Cruise Ship Tours to Antarctica & Expedition Trips from Chile

Heading South we see massive tabular icebergs in the Weddell sea.

There is nothing quite an Antarctica Cruise. We won’t beat about the bush, an Antarctica adventure is on the bucket list of every traveller. Tours to Antarctica take in some of the most dramatic scenery, wildlife and adventure. Whether it be an Antarctica expedition cruise or a premium luxury Antarctica cruise, there is no better way to see the 7th continent than from a dedicated ice strengthened but supremely comfortable polar expedition vessel. You may ask, “what can I expect on my Antarctica tour?”

Our Antarctica tours, as much of the polar region as possible, from polar mountain ranges to elephant seals. Taking into account that every Antarctica cruise is subject to weather conditions, typical tours of Antarctica generally allow you to experience the following:

  • See whales, penguins, seals and orcas (killer whales) from the vessel
  • Set foot on and explore parts of the 7th Continent.
  • Gaze at mountains that tower 10,000ft above your Antarctica expedition cruise ship.
  • Watch glaciers holding ice thousands of years old calve in front of you.
  • Get a glimpse of Antarctica’s fascinating history, seeing British, Chilean or Argentine establishments.
  • Please note: on tours to Antarctica, you will not see any polar bears- these only live in the Arctic, not in Antarctica. If you want a chance to see polar bears, please ask us about our cruises to the Arctic.

How to choose the Best Antarctica Expedition Cruise Tour Vessel: Small, Safe & Comfortable

Choosing the best Antarctica tours takes a little planning. Most people choose an Antarctica expedition cruise ship from Ushuaia, but we also offer tours to Antarctica from Chile. These are a combination of Antarctica fly cruise tours (More about that later). It is important that you choose the right vessel and the style of operations to match your desired type of Antarctica cruise or expedition. All of our Antarctica cruise packages are in modern, comfortable, safe and ice strengthened vessels that are relatively small. The three most important words here to stress are: small, safe and comfortable.  As per the Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, only 100 passengers may be landed at any point.

  • Your vessel should be a purpose built Antarctica Expedition vessel with an ice strengthened hull.
  • Your Polar expedition shit should 160 passengers maximum (Divers or Kayakers do not count towards landing numbers)
  • The ships operation of zodiacs must be slick and well organised giving you the most time on land.
  • The Polar Expedition guides must be knowledgeable and competent.
  • Your Antarctica cruise vessel should be comfortable, have an excellent restaurant and a great hotel team.
  • Everything (Except drinks) in your  Antarctica Cruise package should be prepaid. You do not want any surprises at sea.
  • The price should be reasonable.

We have found that the best Antarctica Cruise Operator which fits the bill of all the above is Oceanwide Expeditions.  Should you require a more premium hotel experience, we recommend Aurora Expeditions.

Oceanwide Antarctica Cruise Expeditions:  Adventurous and Robust

Oceanwide Expeditions are the most adventurous operator and offer the greatest value for money on any Antarctica expedition cruise. We are very proud to work with Oceanwide Expeditions. We have sailed on most of her fleet since 2017 and find their Antarctica cruise ships to be comfortable and the activities offered superb. There is no surcharge for snow shoes and all landings (on the Antarctic peninsula) are included. Oceanwide Expeditions also offer scuba diving during some of their expeditions. On these truly adventurous Antarctic exploration tours, their dedicated dive team is highly dynamic and flexible so in Oceanwide Expeditions we have found the perfect partner. The largest Oceanwide Epeditions vessel we book is the MV Hondius which carries only 160 passengers. The MV Hondius is so well built and the ships’ operations during the days at sea are so smoothly organised that all passengers get ashore on every expedition to see the multitude of birds, seals and penguin rookeries in the coves and harbours of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our favourite vessels in the Oceanwide Expeditions fleet are the MV Ortelius and the MV Plancius.

Entering the Lemaire channel, the view from the bridge of the MV Ortelius.

Aurora Expeditions:  Premium Antarctica Cruises and Antarctica fly-Cruise Tours from Chile

If you dream of a slightly more luxurious Antarctica Cruise experience, (bear in mind we did say Antarctica not the Caribbean) or perhaps even an Antarctica fly cruise tour from Chile into King George Island then Aurora Expeditions and their premium vessel the MV Greg Mortimer should be your choice. During their Antarctica cruises, Aurora Expeditions also offer scuba diving, kayaking, skiing and snorkelling. However, snow shoeing is at an extra cost and skiers and kayakers are expected to be of a much higher standard than the “occasional” level.  The MV Greg Mortimer is a premium product, evident in the quality levels of on-board services and cabin outfit. It also attracts a substantially higher price tag but this is well worth it for your Antarctica or South America dream journey.

The Best Antarctica Cruise Tour for you.

Every year, we offer the full array of Oceanwide Antarctica Cruises itineraries: ranging from the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Orkney Islands to the Weddell Sea, the Antarctic Peninsula with the Lemaire Channel and even the South Shetland Islands with Deception Island. Contact us to discuss the number of days at sea and what is special to you.

Visit the Antarctic Peninsula, step on the 7th Continent and cruise past Deception Island on this Antarctica cruise tour.

For your first ever Antarctica cruise tour the very best choice would be one of our 10-day Antarctic Peninsula cruise. This Antarctica cruise tour takes in the actual Antarctic Peninsula including Port Lockroy, the Doumer hut and Brown Station, as well as the enigmatic Lemaire Channel and Deception Island.

It is here that you can see where the Royal Navy set up their bases to block German U-boat traffic. Try and imagine life in a tiny hut with a radio and binoculars in the middle of Antarctica, surrounded by ice and mountains. In addition to this, the 10-day Antarctic Peninsula cruise tour takes in Necko Harbour and Deception Island. If you are very lucky, you may be able to experience a transit of the Lemaire Channel, which is possibly the most beautiful cruise in the Southern hemisphere. Whilst heading back north again your captain may have the chance to give you a last visit to Deception Island. Your cruise to Antarctica then ends again with your arrival back in Ushuaia.

These itineraries start and end in Ushaia in southern Argentina. When opting for these itineraries, you can choose to combine a ‘fly & cruise’tour itinerary starting from Chile and landing in King George Island, or opt for the ‘cruise only’ tour itinerary. This depends on the operator and vessel.

What do these Antarctica cruises cost?  Our Antarctica 10Day Itineraries start at £4900 per person. Call or email us to discuss the best vessel, season and operator to match your wishes for your own Antartica Peninsula Cruise tour: CALL BOX

This 18 day Antarctic adventure cruise starts in Ushuaia takes in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Orkney islands and Antarctica. After exploring the west coast of the Falklands Islands by zodiacs and on foot, and you will continue towards Port Stanley. After an afternoon in the charming town of Port Stanley the ship heads out towards South Georgia. Two days steaming at 12 knots will see Shag Rocks, a small outcrop 60 nautical miles the South Georgia coast. Here you may see feeding whales. Next stop is South Georgia with visits to Prince Olaf’s Bay, St Andrews Bay, Salisbury Plains and Grytviken. All of these sites are weather permitting. After three to four days on South Georgia you’ll turn southwest to the South Orkney Islands. After a zodiac cruise the Antarctic Cruise tour heads southwest to Elephant island. Here you will be one of very few people to have seen the beach on Elephant Island where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s crew spent 4 months . You will also visit the remains of survival huts and spot the lonely research bases on the Antarctic Peninsula. After three days exploration around the Antarctica Peninsula you’ll head north towards and stop off at the South Shetland Islands with a chance to see Deception Island or Yankee Harbour. Your Antarctica cruise then takes you back towards South America and Ushuaia. During this itinerary you spend days at sea mixed with days on shore and time on the zodiacs. Depending on your choice of season, precise locations of landings may differ from the above.

South Georgia is packed with seals, endemic birds and penguin rookeries.  This is sometimes called the best of Antarctica cruises. If you travel during December, the beaches of South Georgia are packed with seals and penguins. Protected by British legislation the density of the wildlife found on South Georgia is immense, and unique..

The Shackleton Voyage Itineraries start at £9600.00 per person Call or email us to discuss the best vessel, season and operator to match your wishes for your own Antarctic Expedition. CALL BOX

St Andrews Bay, South Georgia

We escort one Antarctica (scuba dive) cruise every year on an Oceanwide Vessel. Take your chance to travel with the experts and join us in 2021 for our next Antarctica Scuba Dive Expedition around the Antarctic peninsula:

FAQs

How much does it cost to go to the Antarctic?

Antarctica tours cost from £5800 for a berth in a cabin including flights from the UK to Ushuaia via Buenos Aires, hotels and transfers

How much does Antarctica cruise cost?

Antarctic Expedition Cruises are cheaper than you might think. The best value cruises 10 day Antarctica cruises start at £4500 per person. A berth in a twin cabin in high season cists £6900. For signature Antarctica cruises to South Georgia and the Falkland islands and Antarctic, berths start at £9800.

What is the best time of year to go to Antarctica?

The Antarctica cruise season runs from November to March. All Antarctica tours during this season will be of the highest quality. The best time to see wildlife in South Georgia is during the mating season in December. The penguin roosting season is also in December. The best time to see whales is late February and March.

Do you need a visa for Antarctica?

No. Antarctica is claimed by many nations, but they have agreed to not exercise their claim. As such Antarctica is a truly free and independent continent with no borders, no passport control and no government. All you need is to be able to enter Argentina or Chile. You Antarctica cruise ship will take you to the Antarctica and bring you back again. You do not even go through immigration when you leave or enter Argentina.

How long is a cruise to Antarctica?

The best Antarctica tour for first time Antarctica cruise goers is the 10 day, 11 night Antarctic Peninsula cruise from Ushuaia in Argentina. This takes in the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, various national research stations and if you are lucky the Lemaire Channel. The South Georgia Antarctica Cruise takes 18-19 days. And there are Ross Sea odysseys which can take up to 6 weeks.

Is going to Antarctica dangerous?

There is always a risk in travel, and Antarctica is one of the most remote and inhospitable places you will go to. While all the Antarctic Cruise vessels that we use are extremely safe, these are expedition adventures and you will need to be able to climb up and down the gangway and get in and out of Zodiac inflatable boats on the beach. To mitigate the risk, all of the Antarctic expedition vessels have ice strengthened hulls, expert crews and have a doctor on board.

CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS:

Have a question?

GET IN TOUCH