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Voyage to Antarctica

It’s the southernmost continent and the site of the South Pole; a place renowned for its wildlife and breathtaking ice-covered landscape. For travelers who relish unique experiences, Antarctica can be the trip of a lifetime.

A cruise to Antarctica is a chance to visit one of the world’s last relatively untouched places. It’s a remote, stark continent, and the remoteness means that you’ll be among the relatively few who have ever visited. 

Most cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia, a port city at the southern tip of Argentina. These are small ships, carrying about 200 passengers. As they make their way to the South Pole, you’ll have an opportunity to hear from onboard experts, like scientists, historians, and photographers, who’ll share their insights about the continent.

From Ushuaia, it takes a couple days to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. Your ship will travel through the Drake Passage, a 600-mile swath of water that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and was an important trade route in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There’ll be a chance to join a naturalist on deck to look for whales and seabirds.

Once in Antarctica, you’ll venture out during the day in Zodiacs (sturdy, inflatable boats) that carry no more than 10 people, accompanied by veteran guides. You’ll explore some of the world’s most unique terrain. Excursions may include a visit to the penguins on the South Shetland Islands, to a scientific research station where you’ll learn about the work being done there and about efforts to protect the environment of Antarctica, a trip to the remains of a whaling station, or to see a sheltered beach where Southern elephant seals are basking in the sun. 

Depending on the route, your ship may sail through the Lemaire Channel, dubbed “Kodak Alley” for its picture-perfect views of towering icebergs on all sides and deep blue water. 

After your return to the ship and dinner, you’ll have a chance to capture photos in the low light of Antarctica’s long twilight. The clear air and lack of light pollution make it one of the best places in the world to view the night sky.

Your return to Ushuaia comes via a return trip through the Drake Passage, where you’ll have more opportunities to spot birds and marine life, including the elusive albatross, with its wingspan of 11.5 feet.  

This winter, the luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent is offering two cruises to Antarctica. Each is limited to 199 passengers and sails on Le Lyrial, which offers a private balcony with every stateroom and suite. The 17-day trip to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands departs on December 12. Classic Antarctica is a 12-day trip that leaves on January 6, 2018. Both tours begin in Buenos Aires. After some sightseeing in Argentina’s capital, passengers fly to Ushuaia to begin the cruise. Both trips also offer a pre-tour extension to Iguazu Falls, on the border with Brazil.

Numerous tour operators offer itineraries in this exquisite region. We can help narrow down the best options for you, based on your specific personal interests. For help planning a cruise to Antarctica, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793 (locally 719-597-0004) or send us an email at

© Travel Leaders Group