Antarctic Cruises, what you need to know

Antarctic cruises pack-ice and iceberg

Loose pack ice in Antarctica seas

Antarctic Cruises are a fantastic way to see the unspoiled splendour of Antarctica. There are many tour operators that conduct Antarctic cruises . So when planning an Antarctica cruise it is important to shop around and to be aware of exactly what you are getting.


Many of the Antarctic cruises visit mainly Sub-Antarctic regions because of the sheer amount of wildlife to be seen and it is easier to access and accessible for a longer period of time.

The Antarctic cruises that do go to the continent (mainland Antarctica) do so during the peak summer months when the pack ice and fast ice are at their least severe or most accessible.

Typically during the winter months – March until October, the Antarctic continent is mostly inaccessible because the sea freezes around Antarctica making the coast, where most of the places of interest are situated, including Antarctic research stations, very difficult to get to even with the strongest of ice breakers.

The pack ice (ice that breaks off the coast and drifts to sea) can form a formidable barrier, where ships can get stuck for weeks until they finally drift out with the currents. This can cause quite costly delays for tour operators and tourists alike so the Antarctic cruise tour operators are very cautious of where they venture.

The vast majority of Antarctic cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which is one and a half to two days’ sailing across the Drake Passage from South America. Voyages to East Antarctica are less common, and typically spend 10 days crossing the Southern Ocean en route to the continent, including visits to Sub-Antarctic islands, after departing from Hobart (Australia) or New Zealand’s South Island.

Below is a list of Australian Antarctic cruises tour operators or companies with Australian offices. They offer Antarctic cruises or Sub-Antarctic cruises, tourist voyages or sightseeing flights, or sell berths aboard Antarctic cruises.

Australian Antarctic cruises tour operators

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