6 reasons to visit the Antarctic Peninsula

  1. Set foot on the most accessible part of the Seventh Continent, just two days sailing from the top of South America, or a two hour flight
  2. Cruise past breathtaking frozen landscapes, from snow-clad mountains rising from the sea to glacier-ringed bays strewn with icebergs
  3. Watch the antics of a thousand waddling penguins in their rookeries, nature’s most endlessly charismatic birds
  4. Take part in a host of adventure activities, from kayaking and snorkelling to snowshoeing and mountaineering, or even scenic helicopter flights
  5. Catch the breath of a humpback whale as it surfaces in one of the best places for whale watching in the world
  6. Follow in the footsteps of the earliest visitors to Antarctica at a host of historic sites, or make like an explorer by camping out in the snow yourself
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Lauren says

On our first landing in Antarctica, dozens of penguins skimmed playfully in the water around our zodiac like an honour guard, as we headed towards the shore. What better way to arrive for our first footsteps on the Seventh Continent?

Lauren Mancini Antarctica Specialist

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What our travellers think of the Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctic Peninsula Cruises trips scored 4.4/5 from 637 reviews

This was my first "cruise" so I wasn't sure what to expect. But everything from the cabin, the food, the staff and crew were fantastic. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2024

Barbara Alexander - Canada

Most memorable moment? My partner proposed to me at Orne Harbor as chinstrap penguins wandered by, and then we got to see a group of humpback whales on the zodiac cruise right after! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2023

Leanne Matthews - USA

I really enjoyed the opportunity to see the various penguins in their natural habitat - I loved watching them waddle around, swim or just lay on the snow. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Dave Lo - USA

Most memorable moment? Watching an iceberg roll while on the Zodiac with new buddies. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2023

Mary Engebreth - USA

The wildlife was so amazing. We saw an innumerable amount of penguins, whales, and seals. We got so many incredible images and videos of penguins with their “derpy” personalities. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Michael Bucher - USA

My three most memorable zodiac cruises were seeing the most gorgeous ice I could ever imagine, having our staff give us an encounter with krill and watching the seal swimming not far from our boat, looking directly at us whenever his/her head came above the waterline. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Linda Nolte - USA

10/10 - I’ve wanted to go to Antarctica for about 18 years. It was a bucket list adventure. I was able to camp, cruise the Antarctica waters, and kayak around glaciers and icebergs. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Natalie Dewberry-Moore - USA

Every member of the team brought a different focus to our experience. They were engaging, passionate and worked very hard to ensure we had the best experience possible. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Rebecca Brown - USA

Most memorable moment: Waking up the first day in Antarctica with the sun shining, surrounding mountains covered in snow, porpoising penguins, and beautiful blue waters. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Charlie Barchett - USA

Stepping onto the Antarctic Peninsula for the first time, its beauty brought me to tears. It’s something I will never forget. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Sandra Whitlock-Baker - UK

It's hard to choose from so many memorable moments; every day I thought it was the best ever but I think I will say that the zodiac excursion across Paradise Bay with the whales right in front of us, or the cruise through Spert Islands channels and the iceberg graveyard with it all set off by the amazingly blue water. Also getting to 68 degrees south was incredible! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Jennifer Ruth - USA

I expected it to be an amazing trip and it was even better than expected. I don't think you can really be prepared for the experience. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Jennifer Ruth - USA

I loved all the zodiac trips; the landings were incredible too but I could do zodiacs all day every day. The zodiac across Paradise Bay and Spert Island were the best; we used the term "white water zodiacing" at Spert and it was so much fun! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Jennifer Ruth - USA

Take advantage of all the floor to ceiling windows - whales and seals just slide by when you're not expecting it! Do all the things you possibly can and be open to all the experiences, ask questions: the expedition crew is so passionate and knows so much. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2022

Jennifer Ruth - USA

The entire experience was well planned with necessary information given to trip participants in a timely manner. And besides logistics, the number and variety of off-ship excursions were outstanding, allowing us to see and experience so much of what Antarctica has to offer even in a short visit. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Fred Delcomyn - USA

Antarctica is even more remote and wild than I had imagined. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Fred Delcomyn - 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

Antarctica is vast, beautiful, and unforgiving. So much beauty, and so much struggle. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Diane Walcher - USA

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Swoop are very good and John's advice and chats that we had, made what could have been a difficult decision easy.

Travelled: March 2018

Mick - UK

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I could not have asked for better service than Swoop provided. You answered all my questions and concerns and provided me with all trip details and requirements.

Travelled: January 2018

Al & Natalia - Florida

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Excursions were the highlights of the trip. I can't point a finger to any of them saying that one was the best. They were all fantastic!

Travelled: January 2018

Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth - Florida

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It was an incredible experience. Antarctica is unlike any place I have ever visited, totally unspoiled by human influence aside from the few research stations dotted here and there. The raw beauty and remoteness is impossible to describe.

Travelled: January 2018

Tony & Penny - Mississippi

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We saw much more wildlife than expected, including humpbacks swimming around and under our kayaks, as well as visiting the boat on several occasions; an unusual visit from a large pod of orcas; lots of seals; birds and, of course, highly entertaining penguins.

Travelled: December 2017

George & Kate - Connecticut

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We booked with Swoop because it was evident in the first phone call that Swoop knew far more about Antarctic travel than an agent recommended by friends. Book through people who have been there repeatedly; Swoop was an excellent choice.

Travelled: December 2017

Marc - Florida

No camera can do justice to the omnipotence of Antarctica, it is humbling. Penguins were cheeky, seals were unphased and the whales gave hope that we haven't destroyed the planet yet.

Travelled: December 2017

Pauline - Australia

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Lemaire Channel was spectacular even though we had to turn around at the end due to iceberg blocking the way. Saw so many whales - fin, humpback, and orca.

Travelled: March 2017

Nathalie - California

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Seeing astounding small blue crevasses among the vast white background, watching sea-ice form, witnessing icebergs calving and crashing into the sea, unexpectedly coming across lush green algae and blue copper staining on the rocks are all experiences that we will never forget.

Travelled: March 2017

Graham and Angela - UK

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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

Absolutely superb...genuinely spectacular. In terms of a destination, nothing else comes anywhere near.

Travelled: December 2015

Liz & Anthony - London

Antarctica in perfect weather was the absolute highlight. Undoubtedly one of the best experiences in my travels!

Travelled: December 2015

James - UK

Review:

Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula

World-class wildlife watching

If there’s one thing that everyone wants to see on an Antarctic trip, it’s a penguin – and the Antarctic Peninsula has them in absolute abundance. There are three main species: gentoos, chinstraps and Adelie penguins. You’ll find them perched on ice floes or coming and going from thousands-strong rookeries, incubating eggs or raising fluffy chicks. However charming you think penguins are, they’re even more so in their natural habitat.

There areseals aplenty, from sinuous leopard seals to gigantic elephant seals, though even those are dwarfed by the true kings of the polar seas: the whales. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the world’s best whale watching destinations, offering the opportunity to encounter humpback whales, orcas – and perhaps even the largest animal on the planet, the blue whale

Two gentoo penguins porpoising through the water

Incredible landscapes

The Antarctic Peninsula in essence is one long mountain range that bursts dramatically out of the Southern Ocean, resulting in a landscape of almost endless beauty and fascination.

There are hundreds of potential landing sites and zodiac cruising spots along the Peninsula, each seemingly more gorgeous than the last. There are snowy peaks as jagged as if a child drew them, crinkly fjords and pocket-sized bays that serve as graveyards for exquisitely carved icebergs.

The unpredictable polar weather means that you can never guarantee where you might visit on any day – the anticipation is part of the excitement of expedition cruising – but whether you're cruising through glassy straits strewn with ice or exploring frozen shores dotted with penguin rookeries, the Peninsula always offers something extraordinary to see.

Zodiac cruising at Wilhemina Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula
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Maddison says

Camping in Antarctic was the most magical experience. I dug my snow hole and lay awake for hours listening to cracking ice and the calls of distant penguins. It made me feel like I was the only person on the planet.

Maddison Clare Antarctica Sales Specialist

Adventure activities

You needn’t be a passive observer when it comes to visiting the Antarctic Peninsula: expedition cruise ships have a host of optional adventure activities to allow you to experience the White Continent with a taste of adrenaline.

One of the best ways to get up close and personal to Antarctica is by kayaking, silently paddling through brash ice while penguins porpoise around you. If you really want to swim like them, you might try snorkelling or even scuba diving – though you’ll never match their easygrace.

On land, you can get to grips with the snow and ice by snowshoeing or mountaineering. One of the most magical experiences is overnight camping: tucked into a snow hole you dug yourself and falling asleep in a great white silence punctuated only by the distant sound of crashing glaciers.

Kayakers at Pleneau Island on the Antarctic Peninsula

History

Explorers, adventurers and scientists have been travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula for over 200 years and have left behind many traces of those early pioneering days to discover.

From locations like Deception Island to Port Lockroy and Brown Bluff to Foyn Harbour, you can visit the remains of long-abandoned explorer’s huts, research bases, shipwrecks and even the rusting ruins of old whaling stations.

Every location you sail past has a name associated with the days of the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic exploration or the more recent era of pioneering polar scientists. All expedition cruise ships have their own expert historian guide who is adept at bringing Antarctica's stories to life as you explore this storied landscape.

Port Lockroy on Goudier Island in the Antarctic Peninsula

Planning your Antarctic Peninsula cruise

Sailing to the Antarctic Peninsula

The majority of visitors to the Antarctic Peninsula travel by sea, sailing from Argentina’s southernmost port of Ushuaia and making the two day crossing the Drake Passage.

Crossing the Drake Passage is a key part of the Antarctic experience for many travellers. You’re not alone while you cross either: Albatrosses and other seabirds are your constant companions, soaring with hypnotic ease over the waves and guiding your ship ever further south.

The Drake Passage has something of a fearful reputation for its rough seas, though in truth you’re actually far more likely to encounter the smooth seas of a Drake Lake than a lively Drake Shake. For those who prefer to avoid it however, it's possible to skip the voyage altogether and fly direct to Antarctica.

Photographing an iceberg in the Drake Passage

Choosing the right trip & ship

There’s an almost bewildering amount of choice available when picking your Antarctic Peninsula cruise, from the different ships and cabin types to the itinerary and departure dates. Swoop’s deep experience as a specialised Antarctic agent can help guide through this maze.

We have over 100 years of collective polar experience with more than 150 visits to Antarctica. That number grows every year: we’re the only polar travel agency that sends every member of its sales team out to Antarctica every year, ensuring that we know every ship in the polar fleet inside and out (a knowledge base we keep topped up with further ship inspections during the off season).

We’ll put this expertise at your service at no extra cost to you, listening to exactly what you want from this once-in-a-lifetime trip, to find the perfect ship and itinerary at the right price for you.

Silver Endeavour in the Lemaire Channel
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Swoop says

Ships can fill up faster than you think. Whenever you're planning to visit the Antarctic Peninsula, we strongly recommend starting to plan your trip at least 12 months before you intend to travel to be sure of your preferred dates and ship. 

Flying to the Antarctic Peninsula

If you want to skip the voyage across the Drake Passage, or just want to get to Antarctica in the quickest way possible, fly-sail cruises are an excellent option.

Fly-sail cruises depart from Punta Arenas in Chile, flying in just two hours direct to King Georgia Island in the South Shetland Islands, which lie off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. On arrival, you transfer directly to your expedition cruise ship to allow you to start exploring Antarctica almost immediately. 

Flying to Antarctica is both a comfortable and expedient choice for time-poor and/or anxious sailors, however planes are more susceptible to weather delays than ships, so you’ll need to be ready for flexibility if choosing this option.

Antarctic Airways airplane

When to go to the Antarctic Peninsula

The visiting season for the Antarctic Peninsula runs from November through to March. This coincides with the austral summer, as the winter sea ice melts and the coastline becomes accessible to cruise ships. High summer in the middle of December brings nearly 24 hours of daylight.

Within this period, there are variations in how you’ll experience Antarctica. November has the most pristine snow and penguins coming ashore to mate. Penguin chicks typically arrive in Christmas – the peak season for visitors. From the new year onwards, whales are in their greatest abundance, and as the days shorten, chicks get ready to fledge and take to the sea. The shoulder season at the very beginning and end of summer are particularly great for photographers, with amazing sunsets and sunrises.

Tourists in a zodiac photograph seals on an ice floe

Fly & Cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula

The ultimate shortcut to Antarctica, bypass the Drake Passage and touch down in Antarctica in just two hours. Less sailing, more icebergs.

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
  • $15,995
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 67 passenger expedition…

  • 8 Days
  • $11,495
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 January. Travel on outstanding modern expedition ships with a maximum of 140 passengers. Active adventurers can enjoy…

  • 8 Days
  • $16,795
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
  • $5,995
Antarctic Fly & Sail Combination

A rare and popular voyage which flies to Antarctica in just two hours, then sails back across the Drake Passage, maximising both expediency and experience. Spend 5 to 7 days exploring Antarctica on a small, purpose-built expedition ship, with kayaking…

  • 9-13 Days
  • $17,895
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
  • $23,795
Fly-Sail Antarctica & South Georgia

This unique express trip saves time by flying to Antarctica, cutting out 2 sailing days and skipping the Falklands. Maximising your time amid the spectacular wildlife and scenery of Antarctica and South Georgia is the focus of this voyage. The…

  • 17 Days
  • $15,995
Antarctic Fly & Cruise In-Depth

Save time travelling to Antarctica by flying there in just 2 hours. With an impressive 5-6 full days to explore the wonders of the White Continent, you’ll be accompanied by a highly experienced expedition team and National Geographic certified photographer.…

  • 9 or 10 Days
  • $13,975
Quintessential Luxury Fly & Cruise

A hassle-free trip including charter flights in South America and a short 2-hour plane hop to the White Continent. Bypassing the Drake Passage's unpredictable waters, you’ll travel on a luxury all-inclusive vessel with 5 full days exploring Antarctica. Between off-ship…

  • 10 Days
  • $14,000

Luxury cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula

Opulent adventuring awaits. Return from a day's exploring to your luxury cabin, private balcony and 5* gourmet meals. The highest levels of service and quality of ship anywhere in Antarctica.

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

Antarctic Peninsula Classic

Travelling on board this extremely comfortable ship, explore the highlights of the peninsula with a top class expedition team. Spacious cabins, delicious cuisine and optional adventure activities all help create this ideal marriage of comfort and…

  • 12-13 Days
  • $10,145
Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula

Sail to the White Continent aboard one of the most luxurious ships currently available. Unsurpassed comfort and true 5* service are this operator’s hallmarks. From the discreetly attentive service and French-inspired cuisine to the beautifully appointed public areas, this is…

  • 11-14 Days
  • $14,234
Explore the Antarctic Peninsula

Travelling aboard a state-of-the-art small ship and accompanied by unparalleled onboard expertise, expeditionary cruising doesn’t get much better. Regular departures throughout the season and a choice of three outstanding ships renowned for their comfort, enhanced safety features and spirit of…

  • 12 Days
  • $16,810
Explore Antarctica in Comfort

For a fantastic introduction to Antarctica, travelling on board a luxury 108-passenger ship at a very reasonable price, look no further. Very few Antarctic voyages include so much, making this trip a real ‘steal’: Buenos Aires hotel, domestic flights, all…

  • 10 Days
  • $11,795
Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia in Comfort

Travelling aboard a modern, custom-built expedition ship with luxury amenities, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the adventure as you speed through the Southern Ocean. The all-inclusive price – with outstanding food – is excellent value…

  • 18-19 Days
  • $16,492
Luxury Weddell Sea Explorer

Sail on a 5* icebreaker to Antarctica’s remote Weddell Sea region. Custom-built with cutting-edge nautical technology, this tough yet elegant vessel is designed to tackle the notoriously icy conditions. Your expert guides and Photo Ambassador will scan the spectacular ice…

  • 14 Days
  • $30,850

Antarctic Peninsula Map

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Discover more about Antarctica

You're guaranteed to spot gentoo penguins and icebergs on Antarctica Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

We've teamed up with some of the best cruise operators so that you can choose from over 80 cruise itineraries based on your dates, budget and appetite for adventure.

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Antarctic Peninsula Cruises: FAQs

  • How do you get to the Antarctic Peninsula?

    The majority of cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula set sail from the Argentine city of Ushuaia. You can fly to Ushuaia direct direct from Buenos Aires (3hr 40min duration) - both LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas run several flights per day. 

    After a night in Ushuaia you embark your Antarctic ship and head out along the sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel.  The crossing to Antarctica takes around two days, although this will very much be influenced by weather conditions.  As you get closer to Antarctica, icebergs drifting north out of the Weddell Sea will start to be sighted. 

    Most cruises first reach the South Shetland Islands, which are part of Antarctica but lie 75 miles west of the Peninsula. This is also where the landing strip is on King George Island for those flying direct from Punta Arenas.

  • How long is an Antarctic Peninsula cruise?

    These Antarctica voyages are typically 10 to 12 days in duration, giving you 4-5 actual days in Antarctica exploring. Some itineraries include a night's hotel accommodation in Ushuaia prior to embarkation on Day 2.

  • How much does an Antarctic Peninsula Cruise cost?

    A classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise sailing from Ushuaia typically costs from around $6,000 USD to over $30,000 USD per person based on a twin cabin and depending on the size of ship, category of cabin and comfort level of your ship which you decide upon, and the month in which you travel. If you prefer to fly to Antarctica, you pay a premium for this, with prices from around $11,600 USD per person based on a twin cabin for a similar amount of time in Antarctica.

    Read Swoop's guide to Antarctic costs

  • How far in advance should you book an Antarctic Peninsula cruise?

    Typically you should be looking 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. Many people are surprised by this, being used to booking their holidays with a far shorter lead time, however Antarctic is different and with a finite amount of cabins and boats, those booking late will find their choice significantly reduced from those who plan ahead.

    Find out about early booking incentives

  • Will there be experienced guides and naturalists on board?

    Yes, definitely. Your expeditionary staff are a crucial part of your Antarctic experience, accompanying you throughout. They not only provide set lectures during your voyage, but also add immense value with information and context during actual landings. They're always on hand to answer any questions and are a mine of information on all related subjects.

    Each member of the expeditionary team is an expert in their respective field, many having spent literally years in Antarctica. They report to the expeditionary leader, who along with the ship's captain is responsible for the whole voyage.

    Find out more about what you will do on an Antarctic cruise

  • What is the weather like on the Antarctic Peninsula?

    The Antarctic Peninsula has it's own climate region which is milder than the rest of Antarctica. Winter temperatures drop to around -10°C while summer highs, generally in January, see temperatures just above freezing. The eastern coast is the driest area of the peninsula and the western coast sees the highest rainfall. During the peak of summer sunlight shines for 20+ hours of the day, winds calm, and skies are often clear – but conditions can always change quickly.

    Perhaps more valuable to know is how the weather lends to distinct experiences of the Peninsula throughout the season. Define when your best time to visit Antarctica might be here.

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.

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