Travelling to Antarctica is on many people’s bucket lists. It is the Earth’s southernmost continent and it is almost wholly covered by an ice sheet. Although Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest of continents, it is also one of the most beautiful. Majestic icebergs, spectacular wildlife, and incredible adventures, await any explorer willing to travel to Antarctica. This mini travel guide will tell you everything that you need to know about Antarctica Holidays.
Can I travel to Antarctica?
How long does it take to travel to Antarctica?
How long is an Antarctica expedition cruise?
The most common expeditions last approximately nine to ten days, including five full days of exploration in Antarctica. Rather than fly from South America, these voyages embrace the power and the beauty of the Drake Passage (and its rich and abundant bird life), sailing from Ushuaia. Time spent at sea varies depending on sea conditions and wind, but often take from one and a half to two days at sea, each way. The rest of the voyage is spent in the seemingly endless coastal environment of the Antarctic Peninsula.
For those with extended holidays and a desire for a deeper exploration of this remote wilderness, there are expeditions that spend twenty or more days which include visits to the Falkland Islands and the otherworldly wilderness of South Georgia, in addition to the days spent in the Antarctic Peninsula, making these expeditions incredibly thorough and comprehensive.
What wildlife could I see on an expedition cruise to Antarctica?
Due to the nature of the wildlife and climate, it’s difficult to make any promises. However, you can expect to see penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. Nine species of penguin can be found throughout the Antarctic region. The lie penguins are one of the most common species that explorers spot the most, but the Chinstrap, and Gentoo are also quite common to see too. Antarctica is also a bird-lovers paradise. There may also be the opportunity so see seals and whales. The use of small Zodiac boats, help you get up close and personal with some of the worlds most magnificent creatures.
What else could I see?
Can I do any activities or excursions on an Antarctica cruise?
When is the best time to visit Antarctica?
What to Expect
Prices are slightly less at the start of the season. However, this is often the best time for photographers looking to snap pristine shots of the ice and the biggest icebergs. Penguins start nest building (part of their courting rituals) and baby seals are born. However, the days are shorter as the large bodies of ice can restrict access to certain areas, until they start to melt later in the season.
December and January are the months with the most sunlight (up to 20 hours a day), and daily temperatures are at their warmest. Penguins begin hatching and wildlife, especially penguin chicks, is most plentiful during this time of year. The conditions are also ideal for our range of wonderful shore excursions, whether it’s visiting a historic expedition hut or research station, or getting up close and personal at a penguin nesting site.
Young penguins born at the beginning of summer start to thrive in their colonies. February to early March is also the best time to see whales. There tends to be less vessels operating at this time, which means you won’t have to compete with other ships for landings. Another advantage to travelling towards the end of the season is that it can often be slightly cheaper, and you can take advantage of any last minute holiday deals and offers.
What should I pack for an Antarctica expedition cruise?
Despite the fact you’ll be travelling in the Antarctic summer, it will still be fairly cold. Temperatures will be around 0°C, and although at times they may rise as high as 10°C, you’ll still have the wind and water to contend with. As such here are some suggestions on what to pack for your Antarctica cruise:
- Waterproof outer layers – You should have a water resistant jacket and a pair of water resistant over pants. Some cruise lines provide a free complimentary parka, or wind and water resistant jacket
- Bring thick socks and good boots some cruise lines provide complimentary boots but this varies from company to company
- Lots of layers of thermal underwear, insulating layers, fleeces, thin tops and base layers, Hats and gloves
- Binoculars and a good camera
- Smart casual evening clothes (depending on the cruise line)
- Seasickness pills
Is seasickness common on an expedition cruise?
Is it safe to go to Antarctica?
How far in advance should I book an expedition cruise to Antarctica?
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.