High Season Antarctic Cruises 2022

Deciding when you wish to travel is an important consideration as there are amazing, distinct highlights each month. High season is from December to February; temperatures are at their mildest and wildlife at its most abundant. During long days of daylight in December, you can expect to see penguin chicks hatching and humpbacks arriving from their time in the tropics. Encouraged by the 'warm' Antarctic weather at the height of the summer, penguin chicks acquaint themselves with their new home throughout January, while seal pup colonies are equally busy with activity. The continuing melt of the sea ice opens up the greatest access along the Peninsula in February, with wonderful opportunities to see whales as you venture far into the region.

Antarctica in January

Emperor penguin with fluffy chick, South Georgia, Antarctica

January is the peak of the Antarctic summer, so you'll enjoy magical 20+ hours of sunlight each day.  These extra daylight hours gives you more time each day to explore,…

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Antarctica in February

Majestic iceberg in the Crystal Sound, Polar Circle, Antarctica

February's the time for sailing all the way to the Polar Circle, the Sun's rays through December and January having weakened the pack ice significantly enough to allow for …

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Antarctica in December

Viewing humpback whales off the Melchior Islands, Antarctica

The summer sun bathes the continent in 20-24 hours of daylight in December, making it a popular time to visit. It's also a busy time for the penguin rookeries as the chicks begin …

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High Season 2022 Antarctica Cruises

Shoulder Season Antarctic Cruises 2022

Welcome in the arrival of the summer in November, experiencing the most snowy and icy landscapes of the season. You'll have the privilege and joy of watching male penguins impress their female interests and see how elephant and fur seals mark their breeding spots. Getting ashore on South Georgia is also still possible this early in the season, as prime mating time hasn't begun. March presents opportunities for great encounters with satiated whales who, now less focussed on hunting, are inquisitive and calm with visitors. Grown penguin chicks are in full moulting mode, large colonies of fur seals are playing on the Antarctic Peninsula, and returning home with a collection of mesmerising sunset and night sky photographs is very likely.

Antarctica in March

Taking a Zodiac ride to Pleneau Bay, Antarctica, in March

March marks the end of the travel season to Antarctica. You'll be able to enjoy the mesmerising colours of blooming green and pink algae against the water and ice, as well as …

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Antarctica in November

Viewing Antarctica from the expedition ship's bow

In November Antarctica opens its arms to the season's first visitors. You'll not only enjoy the excitement of walking on virgin snow, but you'll also appreciate its beauty as you …

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Shoulder Season 2022 Antarctica Cruises

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Swoop says

Ensure your favourite pick of vessel and cabins by booking early, as well as accessing the best availability of flights.

When should I start planning my Voyage?

  • When are departure dates normally released?

    ​Polar​ operators ​typically release their ​forthcoming departure dates ​and prices at least 18 months ​or so in advance, some even earlier. This is great news for travellers who like to plan ahead and get their cabin reserved early on​, particularly if you can take advantage of an early booking incentive.

    Given that there is only a finite number of places available on each departure, it really is a case of 'the early bird gets the worm' - or in this case the best dates and the widest choice of cabins - so early booking is strongly recommended.

  • When should I start to plan my Fly & Cruise trip?

    Trips which include time-saving flights to Antarctica and avoid the Drake Passage are incredibly popular and are the earliest of all voyages to become booked up.

    Due to strong demand and the relatively modest number of ships, particularly during High Season, to be confident of securing your first choice we would strongly urge that you begin planning at least 12 months in advance. December and January are particularly busy times and typically are fully booked up 10 months ahead.

    For the most popular Fly & Cruise trips or those incorporating South Georgia, 18 months ahead isn't too early.

  • Is it less expensive to travel in November & March?

    Yes it's true, the Shoulder Season months of November and March tend to be priced approx. 10-15% less than during the High Season (December - end February) and as a result are a good place to look for the budget-conscious or bargain-hunter.

    The reason for this is partly the less predictable weather and slightly lower wildlife numbers, but it's also simply the case that many who live in Northern Hemisphere countries like to holiday during their worst winter months.

    In our opinion a great time to travel is in early December when it's still Shoulder Season pricing but you get all of the benefits of High Season.

  • Are there any advantages in booking early?

    ​There certainly are: as well as securing your first choice, with many of the ships offering really quite generous early booking incentives of up to $1,500 per person to those willing to commit early, getting organised can really pay dividends.

  • Can I wait until the last minute for a late deal?

    Given the ​strong ​demand for Antarctic cruises​ ​boat ​operators rarely need to ​resort to offering any ​late availability discounts - particularly on the more popular ships and voyages - as ​cabins ​are normally all booked months ago in advance.

    Any remaining unsold cabins tend to be left on the shelf for a reason and choice will be poor at best, so it's not an approach we advocate.

    However, if you're flexible on dates and don't mind paying for ​overinflated ​flights​ ​there are normally odd cabins available.

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What our customers think

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We loved the antics of the penguins and the curiosity of the chicks. Up close viewing of seals and whales was awe inspiring. Our outstanding leaders helped to deepen our understanding and appreciation of this amazing world.

Sue Australia February 2018

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The highlight was watching a leopard seal peeping up to check the icebergs, diving back in, swimming under our zodiac and eventually deciding on a flattish iceberg. Rolled on its back to give himself a good scratch, then fell asleep in the sun!

Lucien & Marie-Eve South Africa January 2018

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We were privileged to see a large pod of humpback whales in a feeding frenzy one evening; the captain stopped the ship for an hour or so and the whales were feeding all around us.

Steve and Tina UK February 2017

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The cruise is almost over and was absolutely fantastic. We were blessed with beautiful weather and saw incredible wildlife and scenery. I can't say enough about the entire expedition team and crew. After two weeks on board, I am so incredibly spoiled.

Phil Texas December 2015

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The trip was amazing. Michael particularly liked the whales that were diving within 10-15 feet of our zodiac; my favorite was seeing all the penguins and, in particular, the chicks.

Joan & Michael New Jersey January 2018

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Very happy with the wildlife we saw - the best thing was the killer whales hunting a seal by creating waves and breaking the ice from below.

Anna UK November 2016

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Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?

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

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