There’s many reasons why Antarctica holidays are on so many people’s bucket list: surreal icy landscapes, endemic wildlife, total isolation and a captivating history spanning centuries. As you sail into remote frozen territories where seals, penguins, whales and a vast variety of seabirds call their home, you’ll be mesmerised by this untouched frozen land.
Our Antarctica cruises are accompanied by highly knowledgeable leaders and expedition staff that share their unequalled expertise about the places you visit. Sailing on purpose-built ships designed to cut through frozen waters, you’ll be navigated to regions that can’t otherwise be reached. Zodiacs will take you even closer to the action and an expert is always on hand to impart fascinating information. There are also optional activities available, including sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and camping on ice. On board the ships the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, and you’ll have the chance to mix with like-minded passengers from around the globe. There are plenty of spaces on the ship to relax or learn more about Antarctica, from the observation lounge and library to the intimate lecture theatre.
Our Antarctic cruises are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.
All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only – it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.
Zodiac excursions from the ship allow you to explore the many bays and channels as well carrying you to the landing sites each day. On the longer Zodiac cruises you will be sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind – if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. However, the chance to see penguins gliding through the water and seeing seals lounging on ice floes more than make up for the cold! Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs too, giving us a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals.
On the shore excursions, most of the landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle-deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. The expedition team will be there to advise where you are free to explore during a landing and make suggestions as to what you can see. On some landings there may be the option to do a guided walk – the expedition team will let you know the details in advance.
We work with many fine Expedition Leaders and Polar Cruise Experts, bringing a diversity of interests including zoology, Polar history, geology, ornithology and ocean sciences. During the time at sea, a series of presentations will be scheduled to prepare you for the coming adventure.
In addition to regular shore landings and Zodiac excursions, on some departures in Antarctica there are other optional activities on offer which you may wish to experience.
On many of our Antarctic cruises there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are expertly guided and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.
Camping on Ice
Spending a night camping on ice is a unique experience we offer on some of our Antarctic departures. No previous experience is needed to participate in our camping option. We provide the equipment: you contribute a desire for a personal and intimate connection with the continent.
Combining surfing with kayaking or canoeing, stand-up paddle-boarding will give you a very personal and unique perspective on Antarctica. Guided by experienced staff in small groups in good weather conditions on calm bays and harbours, reservations for a limited number of paddle-boarders will be taken at time of booking. Other paddle-boarding opportunities may be offered via sign-up, onboard ship, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Antarctic Polar Cruise Fleet
Small ships make the difference. The key to really making the most of your time in Antarctica is to ensure maximum shore and Zodiac time. Ships with more than 200 passengers often find their landing sites are limited, and the logistics of disembarking the ship’s complement into Zodiacs can be slow. Our small expedition cruise ships generally offer twice daily ‘off-ship’ activities – both morning and afternoon – with waiting time being almost non-existent. Our ships are all ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters and are able to travel to areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are excellent and every guest will benefit from the technical advances of this superb fleet. For more information see our Polar Fleet page.