Soul-stirring views and incredible wildlife encounters are only the tip of the iceberg on an Antarctic Circle cruise.
Cruising from Argentina to the Antarctic Circle is an adventure like no other. As you glide through the sea aboard the impressive Ocean Endeavour to the soundtrack of cracking ice, you’ll witness sights that you’ve only ever dreamed of – never-ending seascapes, remarkable icescapes, and snow-clad landscapes where Mother Nature lives in her rawest form. Not to mention the incredible wildlife that call Antarctica home! Not only will you join a small number of travelers that can say they've crossed latitude 66°33’ S, but you’ll also visit busy penguin rookeries, see seals swimming under your Zodiac, and maybe even encounter a curious humpback as you kayak past icebergs and glaciers.
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Antarctic Circle FAQs
Everyone traveling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.
All travelers are required to produce:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- 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.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
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.
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
- swimwear – 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!
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 travelers 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.
See Antarctica from a different perspective
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.