Our South Georgia Cruises: An Introduction

Welcome to our South Georgia cruises.

What makes our expeditions different? We only take 48 guests and offer the longest itinerary available in South Georgia making our South Georgia cruises totally unique.

South Georgia is a one of our favourite places to explore because of its concentrations of wildlife, awe-inspiring scenery and fascinating history.

We offer a richer way to experience the raw nature and wildlife of South Georgia on a small ship experience free from the crowds and the rush of larger vessels.

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Our South Georgia Cruises

Explorer Small Ship

with 48 Guests


15 Days


February 2024

South Georgia Explorer

Small Ship Expedition Cruise with 48 Guests

Explore South Georgia on a 15-day small ship expedition cruise with just 48 guests in total. This expedition takes place on the newly refitted Polar Pioneer, the smallest and most rugged expedition cruise ship visiting South Georgia.

On this expedition we will do an extensive exploration along the coast of South Georgia visiting many key wildlife and historical sites. As our group size is under 50 we will have access to all of South Georgia’s landing sites, some of which are off limit to larger vessels.

See the Voyage E-mail me Brochure

South Georgia & Antarctica Photo Tour with Paul Goldstein

Small Ship Expedition Cruise with 73 Guests

Join the adventure of a lifetime on a 20-day small ship expedition cruise with just 73 guests in total, as you embark on a journey from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsula.

The MV Magellan Explorer offers the highest levels of comfort on a small ship in Antarctica. Guests can enjoy a modern purpose built expedition vessel with large cabins, a gym and outstanding cuisine.

The expedition is designed for photography enthusiasts and offers plenty of opportunities to hone your skills, with expert guidance from renowned wildlife photographer and guide Paul Goldstein, which can provide you with an added level of expertise and insight.

See the Voyage E-mail me Brochure

Explorer Small Ship

with 73 Guests


20 Days


October, November

South Georgia Useful Information

How To Get To South Georgia and The Falkland Islands

Our South Georgia cruises depart from the Falkland Islands. Find out how to get there.

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South Georgia Wildlife Guide

Learn about all the beautiful wildlife that calls South Georgia its home and get a feel for what you will encounter.

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South Georgia Facts

Do you know who was the first explorer to land on South Georgia? Find out here.

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Compare South Georgia Cruise Experiences

Secret Atlas

See Our Small Ship Cruises

Other Operators

  • Larger group sizes in all polar destinations
  • Guests wait in a groups for Zodiacs
  • Guests go ashore in groups. Some sites have restricted numbers
  • Up to an hour wait time to go ashore
  • Average 1 guide for every 10 guests
  • Can’t access all sites 
  • Shore landings are regimented 
  • Set itinerary
  • Luxury rather than expedition

What Can I See on a South Georgia Cruise?

King Penguin Colony South Georgia cruises


South Georgia is home to over 1 million penguins. At St Andrew’s Bay 100,000’s of King Penguins nest above the shoreline crating one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. South Georgia is also home to Macaroni, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins.

south Georgia expedition cruise


South Georgia is a haven for wildlife on the land and in the water. Over 250,000 Albatrosses live on South Georgia along with 78 bird species. Over 2 million fur seals haul out and give birth on South Georgia, 95% of the world’s population. Southern elephant seals are frequent vistors to the beaches.

history in south georgia


From tales of explorers to the history of South Georgia as a base for whaling, the island is covered in fascinating history. In Grytviken it is possible to walk through the remnants of an abandoned whaling station and visit the grave of explorer Ernest Shackleton who passed away there in 1922.


South Georgia is one of the most picturesque places on the planet. From the towering heights of Mount Paget 2,935 meters above sea level to the steep sided Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia is full of interesting and diverse landscapes.

Plan Your South Georgia Cruise

The Secret Atlas blog has a wide variety of articles to help you plan your South Georgia cruise.

How To Get To South Georgia Learn About Life On South Georgia What Wildlife Can I See On A South Georgia Cruise? South Georgia Facts

South Georgia Cruise Information

Departure Port

Stanley, Falkland Islands


Falkland Islands (MPN)

Time Zone


Time Of Year

November – February

Onboard Languages

English & German

‘The luxury of being alone in nature and getting close to animals is worth it.  This trip is also great for slowing down and reconnecting with the wild.  Smaller groups meant no waiting to go ashore. We anchored and the landing craft was ready to go. It is a much more adventurous feeling on a small ship and you are really immersed in nature.’

Julia, Secret Atlas Guest

South Georgia Cruises FAQ

Plan Your South Georgia Cruise

The cruise season in South Georgia starts in November and ends in March. There are no cruises during the winter months due to the harsh conditions in South Georgia.

Each month offers something different in South Georgia.

November is spring in South Georgia and the King Penguins begin to lay their eggs ashore. Humpback whales begin to arrive in the waters around. Seabirds have arrived and begin nesting. Elephant seals are ashore to breed.

December is the first month of summer in South Georgia. The beaches are packed with fur seals and most birds have laid their eggs.

January The final King penguins are laying their eggs. Fin whales return to the waters around South Georgia. Elephant seals start to come ashore. Many bird chicks can be witnessed.

February The first king penguins start to hatch. Humpbacks are sighted on ocean passages to South Georgia. Albatrosses are incubating on their nests. Elephant seals are moulting on the beaches.

March The beginning of Autumn on South Georgia. Adult fur seals have returned tot he sea leaving their pups ashore. Albatross chicks are hatching on Prion Island. Whales can regularly be seen in the waters around.

Secret Atlas run a 15-day expedition cruise to explore South Georgia in February.

Our South Georgia cruises depart from Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

The Falkland islands has good air-links to South America. LATAM airlines fly from Santiago in Chile via Punta Arenas to the Falkland Islands once per week.

It is also possible to fly to the Falkland Islands from the UK via an MOD flight although this is a more expensive and less reliable option.

Please see our South Georgia Travel Guide for more information.

Our South Georgia cruises take just 48 guests, the smallest group size available. In South Georgia some landing sites are restricted to ships with more than 50 guests. A huge benefit of travelling in a group of 48 is that we can have access to all the landing sites on South Georgia.

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 the South Georgia first hand on a real adventure without the crowds of people on larger ships. Our goal is to make you part of the adventure.

A number of companies offer expedition cruises to South Georgia. Usually they include South Georgia with Antarctica and in their itinerary they only allow 2-3 days in South Georgia which is not enough time to even begin to appreciate the island. Due to the unpredictable weather in South Georgia often a day can be removed from an itinerary due to bad weather.

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 South Georgia. 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 South Georgia.

Many companies advertise small ship cruises to South Georgia 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 South Georgia are the way they should be, intimate, low impact, and offer our guests the richest expereince.

During Your South Georgia Cruise

South Georgia is an untamed wilderness and on every cruise we encounter different wildlife. The great thing about South Georgia is that it is very easy to encounter wildlife close up and we visit many key wildlife sites on our expeditions.

South Georgia in our opinion is the best place on Earth to encounter King Penguins in their 100,000’s at St Andrew’s bay. The sound alone is truly phenomenal.

On our expeditions we frequently encounter penguins (Kings, Macaronis, Chin Straps and Gentoos) fur and elephant seals, albatrosses, a wide variety of birdlife and whales.

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 Svalbard has to offer.

On a typical cruise, you can expect daily shore landings to visit sites of historical and natural interest and to undertake short wilderness hikes. Svalbard has over 2000 glaciers and we aim to visit at least 1 calving glacier face which is an incredible sight. On some cruises, if conditions allow we will attempt to visit the edge of the sea ice.

We will also visit known wildlife sites including beaches where walruses haul out and areas where polar bears are frequently sighted.

The weather in South Georgia is highly changeable and the island is known for its strong winds. The climate is cold due to its proximity to Antarctica.

During the summer months the temperature usually varies between 0°C and 5.5°C. With the wind this can feel much colder. Without the wind and when the sun is out this can feel much warmer.

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 South Georgia cruise.

Know More

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.

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 South Georgia in a more in-depth way. Our trips are friendly and inclusive for all our guests.

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.


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.