Antarctica Cruise & Travel Guide

Loading... Available

Welcome to your one-stop shop for Antarctica tips and advice. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious newcomer, our comprehensive Antarctica travel guide and cruise comparison is packed with everything you need to know to plan and book the perfect itinerary.

First-hand expertise: Our team of travel specialists has decades of experience exploring the icy wonders of Antarctica. We’ve authored in-depth articles and resources to answer all your questions, from how to choose the right cruise to navigating the logistics of polar travel.

Unforgettable experiences: Dive deep into the breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich history of this remarkable continent. We’ll share our insights on spotting penguins and whales, kayaking through glaciers, and soaking in the otherworldly beauty of the Antarctic wilderness.

Planning made simple: We understand that planning an Antarctic adventure can be daunting. That’s why we’ve created a user-friendly guide to help you make informed decisions every step of the way. From choosing your travel style to selecting the perfect ship, our expert tips will ensure a smooth and unforgettable journey.

Start your adventure today: Don’t let the unknown hold you back from experiencing the magic of Antarctica. Browse our Antarctica travel guide, connect with one of our specialists, and start planning your dream expedition to the bottom of the world!

In this guide, you’ll find:

Essential Antarctica advice: Learn about the best time to visit, what to pack, and how to get there.

In-depth cruise reviews: Explore a variety of Antarctica cruise options to find the perfect fit for your interests and budget.

Destination guides: Discover the must-see places in Antarctica, from the Antarctic Peninsula to the Falkland Islands.

Expert tips and insights: Get insider advice from our team of Antarctica specialists.

And much more!

We’re passionate about sharing our love for Antarctica with the world. One phone call is more productive than hours of internet research. Let AdventureSmith Explorations be your guide to this awe-inspiring continent!

Why Cruise Antarctica?
When to Go
When to Book
How Much Will it Cost?
Getting to Antarctica
Antarctic Cruising Regions
Antarctica Specialty Cruises
Antarctic Air Cruises
Choosing An Antarctic Ship
Choosing Your Cabin
Antarctica Activities
Rough Seas & Seasickness
Antarctic Cruise Lines
Solo Travel
Online Cruise Reviews

A female traveler in sunglasses and a blue jacket leans against the railing of a ship in Antarctica with the calm ocean and white-capped mountains behind her


You have questions.
We have answers.

Why Cruise Antarctica?

The White Continent is truly a bucket list destination—a land like nowhere else on Earth. Walk among penguins and view extraordinary whales and wildlife. Experience massive icebergs and glaciers. Antarctic is the ultimate travel adventure. View 10 Reasons to Visit Antarctica Now

When to Go

Cruises to Antarctica operate during the austral summer, beginning in November and ending in March. November through mid-December is the early season when you will find prevalent sea ice and courting penguins.

High season is mid-December through mid-February. This is the best combination of long days, good weather and calm seas. The end of February and March are late season, highlighted by the presence of whales.

Within these polar seasons there are several considerations including ice, wildlife, sea conditions and price. Read a comprehensive post on the best time to visit Antarctica, with weather and wildlife by month. Find temperature and daylight tables on our Antarctica climate page.

When to Book

Book Antarctica travel at least 9-12 months in advance. Antarctica rates and sailing dates are typically released 18-20 months prior to the sailing season.

Booking early ensures you will find the right ship, your desired cabin and the best itinerary for your interests and budget. Plus, you’ll find early booking special offers.

How Much To Pay

Cruises start at about $5,000 per person. The average price is $8,000 per person and luxury cruises can cost $15,000 or more per person. Our experts crunch the numbers and outline the considerations that influence Antarctica cruise cost.

Save money with early-booking discounts, last-minute offers and money-saving Antarctica travel tips. Antarctica deals are updated frequently so check back often.


See the full list of deals, special offers and money saving tips.


Getting to Antarctica may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Most travelers will take a cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina. Antarctica air cruises depart from Punta Arenas, Chile.

Some specialty cruises may depart from Tierra del Fuego or Port Stanley in Argentina. Others’ departure regions include New Zealand and Australia. Learn more about how to get to Antarctica. Or simply call our experts to begin planning.

Antarctica Cruising Regions

Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing an Antarctic cruise is where to go. Following is an overview of Antarctica travel regions to help you choose your cruise.

Antarctica can be separated into six broad categories based on where cruises operate. Antarctic cruising regions include the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctic Circle, South Georgia Island, the Falkland Islands the Weddell Sea and the Ross Sea. Find more advice on where to go with a deep dive into places in Antarctica

Antarctic Peninsula Cruises

The most popular and affordable cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula. Beginning and ending in Ushuaia, Argentina, these routes are the most common. An Antarctic Peninsula cruise will cross the Drake Passage, spend several days along the peninsula’s western shore, then return via the Drake Passage.

Most of these classic itineraries include a stop at the South Shetland Islands. Longer cruises may include Elephant Island or aim to reach the Polar Circle.

How long does it take to cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula?

From Ushuaia Argentina it takes two days to cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula. Then spend 5-10 days cruising the peninsula. Antarctic Peninsula cruises range from 10-14 days total.


See the full list of itinerary options, plus reviews.

Antarctic Circle Cruises

Some specialty cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula have the goal crossing the Antarctic Circle. These itineraries include everything a peninsula cruise does with a few added days to travel farther south.

The Antarctic Circle is a circle of latitude that runs about 66.5 degrees south. It marks the northernmost latitude at which the sun can stay continuously below or above the horizon for 24 hours. Crossing the Antarctic Circle is a big deal for some polar travelers.

Antarctic Circle cruises usually occur in the mid- to late-season (January through March). This timing ensures the southern waterways are ice-free. Some Antarctic Circle cruises are combined with South Georgia and the Falkland Islands itineraries for a comprehensive exploration.

How long does it take to cruise to the Antarctic Circle?

The shortest Antarctic circle cruises range from 12-15 days and include the Antarctic Peninsula. Longer Antarctic circle cruises that include South Georgia and the Falkland Islands take 20-23 days.

South Georgia Island Cruises

For those with more time and a larger budget, we recommend cruises that include South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. South Georgia is on the bucket list of most polar travelers.

Isolated in the southern Atlantic Ocean, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are home to an astounding concentration of wildlife. There is a massive king penguin colony and thousands of fur and elephant seals.

A visit to the grave of British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and historic whaling stations adds a unique element of human history. Adventurous travelers can follow Shackleton’s heroic route across the island on a rigorous 3-day trek.

How long does it take to cruise to South Georgia Island?

The voyage from Ushuaia Argentina to South Georgia Island takes 4 days. Cruises including the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia Island range from 17-25 days.

More resources: Find all South Georgia cruises or learn more about the wildlife and history and why to include South Georgia Antarctica.


See the full list of itinerary options, plus reviews and advice.

Falkland Islands Cruises

Located northeast of Tierra de Fuego in Argentina, the Falkland Islands are known for their wildlife and dramatic history. The region is home to 5 species of penguin, 53 species of breeding birds and 70 percent of the world’s population of black browed albatross.

Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands and the largest settlement, is a quintessential British town with pubs, churches and small museums. The town is the site of major battles between Argentine and British forces, and a hub of Falklands War history.

There are a handful of specialty trips to the Falkland & South Georgia islands only. These appeal to travelers who have already visited the Antarctic Peninsula.

How long does it take to cruise to the Falkland Islands?

Voyages including the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands range from 17-25 days. Cruises to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands take a similar 19-24 days. 


See the full list of itinerary options, plus reviews.

Weddell Sea Cruises

Though technically the Weddell Sea is in the Antarctic Peninsula, expeditions to the Weddell Sea are often routes of their own, not including time on the Antarctic Peninsula proper.

Weddell Sea expeditions aim to visit secluded emperor penguin rookeries. Some include helicopter transfers for a truly once-in-a-lifetime penguin encounter.

How long does it take to cruise the Weddell Sea?

Weddell Sea voyages average 13-16 days.

Ross Sea Cruises

The Ross Sea is an enormous shallow bay located far southeast of New Zealand. Its remote location has kept it relatively untouched by humans. It is home to an amazing array of polar birds and marine life.

The Ross Ice Shelf is a massive glacial wonder about the size of France. Cruises to the Ross Sea are true polar expeditions. Some Ross Sea cruises may begin or end in New Zealand or Australia.

How long does it take to cruise to the Ross Sea?

Cruises to the Ross Sea are among the longest and can take from 25-35 days. 

Two black and white penguins stand on shore as a futuristic and modern looking white Antarctica cruise ship navigates the ocean past them.


Free consultation.
Start planning today.

Antarctic Fly Cruises

No longer a new option, air cruises offer an alternative to longer routes to Antarctica that sail across the Drake Passage. An Antarctica fly cruise utilizes one-way or round-trip flights from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the Antarctic Peninsula where guests board a ship.

When we first began offering these cruises, we thought it was the desire to eliminate crossing the Drake Passage that would be the primary appeal of this cruise. We have learned that it is in fact the shorter timeframe that appeals to most travelers, especially travelers with limited vacation time.

How long is an Antarctica air cruise?

Antarctica air cruises range from 8-17 days. Shorter air cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula. Longer cruises include the Antarctic Circle or Falkland and South Georgia Islands.


See the full list of itinerary options, plus reviews.

Choosing Your Antarctic Ship

Your cruise to Antarctica should be a true expedition, and turn you into an ambassador for the region, not just a passer-through. How to achieve this? Stay small and sustainable, on a ship carrying fewer than 200 guests.

Ships, especially in Antarctica, need to be of a certain size for a bespoke, intimate and active experience. Only 100 guests are allowed ashore at one time in Antarctica, so larger vessels have a harder time getting guests ashore as often as a small ship can.

Expedition vessels under 200 guests are known for a more hands-on, small group approach. Expect to get off the ship twice daily on Zodiac, kayak and on-land adventures. Learn more about the three types of Antarctic cruise ships, size considerations, ice ratings and how to choose a cabin.


See the full list of expedition ships with deck plans, photos, reviews and more.

Choosing Your Cabin

Choosing the right cabin is important, but can be a challenge. The primary factors to consider when choosing a cabin aboard an Antarctic ship are size, amenities, view and location.

Cabins can range from tiny dorm-style rooms to luxurious suites. Be sure you have enough space to be comfortable. Amenities such as view windows vs portholes can be a critical distinction.

Not all cabins have views or windows so find out before you book. Cabins lower on the ship will tolerate rough seas better than cabins higher on the ship.

Learn more about how to choose your cabin on an Antarctica cruise

Activities Aboard Antarctic Expeditions

A huge variety of off-vessel activities are available aboard Antarctic voyages. We go into more detail on our Things to Do in Antarctica post. Your interest in activities will influence your choice of cruise.

Zodiac cruises and guided hikes are included aboard all Antarctica small ship cruises. Travelers seeking active explorations can choose from a wide array of off-vessel excursions including sea kayaking, camping, mountaineering, skiing or snowboarding, cross country skiing, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving or trekking.

Not all these activities are available aboard all ships and cruises. Furthermore, most optional activities must be reserved in advance at an added cost. Be sure to sign up for optional activities when you book your cruise. Optional activities sell out early. 

Some adventurous cruises such as the Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise or National Geographic Antarctica cruises include all activities in the price.

Rough Seas & Seasickness

Travelers to Antarctica should be prepared for the possibility of rough seas. Cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula cross the Drake Passage, which is known as one of the roughest seas in the world. From Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula, it takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage each way.

Once ships arrive in Antarctica, seas tend to be calm as ships cruise in protected waters close to shore. Longer expeditions that include the Falkland Islands, South Georgia or Ross Sea require additional days at sea, which can also cause seasickness, depending on current conditions. Read our tips to combat seasickness aboard small ships.

Best Antarctica Travel Insurance

Antarctica is a unique destination with special considerations when it comes to travel insurance. The cost of an emergency medical evacuation from Antarctica can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So Antarctica travel insurance is important.

Virtually all operators require emergency medical evacuation insurance. Most require a minimum amount of emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage, generally over $200,000. This coverage is typically not included in your personal health insurance. When considering travel insurance be sure to check the emergency medical evacuation coverage.

The best travel insurance for Antarctica is a policy that includes both emergency medical evacuation and trip cancellation coverage. Trip cancellation covers you if you become ill or cannot travel prior to departure, or have an issue along the way. Polar travel is a huge investment, worth covering with a quality Antarctica travel insurance policy.

A select few Antarctic outfitters include insurance in the cruise cost. Be sure to check the inclusions of your expedition. We recommend travelers consider a comprehensive Antarctica travel insurance policy that will include emergency medical evacuation as well as cancellation coverage. Learn more about the benefits and coverages of comprehensive travel insurance.

Female traveler wearing a black jacket holds camera and sits inside a zodiac boat cruising through floating Antarctica icebergs.


Keep on top of
Antarctica travel updates.

Help Improve This Antarctica Guide 

Below, find our top resource pages and articles with the best Antarctica travel tips, but we haven’t covered it all. Do you have a question you’d like us to answer? Use the comment fields at the bottom of each article to provide your feedback or ask a question. Or contact us to suggest a topic and your idea could guide our future Antarctica tips or be among our collection of topics for our worldwide small ship cruise guide.    

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Trips, Tours & Cruises

Antarctica Cruise Comparison

Our team of experts are here to help guide your Antarctica cruise comparison, from the research phase to booking and trip preparation. Start your trip search with this selection of cruises. Our experts can lead the way so the selection process becomes a part of the fun and the expedition you choose is your perfect match. All of our trips are aboard ships 200 guests or under, and are tried and tested by our team. Let us be your personalized Antarctica cruising guide to booking the trip of your dreams.

test message
View Wishlist