5 reasons to book an Antarctic cruise

  1. Antarctica has no hotels - in their absence a ship provides the best alternative, acting both as a floating hotel and 'basecamp' from which to explore
  2. These small ship expedition voyages are not cruises in the traditional sense, but a fully immersive and participatory Antarctic experience
  3. The focus of each day is getting off the ship and up close to the unique wildlife and scenery, exploring by both zodiac and on foot
  4. A team of onboard polar experts will accompany you throughout, playing a key role and lending the whole trip a strong educational dimension
  5. For purists following in Scott and Shackleton's footsteps, sailing to Antarctica is the only real option to consider and all part of the adventure

Sailing to Antarctica: What do I need to know?

Our best Antarctic cruises

Special Offers:Swoop has access to the widest range of offers and can help you find the right trip, cabin, & price.

South Georgia, Antarctica and Falklands Explorer

Looking for an Antarctic adventure without compromising on comfort and service? This stylish 139-passenger ship, with its cavernous suites, fine dining and compelling itinerary, offers a very polished Southern Ocean adventure, at a fair…

  • 21 Days
  • $19,795
Original Fly & Cruise Luxury Adventure

Fly over the Drake Passage in just 2 hours, both to and from Antarctica. ​Ideal for those ​wanting a high comfort level, but ​who have limited time or ​are ​anxious sailors. ​An outstanding program, successfully operated for over 15 seasons.​…

  • 8 Days
  • $15,295
Antarctic Explorer

The great strength of this trip is choice - a wide selection of departure dates and optional adventure activities available across two comfortable ice-strengthened ships (either 128 or 189 guests). Spend a minimum of four full days exploring Antarctica. Enjoy…

  • 11–12 Days
  • $11,495
Antarctic Basecamp Adventure

The ultimate Antarctic adventure, this trip is specifically for the active traveller. Spend 7 days kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering and snowshoeing, all included in the price. A medium-sized expedition ship acts as your floating ‘basecamp’. Great value for money backed…

  • 13 Days
  • $10,200
Onto the Antarctic Ice

With three medium-sized expedition ships and regular departure dates throughout the season, this well priced voyage is a popular option. Across striking landscapes and icy seas your company will include penguins, seals, whales and skuas. For the adventurous, optional kayaking…

  • 10-13 Days
  • $10,100
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Adventure

With a good choice of departure dates through the season across three medium-sized ships, this 19-23 day trip stands out for its value for money and the broad range of cabin categories available, including Quads, which are…

  • 19 - 22 Days
  • $13,550
66 Degrees South Fly Cruise

By offering time saving flights, extended time in Antarctica and the chance to reach the Polar Circle, this 10-day voyage maximises the polar experience. Minimum travel time & maximum exploring time and all the benefits of only 73 people…

  • 10 Days
  • $15,595
Antarctic Peninsula Explorer

Explore the White Continent onboard one of the newest additions to the Polar fleet, a state-of-the-art expedition vessel combining adventure with comfort. Limited to only 132 passengers, there’s also a wide range of optional adventure activities on this classic Antarctic…

  • 11-15 Days
  • $12,795
Fly & Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula

For maximum time in Antarctica with flights both ways, this trip really stands out. An extended fly & cruise voyage spending eight full days actually in Antarctica onboard a small, state-of-the-art expedition ship. Optional kayaking & polar…

  • 12 Days
  • $15,895
Antarctic Fly & Sail Combination

A rare and popular voyage which flies one way and sails the other, maximising both expediency and experience. Spend 5-7 days exploring Antarctica on a small, newly-built expedition ship, with kayaking & snorkelling available. January - March…

  • 9-14 Days
  • $11,695
Antarctic Explorer in Style

For those travellers prioritising real comfort and ease of travel logistics, this is a great option. Travel in style aboard a state-of-the-art expedition ship, with heli-sightseeing available on select departures for a unique bird's-eye view of Antarctica. Plus the comprehensive…

  • 11-12 Days
  • $11,395
Crossing the Circle in Style

Journey beyond the Antarctic Circle in real comfort aboard a state-of-the-art expedition ship. Spend an extended period of 7 action-packed days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Attractive comprehensive transfer package from Buenos Aires available on select departures. Wide choice of optional…

  • 14 Days
  • $20,990

Choosing your Antarctic cruise

Which Antarctic cruise should you pick?

So you've made the decision to go on an expedition cruise to Antarctica, the next important step is to decide which ​trip​ is best suited to you. There's a vast, tantalising choice of different options​ open to you - ranging from 6​ to 30 days in ​duration​ - travelling either by ship​ or opting to fly:

  • Antarctic Peninsula (10 - 12 days) - The most common and best value Antarctic cruises with the widest choice
  • Fly & Cruise (6 - 20 days) - Ideal for both time poor travellers & anxious sailors. The fastest route to Antarctica
  • Polar Circle (13 - 15 days) - Join that exclusive band of polar travellers by reaching the intangible Polar Circle
  • South Georgia, Falklands & Antarctica (18 - 23 days) - A ‘must’ for wildlife enthusiasts and polar historians alike
  • Ross Sea (+29 days) - Few places on the planet are harder to reach and as remote. Voyage to the heart of Antarctica
  • South Pole Cruises - The interior is a vast, untouched playground accessed by less than 500 people a year.

With many years of experience, Swoop is adept at helping match our customers to exactly the right Antarctic trips.

Antarctica Cruises offer the chance to explore the 7th continent

When is the best time to take an Antarctic cruise?

Choosing when to visit Antarctica is a crucial part of the planning process​. Once you've ​decided which year you plan to travel, the next step is to work out the actual timing of your visit.

Firstly you need to be aware that Antarctica is only accessible to visitors between November and March, and that these months are split into two seasons, with ‘High Season’ being the most popular and expensive time to travel:

  • High Season: December, January & February
  • Shoulder Season: November & March

It's then important to be aware of the distinctive weather and wildlife characteristics of each month, as the timing of your trip will heavily influence what the wildlife is doing then, and local ice and weather conditions.

Antarctica Cruises get you up close to gigantic blue icebergs

Listen to Molly's expert advice...

How do I get to Antarctica?

The early explorers had no option, and were grateful for whatever vessel they could commission, but modern day Antarctic visitors are spoilt for choice. Not only can you choose your mode of transport to get there – by either sailing by ship or getting a flight to Antarctica– but there’s also a wide variety of boats, from former Russian research vessels to luxury yachts boasting 24/7 butler service.

Given the considerable amount of time which you’ll be spending on the ship, it's well worth investing the time to finding exactly the right one.

Discover more on getting to the white continent.

Antarctica Cruises are right for you, find out why...

What will I do and see on my Antarctic cruise?

Prepare to be busy on an Antarctic cruise! Once you’ve arrived in Antarctica the backbone of each day is taken up by the off-ship excursions, of which there are normally two daily of between 2-3 hours long. These are either ‘landings’, where you go ashore to visit a penguin rookery or a place of historic interest, or a zodiac cruise when you’re on the lookout for wildlife and photographic opportunities.

There are often optional adventure activities – including kayaking and camping – as well as the ‘Polar Plunge’ and a programme of lectures delivered by the expedition team.

Kayaking in Antarctica on one of our Antarctica cruises

Kayaking off Cape Tuxen

Zodiac cruising in Antarctica

Are Antarctic cruises expensive?

A trip to Antarctica is a big ticket item in anyone’s book, so it’s important to have a firm understanding of the likely costs before you start getting too carried away.

  • What’s the average percentage cost difference between travelling during High to Shoulder season?
  • How much more expensive is it to fly to Antarctica, rather than to travel by ship?

Swoop can help to guide you.

Antarctica Cruises offer the chance to explore the White Continent
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What our customers think of Antarctica Cruises

Antarctica Cruises trips scored 4.4/5 from 690 reviews

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I will keep Swoop in mind for my future adventure trips and also recommend Swoop to my friends definitely. It's a wonderful experience with Swoop. Thank you again for recommending and helping us to get the last cabin at that tight time before the trip's departure, so we experienced this unforgettable Antarctica trip.

Travelled: January 2020

Jinyu Xu - United States of America

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Working with Swoop was a delight. They were so helpful and provided such good advice and useful detailed information. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Ralph Pollack - United States Of America

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If you have never been there, there is no way of preparing for the impact of being there. The untouched, natural beauty, the mighty icebergs, the silliness of the penguins. You will be spending hours just sitting in one spot adoring the view.

Travelled: January 2018

Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth - Florida

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We've traveled to 87 different countries, and this was without a doubt our favorite destination. Of all the cruises we've been on, we spent more time out on our balcony on this trip than all the rest combined. The scenery changes so much, you don't want to miss anything. We saw countless whales from our balcony. And icebergs of every shape imaginable.

Travelled: December 2017

Chris & Amy - Florida

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I think the only prerequisites for enjoying this trip are curiosity and realistic expectations about shipboard life: understanding that it is an expedition, not a cruise.

Travelled: December 2017

Marc - Florida

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I have visited 89 countries and islands and Antarctica was my final continent. Without doubt, the Antarctica and Falkland Islands trip was the best experience, holiday and adventure I have ever had.

Travelled: February 2017

Nick - UK

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John made this very hard decision so much easier by reassuring me of the incredible experience awaiting me and explaining every detail of the trip beforehand. If it wasn’t for John, I seriously do not know if I would have had the courage to go on this trip alone.

Travelled: February 2017

Jeff - Arizona

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In a word, it was sensational. Everything was terrific: the ship, the "hotel" and the expedition team. You (John) are greatly loved among multiple crew folks. And we share that enthusiasm for you because your natural joy is infectious.

Travelled: February 2017

Larry and Julie - California

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Swoop was phenomenal! I am so happy and grateful I booked with Loli and the Swoop team. Loli answered all of my questions and due to her first-hand experience with the trip, she was able to offer terrific guidance and helpful insights. I felt completely looked after and prepared for my trip.

Travelled: January 2017

Colette - California

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From the first moment we booked our trip to Antarctica with Swoop, everything went so well. You can read about Antarctica, people can tell you about it, you can look at countless images, but it is so much more beautiful in reality.

Travelled: January 2017

Kim - Australia

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The level of expertise and knowledge that Alex has is incredible and he helped us select the perfect trip for our needs and expectations. I've never had such good service.

Travelled: December 2016

Declan - UK

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Swoop was fantastic. We were provided with great service, efficient and quality responses to our many questions. Swoop found us the perfect expedition to match our interests and budget. Alex even followed up with us throughout the process and called us the day of our departure to wish us a wonderful trip.

Travelled: December 2016

Bryce - Canada

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We were extremely fortunate to link up with Swoop. We planned this trip at the last minute and I do not believe we would have found the right trip, right boat, or the right cabin. Loli knew that we were on our honeymoon and went out of her way to make sure we had the right cabin.

Travelled: November 2016

Ryan - Massachusetts

10 / 10 - Swoop coordinated my trip in expert fashion…every step along the way. The ship team was extraordinary…experienced, knowledgeable and fully capable. 11 out of 10. A+++ Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Gene Piper - USA

The wildlife was extraordinary. I could have watched the penguins for hours and my photos are wonderful but no substitute for observing the animals with my own eyes. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Rebecca Klein - USA

The opportunities to see, hear, and move among the penguins, sea birds, seals, and whales was truly special. We learned so much, experienced so much it is hard to pick a favorite moment. Many truly 'close encounters.' Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Michael Cox - USA

My trip was full of positive emotions, new friendships and precious memories, I was genuinely sad when it was over. I would highly recommend this voyage to anybody, it was totally worth it, I loved it!!! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Viktoria Tsvetkova - Bulgaria

10/10 - Very happy with Swoop. Trip was well organized. Great communication. Helpful people. Company also cares about the environment - something which anyone who goes to Antarctica will likely become a bigger focus in their life. So great company, cares about its clients, its people and the world in which we live. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Marc Ganz - USA

10/10 - Swoop made the booking process easy and professional. They assigned a point of contact that made the preparation for the trip personal by answering all questions quickly and thoroughly. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Erwin Perl - USA

Come with an open mind and heart, and take advantage of every opportunity to get to know Antarctica. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Mary Cunningham - USA

It's hard to put into words - but feeling such camaraderie and sharing awe with others heightened my appreciation of the environment, my respect for humanity and a sense of optimism or positivity rather than the negativity often experienced from the news. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Linda Nolte - USA

Antarctica landscape is not what one would expect. It is very 3 dimensional with white glaciers on granite rock peaks, bright blue skies and waters. Many icebergs are nature's work of art. Weather can go from rain, to sleet, to snow in one morning. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Alex Chou - USA

I enjoyed waking up to the sight of icebergs and getting the opportunity to be so close to wildlife like the seals and penguins. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Anjulika Sahgal - UK

Walking among our first gentoo colony and seeing how clumsy they are on land but graceful they are in the water - and the sun was shining, it felt so warm that everyone was stripping off their layers! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Alison Kubinski - USA

The first sight of the Antarctic islands was overwhelming and such a great feeling that we had actually made it! Then stepping foot on land! So epic! I very much enjoyed daily zodiacs to land and the hikes we were able to do. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Kelly DeBey - USA

10 - It was so much more than "just a cruise." Activities were safe and allowed for participation regardless of your age, ability, etc. The educational aspects of the region, the wildlife, the history, the current processes in place to "manage" the area and preserve its unique wild state - everything was phenomenal !!! Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Shelley Springer - USA

Choose the smallest vessel as possible, more intimate, more environmentally friendly and it can reach places other larger ships can't. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Helena Polackova - UK

Loved the zodiac excursions. The zodiacs provide intimate access to locations the ship cannot reach. Zodiacs and shore excursions make all the difference in an Antarctic journey. I couldn't imagine simply viewing just from the ship. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Scott Hunter - USA

Cabin was gorgeous; loved the balcony. The food was delicious and the catering staff and cleaning staff were excellent - everyone was friendly and helpful. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Lauren Woosey - UK

I love knowing that there is a place at the bottom of the world that is covered with ice and penguins, and that my own eyes have seen it. It is both comforting and inspiring. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Stephanie Krolick - USA

The trip was full of memorable moments - for the first three days, it was just one awe-inspiring moment after another, and really we continued to be surprised and delighted up until the last hour. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Stephanie Krolick - USA

The orcas appearing during the whale talk, the baby humpback breaching off the bow of the zodiacs, the polar plunge, watching from the outriggers as the the boat cut through the ice, drinking Macallan with ice fresh from a berg, having an impromptu dance party with my husband on top of a volcanic cinder cone. It was just a super trip from beginning to end. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Stephanie Krolick - USA

We were lucky regarding weather and conditions but the team helped make the luck by monitoring the weather and adjusting the schedule to maximize the experience. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Mark Golan - USA

Great boat. Perfect combination of being large enough to have amenities such as the fitness room, library, and spa while being small enough to be personal and allow for comfortable offshore excursions. Still new and the room and other facilities felt modern and comfortable. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Mark Golan - USA

Most memorable moment: clear blue skies, zero wind, flat ocean with icebergs floating around everywhere, in a zodiac with penguins popping up all over us, and a seal belly-flopping up on an iceberg 20ft from us Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Todd Mackey - USA

I waited over two years to go on this trip because of Covid. It was well worth the wait. Everyone who has ever thought of going to Antarctica and has the means should go. Go now while you still can! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Kent Kimball - USA

Overall a magical experience. Antarctica did exceed anything we had imagined or seen in pictures or video. No way to encompass the experience of stunning sights without being there. So big, so pristine. As we told some fellow passengers: Disney talks about magic in Orlando, but that is fake magic. Antarctica is the real magic on Earth. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Mike Walcher - USA

The zodiac excursions were great-lots of icebergs, seals, penguins, and whales. We even cut the engine to enjoy the "silence" of the ice - magnificent. We always felt safe; they explained what to do (and why), and reminded us how to enter and exit the craft. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Diane Walcher - USA

Swoop has been absolutely fantastic! I will not only recommend Swoop wholeheartedly, but will surely return as a customer for future voyages. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Mohit Kallianpur - USA

My favorite encounter was having a very curious penguin come up and bite my camera lens. Wow! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Gordon Pickering - USA

I loved our cruise to Antarctica. Every landing was a highlight and it is definiely the best place I have ever visited. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sabine - Austria

The mix of people on the ship was refreshing! Different ages, nationalities (16 on our ship) and different walks of life. So many inspiring people! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Elisabeth Eppich - Canada

Antarctica transcended me to a new, almost surreal, world of majestic landscapes and wildlife, unlike any other place that I had experienced. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Dennis Roy - 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

I was so elated once we embarked on our epic journey to South Georgia and feel ever so lucky to hit the big 3 colonies - St Andrews, Gold Harbour and Salisbury Plain. I am now proud to be part of a statistic shared of only 0.04% of the population to have visited South Georgia. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2018

Jo Cheung - United Kingdom

Kayaking made it for me. My biggest surprise was beaching on an iceberg and a snowball fight!

Travelled: February 2018

Angela - UK

We are happy to say how wonderful our trip was to Antarctica. The experience was fantastic, the entire crew was very impressive, the equipment and ship were top notch.

Travelled: November 2015

Mike & Trish - USA


Where to go on a cruise to Antarctica

Watch our film on a day in Antarctica

Fly & Cruise Trips

Special Offers:Swoop has access to the widest range of offers and can help you find the right trip, cabin, & price.

Original Fly & Cruise Luxury Adventure

Fly over the Drake Passage in just 2 hours, both to and from Antarctica. ​Ideal for those ​wanting a high comfort level, but ​who have limited time or ​are ​anxious sailors. ​An outstanding program, successfully operated for over 15 seasons.​…

  • 8 Days
  • $15,295
Original Fly & Cruise Expedition Cruise

Travel with the pioneers of fly & cruise Antarctic voyages, flying in both directions and bypassing a 2-day sail on the Drake Passage. Regular departure dates (Dec - Feb) to choose from. Explore Antarctica aboard a trusty 68-passenger expedition ship…

  • 8 Days
  • $11,495
Fly & Cruise Polar Circle

This impressive Polar Circle voyage combines all the comfort and expediency of flying in both directions with extended time in Antarctica (7 full days). Choice of two outstanding ships, both very well-appointed, offering optional adventure activities.…

  • 11 Days
  • $14,995
Express Tour of Antarctica

A cost-effective Antarctic adventure. This itinerary is also ideal for those with limited time wanting to combine Antarctica with time exploring Patagonia. Sailing one way and flying back, you get to combine two iconic places: Antarctica and Cape Horn. Note,…

  • 6-7 Days
  • $4,995
Antarctic Fly & Cruise Safari

If you’re keen to fly to Antarctica instead of sailing, this 8-day trip is ideal with a choice of dates in December and February. Travel on outstanding expedition ships with optional kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. Complimentary hotel nights and…

  • 8 Days
  • $11,995
66 Degrees South Fly Cruise

By offering time saving flights, extended time in Antarctica and the chance to reach the Polar Circle, this 10-day voyage maximises the polar experience. Minimum travel time & maximum exploring time and all the benefits of only 73 people…

  • 10 Days
  • $15,595
Swoop Says background image

Alex says

I've been to over 70 countries but still wasn't prepared for Antarctica. Put simply it blew my socks off - a full blown sensory assault. It's impossible to exaggerate Antarctica's magnificence and the indelible mark it leaves.

Alex Mudd Head of Swoop Antarctica

Why Swoop

Expert Impartial Advice At No Extra Cost

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Antarctic travel options are complicated. We help you choose the right ship, 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.

Antarctic Cruises: FAQs

  • Are there any age limits on Antarctic cruises?

    Cruises to Antarctica have a minimum age limit on certain ships, but there's certainly no upper age limit. As long as you are fit and healthy, and feel capable of clambering in and out of the zodiacs, you’ll be fine. The average age of Antarctic travellers is approximately 50-75 year old, however, this is falling with every season.

  • How fit should I be for a cruise to Antarctica?

    The majority of Antarctic cruises aren’t physically demanding and definitely fall into the ‘soft adventure’ category. Walking distances are fairly short, particularly on the Antarctic Peninsula, and when longer walks are available they are optional and will be offered alongside shorter ones.

    For more active travellers, optional adventure activities (kayaking, camping, etc) are widely available on most voyages. There are also select departures like Basecamp Adventure specifically designed for the active traveller.

  • How far in advance do I need to book an Antarctic cruise?

    When deciding when to book your cruise to Antarctica, there are a couple of rules:

    Rule No. 1: It’s never too early to book
    Rule No. 2: The early mover gets the widest choice

    To be confident of securing your first choice you need to be ideally booking 12 - 18 months in advance, or as early as the departure dates are released. The popularity and limited number of departures of Fly & Cruise and South Georgia cruises, in particular, make it even more important to start the booking process for these early.

    This may seem excessive to those who don't typically plan this far ahead, but on an Antarctic trip when places aren’t infinite, the need to book early is crucial to avoid disappointment.

  • Where do Antarctic cruises leave from?

    99% of Antarctic cruises depart from Ushuaia in Southern Argentina and Punta Arenas in Southern Chile. These are the main gateways to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

  • Is the Drake Passage as bad as it sounds?

    The Drake Passage has a reputation, and not without reason as approximately 30% of voyages experience rough weather, however, it can also be surprisingly placid too ('The Drake Lake').

    The reality for the majority of our customers is that it's rarely as bad as it sounds, and it's certainly a 'price' well worth paying, but if avoiding The Drake altogether by
     flying to Antarctica is your preference, we have firsthand experience and can help.

Antarctic Cruises

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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Flights to Antarctica

Flights to Antarctica

Established over 10 years ago, flying is an increasingly popular way to access Antarctica, particularly if you are short on time or concerned about the sea crossing.

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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.