First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not the same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!
Please select the captcha checkbox!
Please select the valid captcha!
Something went wrong! Try again later!

Top Antarctica Experiences

Seeing Emperor Penguin colonies

Whale watching on a ship

Kayaking around icebergs

Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula

View More

Top Antarctica Attractions

History tour

Drake Passage cruise

Emperor Penguin colonies

Antarctic Peninsula

View More

Antarctica Attractions And Landmarks Guide

Ever since Lars-Eric Lindblad built the first expedition-style cruise ship to take passengers to visit Antarctica in 1969, adventurous travelers have aspired to follow in their wake. Today about 40 vessels – mostly expedition-style vessels but some yachts as well -- make the run to the White Continent, leaving primarily from Argentina or the Falkland Islands, carrying as few as six and as many as 500 passengers.

Most of the Antarctic-bound ships, though, carry fewer than 100 passengers. Visitors go in search of the last real wilderness on earth, whose sole permanent residents are penguins, whales, seals, albatrosses and other abundant marine and bird life. Besides the stunning array of wildlife, you’ll see glaciers, snow-covered mountains, icebergs, and, on some tours, historic sites (such as early Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s huts) and perhaps one of the 20 scientific research stations that have welcomed visitors since 1969.

Antarctic Peninsula

The most common destinations on sea tours leaving from South America are the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Falkland Islands -- all havens for wildlife. (The latter two are not part of Antarctica.) The primary destination in Antarctica itself is the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts up from the rest of the mainland and is closest to South America. A few icebreakers challenge the often frozen Weddell Sea in search of emperor penguins to the peninsula’s east. And some ships make the journey from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to the Ross Sea on the other side of the continent; emperor penguin colonies are accessible from there by helicopter.

While some 100 tourist sites have seen landings in Antarctica over the years, fewer than 10 receive the bulk of the visitors. Port Lockroy, site of the British Antarctic Survey, is the most visited site, drawing more than 10,000 visitors per year. Passengers board Zodiacs (rubberized rafts) to go ashore, with most ships making one to three landings per day on the mainland.

Protecting the Ecosystem

Strict standards Antarctic tour operators must follow strict environmental protection guidelines mandated by the international Antarctic Treaty as well as the voluntary guidelines of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO); all itineraries must be approved in advance so they don’t harm the wildlife or the fragile ecosystem.

The Antarctic tourist season runs from late October or early November to March or early April, the summer months when the waters off Antarctica are comparatively ice free. The earlier months bring penguin and elephant seal courtship rituals, while the later months see the birth of penguin chicks and seal pups. By March the adult penguins are mostly headed out to sea, but whale and seal sightings increase. December and January bring the most daylight hours, prime time for photographers.

With so many variables in itineraries, vessels, levels of luxury, price, and trip lengths to wrestle with, it makes sense to let Stride help you sort through all the possibilities. And sooner than you may think, you can experience the same wonders that have captivated polar explorers for more than a century. 

Travel to Antarctica: Before you go

Warning: obvious statement ahead. It gets cold! So pack very warmly. Consider thermal undergarments, and breathable layers. Some excursions will involve being out on the water among icebergs, so also consider waterproof outer-layers. Cold can be alarmingly disorienting, so if you get cold easily, talk to your doctor about any precautionary measures or tips they recommend.

You may also want to consider any anti seasickness measures. Waters can be unpredictable, and you’ll be spending a lot of time aboard ship. Some tips to keep in mind: eat lot’s of crystallized ginger! Dramamine is also extremely effective for some. Talk with a doctor to figure out what will work best for you.

Visas

Antarctica does not have a governing body, and no permanent residents. All visitors, whether business or pleasure, are temporary. For this reason, you only need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months prior to your trip. No visa is required if you plan to stay less than 90 days.

Safety Considerations When Traveling to Antarctica

Keep in mind is that there are no public hospitals, pharmacies, or doctors offices in Antarctica. If you get sick or hurt, you will be relying on your cruise’s available resources, which while sufficient for normal ailments, will be minimal for anything extreme.

As mentioned above, be prepared for the cold and bring any anti seasick measures.

As highlighted by the CDC, you will be traveling with people from all over the world, in close quarters, and for an extended period of time. The risk of influenza, measles, and mumps is increased because of this, so especially for older travelers and children it will be important to ensure you are up to date on all these vaccines.

Related Guides

Continent:             

Antarctica and the Arctic

Local Attraction:  

Port Lockroy, Drake Passage, Deception Island, Beagle Channel, Antarctic Peninsula and Many More

Top Activities:      

Wildlife Sightseeing, Expedition Cruises & Zodiac Cruises

Similar Destinations:                    

Arctic, Alaska

Antarctica Tour Reviews - Summary

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

40 Reviews

Excellent 32 Great 8 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0

Rating Details

Value
4.8 Guide
4.8 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.8 Transportation
4.8 Meals
4.8

Fabulous Trip on a Great Ship

Audience with “Kings”

5.0 January 2017 Poseidon Expeditions Recommend: Yes I hadn't heard of Poseidon when I found the company while searching for trips to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. However, I was reassured by reviews I found online and I am very glad that I trusted what I read. The pre-cruise administration from Natalia was efficient and helpful. The pre-cruise hotel was beautiful with great views. Our cabin was the best we have had on any of our small boat cruises. It was, however, the expedition staff and crew who made the whole trip so wonderful.

Forward planning meant that we were able to avoid storms around Falklands and South Georgia by reversing the itinerary to visit Antarctica first. This was an inspired decision as we had a calm crossing of the Drake Passage, reasonable weather at the start to excellent weather from day three. Every evening there was a recap meeting where we were fully apprised of the itinerary for the next day. Weather, winds and swell were all detailed and the decisions for the next day's landings fully explained. The captain was involved in the decisions and his extensive experience in the region helped our wonderful expedition leader, Jonathan Zaccaria, to make great decisions as to where to land. So good was the planning that we were able to make all but one landing throughout the 19 days, including every important stop planned from the wildlife point of view. This included seeing the fantastic king penguins at St Andrews Bay on South Georgia, where, only the previous week, one person we had spoken to said her cruise was unable to land anyone because of the wind and swell.

The ship's staff in every area could not do enough for us. This included our cabin man, the bar and kitchen staff, and the expedition staff, who managed the numerous zodiacs so brilliantly on the landings.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that I would recommend Poseidon to anyone on this performance and we are looking at going again on another of their cruises.
Read more

18 days of some of the most amazing sites, experiences, and wild life I never thought I would get to see

Audience with “Kings”

5.0 July 2016 Poseidon Expeditions Recommend: Yes Everything about this trip was beyond amazing. I wasn't originally supposed to go with Poseidon but my first two tries to go on an Antarctic expedition cruise were cancelled...but I am glad they were now because it led me to this longer and I think better cruise company. Everything from the food to the staff to the lectures and to the landings absolutely was beyond expectations. We had Anja as our expedition leader and she was fantastic! She made everyone feel right at home! I achieved a lifetime milestone on this cruise as well, and that was stepping foot onto the Antarctic mainland, knocking off my 7th and final continent! The expedition crew made sure this happened as it was an important feet that a lot of people wanted to do at least once. The landings were all phenomenal. Our first stops were the Falkland Islands (2 days) where we saw tons of beautiful albatros and learned lots of history. Next was South Georgia (where we spent 4 days) and saw so many penguins...100's of thousands of penguins in their breeding colonies. Salisbury Plain, St. Andrew's Bay, and Gold Harbour were my favorites among the landings in South Georgia. And the last stops were on the Antarctic Peninsula/South Shetland Islands..and this was all beautiful. The icebergs completely blew my mind. We did some whale watching down here too and had humpbacks within 15 feet of us a couple of times. Absolutely mind blowing! The at sea days we spent learning about the places we were going/had just been in the lectures conducted by the expedition team and I attended just about every one of these. They were VERY informative. They showed movie clips, full movies, and Power Point slide shows, all ranging from stuff to learn to the actual experience and stories from the staff them selves. We had 3 full meals a day, usually a buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and then a full 3 course dinner every night. The food was all amazing...each and every day and it amazed me how EVERY meal was different..on this 18 day cruise. You would think it would repeat on this long of a cruise..but it never did! The ship itself, the m/v Sea Spirit is a smaller ship and we had just 90 people or so on our cruise...and there were about 70 crewman on board too...which is almost a 1:1 crew/passenger ratio! The waiters all knew us by name in the restaurant as well very early on in the cruise as well! The expedition crew did everything they could to make sure we got out on as many landings as possible. Some days we couldn't do landings due to weather, others we did 3 in a day. If the weather was good and opportunity was there, we were out on those zodiacs. Some were after dinner ones too and we were out to 11pm one night. Keep in mind it is 24 hour daylight down here during the Antarctic tourist season (November to January) so darkness is not an issue! I believe overall, we had 18 total outings, 13 of them were landings. The other 5 were zodiac cruises where you go out on the zodiacs and cruise around, but not actually land anywhere. I would do this whole experience over again in a heart beat. Read more

very cool Antarctic cruise

Antarctica, the Classic Expedition

4.0 June 2016 Hurtigruten Recommend: Yes We had wanted to take an expedition style cruise to Antarctica for a while now. Having traveled previously on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast a number of years ago, when they started cruising to Antarctica last year at reasonable prices we were definitely interested. Antarctica promised to be a remote and unusual adventure with unique scenery and wildlife.

The Fram is a new ship (went into service in 2007) and is very comfortable with attractive Scandinavian modern style, and excellent public spaces, especially the observation deck on the 7th deck with comfortable chairs and floor to ceiling windows, and the 4th deck dining room, also with extensive windows and views.

Cabins:

We signed up for QJ mini suite with limited view. (Cabins below suite category are very SMALL--be aware of this before you book one). Initially we got less than we had expected or paid for: suite 503 instead of being a limited view suite was a NO view suite, with superstructure almost completely blocking the window and any views except at an extreme angle. After complaining to the Hotel Director, who confirmed that this should have been booked only as a no-view suite (as should the comparable one on the port side of the ship) and then, vehemently, to the Chief Purser, we were switched to suite 516, which was perfectly fine. Moderately roomy, with a comfortable queen bed, adequate floor space, good bathroom with shower, this suite had a decent outside view with only minor obstruction. Note: all the deck 5 QJ cabins have an accessible deck directly outside, so there is limited privacy unless the drapes are drawn.

Perks of having a suite on this cruise: 2 free shore excursions (Tierra del Fuego National Park and a tango show in Buenos Aires for us); a bottle of French Champagne in the suite, and free beverages with lunch and dinner (soft drinks, beer, mediocre wine).

Service: The dining room and cabin crew seemed to be almost exclusively Filipino. The staff were uniformly pleasant, courteous, and helpful, a real plus. We thought overall service levels were equivalent to the highly rated and expensive cruise lines like Regent and Silversea.

Shore excursions: Two a day while in Antarctica, and we didn't miss any because of bad weather which sometimes happening. These were the highlight of the cruise. Only 100 passengers are allowed ashore at one time, due to Antarctic regulations. So excursions were limited to 1 hour shore time. The Polar Cerkel boats which took us ashore are nicer than Zodiacs, with better protection from wind and spray. During the excursions, we could walk around on the snow and ice, climb small hills, walk past penguin rookeries (Gentoo, Adellie and Chinstrap Penguins) and past elephant seals and Antarctic birds. Vistas were spectacular, vast fields of white snow, white and blue snow and ice, icebergs, distant and mostly hidden mountains. It was foggy the entire trip, so we could never see the mountain peaks, which remained partially hidden and mysterious.

Food: This was usually good, never great. Most meals were buffet style, and we always were able to find something palatable. My vegetarian brother-in-law did fine. Best were the salads, fresh fruits, meat dishes. Not as much herring as I would have expected in a Norwegian line. (On the Norwegian coastal cruise there was abundant delicious herring preparations, salmon...) On the few set meals there was an alternate main dish offered (which had to be requested in advance, though).

Lectures: disappointing. We stopped going after the first few, as the lecturers weren't that interesting, mostly around Antarctic history. Not nearly enough about wildlife, our primary interest. Too anecdotal.

Entertainment: none that we went to, so I can't comment. Not much expected by us or offered.

Fitness: There is an adequately equipped fitness room which my wife used regularly. On decks 7 and 8 there are limited walking areas with excellent views. Two outdoor jacuzzis which we never had the opportunity to use.

Passengers: younger than we had expected,many people in their 40's and 50's and a few even younger. At least half seemed to be from the US, then about a third or more German, with some Asian, French and UK passengers as well. Announcements and lectures were offered in English and German.

Overall, we were all very pleased. The ship offered an extremely comfortable way to see this remote part of the world. Views from the ship were often spectacular, especially going (twice, once each way) through the Lemaire Channel. The shore excursions met all our expectations.
Read more

An amazing, pristine place, well organized crew and staff

Antarctica Classic in Depth

5.0 November 2016 G Adventures Recommend: Yes An amazing, pristine place, well organized crew and staff. Everything was abosolutely great!! Would highly recommend this trip.

Going to Antarctica on the MS Expedition is an amazing adventure, partly because of the beautiful nature and environment, partly because of the enthusiastic crew and CEOs

Antarctica Classic in Depth

5.0 November 2016 G Adventures Recommend: Yes Going to Antarctica on the MS Expedition is an amazing adventure, partly because of the beautiful nature and environment, partly because of the enthusiastic crew and CEOs.
See all reviews for Antarctica Top Operators & Trips
Top Antarctica Travel Companies Ajax Loader...
Things To Know Before You Go

Useful Links

Visa Information

  Visa Needed? Link
US  N (excpetion may exist for transit countries) Visas to Antarctica for United States citizens
UK  N (excpetion may exist for transit countries) Visas to Antarctica for United Kingdom citizens
CA  N (excpetion may exist for transit countries) Visas to Antarctica for Canadian citizens
AU  N (excpetion may exist for transit countries) Visas to Antarctica for Australian citizens
NZ  N (excpetion may exist for transit countries) Visas to Antarctica for New Zealand citizens
IN   Visas to Antarctica for Indian citizens

Rover How can we help?

We respect your privacy and take great care to protect your information. By submitting this form you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

×
 
 

Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by: