How to choose an Antarctic cruise
Deciding to embark on a journey to the furthermost corner of the world is exhilarating, but the question of how to choose the right Antarctic cruise for you can leave you with a little anxiety. Antarctica isn't one of those on-a-whim destinations and the best way to pick a cruise you're going to get the most out of is by deciding on the time of year you want to go, looking at the itinerary, and choosing how long you want to go for.
Once that's done, your Antarctic adventure to the icy wilderness awaits.
Decide on the time of year
One of the most important things to do when it comes to choosing your Antarctic cruise is to figure out the best time of year to go but you can't just go whenever you want to. The Antarctic season runs from October to March with each month promising unique sights, an abundance of wildlife, and life-changing experiences.
While December and January are the most popular months to visit the White Continent, they are often the busiest and most expensive. If you want to avoid breaking the bank (as much as possible on a trip to Antarctica), opt for a cruise that departs earlier or later in the season.
Look at the itinerary
Whether you're dying to kayak your way around giant icebergs or you want to plunge into the icy depths of the Southern Ocean, deciding on your preferred itinerary narrows down which Antarctica cruise you should go on, and since this remote and breathtaking destination is a once-in-a-lifetime kinda place, you want to get it right.
Choose from wildlife-focused cruises, cruises over Christmas and New Years, or cruises that promise an in-depth look at Antarctica to get the most out of this unforgettable corner of the world.
Choose your cruise length
It's super important to think about how much time you want to be away for when choosing an Antarctic cruise that's right for you. Most expeditions don't offer itineraries of less than 11 days purely because it can take up to 48 hours to cross the Drake Passage and reach the Antarctic Peninsula from Ushuaia in Argentina (and then another two days back again).
While 11 days may be the shortest, some cruises can go up to 21 or even 23 days, so figuring out if you can handle being on the water for that long is a must before you pick an Antarctic cruise and start the booking process.
Why you should choose our Antarctic cruises
Well equipped ship
As far as ships to the Antarctic go, the Ocean Endeavour is about as good as it gets. Our ship is well-equipped to deal with the harsh environment of Antarctica and boasts comfortable and spacious common areas and accommodations, so there’s no better place to be as you navigate the challenging waters of the Southern Ocean.
Your safety is also our biggest priority and with one crew member for every eight travellers, you can rest assured knowing you’ll enjoy a more personal and comfortable trip. As well as enough crew members to go ‘round, each expedition sets off with a naturalist guide, ornithologist, marine biologist, historian, photographer and geologist so you’re getting the right information from those who know it best (but more on that later).
Our vessel also has modern conveniences and offers the perfect home base for your Antarctic exploration, including a polar library, a polar boutique selling essentials and souvenirs, saunas, an onboard laundry service and a well-equipped gym.
Nothing will prepare you for Antarctica (not even the many books you’ve poured over to ready yourself for the expedition). The good news? You can leave your guidebook at home. Every departure has a range of specialists onboard, from historians to marine biologists and hiking guides, so there’s always an expert (or two) on hand to answer all of your burning – or should we say freezing? – questions.
But there’s more. Every Intrepid trip comes with experienced leaders and the ones that make the voyage to Antarctica with you have done it hundreds of times before. Alongside our polar experts, our leaders will teach you about the region’s history, its geography and the wildlife you’re going to see, as well as provide information on pretty much everything white continent related. Why have one expert when you can have several?
While our ship is so good that you might not want to leave, all of our Antarctica trips include frequent excursions so you can get up close to the wildlife that calls this magnificent region home. To fully experience what it’s like onshore, each shore day includes two excursions with our expert leaders so you can explore the sea ice and any fuzzy or feathery animal that might be waiting.
But don’t worry; you’ll be completely safe and comfortable. You’ll be given life vests, waterproof jackets and waterproof boots for the duration of the activities, so you’ll not only be travelling in style, you’ll also be appropriately dressed for Antarctic weather.
Usually, one of the things you have to think about when you go on holiday is what you’re going to eat and where you’ll do it, but not on one of our Antarctic cruises. Our cruises provide three-course meals (whaaaat?) and 24-hour tea and coffee - perfect for when the notorious waters of the Drake Passage keep you up.
Our cruises also promise activities such as zodiac excursions (see above), onboard seminars so you can understand exactly what you’re experiencing and multiple shore landings. And, when you get back onboard, a tasty meal will be waiting for you courtesy of our chefs (they know exactly how to warm you up). All you have to do is prepare your stomach, it'll want a second serving.
Your safety is our highest priority, and you can rest assured knowing that the Ocean Endeavour, and the teams that run it, undergo strict safety audits to ensure your trip to Antarctica runs smoothly. Or as much as it can – we’re looking at you Drake Passage. But the Ocean Endeavour is large, sturdy, ice-strengthened and perfectly suited to traverse the unpredictable Antarctic waters.
However, the passage won’t be without its bumps (read: waves) and some travellers may experience seasickness. You can bring seasickness medication if you’re prone to getting sick on the water, but we have a doctor on board if you need assistance.
Our main goal at Intrepid is to not only be the best travel company in the world but for the world, and our Antarctic expeditions are no exception. But figuring out how to balance trips within the fragile Antarctic ecosystem while still meeting our environmental and social responsibilities as a sustainable tour operator isn’t without its challenges.
So, we’ve decided to focus on three areas that we believe will create the most significant positive impact: inspiring travellers, supporting science and protecting the environment. We can’t address everything (as much as we’d love to), but these three objectives will help us uphold our commitment to minimise environmental impact in Antarctica and promote conservation efforts.