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  • Explore Antarctica with the best ice team on earth from National Geographic. read more

  • Waddle among huge colonies of King Penguins on South Georgia Island. read more

  • Every Antarctica cruise includes guided shore landings on the White Continent.

  • Encounter Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea. read more

  • Paddle calm waters near the Antarctic Circle. read more

  • Hike, kayak, scuba dive and even overnight outdoors in Antarctica on the Basecamp Cruise. read more

  • WooHoo! I booked my Antarctica cruise with AdventureSmith Explorations.

Antarctica

A continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest, iciest place on Earth. Antarctica small ship expedition cruises utilize long days to experience the world's greatest concentration of wildlife. Antarctica is one of the last true wilderness areas left on Earth, perfect for small ship cruising.

Award-Winning Antarctica Small Ship Cruise Specialists

Guided Antarctica small ship expeditions and custom travel for individuals, couples, families and small groups. Journey to the White Continent with the assurance of industry experts.

Unmatched Selection

Antarctica's largest selection of small ships carrying 68-189 travelers ensures you will find the right Antarctica ship and trip.

Personalized Service & Unbeatable Prices

Benefit from our firsthand experience with Antarctic cruises. Our Antarctica cruise experts will find the best ship and trip for your interests, ability and budget. Plus, our buying power means you pay less. Save 10-50 percent with early-booking discounts, last-minute deals and exclusive special offers.


Antarctic Explorer
Special Offer Available
From $5595
12 days
Travel Season
NovDecJanFebMar

Cruise

Antarctic Explorer

Cruise the Antarctic Peninsula in style aboard a selection of premier expedition ships. Antarctica cruises combine wildlife viewing, shore landings, visits to scientific bases, breathtaking waterways, glaciers and icebergs.
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Antarctic Peninsula
From $5500
10 days
Travel Season
JanFebMar

Cruise

Antarctic Peninsula

This 10- to 11-day Antarctic voyage is packed with icebergs, glaciers, high mountains and the abundant yet tame wildlife of the Peninsula. With the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica, this Peninsula cruise is sure to astound!
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Antarctic Peninsula aboard Expedition
Special Offer Available
From $4999
11 days
Travel Season
NovJanMarDec

Cruise

Antarctic Peninsula aboard Expedition

A true adventure to the world's most remote wilderness! Our 11-day Antarctica Classic expedition focuses on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, home to some of the planet's most impressive wildlife and dramatic landscapes.
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Antarctic Peninsula Including South Shetland Islands
From $7900
11 days
Travel Season
Dec

Cruise

Antarctic Peninsula Including South Shetland Islands

Cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands aboard a small, intimate research vessel, allowing you to get up close and personal with the land of snow and ice. This Antarctica cruise encompass all the highlights you dream of: penguins, icebergs, seals, seabirds and more!
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National Geographic The White Continent
From $12350
14 days
Travel Season
NovDecJanFeb

Cruise

National Geographic The White Continent

Simply put the National Geographic Explorer has the finest naturalist program of all Antarctic cruises. The cruise features a fleet of eight Zodiac landing craft, sea kayaks, ROV (remote operated video) and underwater cameras, and 10 extremely knowledgeable naturalists and expedition crew.
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Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake
Special Offer Available
From $7995
8 days
Travel Season
DecJanFeb

Cruise

Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake

The Antarctic Express Air Cruise is an 8- to 11-day Antarctica expedition cruise that skips the 4-day Drake Crossing via a short 3-hour flight.
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Antarctica Air Cruise
From $3995
5 days
Travel Season
NovDecJanFeb

Cruise

Antarctica Air Cruise

Introducing the first Antarctic flight and adventure cruising combination. Experience an antarctic cruise in only seven days without crossing Drake Passage. In less than 2 hours of flying from Punta Arenas to King George Island, you will be cruising Antarctica, the white continent.
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Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise
From $6900
11 days
Travel Season
NovMarDecFeb

Cruise

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise

The Basecamp cruise is geared toward the traveler interested in actively exploring away from the ship. Spends more time in fewer locations for more adventures and wildlife encounters. With included kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, mountaineering and photography workshops, this is no ordinary Antarctic tour.
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Weddell Sea - Emperor Penguin Voyage
Special Offer Available
From $11300
11 days
Travel Season
NovDec

Cruise

Weddell Sea - Emperor Penguin Voyage

The Weddell Sea and Emperor Penguin Voyage is one of the most spectacular Antarctic adventures around. This 11-day expedition cruises aboard the 100-passenger M/V Ortelius and offers the unique experience of close Emperor penguin encounters at their more secluded rookeries via exciting helicopter rides.
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Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Special Offer Available
From $9295
13 days
Travel Season
JanFeb

Cruise

Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Very few people have crossed the Antarctic Circle to reach the extreme latitude at the bottom of the world. Only the most adventurous travelers include this Circle on their life list of goals. Journey far south beyond the Antarctic Peninsula, become immersed in a world of icebergs, seals, penguins and more.
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Quest for the Antarctic Circle
Special Offer Available
From $8499
14 days
Travel Season
JanFebDec

Cruise

Quest for the Antarctic Circle

This 14 day Quest for the Antarctic Circle cruise is an adventure like no other. Sail the Drake Passage past the South Shetland Islands and explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Spend your time spying whales and albatross following the vessel, cruising the South Shetland Islands, discovering the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula, marveling at immense icebergs.
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Polar Circle Cruise
From $7800
12 days
Travel Season
Mar

Cruise

Polar Circle Cruise

Journey across the Antarctic Circle on this 12-day expedition for the chance to experience all the arctic magic from Hannah Point to the southern regions of Crystal Sound. With bountiful opportunities to see wildlife and explore ashore via guided hikes and kayaking excursions, this unique departure will not disappoint!
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Polar Circle Air-Cruise
From $12995
9 days
Travel Season
JanFeb

Cruise

Polar Circle Air-Cruise

This 9-day program includes a flight to and from Antarctica, and a cruise by expedition ship along the Antarctic Peninsula as far south as the Polar Circle. Reach a remarkable geographical objective while avoiding the stormy Drake Passage. Enjoy more time to explore the dramatic Antarctic continent.
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Explorers & Kings
Special Offer Available
From $12995
20 days
Travel Season
NovFeb

Cruise

Explorers & Kings

A 20-day expedition cruise from Ushuaia to the tussock covered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) then to the Antarctic Peninsula via the wildlife paradise of South Georgia. Landings and Zodiac excursions enable close encounters with whales, seals and six species of penguins. An environmentally responsible vacation.
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Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica
Special Offer Available
From $11850
19 days
Travel Season
NovDecFebJan

Cruise

Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica

Cruise aboard smaller research vessels as you follow in the footsteps of the great explorers to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Pass through the Weddell Sea into the Antarctic Peninsula through spectacular channels and bays of icebergs, seals, penguins and more.
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Spirit of Shackleton Aboard Expedition
From $13499
21 days
Travel Season
Jan

Cruise

Spirit of Shackleton Aboard Expedition

Experience penguins and seals up close and personal on this incredible 21-day journey to the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. A true wildlife adventure in the world's most remote wilderness!
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National Geographic Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands
Special Offer Available
From $21360
24 days
Travel Season
NovDecJanFeb

Cruise

National Geographic Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands

South Georgia is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth and has more wildlife than virtually anywhere on the planet. Also visit the historical Falklands, the Antarctic Peninsula and science stations. Witness abundant wildlife, ice-choked waterways, impressive glaciers and snow-capped mountains in one of the last true wilderness areas on earth.
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Journey to the Antarctic Peninsula
From $9799
15 days
Travel Season
DecJan

Cruise

Journey to the Antarctic Peninsula

This 15-day cruise spends eight full days exploring one of the world's last true wildernesses, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea. Connect with the history of exploration while retracing Shackleton’s journey, go ashore with seasoned experts explaining the intricacies of Antarctic ecology and admire the tabular icebergs of the Weddell Sea.
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The continent of Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest and iciest place on Earth. Here you can walk among penguins, kayak through icebergs or just sit and listen to the symphony of sounds this amazing landscape has to offer.

Antarctica is roughly 5 million square miles, but its size varies due to changing ice shelves. The continent makes up 8.9 percent of Earth's land, and the Antarctic ice cap holds 70 percent of our planet's fresh water. Almost 98 percent of Antarctica is solid ice. In fact, much of Antarctica's land mass lies beneath more than a mile of ice and snow. The highest point in Antarctica is Vinson Massif, a towering 16,066 feet.

The continent makes up 8.9 percent of Earth's land, and the Antarctic ice cap holds 70 percent of our planet's fresh water.

Antarctica Wildlife

Antarctica has numerous penguin species: adelie, chinstrap, gentoo, king, emperor and macaroni. The emperor, the largest, stands over three feet tall and can weigh up to 80 pounds. Ten whale species can be found in the Antarctic Ocean including: humpback, blue, minke, sperm, right, sei, pilot and finback. The blue whale, the largest creature on earth, exceeds 100 feet in length and weighs over 125 tons. Six seal species are found here including: crabeater, weddell, leopard, fur, ross and elephant. Huge male elephant seals can weigh over 4 tons. Over forty species of seabirds can be seen including: albatross, petrels, skuas and terns.

Antarctica Human History

In 1522 Ferdinand Magellan ventured to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. A half-century later, Francis Drake made it between Cape Horn and the South Shetlands. In 1772 Captain James Cook's ship, Resolution, reached all the way to 71 degrees south, just shy of the Antarctic shore. The 19th century brought seal hunters and whalers. The 20th century brought on the race for the South Pole between Norwegian Roald Amundsen and British Robert Scott. Amundsen's party reached the Pole in December 1912. Scott's party arrived a month later; however, Scott and all four of his men died of hunger on the way back. In 1914 British captain Ernest Shackleton was on his third Antarctic expedition when his ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the ice and sunk. The crew salvaged supplies, climbed onto the pack ice and floated to Elephant Island. Faced with no chance of rescue, Shackleton set out with five of his best men in an open rowboat and crossed 800 miles of some of the world's roughest waters to South Georgia. They then made a difficult trek over the snow-covered mountains to reach a whaling station on the other side. Shackleton returned to Elephant Island to rescue his crew. Throughout this entire ordeal, not one life was lost. Today, research stations are set up and scientific studies include geology, biology and ice-core and weather analysis.

What Is Antarctic Expedition Cruising?

Typical Antarctic vessels are ice-reinforced and range in size from 50 - 150 passengers. Expedition cruising differs from typical cruising in that a great deal of your time will be spent off the ship. Zodiacs, rubberized landing crafts, enable passengers to journey away from the ship and land virtually anywhere. Naturalists accompany travelers and offer a wealth of knowledge when interpreting the destinations and wildlife. These trips are very casual, with open seating in the dining area and simple yet comfortable accommodations.

Choosing the Right Trip

All short-duration trips visit the Antarctic Peninsula. This area has abundant wildlife, towering granite mountains and immense icebergs. Longer trips also visit the Sub-Antarctic Islands, notably the Falklands and South Georgia. These islands are ice-free in the winter and are subsequently a year-round haven for numerous wildlife species. Tens of thousands of king penguins, stunning scenery, immense jagged mountains, pristine beaches and whaling stations (of Shackleton fame) allow South Georgia to offer visitors an entirely different experience than the Antarctic Peninsula alone.

Plan Ahead!

Antarctic expeditions have small vessels, a limited season and extreme popularity. You should consider planning ahead and reserving your dream Antarctica journey at least 9 months in advance. Contact AdventureSmith, and we can help you realize that dream!

Antarctica weather is a lesson in extremes. Antarctica is the world’s coldest, windiest and driest continent. The lowest Antarctic temperature ever recorded is -129F, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Wintertime temperatures near the South Pole range from -40 to -94F and winds can reach up to 200 miles per hour. However, during the summer months when expedition cruising takes place (November-March) the winds abate considerably and the weather is surprisingly comfortable, averaging between 20 and 50 degrees F. Summertime in Antarctica also means 18-24 hours of sunlight, which allows life to flourish for a brief summer period and allows for our extensive exploration by small ship cruise.

Antarctic Seasons

During November to early December, late spring/early summer in Antarctica, colder temperatures prevail with more ice. Scenery is pristine, white and otherworldly with frequent giant iceberg and pack ice encounters. Courting season for penguins begins during this time, and seals become visible on ice flows. Elephant and fur seals establish breading territories. Spring wildflowers are in bloom in the Falklands and South Georgia.  

Mid-December and January (mid-Summer in Antarctica) are typically Antarctica's warmest months. Days get longer with increased amounts of sunshine. Penguin chicks are abundant. Seal pups become visible on South Georgia & Falklands. Receding ice allows for more inland exploration.
 

During February and early March (late Summer in Antarctica), whale sightings are at their peak. More snow-free beaches allow for sightings of large penguin rookeries. Penguin chicks start to fledge. Receding ice allows ships to explore further south.
 

Ushuaia Weather

Ushuaia, Argentina, is one of the southernmost cities in the world with a maritime climate that is tempered by in the influence of coastal mountains and the ocean. The snow-free summer is October through May with average lows of 40 and average highs of 60 degrees F.  This is the best climate in Ushuaia for hiking and trekking. Winter sees colder weather with more snow.

Expedition

Expedition

The 132-passenger M/S Expedition is a top-of-the-line polar vessel at an affordable price. Unlike many expedition ships, where public space is at a premium, there are multiple large public areas aboard to enjoy.
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National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship accommodating 148 guests in 81 outside cabins. It is fully stabilized, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing comfort.
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National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion

102-guest National Geographic Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Small ship cruises aboard the Orion offer a luxurious exploration of Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Antarctica.
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Ocean Diamond

Ocean Diamond

One of the newest, fastest ships in Antarctica, this 189-guest vessel is also the most eco-friendly. Operator Quark Expeditions offsets the ship's emissions, thereby offering the first carbon-neutral voyages in polar travel.
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Ocean Endeavour

Ocean Endeavour

The 199-passenger Ocean Endeavour is a comfortable, well-appointed small expedition ship expertly engineered to explore the Polar Regions. The ship has an ice-strengthened hull, Zodiacs for exploration and remote landings, generous deck space and advanced navigation equipment.
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Ocean Nova

Ocean Nova

The 68-guest Ocean Nova is the most modern expedition vessel cruising the Antarctic. Options to fly over the Drake Passage and then board the Ocean Nova make its itineraries appealing.
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Ortelius

Ortelius

The 116-guest M/V Ortelius is an ice-strengthened small ship designed for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica. She offers passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program to spend as much time ashore as possible.
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Plancius

Plancius

The Plancius is a 114-passenger small ship designed and built exclusively for polar cruises. A wide variety of cabins and ample space on five decks make the Plancius a great option for expedition cruises.
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Sea Adventurer

Sea Adventurer

A handsome expedition ship, the Sea Adventurer, formerly Clipper Adventurer, combines travel to the polar regions with superior on-board comfort for its 117 passengers.
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Sea Spirit

Sea Spirit

Sail aboard the luxurious all-suite Sea Spirit to experience the Arctic and Antarctica in grand style with all the amenities of a fine hotel. Carrying just 114 passengers, this outstanding vessel is the perfect home away from home.
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