Antarctic cruises are ideal for intrepid explorers wanting to discover the white wilderness of the South Pole. A land of spectacular scenery and unique wildlife, many cruises of the southern hemisphere enable you to see Antarctica, but only dedicated itineraries with smaller ships actually take you ashore. Aboard these expedition vessels you’ll be taken to unbelievable bucket-list experiences such as to drift by sculpture-like icebergs and whales on zodiacs and go ashore on excursions to research centres, abandoned whaler settlements, smouldering volcanoes and walk among adorable penguins and seals.
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Prepare for the greatest wildlife show on earth when you choose an Antarctic cruise for whale watching, snow-covered icebergs littered with a vast array of different types of penguins, massive seal colonies and a cacophony of sea bird life including the mighty albatross. The Antarctic during the summer months becomes a veritable breeding and feeding ground and plays host to all of the above due to its krill-rich waters and warmer climes. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
Antarctic cruises cannot fail to be one of the most impressionable experiences of your life and need no longer be a dream for those who have yet to venture there. Several cruise lines include the awe-inspiring Antarctic in their cruise itinerary, heading south from the stunning Falkland Islands and then across the Polar Circle. Whether you enjoy sitting back on a balcony in luxury and watching the glaciers go by, or want to get a hands-on experience of this polar region, check out our top Antarctica cruise ships.
Through much of the year, Antarctica is inaccessible due to thick ice and extremely low temperatures. Because of this, the best time for an Antarctica cruise is November to March. During these months, cruisers can benefit from up to 24 hours of sun a day, meaning they can really make the most out of the trip and see the wildlife as it thrives in the Antarctic summer.
Your itinerary is usually subject to local weather and ice conditions, but landings during your trip to Antarctica may include Deception Island, Cuverville Island, Neko Harbour, Paradise Harbour, Waterboat Point, the Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, Port Lockroy (home to the British Antarctic Survey), Wilhelmina Bay, the Antarctic Sound, otherwise known as Iceberg Alley, and Brown Bluff.
During your Antarctica cruise, your shore excursions focus on helping you to discover the wildlife and natural beauty of Antarctica, the best way being a zodiac boat trip from your ship.
When it comes to spotting the local animals, you might be lucky enough to experience penguins going about their daily business of preening themselves, building rocky nests, grooming their young, sliding on their velvety bellies down snowy slopes, and plunging into the sea where they metamorphosize into sleek underwater missiles. There are also six varieties of seals who live in the Antarctic, making up the majority of the world's seal population. Vast colonies of seals can be viewed on the craggy banks, basking on the ice. They come out of the water to breed, but then return to the icy depths to feed and can even be seen sleeping just below the surface.