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Take an Expedition Cruise to Antarctica

We outline our favourite custom-built expedition vessels to explore Antarctica.

Follow in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton to the most southerly point of the earth: Antarctica, a frozen continent characterised by sparkling glaciers, wind-sculpted snow shelves and polar ice caps. Although your journey won’t be as tough as Shackleton’s, it’s certainly an expedition - read on to see which custom-built expedition vessel could suit you.

Fly & Sail

Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer Antarctica
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Antarctica XXI

Coming to Antarctica is certainly deemed a ‘big trip’ but those short on time will find Antarctica XXI offers the perfect solution. Instead of crossing the Drake Passage by sea, guests can instead fly each way to the South Shetland Islands, cutting down on journey time and making the focus of your trip the five- or seven-night voyage around Antarctica. You’ll fly from Punta Arenas in Chile with a night here on your way there and back.

We recommend Antarctica XXI’s custom-built expedition vessel Magellan Explorer, which carries around 70 guests at any time, meaning a more intimate experience as you voyage into the frozen continent of Antarctica. All the cabins are of a very high standard, with all but one category coming with a balcony and the ship also has a glass-walled observation room to maximise views.

“For those that aren’t keen on crossing the Drake Passage by sea, flying to the South Shetland Islands saves times and makes for an easier, smoother entry into Antarctica.”

YOUR TRIP

With ten zodiacs on board, getting out to explore the icy wilderness is easy. Depending on your itinerary and season, you might zoom between ice-filled fjords, snowshoe icy landscapes, kayak around bays and of course spot Antarctica’s residents: penguins, albatrosses, whales, seals and more.

Nautical Technology

Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
Greg Mortimer Aurora Antarctica
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Aurora Expeditions

Your journey starts in Argentina, crossing the Drake Passage. For this route Aurora’s ship, the Greg Mortimer is a good choice as it is a strengthened vessel tough enough to break through ice with revolutionary nautical technology plus a streamlined bow to smoothly cut through waves.

On board, it’s set up for a luxurious cruise with stylish suites and cabins, spacious communal areas including a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, two outdoor Jacuzzis, a gym, sauna and library. Outdoors, spot Antarctica’s inhabitants – curious seals, playful penguins, humpback, minke and orca whales.

“Great for families and those that like to really make the most out of their trip, Aurora are often adding new and interesting itineraries and will ensure a truly incredible and utterly unforgettable exploration of this frozen continent.”

BEST FOR

Aurora are ground-breakers when it comes to exploring the Antarctic, being the first operator to introduce ice camping, diving and kayaking on the Antarctic peninsula, followed by the first commercial expedition to retrace Shackleton’s footsteps. You can choose this as part of your trip alongside ski touring, snow shoeing, polar snorkelling, rock climbing and polar plunging.

Luxe Adventure

Silversea WInd Antartica
Royal Suite, Silver Cloud Silversea Antartica
Silver Explorer, Antarctica
Silver Explorer, Antarctica
Silver Explorer, Antarctica
Silver Endeavour, Silversea Antarctica
Silver Endeavour, Silversea Antarctica
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Silversea

Very much synonymous with top-notch service, high staff-to-guest ratios and incredible attention to detail, Silversea cover myriad destinations, including Antarctica. Expedition vessel Silver Endeavour has cutting-edge navigation and exploration technology and is an incredibly luxurious way to explore the region. For an epic trip, consider a longer Antarctic voyage which takes over 23 days. This adventure immerses you in one of the world’s most remote destinations with stops in Puerto Williams in Chile, a sail through the Drake Passage and the whitewashed Antarctic Sound plus the Antarctic Peninsula.

“For those that are looking for a cruise which combines luxe comfort with excellent on-board service and facilities on longer, intrepid trips, Silversea absolutely delivers.”

YOUR TRIP

Despite your remote location, you won’t want for anything on board. The spacious suites come with a butler service and mealtimes are a refined affair, served in one of the four restaurants. There is also a library filled with reference books, a gym, glass-enclosed pool deck, cigar lounge and spa.

ULTIMATE PRIVACY

Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer, Antarctica
Hanse Explorer, Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
Hanse Explorer yacht in Antarctica
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Hanse Explorer

For that once-in-a-lifetime bucket list experience, chartering the Hanse Explorer exclusively for a group of your close friends and family is one of those holidays you’ll never forget. A highly bespoke and personalised trip, you’ll explore one of the world’s most remote and inaccessible places, on your own agenda.

Taking up to 12 guests at a time, the Hanse Explorer has seven staterooms which are contemporary in design and maximised for comfort. Also on board is a panoramic bar and lounge, Finnish sauna and saltwater Jacuzzi. Dining is small-scale and of a very high quality, with your on-board chef and culinary team preparing meals from scratch.

“Imagine setting off from Argentina on your own private expedition vessel on a voyage of the greatest discovery around the White Continent of Antarctica.”

YOUR TRIP

On Hanse the itinerary is up to you but you may like to take the advice of Antarctic experts on board – perhaps visit the huts built by explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the 1900s, watch king penguins gather in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands or be educated by scientists at the research station.

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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