A limited number of modern cruise ships visit Antarctica. They carry 600 or more passengers and typically cruise the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and areas like the South Shetland Islands or the Wilhelm Archipelago. Because large ships have deep drafts, they must cruise farther from shore and therefore provide a limited scope of the continent and surrounding islands. Passengers can view Antarctica and see passing icebergs, soaring seabirds, whales and distant glaciers from the deck, but might not see iconic Antarctica wildlife like penguins and seals, which are less common farther out at sea.
Guests will enjoy all the creature comforts of a modern cruise ship, including fine dining in multiple restaurants, Vegas-style shows and entertainment, a spa and much more. However, travelers on these larger ships cannot disembark in Antarctica due to regulations that prohibit ships carrying more than 500 passengers from taking guests ashore.
To reach Antarctica, all ships must cross Drake Passage, so be prepared to endure the rough seas. Seas around the Antarctic Peninsula are much calmer and allow passengers to relax outside on deck. Weather in Antarctica, however, is unpredictable, and cruisers must be prepared for cold temperatures, rain, sleet, snow and wind. Foul-weather gear is highly recommended for travelers who plan to spend time on deck observing the scenery. Fortunately, large ships also offer numerous loungers from which guests can take in their surroundings in complete comfort.
To see dates and prices for all large-ship cruises visiting Antarctica, click