Imagine a place so pristine and remote you can hear snowflakes hitting the water
“I would advise anyone with the smallest inkling or desire to visit Antarctica to just do it!” says Ruth T. “My trip was born from an off-the-cuff comment to my husband. After four years of planning and saving, we made it happen and celebrated our wedding anniversary in Antarctica.”
“I thought I’d never get the chance to visit Antarctica,” says Rachel B. “I did and it was worth every cent. The landscape, the flora and the fauna. Words cannot explain the experience I had. If you’ve ever thought about it just do it!”
Take a look around at our 2023-25 Antarctica itineraries below then request a booking and let us help you start planning your dream trip. Your Antarctic expedition begins here!
Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth. The South Geographic Pole is in Antarctica, and most of the continent lies within the Antarctic Circle, at 66.5 degrees south of the Equator.
Antarctica is so far south that most of the continent receives 24 hours of daylight during summer, and 24 hours of darkness during winter.
Antarctica lies to the south of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean (also known as the Antarctic Ocean). Most visitors access Antarctica via ship or aircraft from an Antarctic ‘gateway city’. The five official Antarctic gateway cities are Ushuaia (Argentina), Hobart (Australia), Punta Arenas (Chile), Christchurch (New Zealand), and Cape Town (South Africa).
The name ‘Antarctica’ comes from ‘Antarktos’, meaning ‘opposite the Arctic’. Antarctica and the Arctic are indeed opposites in many ways, and they lie at the polar extremes of the globe: the Arctic to the north and Antarctica to the south.
Antarctica is home to a hardy community of wonderful wildlife, which has adapted to the cold, windy and icy Antarctic environment.
There are four species of penguins in Antarctica. They are the emperor, Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap. The emperor and Adélie penguins are found only in Antarctica.
There are six species of Antarctic seals: Ross seals, Weddell seals, crabeater seals, leopard seals, southern fur seals and southern elephant seals. They all live in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, hauling out on ice or land to rest and pup.
Many whales visit Antarctic waters during the summer feeding season between late October and early April. The whales that commonly visit Antarctic waters include humpback whales, killer whales, minke whales, fin whales, sei whales and even the enormous blue whale!
In addition to these charismatic creatures we see on the ocean’s surface, the Antarctic ocean is filled with a rich variety of sea life, from single-celled algae, which form the foundation of the Antarctic food web, to krill, a tiny crustacean which is a keystone species in the Antarctic ecosystem, providing sustenance for seals, whales, penguins and many other seabirds.
Most animals that thrive in Antarctica are marine animals. This means that they rely on the ocean and marine ecosystems to survive and thrive. However, there are a few Antarctic animals that live entirely on land. These include the microscopic springtails, nematodes and tardigrades, which live amongst moss and lichen in areas which are not permanently snow-covered.
Antarctica cruises typically span a range of 9 to 21 days, with the majority falling within the 10 to 14-day timeframe. The specific duration of an Antarctica cruise can fluctuate based on the departure point and the chosen itinerary for your voyage.
The cost of an Antarctica cruise can vary significantly, depending on various factors such as the cruise’s duration, cabin type, and specific itinerary.
With AE Expeditions, the starting price for an Antarctica cruise begins at approximately $12,500 USD per person for twin-share accommodations in an Aurora Stateroom. Explore what is included in your voyage here.
Certainly, an Antarctica cruise offers an extraordinary opportunity to experience the pristine beauty of the frozen continent, encounter unique wildlife, and marvel at awe-inspiring landscapes.
Many travellers who embark on an Antarctica cruise describe the experience as a dream come true, making it a highly worthwhile and unforgettable expedition.
Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. The average temperature throughout the year is about -57°C, with the minimum temperature being -130°F (-90°C) during the winter season.
During the summer months, when we visit, the temperature can range from 28°F (-2°C) to 46°F (8°C). In summer, big storms are rare, but if one comes through the temperature could drop to 17°F (-8°C ). Read more about why austral summer is the best time to visit Antarctica.
Preparing for an Antarctica cruise requires a specific set of clothing and gear. Shipboard attire remains informal and casual. We recommend packing items like jeans, jumpers, and long-sleeved shirts for indoor wear within the polar regions and keeping your jacket easily accessible for unexpected wildlife sightings!
While formal clothing is not a requirement, some travellers opt for a nicer outfit to wear during the captain’s welcome and farewell events.
Upon boarding our Antarctic expeditions, each passenger will receive an expedition jacket. However, it is vital to pack appropriate cold and wet weather gear for on-land excursions.
We provide a suggested packing list that outlines the types of layers and materials we recommend to make your Antarctica cruise comfortable.
For travellers residing in the UK, the most accessible route to Antarctica begins from the southern tip of South America. There are two prominent departure points for Antarctica cruises: Ushuaia, Argentina, and Punta Arenas, Chile, both situated in the Patagonian region and among the southernmost towns worldwide.
Expeditions beginning in Ushuaia will begin by sailing across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula or sailing to the Subantarctic Islands of the Falklands or South Georgia, before continuing to Antarctica.
For expeditions starting in Punta Arenas, passengers can have the unique experience of flying to Antarctica – or more specifically to King George Island – on a charter flight arranged specifically for their expedition.
Find out more information about how to get to Antarctica.
The best time to commence your Antarctica cruise aligns with the austral summer, spanning from early October to late March.
During the Antarctic winter, the continent is cloaked in frigid darkness, encircled by an expansive fringe of sea ice that nearly doubles its size, rendering the Antarctic Peninsula largely inaccessible.
As the austral summer arrives the sun returns to Antarctica, and with it comes colonies of penguins, pods of whales and herds of seals. During this season, sea ice retreats or melts along the Antarctic Peninsula’s coastline, permitting expedition vessels to access numerous sheltered bays and harbours, offering a remarkable spectacle of the frozen continent.
Travellers should talk to their healthcare provider to ensure their physical readiness for an Antarctica cruise.
It is compulsory for each passenger to return a signed medical from their general practitioner. Your Medical Form is required to be signed by your general practitioner and returned to AE Expeditions no later than three months and no earlier than six months before your voyage departure date.
If you become aware of any change in your health and fitness that may be likely to affect your participation on the trip (e.g. pregnancy, mental illness, heart or bronchial disorder, broken limbs, etc.), you should notify us in writing immediately.
If you feel that you are susceptible to seasickness, then it is a good idea to consult your doctor. We advise you to come armed with motion sickness tablets, and there will be a doctor on board to assist with any bouts of seasickness.
Travellers should also be aware of environmental protection guidelines and follow responsible tourism practices to preserve Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem during their cruise.