7 companies you need to know about for the ultimate Antarctica cruise holiday
Embark on a journey to the untouched wonders of Antarctica with these leaders in polar expedition cruises.
If you are looking for a cruise that offers entertainment and attractions of the natural kind, daily zodiac excursions and breathtaking icebergs, consider a cruise to Antarctica – the last untouched continent. The smaller expedition ships used on most of these journeys have limited capacities, offering a more intimate experience as you explore some of the most remote regions of the world. These companies boast years of polar experience and bring experts onboard ranging from scientists to historians to further enrich your Antarctic experience.
Running small-group polar expeditions for 20 years, Oceanwide Expeditions have been named the world's leading polar expedition operator four times at the World Travel Awards.
- Guided excursions include helicopter transfers, sea kayaking, photo workshops, polar diving and ski trekking
- Listen to lectures about the destination aboard the ship by naturalists
- Available dining options: All meals provided, plus snacks, coffee and tea.
- Top Antarctica ships: m/v Ortelius, m/v Plancius
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Up to $7,950 off Ross Sea Antarctic expeditions
Book a Ross Sea expedition, which includes helicopter tours, wildlife viewing and sea ice walks, for up to $7,950 off the regular price. Departures in early 2017 available.
Peregrine Adventures offers adventures in intimate-sized groups for a more personal and attentive experience.
- Expeditions are led by experts who offer a trove of knowledge on history, wildlife and geography
- Book nine trips and get the tenth one free (worth up to $2,500)
- Available dining options: Contemporary cuisine available on Ocean Endeavour
- Top Antarctica ships: Ocean Diamond, Ocean Endeavour, Sea Adventurer
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G Adventures provides an expert to every 10 guests, ranging from historians and marine biologists to naturalists, to provide a unique perspective for every adventure.
- Multilingual team is on standby 24/7 should you need assistance
- 100% guaranteed departures
- Available dining options: Chef-prepared meals
- Top Antarctica ships: G Expedition
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Travel to Antarctica in small groups to experience the unique wildlife and landscapes of the South Pole.
- Sustainable travelling minimises carbon footprint while maximising fun
- Available dining options: Two restaurants on board offer chef-prepared meals
- Top Antarctica ships: Sea Adventurer
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Celebrity allows you to cruise in style and comfort, with top dining and entertainment choices.
- World-class, personalised service with all the comforts of traditional cruise staterooms and amenities
- Variety of onboard activities, from exhilarating to relaxing including a spa and casino
- Available dining options: Qsine is a popular choice for those looking for a gastronomic adventure while The Alcoves offers a chic, cabana-style dining for secluded relaxation. Celebrity also caters to special dietary needs
- Top Antarctica ships: Celebrity Infinity
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Discover the world in French style and elegance with Ponant, away from the crowds of traditional cruise lines.
- Exclusive, smaller cruise ships ensure an intimate and personalised cruise experience
- A distinct French touch in every aspect of dining, service – even the interior design of the ship
- Available dining options: Elegant restaurants serving French-inspired gourmet dishes and fine wines available on every ship
- Top Antarctica ships: Le Boreal, Le Soleal, Le Lyrial
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Sail with the pioneers of polar exploration with vessels designed to reach some of the world’s most remote places.
- Explore with the help of experts in the field and learn about polar wildlife, history and landscapes
- Best price guarantee on seasonal expedition fares up to 60 days prior to departure date
- Available dining options: All ships feature chef-prepared meals
- Top Antarctica ships: 50 Years of Victory, Kapitan Khlebnikov, Sea Adventurer, Ocean Diamond, Ocean Nova
Where do Antarctica cruises leave from, and is airfare usually included?
As the tip of the South American continent is the closest to Antarctica, it’s a popular departure point. Most cruise ships leave from the following South American cities: Buenos Aires, Montevideo or Ushuaia. Airfare is usually not included in the cruise price although some cruise companies can make flight bookings for you at an additional charge.
When do Antarctica cruises sail?
The best time to visit Antarctica is during the summer months, with most expeditions going between November and March.
Why are Antarctic cruises so expensive?
Antarctic cruises are expensive as Antarctic vessels are ice-strengthened and some are even ice-breakers. These vessels are often much smaller than traditional cruise ships in order to navigate remote regions, hence less passengers can be taken on a single trip. The trips also include other miscellaneous expenses such as pre-cruise overnight stays and shore excursions. Costs also depend on the length of the trip as a typical itinerary will be no less than eight days and some even go for as long as three weeks.
Are there penguins in Antarctica?
Yes! You'll likely see plenty of penguins on an Antarctica cruise
Average price per night for an Antarctica cruise
- Quark Expeditions: $1,657 per night
- Peregrine Adventures: $582 per night
- G Adventures: $910 per night
- Oceanwide Expeditions: $710 per night
- Intrepid Travel: $887 per night
- Celebrity Cruises: $372 per night
- Ponant: $1,259 per night
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