best route I’ve found for getting a bargain is to Google “tourist agency Ushuaia” and view the sites of individual travel agencies based in that town. That’s how you find the deals that aren’t so high on Google and get to the head of the queue. A little google translate here is very useful too for sites in Spanish!

My Antarctica cruise cost

So that’s how I managed to snag the cruise part of my trip for only $6280, stay tuned for tips on booking flights and insurance at bargain prices!

How to cruise to antarcticaPin this to save on your dream trip!

Note: this post is NOT sponsored and I am not receiving any payment for posting. I’ve paid my own ticket to Antarctica! This is my genuine opinion and I have shared the company I chose to travel with because I felt their service was excellent and other budget travellers might like to check them out too.

Do you dream of making a journey to Antarctica? With its soaring mountain peaks, towering icebergs and diverse wildlife, it’s easy to see why. As you might have guessed, the easiest way to visit the white continent as a tourist is by a cruise ship. But how do you know what’s the best Antarctica cruise for you?

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to consider when choosing your cruise to the bottom of the earth.

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND YOUR ANTARCTICA CRUISE

1. TYPE OF CRUISE

There are two main types of cruises to choose from, luxury and expedition voyages. The main differences between these two ship styles are the activities and services offered.

Expedition cruises offer as much time as possible off the ship, exploring the waters by zodiac and the land by hiking. Many expedition cruise operators offer activities like camping, kayaking, snowshoeing and scuba diving. These ships tend to be refurbished Russian polar research vessels and are a bit rough around the edges. Some people love this about the ships and think it adds to the polar explorer experience. Other people would prefer fine carpets and elegant interior decoration.

Luxury cruises provide higher end room options and 5 star on-board service. The cabins are typically much larger and often times offer private balconies. Expect fine dining on board a luxury ship. Often times a selection of wine, beer and spirits will be included in the price of the trip.

If you want some creature comforts as well as an adventurous trip, look at going on an expedition cruise and opt for the upgraded room options.

How to cruise to antarctica

2. SHIP SIZE

SMALL SHIP (LESS THAN 150 PASSENGERS)

Small-ships offer some big advantages. The experience is more intimate and you will get to know your fellow cruisers better than if you would be on a large ship. Being less people also means you will have more time on shore. Small boats are better suited for people who want to spend as much time as possible with Antarctica’s incredible wildlife.

LARGE SHIP (200 PASSENGERS +)

One advantage to cruising on a large ship is the are more stable in the rough, rolling seas. Also, bigger ships tend to have a more luxurious feel. The big downside is that because of its size, it’s often restricted from getting to a few landing sites. Also, these ships have less excursions that small ships because of logistics of getting so many people on and off the ship.

3. REGION

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

The most popular and affordable option to cruise Antarctica is to go to the Antarctic Peninsula. These trips begin and end in either Ushuaia, Argentina or Punta Arenas, Chile. Most operators cruise a similar route – cross the Drake Passage, cruise several days (4-5) along the western shore of the Antarctic Peninsula, then return back through the Drake Passage. This option typically takes between 10 to 13 days in total.

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA, SOUTH GEORGIA & FALKLAND ISLANDS

If you have a bit more time and want to explore more of the polar region, look at itineraries that go to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. These trips average 20 days. The main reason people choose this option is that there is a chance of seeing King penguins. You can’t see these guys on the Peninsula cruise option.

This route takes you through the Southern Ocean to the Falkland Islands. From there you head to South Georgia, where you can visit the grave of the famous polar explorer, Ernest Shakleton. You then sail on to the Antarctic Peninsula, and then through the South Shetland Islands back to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.

WEDDEL SEA

An expedition to the Weddel Sea will take you on a trip to see Emperor penguin rookeries. These trips are perfect for cruisers who have already been to the Antarctic Peninsula and are looking to have an encounter with the biggest of all the 15 species of penguin.

ROSS SEA

The Ross Sea is one of the least explored Antarctic Regions, with only a few hundred people able to visit each year. During the brief summer months, the wildlife is abundant. This itinerary will take you further south into the continent than any other route.

How to cruise to antarctica

4. TIME OF THE YEAR

Cruises to Antarctica go from early November to late March. Each part of this short summer season differs in conditions and what you can see so it’s an important factor when choosing which trip you should take. Keep in mind that this is just a rough guide and every season is different.

NOVEMBER

In November there is still lots of sea ice, especially on the east side of the Peninsula. The downside to this is that some landing sites will be inaccessible. Many penguins are beginning to come ashore to start mating and nest building. These flightless birds lay there eggs during this month. If you visit the Weddell Sea you can see Emperor penguins. Elephant seals are mating and King penguins lay their eggs on South Georgia Island.

DECEMBER – JANUARY

December and January fall in the peak season in Antarctica, which means expect higher prices. It’s also when you have the best chance to have a calm Drake Passage crossing. This is the peak season in Antarctica with the best chance for calmer water while crossing the Drake Passage. The sea ice has receded some which means that you will be able to travel farther south. During this time penguin chicks are hatching. You will see the adult penguins returning to see to feed the chicks. This is also a great time to spot whales and seal pups.

FEBRUARY – MARCH

These late season months are the peak season for whales in the Antarctic Peninsula. The sea ice has dramatically receded which mean that ships can explore more than in early season months. This is also one of the best times to see fur seals in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. Penguin chicks begin to molt, losing their fuzzy plumage and growing their adult feathers.

How to cruise to antarctica

5. BUDGET

As you can imagine, Antarctic cruises are not cheap – ranging from $6000 – $25,000, it’s a trip that many save for years to go on. There are three main determining factors when it comes to prices – itinerary, cabin type and extra activities.

ITINERARY

The least expensive cruise options are the Antarctic Peninsula routes. Increasing the days of your trip will also increase the overall price.

CABIN TYPE

Many ships offer a wide range of cabin types – from triple share bunk rooms, with a shared bathroom and tiny porthole windows to luxurious suites with private bathrooms and large windows or balconies.

EXTRA ACTIVITIES

There is a lot of things to see and do in Antarctica. Some operators offer special programs such as expedition photography and sea kayaking. These add-on activities can significantly increase the price of your trip but might be worthwhile if they suit your interests.