Antarctica expedition cruise, 11 days

“This classic expedition sails across the Drake Passage to what feels like the end of the Earth - but it does so in comfort, along with some of the world's greatest Polar experts.”


Ushuaia | sailing the Beagle Channel | Drake Passage | South Shetland Islands | penguin and whale sightings | Zodiac trips around icebergs | calving glaciers | 'Polar plunge' into the water - optional! | optional: sea kayaking and polar camping

Description of Antarctica expedition cruise, 11 days

Travel to the frozen ends of the earth on this Antarctica expedition cruise. In an unforgettable 11 days, you’ll sail from the Patagonian outpost of Ushuaia, the most southerly city on the planet, following the route famous explorers have taken through the Beagle Channel and the Drake Passage, looking out for rare seabirds as you go. You’ll then discover the South Shetland Islands and their impressive landscapes, taking Zodiac cruises from the boat to see the whales, seals and abundant birdlife here.

Then the finale of your trip, the chance to explore Antarctica, setting foot on the beaches and mountains of the White Continent. There are various landing sites – points, heads and islands – that we’ll make wet landings at, and once on land you can visit rookeries where thousands of penguins congregate, hike up hills for long views over the frozen landscape or snowshoe to remote areas. Watch a glacier cracking and calving near Petermann Island, ride a Zodiac through grounded icebergs in Pleneau Bay and climb up a hill for views over Port Lockroy.

There are exciting optional activities, too, including sea kayaking and even polar ice camping to add extra adventure to this epic expedition – book early though, as these sell out fast. If you’re feeling brave, you can even take a dip in the Antarctic waters! There is so much wildlife to see, too, throughout this trip, from the decks of one of our Antarctic expedition ships - the Ocean Diamond, the Ocean Adventurer or the World Explorer - to explorations on dry land via zippy Zodiac. You’ll see numerous species of penguins and can spot seals and whales while on deck. This is a fantastic expedition to explore and enjoy the exotic and unique landscapes and wildlife of this frozen world.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?


Check dates

2021: 3 Nov, 19 Dec
2022: 7 Jan, 12 Jan, 16 Jan, 17 Jan, 21 Jan, 26 Jan, 30 Jan, 13 Feb, 6 Mar
Our top tip:
It may be chilly but Antarctica is actually a desert - carry a bottle and drink plenty of water as you'll dehydrate much quicker than you think.
Trip type:
Small ship expedition. Age 8+
Activity level:
Leisurely. More challenging activities are all optional.
1 night hotel, 9 nights ship. Most cabins have views, all en suite.
Solo travellers welcome. Extra fee for single cabins, if available.
Accomm., hotel transfers, tour leader, specialist guides, listed activities, rubber boots, local flights.
10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners.
Holiday type

Expedition cruising

What is Expedition Cruising?
This is the name we give to cruising holidays which visit the Polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic. Your small vessel will usually carry around 100 - 130 passengers, accompanied by a crew and Expedition Team consisting of experts in the local landscapes, wildlife and history of the islands you will be visiting. How does it work?
Your trip will consist of a combination of cruising and land based discovery. Days at sea will be spent admiring the view, photographing the sea birds and marine wildlife that you may encounter, cruising past stunning icebergs and attending the talks that your Expedition Team will be conducting.

Shore landings will be scheduled to take place weather permitting throughout your trip. Please be aware that due to adverse weather conditions all scheduled shore visits may not be possible, but travelling in the summer months increases our chances of favourable weather.

You will travel ashore in rigid inflatable boats (RIBS) known as zodiacs; a degree of physical mobility will be required for passengers to climb in and out.

What ship will I be travelling on?
Travelling with us to explore the Polar regions, you will be on one of two ships, more details about your particular vessel can be given by our travel consultants when you enquire about your particular date.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.
“Some leaders at the start of the trip tear up their itineraries! Something unexpected happens every day.”

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.

To journey to Antarctica is to venture into a region like no other environment on Earth. A precious, wilderness of which approximately 98% is covered by ice averaging 1.9km thick and where the presence of man is limited to researchers, explorers and our travellers. Journey with us into an awe inspiring white landscape on a tour designed to give our travellers the experience of a lifetime, while still protecting this most unique of environments.

Our partners on this trip are Expedition Cruising specialists with over 20 years’ experience operating polar cruises. All trips to this region adhere to the guidelines set out by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and Maritime Pollution Prevention (MARPOL).

All our ships burn Marine Gas Oil (MGO) a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor, conform to all international regulations governing the disposal of waste at sea, and use only eco-friendly laundry chemicals and room amenities.

Every cruise will be accompanied by an Expedition Team which will contain experts in polar history, marine biology and glaciology whose task it will be to ensure that travellers are fully aware of the potential environmental impact of their visit and how to limit it. Travelling in a small vessel carrying no more than 189 travellers, we limit the number of people on shore at any given time.

To protect this special environment there are certain guidelines that need following. For example, all travellers are required not to actively approach the wildlife but are given tips on getting great photos, such as settling a short distance away and letting the curious penguins approach you. It will be stressed that should this happen, you should never feed, touch or attempt to handle the birds and seals. Likewise you will notice that at sea our vessels never follow or ‘chase’ any marine mammals we encounter. If they come towards us, have your camera at the ready, but our crew will never act in such a way that could cause harm or distress to any creature.

Protected areas must be respected on shore. There are areas of ecological, historic or scientific value that may be encountered dependent on your landing point and it is imperative that these areas are not tampered or interfered with in any way. We want to keep Antarctica pristine. Litter must not be disposed of on land and waste disposed of on your vessel will be properly discarded upon our arrival back in Ushuaia.

As a company we aim to contribute to the environmental preservation of the destinations we visit and to reduce any negative impacts our operations may have. This translates to actions such as using local transport where safe to do so in order to reduce emissions, observing all national and marine park visitor rules and operating a ‘take in, take back out’ waste management system, to name but a few examples. Through our inhouse foundation we also invest money into environmental initiatives that benefit the planet, including restoring kelp forests to help reverse the effects of global warming and protecting endangered species such as sea turtles and elephants.

The Impacts of this Trip

The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world through which we are journeying, this is our commitment as a global tour operator.

As a company, our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end. We run and support a variety of projects globally, from healthcare, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and environmental and wildlife protection. Our own in house foundation has been in operation for over 11 years; a not-for-profit fund that has distributed over AU$3 million to more than 70 non-government organisations since 2002. Donations come from our travellers and are then matched by us dollar for dollar.


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