Why book your Antarctic trip with Swoop?

  • With over 150 Antarctica voyages and more than 100 years of collective Antarctic knowledge under our belts, we’ve got unrivalled polar experience to put at your service
  • Antarctic cruises offer an unrivalled way to create family memories for life, in one of the world's greatest wildlife and wilderness destinations. 
  • Every expedition cruise ship operates a different child policy when it comes to bookings, so Swoop can help guide you through all the nuances of booking your trip
  • We visit Antarctica every year and undertake regular ship inspections, giving us the edge when helping you choose the right ship and cabins for your family adventure
  • Whether you’re travelling with younger children, teenagers or sharing a trip with your grown-up kids, we've got access to the best pricing available for your group
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Swoop says

As a place for creating lasting family memories and exploring the scenery and wildlife in one of the world's greatest outdoor classrooms, there are few places that can match Antarctica. 

What makes an Antarctic cruise special for families?

Memories for life

Family vacations are all about creating memories – and Antarctica is one of the greatest canvases on which to make them.

Exploring the Seventh Continent and watching penguin families with your own brood is a truly special experience. Being able to hand down the gift of travel is a rare treat, inspiring the next generation with a shared encounter with somewhere that’s the very definition of true wilderness.

We love helping families create memories that will last a lifetime. Over the years we’ve catered to families of all shapes and sizes, so we know what you need and exactly where to find it. 

Father and daughter holding Antarctic flag in the snow

Inspired by nature

Antarctica is one of the world’s greatest outdoor classrooms. On an expedition cruise you’ll get up close to countless numbers of penguins in their rookeries or darting through the water beside your zodiac. You’ll see whales showing their flukes after gorging on krill or just quietly contemplate the glassy tinkle of ice on a polar sea.

You’ll experience this while accompanied by the world’s greatest tour guides: scientists, biologists, geologists, historians and more, all eager to share their knowledge with you.

From onboard talks to offering expert insights during a wildlife watching session, the team on your expedition cruise ship offer you the chance to engage with the wonder of Antarctica in ways that go far beyond any regular travel experience.

Gentoo penguin feeding two chicks in Antarctica
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Julie says

It’s exciting enough to see a whale as an adult, but seeing the wide-eyed smile of amazement of a child as it shows it flukes and dives right in front of their eyes is a true wonder to behold.

Julie Ruston Antarctica Sales Specialist

Adventure activities

As special as it is, there is more to Antarctica than just its wildlife. You can take zodiac cruises through bays full of stranded icebergs or paddle in pairs in a sea kayak through a landscape dominated by glaciers, led by specialist guides.

For the more adventurous, there can be snowshoeing or even the chance to spend a night camping in the snow: the ultimate family sleepover.

Not all activities may be available for younger ages, but the chance to explore Antarctica with a dash of adventure will have all teenagers and adult children reverting to joyful childhood wonder. 

Zodiac on the ice sheet

Citizen science

Antarctica is a place dedicated to science, and many ships offer passengers the opportunity to participate in citizen science projects to help collect data for programmes run by some of the most respected research institutions in the world. 

Projects are designed to be fun as well as educational, making them perfect for budding scientists. There aren't many family vacations that offer the chance to help NASA train their weather satellites, take phytoplankton samples to look into the effects of climate change, or survey seabirds or humpback whales. 

Taking part in citizen science is a fantastic way of giving back in Antarctica – and taking the time to look down a microscope can sometimes be the best way of seeing just how connected the polar ecosystem is to the rest of our planet.

Secchi disk citizen science in Antarctica
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What our family travellers thought of their Antarctica cruise

Most memorable moment? Seeing a bright, sunny clear day on the Antarctic Peninsula full of penguins, seals, and humpback whales with the high plateau in the distance and sculpted icebergs floating by along with my family. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2024

Rebecca Archer-Knepper - USA

We discovered something different and amazing on each zodiac cruise. The crew always made sure we were safe and as comfortable as possible and that we all had the chance to witness wildlife. We also were educated on everything we saw. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2024

Kelli Alexander - USA

It was a bucket list item... touched 5th ocean water and landed on 7th continent - couldn't ask for more. The kids went kayaking, and they loved it. I also liked the polar plunge. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Suresh Venna - USA

Most memorable moment? Seeing my children engage with curiosity and energy. The smaller scale of the ship and orientation towards wildlife and excursions really made the experience sensational. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Jeff Fisher - USA

The expedition team really planned this trip perfectly for younger and more energetic visitors. We had 8 kids under 18 on our ship, including our two children, and it was really fantastic. They are really thoughtful about Antarctica and tourism and how we can be respectful of wildlife and try to leave no trace and making sure they educate you on the wildlife and geology around you. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Erin Blanton - USA

10/10 – This was our family's travels to our 7th continent and we all concluded it was our favourite. We completed our bucket list with the family. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Francis John Abrams - USA

10/10 - Swoop was great helping me find the right cruise for me and my family. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Kristin Gallagher - USA

It was so surreal and unreal being there. It's still hard to believe that we were there. Such a beautiful place. PIctures will never capture the colors of the ice, the water, the expanse. So, so, so amazing! Our grandchildren love all the pictures of penguins. Unbelievable how many there were at every place! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Janalee Burbank - USA

On Christmas Eve, our family walked among penguins on the continent, sailed through the Lemaire Channel, plunged into the Antarctic Ocean, devoured a gourmet Filipino feast, and then were treated to a spectacular show by a pod of 20+ Orcas off the bough of our ship – all of it in eternal daylight on one of the longest days of the year. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Love Zubiller - USA

I want to thank the ship's crew for accommodating our daughter's Bat Mitzvah. The chef even made a special bread (challah) for us. It was more/better than we could have imagined. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Love Zubiller - USA

Do this trip with your kids (recommend 8+). They will love every minute. Penguins are cuter than I ever imagined. And Icebergs are really cool! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Love Zubiller - USA

Seeing the Antarctic ecosystem in person has changed our perspective further on the need for conservation. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Howard Crothers - USA

The ship was perfect for our family. We felt safe at all times and being so close to the whales was amazing. My daughter enjoyed citizen science with the expedition team. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Howard Crothers - USA

10/10 - Sarah and Cassia from Swoop were both fantastic. Cassia took a lot of time to learn about my family and what we wanted. Then she did a ton of research to find the best options for us. Sarah helped us so much with the planning. She was super supportive and available to help with anything. She made sure my mom’s birthday celebration was all set up and helped us with all of the questions we had. We were so glad to have her helping us, especially as my parents were a bit nervous for their first big international trip. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Patti Shelton - USA

10/10 - It is a once in a lifetime trip. Created true core memories for me and my family. This was an active trip; we definitely experienced Antarctica from the hiking, kayaking, mountaineering and zodiac cruises. The camping and polar plunge were amazing experiences! Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and simply awesome. They truly enhanced the experience. Perfect ship for the experience too. Right size, right capabilities. The entire adventure from what we did, who helped us do, the ship (and the entire crew ) were great. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Marc Ganz - USA

Review:

How to choose your family Antarctic cruise

Finding the right ship

Expedition cruise ships aren’t explicitly set up to cater for children and don’t have family-friendly facilities in the same way that traditional cruise ships do.

As such there are no set rules around lower age restrictions onboard expedition cruise ships: every ship is slightly different and there are a lot of nuances, especially when it comes to optional adventure activities like kayaking or camping. Swoop’s contacts across the entire polar fleet and long experience in helping families book expedition cruises means that we can help guide you through this maze and find the ship that best suits your requirements – and for the best price.

Seaventure expedition cruise ship

Cabins for family groups

Cabin styles and space vary from ship to ship across the polar fleet. We know that families have different requirements from other travellers and can put our in-depth knowledge and first-hand experience onboard to meet your requirements. Options include: 

  • Interconnecting cabins
  • Larger suite-style cabins to spend time together in
  • Triple and quads cabins
  • Cabins with sofa beds that can be set up for children.

Some cabin types often book out early, Swoop’s long-standing and close working relationships means that we can find you the cabins you need at the best possible price – and located close together on the ship in the configuration that suits your family best.

Balcony cabin

What's the right age for an Antarctic cruise?

Parents will always be the best judge of age suitability, but in our experience, families get the most out of an Antarctic adventure when children are aged 10+. This is when most children can take instructions from the expedition team, including following the simple biosecurity procedures involved in stepping foot on Antarctica.

Children must be able to quietly observe wildlife from a safe distance or from a zodiac and be able to move safely about the ship. The older the child, the more they'll also get out of the expert talks on board. 

Be aware that the set dining hours on many expedition cruise ships may not suit all younger children. Towards the more luxury end of the market, there are more dining options at different times of the day, often including 24 hour room service. 

Family with two children in South Georgia

Heath & safety on board

Passenger health and safety is a central undertaking during any expedition cruise to Antarctica. Expert onboard teams look after every aspect of the trip to ensure you will experience the polar regions in a safe and comfortable environment.

All expedition cruise ships have an onboard doctor and a medical centre equipped to handle emergencies. Underwater stabilisers on most ships reduce excess movement during heavy seas.

For safety reasons, it will always be at the Captain and Expedition Leader’s discretion as to whether an individual activity will be suitable for a younger traveller.

Hand grip getting out of a zodiac in Antarctica

Family Antarctica Adventure Cruises: FAQs

  • Are there minimum age limits on Antarctic expedition cruises?

    Every ship in the polar fleet is slightly different when it comes to applying minimum ages for child passengers. Further restrictions may apply if you also want to do adventure activities like kayaking or camping – there are often no hard and fast rules, but our experience can help find exactly the right ship for you.

  • Can we book cabins together as a family?

    Yes. We can arrange cabins next door to each other for your family group. Every ship is unique, but we’ll find the best configuration for you – whether that’s interconnected cabins, triples, cabins with sofa beds or with extra space for you all to relax in together.

  • What facilities are there onboard for children?

    Antarctic expedition cruise ships aren’t like traditional cruise ships, so don’t expect kid’s clubs, babysitting or evening entertainment. On the other hand, those ships can’t offer your family the chance to walk close to a penguin rookery or zodiac cruise past icebergs, so we think that’s more than fair compensation.

  • Do we need to bring extra child-friendly outdoor gear?

    Almost all expedition cruise ships provide a parka and waterproof boots for passengers. If booking with a child, we’ll check in advance that the ship will have outdoor kit in the right size, or if there are items you should bring with you

  • Will there be internet for my teenagers?

    Yes. Getting online at the bottom of the world presents more of a challenge than elsewhere however, so the amount of internet that’s available can vary from ship to ship. Many ships now use Starlink which provides excellent internet connections.

    Speeds are subject to weather conditions: voice calls are often possible, though you shouldn’t expect to be able to use the internet as you would at home; streaming movies won't be an option. We can advise on who has the best options for getting online: some ships included everything in the price, while on others you pay for data packages. 

  • Are there Antarctic cruises during school vacation?

    Yes, but Antarctic expedition cruise schedules aren't specifically designed to match up with school terms and vacations, so be aware that to make your dates work it might be necessary to remove your child from school for a few days. 

  • When should I book?

    We recommend trying to book your Antarctic family adventure at least 12-18 months in advance. While most holidays have a far shorter lead time, Antarctica has a finite number of ships and cabins: places can fill quickly for travel at high demand times like school vacations and Christmas, so those booking late frequently find their choice significantly reduced, especially when travelling in a larger group.

Discover more about Antarctica

Magellan Explorer Ship

Antarctic Cruise Ships

We work with a range of different Antarctic vessels, with expertise across the entire polar fleet, to give give you the best choice of ship, cabin and departure date. 

Discover More

Why our customers love Swoop

The Antarctic Experts.
No Compromises

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Our team has visited Antarctica over 150 times and has 100 collective years of polar experience, so from which trip is right for you to what shoes to bring - there’s no question we can’t answer.

Expert impartial advice at no extra cost

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Choosing the right voyage is complicated, Swoop makes it easy. We offer no-nonsense advice on 1500 voyages across 30 ships to find you the right trip, cabin, price - and we don’t charge a fee.

The only B Corp certified Antarctic specialist

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We want to protect Antarctica for future generations - which is why we became a certified B Corp and set up our own conservation fund. So your adventures can be a force for good.

A full concierge service, unlike booking direct

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We leave nothing to chance in delivering your perfect trip and have over 6500 happy travellers to show for it. With a dedicated Antarctic co-ordinator & support throughout - you’re in safe hands.

Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?

1
Listen

Listen

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

2
Match

Match

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

3
Reserve

Reserve

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

With over 100 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.

1-855-369-8288