Soul-stirring views and incredible wildlife encounters are the tip of the iceberg on an Antarctic Circle cruise

Cruising from Argentina to the Antarctic Circle aboard the Ocean Endeavour is an adventure like no other. You’ll witness sights you’ve only ever dreamed of – think never-ending seascapes, remarkable ice formations and giant glaciers – and see some of the fascinating creatures that call Antarctica home. If you're lucky, you may see seals swimming under your Zodiac or encounter a curious humpback as you kayak past icebergs. Few travellers can say they've crossed latitude 66°33’ S... will you be one of them?

Our Antarctic Circle cruises & tours

14 Days From 10090

Set sail for the trip of a lifetime – a 14-day journey on board the Ocean Endeavour,...

14 Days From 11590

Cross the Antarctic Circle with World Wildlife Fund Australia (WWF-Australia) whale...

Highlights of our Antarctic Circle cruises

Two travellers raising a toast to reaching latitude 66°33’ S

Celebrate reaching 66°33’ S

Raise a toast with your crew and fellow travellers because reaching 66°33’ S (one of the five imaginary lines of latitude that maps Earth) is no small feat. You’ll join a relative handful of people  – including 18th-century explorer Captain James Cook – who can claim they've reached one of the most remote and unforgiving places on the planet. You're now surrounded by the densest concentration of wildlife in Antarctica, and this is when the magic of the journey really starts to unfold.

Three penguins entering the ocean in Antarctica

Visit a penguin rookery

You’ll see penguins patrolling the rocky shorelines in vast numbers from the ship, but you’ll get a much better view when you visit a penguin rookery on foot. Watch in wonder as you see groups of Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie penguins waddling to the water, observe families huddling together to stay warm, or maybe see a creche of adorable chicks hanging out while their parents are fishing. Your Antarctica wildlife expert will be nearby to answer your burning questions about these curious critters.

Kayakers in Antarctica

Explore on a kayak

Marvelling at the snow-covered peaks and imposing icebergs from the ship is enough to leave you speechless, but nothing beats the feeling of exploring in a kayak. Where else can you paddle around the base of glaciers, float through narrow ice-strewn corridors, or watch penguins diving underneath your kayak to hunt for their next meal? If you’re lucky, you might encounter a whale breaching to get a closer look at you, or a seal hanging out on a floating ice block.

A seal on the ice in Antarctica

Watch inquisitive seals

From Crabeater seals with their cream coloured fur to Southern Elephant seals with their huge trunk-like schnoz, it’s impossible to get tired of watching one of Antarctica’s most fascinating animals. There'll be plenty of opportunities to watch seals on your trip whether it's seeing them slide into the water on their bellies, diving into the icy water to hunt, or witnessing the tight bond between a mumma seal and her pup. By the end of your expedition you’ll be well clued up on your seal knowledge.

A group of travellers snowshoeing in Antarctica

Strap on a pair of snowshoes

Follow in the footsteps of early explorers as you hike the Antarctic Peninsula in a pair of snowshoes. From feeling the satisfying crunch of the snow under your boots to discovering remote alcoves and hidden valleys, snowshoeing allows you to go deeper and experience these majestic lands in a way that's not possible on a regular hike. Walking beneath snow-clad mountains, gazing at the soaring cliffs and taking in the views from hard-to-reach viewpoints is a feeling like no other. 

A woman taking a polar plunge in Antarctica

Take a polar plunge

Will you dare to plunge into Antarctica's ice-cold waters? There's nothing quite like it to wake you up! Call us biased, but we think it's one of those things you have to do. If you don't, we're almost certain you'll spend the rest of your life wishing you'd done it – and life is too short for regrets. If your stomach flips at the thought alone, rest assured knowing you'll be attached to a safety rope for the few seconds you're in the water. There will also be a doctor on board (just in case). Your crew will welcome you back aboard with a warm, fluffy gown. 

Antarctic Circle tour reviews

Antarctic Circle FAQs

Trips on or before 31 December 2022

If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

Due to its extremely remote location (ahem, the southernmost point of Earth), there’s only one way to get to the Antarctic Circle, and that's on a polar vessel like the Ocean Endeavour. A ship like this is designed to handle the ice-strewn seas on the crossing to the Antarctic Circle. Most cruises depart from Ushuaia in Argentina and the journey to latitude 66°33’ takes roughly seven to nine days depending on your itinerary and where you stop off along the way.

The short answer is it’ll be cold! The warmest month in Antarctica is January. Even then, the maximum temperature along the coastal areas reaches a cool 5°–15°C (41–59°F), and strong westerly winds often make it feel much chillier. On the west coast, the temperatures exceed 0°C (32°F) for three to four months during the summer (December to March) and rarely fall below –10°C (–14° F) during the winter. The east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is much colder, with mean temperatures exceeding 0°C for a month at most, while winter temperatures range from –5°C to –25°C (23 to –13°F).

The best time to visit the Antarctic Circle – or anywhere in Antarctica – is from late spring to early autumn. This is when the temperatures rise above freezing and the sea ice melts enough to allow access for polar ships. Generally, you can’t go to the Antarctic Circle in winter as the weather conditions are too precarious to travel to the region safely. There are also long periods of constant darkness on the high interior plateau.

If wildlife is one of your biggest considerations, then it really depends on the animals you’d like to see. February to March offers the best whale sightings of the year, December is the best time to see seal pups (particularly on the Falkland and South Georgia islands), and November to early December is prime time for watching the impressive courting rituals of penguins and seabirds.

Learn more about the best time to visit Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the most remote and unpredictable places in the world. It's really important to pack everything you’ll need as you won’t be able to buy anything once you’re there. Some of the essentials you’ll need include:

  • warm base layers – and lots of them
  • pair of waterproof and windproof pants
  • waterproof and windproof jacket (you might be provided with this on your cruise)
  • snug-fitting beanie
  • gloves
  • bathers – for your Antarctic dip (optional, but totally worth it!), and swimming in the pool aboard the Ocean Endeavour
  • sun protection – yup, it’s sunny enough to get burnt in Antarctica!
  • moisturiser
  • camera

Read our full Antarctica packing guide

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have.

Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access on our polar vessels. Some ships have lifts but these may not access all decks on the ship. There are often stairways, and passengers need to be mobile enough to keep themselves steady and be able to get around reasonably without being assisted. We can help you to further clarify whether the trip you’re interest in is right for you. 

However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

See Antarctica from the sky

Not a big fan of boats? Or maybe your idea of an unforgettable Antarctica adventure involves gazing at icebergs and ancient glaciers from the sky? If so, why not take a sightseeing flight over the region's majestic land, sea and icescapes. Departing from several locations in Australia, this once-in-a-lifetime experience is definitely one to cross off the bucket list.

Read more about Antarctica