Sailings to the Magnificent Antarctica – The Ultimate Guide!


An Antarctic voyage requires some planning and understanding, much like many of life’s most fulfilling adventures. It’s not a task to be taken lightly as you’ll be sailing into one of the most dangerous locations on earth.

With only about 50,000 visitors per year, Antarctica is still unspoiled and not explored enough continent, so your expedition to Antarctica is in many ways unique.

One of the best ways to travel to Antarctica is to sail there. You can either board a cruise ship, or you can fly in and board a smaller expedition boat. This guide will explain everything you need to know about sailing to Antarctica.

Types of Ships

Antarctica - Yacht Tours

It’s crucial to pick the right cruise ship because it will affect how you experience Antarctica. Understanding what size ship you desire will make your trip to Antarctica even more enjoyable. Ship sizes will vary greatly. There are ships with 40-50 passengers and those with over a few hundred passengers.

Larger ships typically feature nicer accommodations and a more opulent atmosphere. Large Antarctica cruise ships are more stable when navigating the Drake Passage and are probably the best option if you get motion sickness.

Antarctica - Small Sailing Cruises

Smaller ships, however, frequently have more possibilities to land because larger ships are constrained to specific, more accessible landing sites. On large cruise ships, there is frequently a tender to go ashore, and you may have to wait for hours. This is not the case on small cruise ships.

Another alternative is a small yacht, however, this is a more specialized choice and is uncommon for tourists. There are numerous authorized yacht tours, and the majority of them depart from Ushuaia. Although they can land in a variety of locations, yacht tours are much more prone to choppy seas and can cost a lot more than a cruise ship.

Onboard Experience

Antarctica - Cruise

There are many tour companies offering sailing to Antarctica, but Aurora stands out with its onboard experience. Their ships are incredible if you are someone seeking a close connection to nature. You will find an exceptional observation deck from where you can see your surroundings and possible wildlife.

At the same time, they offer educational lectures, where you can find out everything about the White Continent. In your free time, you can relax in the gym, spa, or sauna, or by reading books or hanging out with other passengers.

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You should look for onboard dining options in your cruise company. Aurora offers an exclusive dining experience created by staff and chefs that will make this cruise feel like a luxurious adventure.

Additionally, there will be an opportunity to join your captain and the expedition team for informal Captain’s Welcome and Farewell drinks, which will be followed by a three-course meal and complimentary drinks and cocktail appetizers.

Types of Sailings to Antarctica

Once you decide to go to Antarctica, the next step is to find the right excursion for you. They may differ in length, difficulty, price, and comfort. Some sailings will offer a more in-depth experience, while some will go to the easiest routes for the best comfort for those who do not seek difficult adventures. See the types of sailing below.



Take a cruise and stop at various ports for escorted tours. The majority of travelers select this as their preferred mode of transportation, making it the most popular. You get to enjoy the comfort of a cruise ship, while also picking the best excursions offered onboard.

Excursion Sailings

You can fly to Antarctica or the South Shetland Islands and then connect with a ship to embark on a cruise or a sailboat. Some excursion sailing can be shorter or longer, including day trips and multi-day trips. Excursion sailings have a specific purpose, like seeing the wildlife, seeing icebergs, excursion to the Drake passage, and more.

Drive-by Sailings

When you travel by sea without stopping, all of your sightseeing is done from the ship, which is a drive-by sailing. This is the top choice for people with limited mobility or for those who prefer the comfort of the ship to the freezing temperatures of the coldest continent. These sailings usually take less time and are less expensive than those combined with excursions going ashore.

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Lux Excursion Sailings

Antarctica - Luxury Sailings

These siblings usually include luxury sailing boats or cruise ships, with a limited number of passengers and exceptional experiences. They will go above and beyond for your tour to see the best of Antarctica, and also the life onboard will be like no other tour is offering. These excursion sailings are usually a combination of flying and sailing, with boarding the vessel in Ushuaia usually.

Things to Do When Sailing to Antarctica

The majority of travelers go to Antarctica to see the wildlife, and for good reason. Others want to check the item from their bucket list and travel to less-traveled places on earth. Whatever your reason for visiting, here are the best things to do on your trip to Antarctica:


Antarctica penguins

Speaking of penguins, the Antarctic region is home to about 20 million breeding pairs. There is a very, very good chance that you will see penguins while traveling.


From December to April, different species can be seen, but February and March are typically the busiest months for whale watching. Large pods of orcas as well as minke and humpback whales are frequently sighted.

Antarctica - Whales

Historic Locations

A rich history of explorers, adventurers, business people, and fortune seekers can be found in Antarctica. There is therefore a possibility that you may wind up in a location such as Deception Island or Whaler’s Bay, or hike up to Neptune’s Window.


Antarctica - Skiing

The majority of tour companies also provide a range of physically demanding excursions, including sea kayaking, camping, polar plunges, hiking, scuba diving, snowshoeing, skiing, and more.

Expedition Cruising

Sailing to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. When you know what type of adventure you want to sign up for, make sure to book in advance because these are booking fast because of the space limitation. Immerse yourself in the most beautiful frozen landscapes and bring the photographs with you as the best souvenirs.

If you’ve been dreaming of visiting Antarctica, let’s talk! The Trip Atelier takes the stress out of vacation planning. Schedule a consultation to plan your amazing adventure!

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