How the number of Guests can Effect Your Antarctic Cruise

WHY 100 MATTERS

IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) regulations control the frequency, duration and number of guests visiting any Antarctic site. No more than 100 guests can land at one site at the same time.

 

As a result of the IAATO regulations some larger ships will spend less time ashore or visit fewer sites (than smaller ships with fewer than 120 guests) – largely as a result of taking longer to allow all clients to go ashore.

 

If your chosen ship has a larger number of guests wishing to go ashore at the same site the reality is that some guests will be waiting on-board. That said some operators run a dual operation; Zodiac cruise for some clients whilst other clients go ashore. You then swap – zodiac cruisers go ashore and vice versa.

 

Vessels carrying more than 500 passengers onboard are not allowed to land any passengers while in Antarctic waters.

Whilst all ships are different in size they do have common key characteristics:

The 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.

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. Call 1300 668 112 or email: contact@antarcticatravelcentre.com.au

Small Ships <121 Guests

What do we mean by a ‘small ship’, in simple terms a ship that can land all of its passengers at one time (you do not have to wait), which in Antarctica this means those with a maximum of 120 guests. The International Association for Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), to which all reputable Antarctic operators belong, set out a number of rules, one of the most important is that there can be no more than 100 passengers ashore at anyone one time (Expedition guides are additional and there must be a ratio of at least 20:1). There are exceptions like Prion Island (breeding site of Wandering Albatross) in South Georgia where only 20 guests are allowed ashore at any one time. Most ships offer kayaking options for 16-20 guests, as they are not going ashore they are not included in the 100 passenger total; hence ships with up to 120 total guests fit into this ‘small ship’ category.

akademik-sergey-vavilov-one-ocean-expeditions

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.

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.

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.
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.

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.

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.

hebridean-sky-anatrctica-luxury

The Hebridean Sky has the capacity for 114 guests (71 guests on fly cruises) and 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.

magellan exploerer exterior

M/V 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.

Mid Sized 121-150

These ships cannot land all of their guests at one time, some of the guests will have to wait before they can go ashore. That said they only have 30-48 more guests to take ashore, including any kayakers. Often ships of this size will also offer a ‘zodiac cruise’ either as an alternative to, or prior to, going ashore. This means you don’t necessarily have to wait on the ship; you may have a choice to go ashore, to enjoy a zodiac cruise or both. Of course if all 150 guests wish to go ashore it will take more time to allow everyone to do so. This will effect either; the number of sites you visit or the total time you spend at each site.

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.

silver-explorer

Embark on a luxurious cruise aboard the Silver Explorer (formerly the Prince Albert II) — a purpose-built expedition ship with 144 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.

Ocean Adventurer

In June 2017 Ocean Adventurer underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation giving it a contemporary new look. Each of the cabins and suites were given new private bathrooms and furnishings. The main common areas such as the lounge, dining and bar areas were remodeled and major technical enhancements were made including new Rolls Royce engines, to significantly increase fuel efficiency and minimise the carbon footprint. The ice strengthened Ocean Adventurer is designed to carry 132 guests and is perfect for Antarctic exploration. The ship has open bridge access. a lounge, bar, dining area, library and gym as well as a doctor onboard.

Larger Ships 151-240 Guests

Whilst in ‘cruising’ terms a ship with less than 240 guests would normally be considered small, in Antarctica those with 150-240 are considered large as they cannot land all of their guests at one time.  If all guests wish to go ashore then it is likely that compared to a 100 passenger ship these vessels will either visit fewer sites in a day, or spend less time ashore at any sites visited.  Some Expedition/Luxury category ships may run simultaneous zodiac cruises and landings and then offer clients the chance to swap.  Many Luxury ships with 200 or more guests make one landing per day.  It is in part why the onboard part of a luxury Antarctic cruise is of greater importance; as you spend more time on the ship.

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.

Ocean Diamond Exterior

The Ocean Diamond is a modern and stable expedition ship. She carries a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for Antarctic expeditions. The Ocean Diamond has 101 elegantly designed cabins and suites, all with exterior views, and expansive common spaces, a club lounge, and a spacious restaurant. The ship offers numerous adventure options, e.g. Camping, Kayaking & Paddle-boarding. After a full day of exploration, a seat in the panoramic observation lounge offers the chance to reflect on the day’s experiences.

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 240 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.

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.

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

M/V 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.

To discuss ship options please get in touch and one of our friendly consultants will go through everything with you.

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
  • Fly Cruise voyage specialist Antarctica 21 will soon have a new purpose built Expedition/Luxury Fly-Cruise ship. True to their fly-cruise heritage despite having berths for over 100 guests the Magellan Explorer will take just 69 on her fly-cruise voyages. The Magellan Explorer Ship will offer flexibility, maximised exploration time and the experience of a true Antarctic Fly Cruise....

  • 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."...

Email Newsletter

To discover more about Antarctica, South Georgia, Falkland Islands and South America, stay up to date on any special offers and new season releases, sign up to our email newsletter.