ANTARCTIC CRUISE SHIPS

EXPEDITION – EXPEDITION/LUXURY – LUXURY – FLY-CRUISE

Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia provide exceptional experiences for all who visit.  We’ve selected the best Antarctic Cruise ships to deliver you to these wondrous wilderness areas, organised into four categories:  Expedition, Expedition-Luxury, Luxury, and Fly Cruise.

While different sizes, all ships have key characteristics in common:

All ships and their operators are well known by us and we know they will safely deliver a high quality operation. For the safety of guests, crew and the environment, all vessels have two engines (or in the case of Ocean Nova an auxiliary engine that can bring the ship back to port). All ships are IAATO members (as is the Antarctica Travel Centre). All operate with a high ratio of crew to guest.

Why 100 Matters. 

IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) regulations control the frequency and number of guests visiting all sites.  No more than 100 guests can land at the same site at the same time. If your chosen ship has up to 200 guests wishing to go ashore at the same site, some guests will have to wait. On the Antarctic Peninsula it is sometimes possible (but not always) to position the ship close to two sites, allowing half the passengers to visit one site and half at the other. It is fair to say that sometimes this will not be possible and there is a strong likelihood that these vessels with visit fewer sites (than those with fewer than 100 guests) – as a result of taking longer to allow all clients to go ashore. Find out more here.

Please have a look at the ships available and contact us if you have any questions about travelling to Antarctica or would like a quote on 1300 668 112 or email: contact@antarcticatravelcentre.com.au

Expedition

Generally expedition ships have a greater emphasis on maximising time off the vessel or out on deck than on a larger more ‘luxury’ ship. This is helped by having fewer than 100 guests, hence all guests can go ashore at the same time.  On most days an Expedition ship will offer two off ship excursions. The expedition team works closely with the ship’s captain and crew to deliver a high level of service and a flexible approach which means they can react to local circumstances; like a group of feeding whales, if possible they will stop and launch the zodiacs.  The cabins are comfortable, the food of a very high standard.

An expedition client is someone who wants to maximise their opportunities to get off the ship and learn. Guests onboard are of all ages however you will be physically able to climb some relatively steep stairs and get in and out of a Zodiac.

Ocean Nova Fly Cruise Expedition ship Antarctica.

The Ocean Nova is a small expedition ship that was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, and the ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in Antarctica. Refurbished in 2006, it has a capacity of just 68 passengers accommodated in comfortable has a glass-enclosed observation lounge.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov Anatrctic Arctic Expedition Ship

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 guests) was built in Finland in 1989. She has an ice-strengthened (1A2 rating) is very stable, manoeuvrable and as a result quite fast. The Expedition staff are amongst the best with a very strong emphasis on guest service. Excellent Russian captains and crew have decades of experience in operating in Polar regions.

Akademik Ioffe Antrctica Expedition ship

The Akademik Ioffe (96 guests) is a sister ship to the Vavilov, built in the same shipyard in Finland in 1989. She has an ice-strengthened (1A2 rating) is very stable, manoeuvrable and as a result quite fast. The Expedition staff are amongst the best with a very strong emphasis on guest service. Excellent Russian captains and crew have decades of experience in operating in Polar regions.

Expedition-Luxury

As the name suggests these ships are a hybrid of an Expedition Ship and a Luxury Ship. Some are small ships with close to 100 guests and can offer two landings a day and focus on maximising opportunities for exploring as on an expedition vessel but with the added comfort of having larger, more comfortable cabins and common areas. Those with up to 200 guests generally offer one off ship excursion a day (largely due to time factors associated with the 100 passenger ashore limit) and still have an adventurous soul. Generally cabins are larger or perhaps the ship is newer than an Expedition ship. Meals are a mix of buffet and served courses and the cuisine is of a very high standard.

Greg Mortimer

The Greg Mortimer is a new (maiden voyage in 2019), purpose built, Polar expedition vessel designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull.    This cutting edge nautical technology allows for: gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption, lower air emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchorless while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas.

120 guests will be accommodated in staterooms all with en-suite facilities. The ship has custom-built hydraulic platforms offering guests unobstructed views, a dedicated activity platform and an indoor observation lounge with unobstructed panoramic views. The outdoor top deck allows for 360 degree views.

The Greg Mortimer will set a new level in luxury & expedition cruising; focusing on multiple landings, flexible itineraries and environmental sensitivity.

Sea Spirit

An ice-strengthened all-suite expedition ship Sea Spirit was built in 1991 in Italy. The vessel was refurbished in late 2010 and is again due for drydock in April 2017. 54 suites and a maximum of 114 passengers. All suites have private facilities and exterior views. Some suites feature private balconies.

hebridean-sky-anatrctica-luxury

The Hebridean Sky (71 guests) recently underwent a ten million dollar refit and boasts a high degree of comfort and safety. Always known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie. Its all suite cabins and increased adventure options make the Hebridean Sky the perfect blend of luxury and adventurous exploration.

island-sky

The Island Sky is spacious with stylish common areas including a panoramic top deck observation platform, bar and lounge area with live entertainment as well as a well stocked library with computers and an elegant dining room. Built in 1992 this luxurious cruise ship can accommodate up to 114 guests and provides excellent service with four star amenities.

All suites feature exterior views, the choice of queen or twin beds, a sitting area with sofa and side chair, flat screen TV with DVD/CD player, independent temperature controls, mini-bar, marble appointed bathroom with toiletries, hair dryer, 220 square feet or more and the sofa can be converted to a bed for a third person. Several suites have private balconies accessed via sliding glass doors.

magellan exploerer exterior

The Magellan Explorer is a brand new ship that will be completed in 2019.   She features 50 passenger cabins in five categories, including dedicated single cabins.   Despite having capacity to carry 100 guests she will carry just 69 per fly-cruise departure.  This means a single flight from Punta Arenas will be capable of delivering a full compliment of guests (larger ships require two flights).

The cabins are very spacious, ranging in size from 20-40 square metres. All double cabins have two twin beds that can be configured as one queen-size bed. 42 cabins feature a large window and a private balcony, while 8 cabins have a porthole. 16 adjoining cabins can be configured as spacious ‘two-room’ suites. All cabins have private bathrooms and a sitting area.

Resolute Ship

The RCGS Resolute (formerly the MS Hanseatic) is a modern, ice-strengthened Antarctic cruise ship with all en-suite cabins accommodating up to 146 guests. Purpose built for polar waters in Rauma Finland.   The Resolute  has the highest ice class rating (Lloyds 1AS). She combines first class accommodation, excellent cuisine (dinner is a la carte) with a true expedition experience.

national-geographic-explorer-luxury-cruise-ship

National Geographic Explorer (148 guests) was completely redesigned and rebuilt prior to being relaunched in 2008. The ship is equipped with an ice-strengthened hull and advanced navigation equipment for polar expeditions, and offers a well-appointed interior with vast expanses of glass for an unprecedented connection to the regions explored.

World Explorer and Kayak

The World Explorer is a brand new ship, built 2018, and is fully equipped to venture into the waters of Antarctica. Taking 176 guests every cabin has either a private walk-out balcony or a Juliet balcony for direct ocean views as well as en-suite bathroom. There are plenty of public areas to relax after a day filled with excursions including the glass domed observation lounge, the explorer lounge and a dedicated lecture theatre where the educational program is conducted. There are health and wellness facilities featuring an outdoor running track, small gym, sauna and spa.

The Hondius (176 guests) is scheduled to launch in 2019. She will have an Ice class rating of 6, the most advanced to date. The Hondius will offer deluxe accommodations for a total 176 guests. One deck has been entirely reserved for lectures and presentations in one large observation lounge. The ship’s main focus remains discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities. Efficient zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special activities such as kayaking.

Luxury

These luxurious ships combine more traditional-style cruising with an Antarctic adventure. They offer large, very comfortable cabins with en-suite facilities; many suites have private balconies. Excellent cuisine options are available on board. Zodiac dinghies and an expedition team enable you to explore the Antarctic Peninsula and come home to an exquisite ship. A luxury ship puts greater emphasis on the on-board experience. Onboard the bigger luxury vessels there are limitations on the number of landing made as at most sites the limit of people ashore is 100.

National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion (102 passengers) is a modern, elegant ship with an intimate ambiance. The window-lined main lounge and library offer spectacular views while the expedition community are gathered each evening for cocktails and a recap of the day’s activities. High atop the vessel, the cosy observation lounge is ideal for taking in the 270º views, or you might choose to brave the outdoor bar (with ambient heaters) on the same deck. The 53 cabins accommodate 102 guests and all are exterior, with most featuring picture windows that connect you with the Antarctic landscape.

Built in Germany in 2003 and engineered for maximum safety and comfort, Orion is ice-strengthened and has the latest technology, including large retractable stabilisers, sonar and radar. Its fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures quick disembarkation and offers the ideal transport for up-close exploration.

silver-explorer

Embark on a luxurious cruise aboard the Silver Explorer (formerly the Prince Albert II) — a purpose-built expedition ship with just 112 guests and the intimate on-board ambience of a private yacht. Designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations.

le-boreal-ponant-luxury-ship-antarctica

The Le Boreal was launched in May, 2010. She features elegant design and innovative state-of-the-art marine technology. The vessel boasts a convenient layout, aided by three passenger elevators. She offers a single seating dining room, al fresco dining, an outdoor heated pool, and a modern lecture facility and theatre, as well as an ample and comfortable gathering area and library for her 200 guests.

Le Soleal Luxury Antarctica

The Le Soléal provides a luxurious and comfortable experience to the final frontier – Antarctica. Carrying a maximum of 200 passengers she creates a welcoming and intimate atmosphere for you to take in the awe of this majestic continent. This ship offers excellent facilities including a spa, fine dining restaurants and exquisite décor throughout. The fleet of Zodiacs take you off the ship on excursions to explore the wonders of Antarctica.

Silver Cloud Luxury Antarctica ship

Spacious yet intimate, the yacht-like Silver Cloud carries 200 guests in incomparable comfort and style. Combining spacious ocean-view suites and private verandas with excellent dining and entertainment options. Silver Cloud epitomizes a vision of worldclass cruise accommodations, cuisine, service and amenities.

Fly Cruise

Fly-Cruise voyages afford two major objectives; they avoid lengthy sea crossings and dependent upon operator can also realise more time in Antarctica, the Falkland Island or South Georgia than a ship that cruises all the way.  A flight takes you from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island (the largest of the South Shetland Islands, close to the Antarctic Peninsula) or to Mount Pleasant on the Falkland Islands where you board your ship.  For Antarctic Peninsula only voyages the flight also affords a visit to Antarctica in a shorter period of time.

hebridean-sky-anatrctica-luxury

The Hebridean Sky (71 guests) recently underwent a ten million dollar refit and boasts a high degree of comfort and safety. Always known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie. Its all suite cabins and increased adventure options make the Hebridean Sky the perfect blend of luxury and adventurous exploration.  She is built to carry 114 guests and on her fly-cruise voyages she carries just 71 to enable all guests to arrive one flight (larger fly cruise vessels have to rely on good weather for two flights from Punta Arenas).

magellan exploerer exterior

MV Magellan Explorer is a brand new ship that will be completed in 2019. The Magellan Explorer features 50 passenger cabins in five categories of accommodation, including dedicated single cabins. This vessel will be used for Antarctica fly cruises and therefore there is a maximum of 69 passengers per departure, meaning only a single flight is required to get all guests to Antarctica.

The cabins are very spacious, ranging in size from 20-40 square metres. All double cabins have two twin beds that can be configured as one queen-size bed. 42 cabins feature a large window and a private balcony, while 8 cabins have a porthole. 16 adjoining cabins can be configured as 8 two-room suites for the most spacious accommodation. All cabins have private bathrooms and a sitting area.

Boarding BAE-146 aircraft King George Island

The Ocean Nova is a small expedition ship that was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, and the ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in Antarctica. Refurbished in 2006, it has a capacity of just 68 passengers accommodated in comfortable has a glass-enclosed observation lounge.

Icebreaker

Kapitan Khlebnikov (110)
Kapitan Khlebnikov

The Kapitan Khlebnikov combines power and technology with comfort and has 52 en-suite cabins and a maximum of 110 guests. This polar class icebreaker was originally designed for the ice-choked waters of norther Siberia. Its 24,000 horsepower engine and advanced ice-breaking technology allows access to places in Antarctica that no other ship can, like Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. In addition to the fleet of Zodiacs the Kapitan Khlebnikov has two helicopters to take passengers on excursions.  It’s these helicopters that transport guests from the ship, ‘parked’ in sea-ice, closer to the Emperor penguin rookery on fast sea-ice close to Snow Hill Island.

For the 2018/19 season the Kapitan Khlebnikov is returning to offer Snow Hill Island Emperor Penguin voyages.

Inspiration

Order a Brochure

Antarctica is a fascinating, remote place. Our brochure is intended to be a starting point to help you decide which cruise would suit you.

Latest News and Blogs
  • Antarctica is not only a place of pristine beauty but also filled with wildlife. Jim Darby, journalist for Traveller tells us about his wildlife experience in this remarkable place. The PA in the cabin crackles to life: "This is earlier than the early call you were expecting," says Dick Filby, wildlife expert and enthusiast in his deep, clear, BBC-style voice. "But folks, there are about six orcas, six killer whales, off the bow."...

  • The South Georgia Heritage Trust is having an incredible effect of the flora, fauna and historical sites found on South Georgia. A rodent eradication project has transformed the Islands......

  • On a recent trip to Antarctica, Jim Darby, journalist for Traveller and avid skier, took to the slopes of the 7th continent. "Far off to my left is an unnamed glacier, making its eternal march to the sea, where the icebergs it calved are bobbing around like yachts in a Wednesday afternoon regatta. No yacht clubs hereabouts though. No ski lifts or ski resorts either. This is Antarctica and we're ski touring the last frontier."...

  • On previous voyages early and late in the season I’d seen a few whales but nothing prepared me for the evening of our first day in Antarctica....

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