Planning an expedition cruise to the white continent but not sure which one’s for you? Here are four of our favorites, each departing from Ushuaia, Argentina.
By Gabrielle Lipton
For Shutterbugs: National Geographic Expeditions
In addition to seal-spotting Zodiac tours, walks through penguin colonies, and kayaking around icebergs, NGE’s Journey to Antarctica cruise has a photography component that can’t be beat. For 14 days, a National Geographic photographer joins passengers on either the well-appointed National Geographic Explorer or National Geographic Orion ship to offer one-on-one lessons and curate onboard photo presentations (Multiple sailings in November through January; from US$12,970 per person).
For the Inquisitive: Abercrombie & Kent
An ultra-luxe journey for the ultra-curious, A&K’s 12-day Classic Antarctica trip on Compagnie du Ponant’s Le Boréal is filled with lectures and shore excursions led by passionate geologists, historians, and biologists. Sixteen expedition staff and a 1-to-12 guide-to-guest ratio ensure a heady mix of elucidation and adventure; Dr. James McClintock, author of Lost Antarctica, will lead the environment-focused sailing on December 9, which also includes a visit to the Palmer Station research facility on Anvers Island (December 9–20 and January 3–14; from US$9,995 per person).
For Adrenaline Junkies: World Expeditions
It’s like summer camp on ice with the 11-day Basecamp Antarctic Peninsula cruise. The 116-passenger, no-frills Plancius (a former Dutch research vessel) is used as nothing more than an eat-and-sleep base for long days filled with mountaineering, kayaking and Zodiac tours, and snow-shoe treks. Other options for those undeterred by the cold include scuba diving and camping on the ice for a night (November 21–December 1 and December 28–January 7; from US$8,650 per person).
For Skiers: IceAxe Expeditions
For avid skiers, nothing could be more thrilling than making the first tracks down a mountain at the bottom of the world. Based aboard the 117-passenger Clipper Adventurer and interspersed with visits to penguin rookeries and scientific stations, six of the 13 days of IceAxe’s Antarctica Peninsula Adventure Cruise are largely spent skiing through some of most scenic areas around the Antarctic Peninsula: Neko Harbor, Anvers and Wenke islands, and Paradise Bay (November 7–19; from US$8,995 per person).
This article originally appeared in the April/May print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Epic Antarctica”)