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Penguins in the snow in Antarctica

Antarctica Cruises 2025 & 2026

The Antarctic peninsula is one destination on every explorer’s list, holding the prestigious title of being the foremost destination for the world’s most renowned explorers throughout history. It’s allure lies in the awe-inspiring scenery and diverse wildlife.

When you travel to Antarctica on a small ship with us, you’ll encounter a fresh and unhindered expedition, free from crows and rigid schedules. We allow you the freedom to synchronize with nature, immersing yourself fully in its rhythms and wonders.

Experience it all on an Antarctica Cruise in 2025/2026.

Highlights of Antarctica Cruise in 2025 & 2026

Incredible Landscapes

Get your camera ready! Antarctica’s calving glaciers, angular peaks and imposing icebergs pose perfectly for you. But amidst the breathtaking scenery, vital environmental research is conducted. For many explorers, the scientific research is fascinating, and a highlight of the expedition is gaining first hand knowledge from the Vernadsky Research Station at Maria Point on the island of Galindez within the Argentine Islands adjacent the Palmer Peninsula. This station was named in honor of Vladimir Vernadsky, a Russian citizen of Ukrainian descent who during Soviet times was a mineralogist and geochemist. It originally was called Faraday Station and has been run by the British Antarctic Survey since 1947, but transferred to Ukraine in 1996. The region is claimed by three different countries, (UK, Argentina and Chile) a fascinating study in history and the political importance of research bases in the polar regions as springboards into future land claims. As one of the longest operating bases in Antarctica, Vernadsky Station has been the subject of scientific research studies on long-term temperature trends that indicate global warming. You can post mail from the base, a fun activity that allows your friends to receive postcards and letters from Antarctica.

Crabeater Seals Antarctica Air-Cruise

Wildlife

Did you know that there are approximately 20 million breeding pairs of penguins that make up wildlife in the Antarctic region? It's almost guaranteed that you'll return home with heartwarming penguin tales to share. Large pods of whales are often spotted in Antarctica and at the Antarctic Convergence, a testament that conservation efforts have been effective as we become eye witnesses to the resurgence of the whale whale population after years of overhunting. From December to April on an Antarctica cruise you’ll have the incredible opportunity to witness these creatures in the wild and enjoy their antics from throwing flukes to bubble netting as they feed on krill. (peak times are February to March).

Antarctica historical sites

Historic Sites

Antarctica’s history is full of adventure, exploring, risk-it-all behavior, and, at times, spectacular defeat. The protagonists are explorers, businesspeople, scientists, and fortune-seekers. As a result, you may find yourself immersed in the history of Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island, where you can see the remains of the Norwegian Hektor Whaling Station that closed due to a volcanic eruption in the 1960’s. Deception Island is one of our “go to” places, a must see sunken volcanic caldera with a entrance just side enough to harbor a ship, home to scads of parading chinstrap penguins on the outside beaches of black scree. The protected cove on the inside is a perfect place for a polar plunge among the hot springs. A thought-provoking stroll along the beach gives you the opportunity to time travel back to the early days of sealing and whaling in Antarctica, a time when wildlife was plundered almost to extinction. Fortunately, the seals and whales are back in full force, and one must happily give a wide berth to the galloping seals as they play and fight in the surf.

Glacier Hike Antarctica

Expedition Activities

Whether you’re jumping from a boat or sprinting into the icy waters at the beach on Deception Island, it’s going to be cold but highly manageable with the right gear. We’ll advise you what to bring every step of the way. Sea kayaking in Antarctica is another great activity that allows you to get even closer to the icebergs, huge glaciers, and if you’re really lucky, you might even encounter whales and other curious marine wildlife!

Whether you’re taking the polar plunge, jumping from our boat, or sprinting into the icy waters at the beach on Deception Island that mingle with the hot thermal waters bubbling up in the lagoon, it maybe frigidly cold but electric! If that’s too extreme, sea kayaking in Antarctica is another great activity that allows you to get up close to the icebergs and huge glaciers, and if you’re really lucky, you might even encounter whales and other curious marine wildlife!

Our Antarctica Cruises 2025/2026

89 guests Antarctica wildlife and photography tour

Antarctica Wildlife and Photography Expedition

10 days

A 10-day, in-depth small ship Antarctica expedition to explore and photograph the fantastic nature and wildlife.

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73 guests King Penguin Colony South Georgia cruises

South Georgia & Antarctica Photo Tour With Paul Goldstein

20 days

Join our 20 day Photo Tour with Paul Goldstein. You will sail from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia and Antarctica.

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73 guests

Antarctica Discovery Fly & Cruise

8 days

Join our 8 day Antarctica Air-Cruise with just 73 guests. You will fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island to board MV Magellan Explorer.

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Antarctica Cruises 2025 & 2026 FAQ

When is the best time of year to take a cruise to Antarctica?

The cruise season in Antarctica runs from November until the end of March. Outside of this period there are no cruises to Antarctica due to the harsh weather and ice conditions.

Each month offers something different in Antarctica.

November is spring in Antarctica and penguin chicks begin to hatch. As the month goes on the days get longer.

December has the longest hours and warmest temperatures for visiting the 7th continent. Wildlife is very active during this month making it one of the best months to visit.

January is our favourite month in Antarctica. We have near 24 hours a day of sunlight. There are plenty of penguin chicks and it’s a great month for seeing seals and whales. The sea ice also further breaks up making more places access.

Secret Atlas run a 12-day expedition cruise to explore Antarctica during January.

February also offers great opportunities for wildlife watching. The sea ice is usually at its lowest.

March As autumn gets underway in Antarctica the nights get darker and the temperatures get colder. It s a good month to spot whales and seals although many of the penguin chicks will be gone.

Where do your cruises to Antarctica cruises depart from?

Our Antartica cruises depart from Ushuaia in Argentina.

Ushuaia has good international connections to Buenos Aires for international connections to the rest of the world. LATAM airlines serve Ushuaia on a frequent basis.

Why is an Explorer Small Ship Cruise the best way to explore Antarctica?

Our Antarctica cruises take just 48 guests, the smallest group size available. In Antarctica some landing sites are restricted to ships with greater gust numbers. A small ship gives us greater flexibility and allow us to explore areas larger ships cannot visit.

Unlike larger vessels with higher passenger capacities, our voyages are personal and unique in their approach. Travelling with a small group of guests means more time and flexibility exploring and less time waiting to go ashore.

Our small expedition vessels will get you closer to nature and landscapes that you came than larger ships can due to their smaller size, offering you a great deal more intimacy.

Our Small Ship Adventures give you the opportunity to experience Antarctica first hand on a real adventure without the crowds of people on larger ships. Our goal is to make you part of the adventure.

How does a small ship experience in Antarctica compare to other cruises?

A number of companies offer expedition cruises to Antarctica.

The average number of passengers on these large ships is over 250. In our opinion that is too many people to be landing at sensitive places in Antarctica. Quite often guests are split into groups as not all guests can visit the shore at the same time due to restrictions in size at the landing sites.

Our small ship allows all guests to be ashore at the same time and have unrestricted access to all the landing sites in Antarctica.

Many companies advertise small ship cruises to Antarctic but their definition of a ‘small ship’ varies and can range from anything from 500 guests down to 50 guests. The experience between travelling with 250 guests and 48 guests is huge. Our Small Ship Cruises to Antarctica are the way they should be, intimate, low impact, and offer our guests the richest experience.

What wildlife will I see on my cruise to Antarctica?

One of the main reasons to take a cruise to Antarctica is to spend time marvelling at the awe inspiring wildlife.

The great thing about Antartica is that it is very easy to encounter wildlife close up and we visit many key wildlife sites on our expeditions.

Antartica is home to a variety of birdlife including penguins. We will aim to explore many penguin rookeries where you will see these amazing creatures close up.

On our expeditions we frequently encounter Gentoo, Adelie, Chinstrap and King Penguins. In the water and on the ice we frequently sight leopard, Crab-eater, and Weddell seals. Swimming near the ship we often encounter whales and Orcas.

What places will I visit on a cruise to Antarctica?

A part of the adventure of an expedition cruise is to spend time exploring the wilderness which means every trip is different. Our route is decided on the day of boarding and is chosen by the expedition leader and the captain in line with the prevailing weather and ice conditions. Their aim is to ensure that you see the very best that Antarctica has to offer.

On a typical cruise, you can expect daily shore landings (usually 2 per day depending n the conditions) along with Zodiac cruising. We will visit penguin rookeries, remote beaches and visit sites of historical and natural interest such as glaciers and undertake short wilderness hikes.

Will it be cold on my cruise to Antarctica?

The temperature in on the Antarctic peninsula during the summer months is warmer than most people imagine, and not unlike a northern European winter.

During the summer time the temperatures are usually above freezing in January with temperatures of around 1 or 2 degrees Celsius. When the sun is out and there is no wind it can feel much warmer.

The weather in Antarctica is changeable and temperatures can feel much colder when it is windy.

We will supply you with a comprehensive packing list at the time of booking that outlines the types of clothing you will need to keep you comfortable on your Antarctica cruise.

Is a Small Ship Cruise to Antarctica suitable for me?

Our cruises are suitable for the vast majority of people and we aim to make them as accessible as possible. We ask that our guests have a good level of mobility as it is a requirement that you can safely step down from the vessel into the landing craft and then exit the landing craft on the beach. Due to the remote areas we visit and the distance from medical assistance, we advise that you have a reasonable level of fitness and are in good health. During the shore landings, we have multiple guides which enable us to split the group if we have some keen hikers and some other guests with more limited range.

Who joins your Antarctica cruises?

We don’t have any age restrictions on our trips and we pride ourselves on having diverse guests from all over the world with a passion for exploring. In the past we have had young professionals eager to explore, middle-aged solo travellers, looking for their next adventure, through to retirees looking to see Antarctica in a more in-depth way. Our trips are friendly and inclusive for all our guests.

Can I join your cruise as a solo traveller?

Yes, you can and every year we welcome solo travellers onboard where you will find a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

We offer accommodation options for single cabins or sharing a cabin with travellers of the same gender.

How do you ensure your cruises don’t have a negative effect on the environment?

That’s a great question and one we want to answer honestly.

The vessels we work with don’t burn heavy fuels which are particularly detrimental to the environment and run on standard marine diesel. As a part of our commitment to the environment, we climate compensate all of our emissions by planting trees with our sustainability partner in Greenland. The cost of this is covered within the fares our guests pay and we don’t charge an additional fee for this.

Secret Atlas don’t sell flights but we are aware our guests have to fly to our destinations to board our cruises. As a part of our climate commitment, we will match the offset costs for any guests who would like to offset their flights with us. This is offered at the time of booking.

During our cruises, we follow very strict guidelines as set out by AECO (Association Of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) to ensure minimal impact on the wildlife and places we visit. This includes following strict rules about not disturbing wildlife in its natural habitat. We employ highly experienced expedition leaders to run our expeditions in accordance with the rules and safety code laid out by AECO. The principal rules are:

  1. Leave no lasting signs of your visit
  2. Do not pick flowers
  3. Do not take anything with you
  4. Do not disturb animals and birds
  5. Leave cultural remains alone Cultural remains are protected by law and a zone of 100 meters around the remains is also considered a protected zone. Watch where you are walking and standing. Walk around and not in between obj
  6. Take the polar bear danger seriously
  7. Respect local culture and local people
  8. Be safe

Our expedition leaders are highly trained in safety and following these rules and brief guests at the beginning of each departure. They ensure the safety of the guests throughout the cruise and that the AECO rules are followed.

As a member of AECO we take great efforts to ensure our trips don’t have any negative impact on the wildlife or environment. You can find out more here.

Are you ready for a transformative experience on our Antarctica Expedition?

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