What It’s Like To Cruise To Antarctica – Photo Gallery
It’s hard to put into words how incredible it is to visit Antarctica. One of the last places on the planet still virtually untouched by humankind, its pristine beauty is a sight to behold. The inhospitable climate keeps all but the most intrepid of explorers and research scientists away for most of the year. But between mid-October and March, discerning travellers can catch a glimpse into the world’s last wilderness area. Here’s what you can expect on a voyage to the Great White Continent.
Why take a cruise to Antarctica?
Magnificent glaciers, beautiful icebergs and an abundance of wildlife is one of the main draws for any visitor to Antarctica. By taking a small ship cruise, you’ll see scenery and wildlife that you’d never experience on land. An impressive list of whales and other marine mammals frequent the southern oceans, as well as literally millions of penguins, sea birds and with five species of seal.
You’ll get truly amazing photo opportunities both from the ship and up close on small Zodiac boat excursions. Watch out for seals hauled out on ice floes and towering ice sculptures — you might even want to try sea kayaking to get closer.
But banish all thoughts of huge cruise liners: our voyages to Antarctica are not like normal cruises.
Our small ships don’t carry more than 200 passengers. So if the captain spots a blue whale or polar bear, everyone can be off the ship swiftly and into a small Zodiac boat to get closer.
The size of the ships means they can access spots that big cruise ships can’t, so you’ll have the opportunity to see more remote places with less visitors around. The voyages are also much more casual than a traditional cruise: no formal dress codes for dinner here.
The voyage route
No two voyages to Antarctica are exactly the same: weather and ocean conditions will determine the exact route and activities. A Classic Antarctica voyage typically starts in Argentina’s Ushuaia before crossing the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula.
You’ll weave in and around grounded icebergs on small Zodiac boats in Pleneau Bay, before hiking to the top of a craggy hill for an unforgettable view of Port Lockroy and listening for the boom and crack of a calving glacier near Petermann Island.
Then you’ll cruise through the Lemaire Channel and have the opportunity to swim in the volcanic caldera of Deception Island.
What you can expect to see
We’ll let the photos do the talking. These incredible shots were all taken during one of our small ship cruises to Antarctica.
Our Polar Travel Specialist, Jo Cooper, says
“My voyage to Antarctica on the MS Expedition was certainly an adventure to remember. We were incredibly lucky with several days of sunshine, blue skies and calm seas. We saw plenty of Antarctic wildlife: fluffy gentoo chicks running after their mums for more food; minke, fin and humpback whales really close to the ship; fur seals, Weddell seals, crabeater and leopard seals sunning themselves on icebergs.
We also had an amazing Zodiac cruise through the icebergs. The mountains were just stunning and we visited Port Lockroy too!
We landed at the volcanic caldera of Deception Island, where a few brave people tested the geothermal waters watched by some bemused gentoo penguins. There were also a couple of chinstrap penguins wandering between us. The penguins have no fear of people and their innate curiosity means they are usually keen to come up for a closer look at their human visitors.
Travelling on a small ship enables the passengers and expedition team to get to know each other and form genuine and long-lasting friendships, and this shared experience is something that will stay with you forever. Nobody really wanted to head north again – it was the trip of a lifetime.”