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Luxury Holidays To Antarctica

The ultimate wilderness experience

Witness the awe-inspiring, pristine beauty and staggering wildlife of Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole.

For many, this is the ultimate wilderness experience – nature at its most extreme. David Attenborough said it best: “At a time when it’s possible for 30 people to stand on the top of Everest in one day, Antarctica still remains a remote, lonely and desolate continent. A place where it’s possible to see the splendours and immensities of the natural world at its most dramatic and, what’s more, witness them almost exactly as they were, long, long before human beings ever arrived on the surface of this planet.”

This remote and unspoiled continent is one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth – it’s like visiting another planet without leaving this one, and everyone needs to gain this perspective in their lives.

Feeling inspired?...

For details about our full collection of expedition cruise journeys to Antarctica, or to book, please contact our Senior Travel Consultant, Alison Lester, who visited Antarctica with Polar Latitudes.

01244 897 296

Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands is a unique combination of wildlife, culture and history. In this British Overseas Territory, you’ll be able to see wildlife up-close, including albatross colonies and penguin rookeries. Stanley, the capital, is easy to discover on foot and has lots of shops selling locally made crafts. Take a guided tour and uncover the heritage at the Historic Dockyard Museum.

Falkland Islands

South Georgia

South Georgia

This crescent-shaped, mountainous island boasts an astonishing concentration of wildlife including millions of penguins, seals and seabirds, but also glaciers, fjords and low-lying grassland. In Grytviken, visit the historic whaling station and museum, as well as the tiny graveyard, which is the resting place of Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

South Georgia

South Shetland Islands

South Shetland Islands

Around 100 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula, separated by the Bransfield Strait, the South Shetlands are usually visited as a part of a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula as they are directly on the sailing path from South America. Home to 16 research stations and the continent’s only hotel, the largest island here is King George, where penguins, gulls, cormorants and giant petrels nest.

South Shetland Islands

Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctic Peninsula

The first sightings of spectacular icebergs and snow-capped mountains signal that you have reached the Antarctic Peninsula. Many cruises navigate Neko Harbor’s epic glaciers and the Humpback Whale-favoured Wilhelmina Bay, while passengers can also visit the former British research station, Port Lockroy. The focus of each day is getting close to the unique wildlife and scenery, exploring by Zodiac and on foot.

Antarctic Peninsula

Why Visit Antarctica?

When To Go?

With its frozen otherworldly landscapes, unique wildlife and remote location, there are countless reasons why you should embark on a journey into the great white wonder of Antarctica.

Antarctica

The main draw is the landscape; Antarctica is awash with hauntingly beautiful scenery and unique wildlife. As you make your way to the Antarctic Peninsula, you will begin to witness icebergs appearing on the horizon, majestically floating in the freezing waters. The seemingly desolate Antarctica is also bursting with a fascinating variety of wildlife, such as whales, seals, orcas and numerous types of fish. Penguins, the emblem of Antarctica, are your constant, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Walk near raucous colonies and you may find yourself being approached by the curious birds, who are unafraid and unperturbed by your presence due to a lack of land predators.

The most impressive landmarks in Antarctica are created by nature, however there are several noteworthy man-made landmarks, including abandoned whaling stations, scientific outposts and explorers’ camps that have been preserved exactly as they were left. From a scientific perspective, Antarctica is one of the most exciting places in the world. On selected cruises, guests can channel their inner scientists and participate in research known as Citizen Science, to support year-round research teams and gain an even deeper appreciation of our environment.

Expedition ships begin visiting Antarctica in late October or early November (the Antarctic Spring) and continue through late February or early March (the Antarctic Fall).

Penguin

While there is an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty throughout the seasons, changes in the weather and the currents affect both the landscape and the wildlife. Late October and November are still exceedingly cold, although they do present the best chance of seeing the continent in its most undisturbed form, with plentiful snow, gargantuan icebergs and blooming wildflowers.

If you visit in early December, you can witness the multitude of penguins nesting or wait until January for birthing season, where you’re likely to see plenty of seal pups and fluffy penguin chicks. February is a thrilling playground of new life and early March is preparation time for the great migration north. No matter what time you visit, you’re sure to witness great wonders and magical moments.

Expedition Cruising

Silver Cloud

The Antarctic Peninsula is on every itinerary, but other possibilities might include a longer cruise to South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands, the Falkland Islands and more. A standard cruise to the peninsula lasts around twelve days, commonly leaving from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. This gives travellers the ideal opportunity to explore Argentina (or more of South America) before or after a cruise to Antarctica, for a varied and unforgettable travel experience.

Our featured, all-inclusive expedition vessels, Silversea’s Silver Explorer, Silver Cloud Expedition; Scenic’s latest addition Scenic Eclipse and Polar Latitudes’ two ships Hebridean Sky and Island Sky, designed for venturing into the icy waters of polar regions, are the ultimate way to visit the white continent in unprecedented comfort, safety and style. These five stunning ships boast world-class cuisine, all-suite accommodation and stylish public spaces, and can accommodate between 100 and 300 passengers to ensure an intimate guest experience.

Expedition leaders on the ship are world experts and you’ll have access to professional photographers, dedicated lecturers, destination experts and a fleet of Zodiacs – small rubber boats that comfortably accommodate between eight to twelve people for shore landings.

Daily activities may vary depending on daily weather conditions, but will usually include two Zodiac trips, shore landings to vast penguin colonies and historic and current scientific bases, along with hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking opportunities and even camp-outs on the ice, depending on how much or little you have signed up for.

Rubber boots are provided for getting in and out of Zodiacs, but we strongly advise taking plenty of layers, plus waterproof clothing and bags, to store and carry equipment such as binoculars and cameras.

Polar Latitudes Scenic Eclipse

Alison Lester TRAVEL CONSULTANT

Majestic landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and surreal remoteness: regardless of where you have previously travelled, Antarctica is different from anything else you will experience.

Alison Lester

Did You Know?

Antarctica

Including its islands and floating plains of ice, Antarctica covers an area of 14 million square kilometres, about one-and-a-half times the size of the United States

Antarctica Landscape

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, overlying the South Pole

Antarctica Ice

The average thickness of Antarctica ice is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometres)

Antarctica Penguins

There are about 5 million penguins in Antarctica. However, of the 17 species of penguins in the world, only seven can actually be found Antarctica itself

Ice

The Antarctic Treaty designates the continent as a ‘natural reserve, devoted to peace and science’

Penguins and Ice

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest single mass of ice on Earth, it covers an area of almost 14 million square km

Aurora Australis Antarctica
Aurora Australis

Antarctic science is crucial for understanding how the Earth operates as a global system

Seal Resting On Ice

There are no native people in Antarctica. Only plants and animals that can live in cold exist there

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WILDLIFE

Wildlife

Charismatic penguins are the stars of the show – seven species reside in the area, including Adélie, Chinstrap, Gentoo, Rockhopper and Macaroni, as well as the orange-striped King and majestic Emperor – and hours can be spent observing these endearing and frequently comical flightless birds. Seals are also in abundance – six different species live in Antarctic waters: Ross, Weddell, Crabeater, Leopard, Fur and Elephant Seals, with their harems and pups. You’re likely to see Fin, Humpback, Minke, Orca and Blue Whales too, which feed on the swarms of Southern Ocean krill, as well as many species of birds including Albatrosses, Prions and Petrels, who nest amongst the craggy crevasses.

One animal that you won’t see here is the Polar Bear. It may seem obvious, but the Arctic in the northern hemisphere where Polar Bears live, and Antarctica in the southern hemisphere often get confused. Yes, they’re both cold, icy and surround a pole, but the word ‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word for ‘bear’, and ‘Antarctic’ comes from the Greek, meaning ‘opposite of the Arctic’ or ‘opposite of the bear’.

ADVENTURE

Adventure

In addition to sightseeing from the deck of your expeditionary ship, there are many additional ways to explore the Last Continent, accompanied by the best guides, naturalists and expedition crew members. Zodiac rides (motor-powered dinghies), and shore landings are usually included in the cruise price; however, you may wish to participate in more intimate Antarctic encounters away from the motors of the ship by signing up for kayaking, snowshoeing, scuba-diving and skiing, to discover uninterrupted silence and impossible beauty.

Camping on the ice is another popular activity, offering a taste of Antarctica as it was experienced by the early explorers. Help to set up camp, and then enjoy the sounds of the waves, the creaking of the glaciers, perhaps even the blow of a passing whale as you stay warm in your sleeping bag. The more daring can also participate in the Polar Plunge, a long-standing tradition and something of a rite of passage for visitors, where you literally leap into the below-freezing Antarctic waters in just your swimsuit.

Our featured ship, Scenic Eclipse, offers a fantastic range of all-inclusive activities that go above and beyond – they have an on-board fleet of two helicopters and offer submarine tours, allowing you to get closer to nature than ever before.

CULTURE & HISTORY

Culture

The great white continent and one of the last true wilderness areas on Earth is largely unchanged since the early explorers. The Antarctic Peninsula – the main peninsula closest to South America – has a human history of almost 200 years, with explorers, sealers, whalers and scientists who have come to work. Often included in cruise itineraries are stops at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Ukraine’s Vernadskiy to discuss life in these harsh conditions with the staff, as well as the historic base of Port Lockroy Museum, a former British Base and now a full-time post office where you can send a postcard home.

Wordie House, named after James Wordie (the chief scientist and geologist on Shackleton's Endurance expedition of 1914-17), is another highlight, with 500 original artefacts on site. In South Georgia, you can visit the historic Grytviken whaling station, home of the whaling museum, Norwegian seaman's church, the active British Antarctic Survey station, plus the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.

Feeling inspired?...

For details about our full collection of expedition cruise journeys to Antarctica, please contact our Senior Travel Consultant, Alison Lester, who recently visited Antarctica with Polar Latitudes.

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