How much does an Antarctic cruise cost?

There are a lot of significant variables which influence the cost to go to Antarctica, and no two ship operators are the same. The size of the ship, standard of accommodation, and quality of food and service all play a part in Antarctica trip costs. But there are less obvious factors too; the calibre of the expeditionary staff, what clothing is provided, whether the wine is included, staff to passenger ratio and the variety of complimentary activities. 

Price Guide (prices per person in USD)

Classic Antarctica Peninsula cruise (10-11 days)   $6,000 - 14,000

Fly & Cruise voyage (8 days)   $11,500 - 27,000

Antarctic Circle cruise (12-14 days)   $8,000 - 18,000

South Georgia, Falklands & Antarctica cruise (18-23 days)   $12,000 - 25,000

Ross Sea cruise (30 - 35 days)   $23,000

Antarctic Interior & Flights to the South Pole (7 - 9 days)   $50,000

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Tennessee Blackmore says

Price and budget are important, but value is very different. That's why we take the time to make sure that you get as much as you possibly can from your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Swoop Expert

Securing a good price: FAQs

  • Do Antarctic boat operators offer discounts?

    Antarctic boat operators tend to reward those who book early (+10 months in advance) with discounted cruise costs rather than slash back prices at the last minute. These smaller boats don’t suffer from the same inventory issues as larger cruise ships, so availability is often a bigger issue than price.

    Early booking incentives can be $1,000 - 1,500 off the voyage price per person, a hefty potential saving for those travellers that can book ahead.

    Note that not all ships offer an early booking incentive and these offers always have a deadline. Get in touch to find out what's available.

  • Do Antarctic cruises cost less if I book early or late?

    In Antarctica, the best deals are to be had by those willing to commit early.

    Not only do certain boat operators offer an early booking discount of up to $1,500 off per person for a specified period, but booking early also ensures that you secure your preferred voyage and cabin, rather than sifting options at last minute which may present limited leftover choices.

  • Will my Antarctic cruise cost less if I book directly with the ship operator?

    No, your cruise will cost exactly the same whether you book directly or through an agent like Swoop. The prices of Antarctic voyages are set, and many ship operators don’t accept direct bookings.

    There are in fact compelling benefits of booking through a specialist agent like Swoop:

    • A far broader choice of voyage options, not just what a single ship can offer
    • Access to objective, impartial and knowledgeable advice
    • In-depth first-hand knowledge of all of the ships - not just a select few
    • We can point out any special offers which you could take advantage of
    • Assistance with booking flights, hotels, transfers etc - in short, a full travel service
    • ATOL - Financial protection through our bond (UK travellers only)
  • Is ‘price’ a good criteria for choosing the right Antarctic trip?

    Budget is always important but needs to be considered in the wider context of what you are looking to achieve. There are so many other variables involved, that the cost itself isn’t an accurate measurement for good decision making. To ensure that you end up choosing exactly the right Antarctic voyage for you, many other factors need to be taken into account.

    This is where a specialist like Swoop is invaluable by taking the time to listen and understand your ‘brief’ and what’s important to you, and then handpicking a small selection of carefully chosen options for you to consider.

  • Why does an Antarctic cruise cost so much?

    There’s no way around it, any trip to Antarctica is expensive and this is simply down to the remoteness of the destination and the costly logistics to get there.

    Ice-strengthened ships are very expensive to build and maintain, there's the ship's staff to look after (which can easily total more than 80 people) and then there's the actual fuel to run the ship.

    Fuel is a significant operating cost and is much more expensive to purchase in the remote areas where they can only re-fuel due to the added transportation costs.

    It's a costly endeavour for all concerned, however, Swoop has never had anyone return from Antarctica who didn’t think that it was well worth the investment.

  • What's typically included in the cost of an Antarctic cruise?

    On any Antarctic voyage the following are typically included:


    • Accommodation on full board basis
    • All guided landings and excursions while on board ship
    • A programme of lectures by leading experts
    • Loan of a pair of rubber boots

    Depending on which ship you choose, some or all of the following may also be included:

    • Complimentary parka jacket (to keep)
    • Flights to/from Antarctica
    • Pro/Post voyage hotel accommodation
    • Additional activities such as snowshoeing, camping and photography workshops
    • Beverages with meals

    Optional extras on select trips

    • Camping in Antarctica
    • Sea kayaking
    • Reserved seating on the charter flight to Antarctica

    Additional costs, not included

    • Return flights from the start and end points of your trip
    • Travel insurance
    • Drinks and souvenirs on board ship
    • Internet data cards
    • Discretionary tip to the staff (approx. $15-20 per person per day)

What factors affect Antarctica travel costs?

When exploring Antarctic travel options, there are four key variables that will affect the cost of your trip.

  1. When and how you travel, and who you travel with.
  2. The month in which you visit Antarctica will play a large part in how much your trip costs, as high season brings with it a premium.
  3. Whether you choose to fly or cruise to Antarctica, and the type of ship you choose to travel on, will also affect costs.
  4. Deciding to explore Antarctica solo rather than in the company of friends or family will also bring with it a cost premium.
Antarctic Cruise Costs Explained

High season vs shoulder season

High Season: Mid-December to late February is regarded as the ‘High Season’. The weather and wildlife are at their best, and there is a high demand, meaning prices are higher.

Shoulder Season: November and March, at the beginning and end of the season, are regarded as the ‘Shoulder Season’ months. Both are still great times to experience Antarctica, and prices are typically 10 - 25% lower, depending on which ship you choose. For travellers wanting the best of the shoulder season, December is a very good time to travel. There are long days during which you can explore, benign weather and plentiful wildlife activity whilst benefiting from lower travel costs.

Approaching ice in a zodiac - Antarctica travel cost

Approaching ice in a zodiac

Is the high season premium worth it?

Everyone has different criteria, so this is a hard one to answer. What is indisputable is that Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and the key is choosing exactly the right trip for you. This will ensure you get the very most out of the experience, with the budget being an important but often secondary consideration.

For us, the longer days, more stable weather and active wildlife during high season justify the 10-25% higher price, but it does depend on what’s important to you. Photographers, for example, really like November for the soft light, heavy ice conditions and spectacular skies, while February and March are traditionally best for whale sightings.

King Penguins, South Georgia - Antarctica trip cost

Fly vs cruise

The perception that the cost of a flight to Antarctica is more expensive than the cost of a cruise to Antarctica holds true. Expect to pay approximately an extra 20% if you choose to fly both to and from Antarctica.

This premium is largely attributable to expensive charter flights to Antarctica which require specialist aircraft and highly experienced pilots.

There has been an increase in the number of voyages now offering a combination of flying one way and sailing the other, which utilise cheaper scheduled flights via The Falkland Islands. This has made flying to Antarctica more cost-effective and provided greater choice.

Arriving in Antarctica - Cheap flights to Antarctica

Arriving in Antarctica

Authentic vs Luxury

The vessel you pick will have a bearing on the cost of your Antarctic cruise. A luxury Antarctic ship will provide a first-class experience of the White Continent, but will also come with an increased price tag. Many luxury vessels will feature gourmet menus, spacious cabins with their own balconies, and even their own saunas.


Travelling solo or with your family

Travelling solo

Antarctic voyages are very popular with solo travellers, with typically at least 20% of passengers on board being single. The good news is that travelling solo doesn’t have to increase Antarctica cruise costs, depending on what you choose. Here are the options:

  1. Share a cabin with a fellow traveller (always of the same sex); you choose which type of cabin you want and the ship operator then pairs you up.
  2. Book your own cabin; single cabins used to be a rarity but are less so now. Be prepared to book early though as they are in high demand. This option is more expensive than sharing but less expensive than paying a supplement for a twin cabin.
  3. Pay a single supplement - If you definitely want your own cabin and a single isn’t available you will need to pay a single supplement to have your own twin cabin. The single supplement is typically 70% of the cost of the second berth.
Gentoo Penguin, Antarctica - Cost of flight to Antarctica

Travelling with family

We’re increasingly seeing more intrepid families heading to Antarctica. With this change, some Antarctic ships are becoming more family-friendly, both with the activities provided and the cost to go.

The child and teenage discounts available vary considerably, with the most generous offering 25% off young travellers under 18 and 15% for those between 18 - 21 years old. In conjunction with an early booking discount, the savings can be really quite significant. For more details on how best to travel to Antarctica with your family and securing the best price, get in touch.

Emperor penguin & chick, South Georgia - Antarctica trip cost
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What our customers think of Antarctic Cruise Costs Explained

Customer Image

Truly the trip of a lifetime, it exceeded all expectations (and they were inevitably high). The place gets right into your very soul. Fantastic wildlife, birds and animals we will not see anywhere else, Leopard Seals close enough to the Zodiac to touch (but not recommended!) Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

David Irwin - United Kingdom

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I was pleased with the services from Swoop. The most important of these being the cruise that was recommended, which was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to maximize the opportunities to go onshore and we did. The Swoop staff were very organized and followed through on everything, ensuring that I knew what and when things needed to be completed.

Travelled: January 2018

Karyn & Richard - California

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It was the perfect choice. For the price we paid we definitely feel the trip delivered. Also don't forget: this is not a luxury cruise, this is an expedition.

Travelled: January 2018

Zoltan & Stephen Nemeth - Florida

The Swoop team answered all our questions fully and were very helpful in getting us prepared for our trip. So very happy with Loli and the team. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Steve Hatten - United States Of America

Swoop was fantastic in everything. They were communicative and prompt. The assistance in picking a cruise and pricing out all our options was outstanding! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Kelly, Shannon and Robin Politte - United States of America

Do it! If you have a budget for an excursion style trip, save up some extra money and cruise the Island Sky/Hebriden Sky. It's worth the extra money. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

James Riner - United States Of America

The Antarctic experience is so worth the effort and investment, it is magnificent beyond words. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2018

Matthew Lambert - United States of America

It's expensive but I don't regret a penny.

Travelled: March 2018

John & Lesley - UK

Glad I booked with expert on polar trips, I was more than pleased with the voyage and I was very well guided to what I was hoping to do. Swoop staff were always very helpful, and your help with booking flights was invaluable.

Travelled: February 2018

Angela - UK

We were very pleased with Swoop. We were thrilled with the quick and helpful responses we received from you. The cabin and voyage recommended were perfect for us. We particularly liked the three choices you gave us which helped immensely in making our choice. We would highly recommend you. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2018

Nancy Stagner - United States Of America

We had an absolutely amazing honeymoon in Antarctica. One I'm sure we'll never forget. Highlight was the wildlife and the staff; we learned so much and had so much fun. I would definitely recommend including South Georgia/Falklands for those people that can afford the time and budget. Thanks for all your help!

Travelled: December 2017

Tish & Obadiah - Massachusetts

The trip was fabulous. And it did live up to our expectations. If you are considering it, then just go. It is worth the cost.

Travelled: December 2017

Nosh & Marylynn - Texas

South Georgia was the highlight of the trip. Be sure to choose an itinerary that includes it and you won't regret it. Seeing the sheer volume of wildlife was incredible. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2017

Janet Lee - United States Of America

Thanks to John for sending me the information that allowed me to take this trip. His diligence and attention to my needs (budget!) were what I needed to decide that the trip of a lifetime was within my reach! Read the full review

Travelled: December 2016

Nancy Kohlman - United States Of America


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