Planning to visit your 7th Continent?

  • Fulfill the ultimate dream of stepping foot on the Seventh Continent
  • Sail or fly to Antarctica to explore its frozen shores on a modern expedition cruise ship
  • Take your adventure one step further by sleeping out on the continent itself in a polar campsite or paddling a kayak through its iceberg-strewn bays
  • Antarctica is one of the world's greatest wildlife destinations as well as the remotest, offering unforgettable close quarters encounters with penguins and whales
  • Choose the expertise of a travel agency with more than 15 years experience and who offer unbiased guidance to the entire polar fleet
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Mike says

No matter how ready you think you are, nothing really prepares you for the sensation of setting foot in Antarctica for the first time. The crunch of the snow is a kind of magic, putting you under an icy spell you won’t want to escape from.

Mike Poppe Polar Specialist

Why Swoop

Expert Impartial Advice At No Extra Cost

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Antarctic travel options are complicated. We help you choose the right boat, the right cabin, and at the right point in the season.

A Depth Of Knowledge On Board

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As a team of ex-guides, tour leaders, & polar adventurers our Antarctic knowledge is leagues ahead of the rest.

For The Ends Of The Earth

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Swoop is proud to be B Corp Certified as we know sustainability is more than our carbon footprint (but we’re reducing that too).

We’re With You At Every Step

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We’ll make sure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

Will I step foot on the 7th Continent?

Tourist celebrating stepping foot on the 7th Continent in Antarctica

The most exciting thing about expedition cruising to Antarctica is that you have the chance to leave the ship and step foot on the continent itself. But where will you actually do so?

The Antarctic Peninsula is surrounded by a multitude of small islands. These are undoubtedly Antarctica and are home to some the best wildlife and historic sites for visitors, But for some visitors, the draw of potentially touching the mainland itself on a so-called 'continental landing' is an additional bonus to visiting this jaw-dropping part of the world.

In truth, due to the highly glaciated terrain there are only a small handful of locations where you can actually make a continental landing and, as with all things in Antarctica, visiting these is subject to weather and ice conditions. Both the ship's Captain and Expedition Leader fully understand the appeal of being able to say you've stood on the mainland however, so trips to the Antarctic Peninsula will always try to make a continental landing during their voyage if conditions allow.

Even if the weather or ice prevents access, remember that the surrounding islands generally become part of a single Antarctic entity, connected by the sea ice that almost doubles the size of the continent each winter. The White Continent is a truly incredible destination, so you'll experience something extraordinary at every turn, wherever you land.

Where are the continental landing sites on the Antarctic Peninsula?

Illustrated Guide

Visiting Antarctica: Essential information

Where will I go?

Four toursits in the snow hold an Antarctic flag to celebrate reaching the 7th Continent

Roughly the same size as the USA and Mexico combined, Antarctica is a huge continent but visitors only ever visit a tiny fraction of it. The vast majority of trips here go to the Antarctic Peninsula, a long icy finger pointing out of the continent towards South America and fringed with many islands. A typical cruise here will always attempt to make a continental landing rather than just on one of the islands if the weather allows it, allowing you to claim that all important prize of stepping foot on the great landmass itself.

A great add-on to a Peninsula cruise is the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Also known as the Serengeti of the South due to its abundance of wildlife, penguins here are measured in the hundreds of thousands and seals by the million: a true nature documentary come to life.

On the opposite side of Antarctica facing New Zealand, the Ross Sea is famous for its historic connections to the race for the South Pole, but being remote and hard to access, it's visited by relatively few cruise ships every year.

How will I get there?

Cruising with icebergs through the Lemaire Channel

The most straightforward way of reaching Antarctica is by sea. Expedition cruise ships sail from Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina.

It takes two days to sail to the Antarctic Peninsula across the Drake Passage. This stretch of sea is famous for its lively waves, though there’s no way of knowing in advance if you’ll experience the ‘Drake Shake’ or a perfectly calm ‘Drake Lake’. Modern cruise ships have underwater stabilisers to help smooth their way, though you’ll still envy the effortless grace of the albatrosses that glide in your wake.

If you want to skip the voyage or just get to Antarctica in the quickest way possible, fly-sail cruises give the option of flying direct from Punta Arenas in Chile. This route gets you to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands in about two hours rather than two days. You’ll join your cruise ship straight from the plane and start exploring in no time. 

Whether you sail or fly, the majority of Antarctic Peninsula cruises spend around four days in and around the continent.

Swoop Says background image

Rebecca says

On my first trip to Antarctica I thought I was going to check off a box for my 7th continent, but being there was so much more than just that. It was beautiful, raw, untouched and completely indescribable.

Rebecca Porritt Antarctica Sales Specialist

When should I go?

Gentoo penguin with two chicks in Antarctica

Antarctica’s cruising season runs from November through to March, with the busiest time coinciding with the height of the Antarctic summer and nearly 24 hours of daylight. During the long dark winters, the continent is inaccessible to all but the hardiest scientists on their research bases.

Early season offers the best pristine snow and a chance to see penguins engaging in breeding and nesting behaviour. Whales are fewer in number at this time of year as many are still migrating south: they're at their most abundant (and playful) in March. These shoulder seasons are also great for photographers, as the sun dips below the horizon for amazing sunsets and sunrises. High season sees wildlife at its most active, with the extra attraction of lots of adorable penguin chicks however: an understandable draw for many travellers!

We’ve seen demand for Antarctic trips boom in recent years, but whenever you’re planning to travel you should be aware that ships can fill up faster than you think. To be sure of your preferred dates and ship, we strongly recommend starting to plan your trip at least 12 months before you intend to travel.

What wildlife will I see?

Humpback whale showing its flukes as it dives near an iceberg in Antarctica

If there’s one thing that everyone looks forward to when visiting Antarctica, it’s seeing penguins. Truly, few animals can match them for charisma. On a typical Peninsula trip you’ll be able to tick off gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins – in their colonies, on ice floes or just porpoising around you as you cruise through the icy bays. Emperor penguins aren’t found in many locations visited by cruise ships (they tend to like it even colder), but let us know if this majestic creature is on your wishlist and we’ll find the right trip for you. For king penguins, add South Georgia to your itinerary: it has around 400,000 pairs in immense, noisy colonies

Alongside penguins, you’ll also find seals aplenty like the beautifully sinuous leopard seal, often seen lazing on ice floes.

As for whales, travel later in the season to get the best encounters. Humpbacks are the most commonly seen, followed by the much smaller minke whale. The thrill of seeing one close by when you’re out in a zodiac or even a kayak is never to be forgotten.

What activities can I do in Antarctica?

A groups of kayakers on the Antarctic Peninsula

You don’t have to stop at just setting foot in Antarctica: there are a whole host of other activities you can include in your adventure.

If you’re after the ultimate bragging rights, why not spend the night camping out on the continent? You’ll dig your own snow hole and wrap up warm for an unforgettable night under the midnight sun before returning to the ship for breakfast and a hot shower.

If you want to be more active, try your hand at kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. This is one of the best ways to experience Antarctica at its vast and silent best, with the only noise coming from your paddles, or perhaps your stifled glee as you find yourself amid a gaggle of swimming penguins.

To stretch your legs and really play at being a polar explorer, take part in a hike or go snowshoeing to places where the only beaten track are the ones left by your walking companions (or possibly a curious penguin). Or get dressed up in a dry suit and take a peek beneath the waves on a snorkelling excursion led by world-class polar guides – the possibilities for adventure are as boundless as Antarctica’s horizons.

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My highlight was landing on the continent in Paradise Bay and going to Deception Island. We repeatedly said we felt like we were on an ocean safari, we saw so much wildlife every day.

Travelled: March 2017

Barbara - California

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Being on the continent on a still summer solstice night was something so special. The majesty of the landscape and some curious penguins and seals as neighbours - completely magical.

Travelled: December 2016

Declan - UK

Setting foot on the Antarctica continent for the first time at Brown Bluff with huge blue and white icebergs all around and Adele and Gentoo penguin colonies and fur seals and the glaciers and ice shelves all around. It was everything and more than I expected. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Jana Dreyzehner - USA

The overall experience of visiting such pristine and beautiful continent was absolutely amazing and awesome. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Evelyn Martinez - USA

Hiking on the continent and seeing the penguins, seals, whales, glaciers and icebergs. Kayaking, camping, mountaineering and going out on the Zodiacs were special as well. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Patricio Sarceda - USA

Stepping onto the continent for the first time was really a special moment, I loved camping on the continent...the kayaking was amazing, I could go on forever. What a fantastic trip! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Dale Matthews - USA

10/10 - Overall discussions and continuous updates leading up to the trip were great. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Manish Daulat - USA

Stepping on the continent and being surrounded by penguins. The beauty of the landscape was something we’ve never seen before. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Sarah Moore - USA

My highlight was stepping on the Antarctica Continent. My most magical moment was the Ross Sea, Ross Island, Ross Ice Shelf, and Port Ross. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Sarah Ross - United States Of America

The number and quality of our landings on the continent and the Shetland Islands were superior in every way. The staff was excellent and the weather permitted us to land twice a day for most days we were there. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2019

Melissa Wurthmann - United States Of America

I thought I was going to check off a box - 7th continent in a year - but being in Antarctica was so much more than checking a box; it was beautiful, raw, untouched, and completely indescribable. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Mykkah Herner - United States of America

My goal was to step foot on the Antarctica Continent to help fulfil my bucket list of visiting all 7 continents. It was an awesome experience - to see, first hand the beauty of this part of our world. It exceeded my expectations. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Lula Whitworth - United States Of America

In addition to the kayaking, camping on the continent was an amazing experience as well the polar plunge. Stories that I will be telling for a long time to come.

Travelled: November 2016

Yevgeny - Rhode Island


Exploring the 7th Continent

  • How do I decide which ship to sail on?

    Every ship in the polar fleet has something slightly different to offer, which is where Swoop's expertise works for you. Our team travels to Antarctica every year, as well as carrying our regular ship inspections in the off-season, so we know every ship inside out. We'll discuss what's most important for your trip to find the perfect vessel for you on the dates that suit you best – all at no extra cost to you.

  • I'm travelling solo – will many others be doing the same?

    Absolutely! Somewhere between 10-20% of passengers on board are generally travelling by themselves so you'll find plenty of like-minded travellers on the ship. We've created a dedicated webpage covering everything you'll need to know about travelling solo to Antarctica.

  • How much will it cost?

    A classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise sailing from Ushuaia typically start from around $6-8,000 USD per person based on a twin cabin, but prices depending on the size of ship, category of cabin and comfort level and the month in which you travel. 

    Our guide to Antarctic cruise costs breaks down everything you need to know about the price of your trip. 

  • Do the prices include international flights?

    As a general rule, the prices of Antarctic cruises do not include international flights, but Swoop can help arrange your connections. Airlines only release their schedules 12 months in advance of travel, so if you've booked more further ahead than that, your personal customer experience coordinator can discuss your needs when flights become available.

  • How far in advance should I book?

    You should typically look to book your Antarctic trip at least 12-18 months in advance to be confident of securing your first choice of ship, voyage date and cabin. Although this sounds like a long time compared to other types of holiday, the finite number of ships and cabins available in Antarctic means that those booking late will find their choice significantly reduced compared to those who plan ahead.

Discover more about the 7th Continent

Antarctic Peninsula Cruises

Antarctic Peninsula Cruises

This is the classic way to see Antarctica, and most cruises take you only to this part of Antarctica. Most Antarctic Peninsula Cruises will start out from Ushuaia and explore all …

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Antarctic Circle Cruises

Antarctic Circle Cruises

For the ultimate adventure, join a cruise that crosses the Antarctic Circle at 66 Degrees South and visits some of the most beautiful landmarks both north and south of the circle.

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Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

With over 150 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.