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With hundreds of Antarctic voyages departing every season, how do you know just which one is right for you? When thinking about which voyage will be perfect for you, it’s a good idea to first consider; when you can travel; how long you have to travel; what experiences are important to you and what sort of budget you have.

In the Antarctic Peninsula, there are 5 main itineraries, which are the most common Antarctic itineraries and these are listed below, with a couple of additional itineraries that are also very popular.

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA 

Zodiac cruising in Antarctic Peninsula.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 9-12 days
  • Departure Dates: November – March
  • Prices from: AUD$7,000* per person Quad / Triple berth
  • Prices from: AUD$9,000* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Ushuaia, Argentina

Affectionately known as the ‘Classic Antarctica’ itinerary, these provide a perfect introduction to Antarctica. Classic Antarctica itineraries may come under varying voyage names, but essentially if it is a 10-12 day Antarctic voyage it will be following the ‘classic route’. These voyages typically have around 4 – 6 days of exploring Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands.

The classic route explores the western coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula as well as the South Shetland Islands. This side of the Peninsula provides the highlights – abundant wildlife sites, Deception Island, the Lemaire Channel and numerous research bases. If you are travelling with children, these voyages are usually the most accommodating. There will also be plenty of Classic Antarctic voyages over the December and January period including Christmas and New Years. 

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ANTARCTIC CIRCLE CROSSING

Porpoising penguins. Photo Amanda Till

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 12-15 days
  • Departure dates: December – March
  • Prices from: AUD$11,000* per person Quad / Triple berth
  • Prices from: AUD$12,000* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Ushuaia, Argentina & Punta Arenas, Chile

For those looking to tick the ‘Antarctic Circle box’ or simply have more time exploring Antarctica, our Antarctic Circle options are a great choice. These voyages start operating in December, but peak in February and March when ice conditions are most favourable.

Travelling further south on the Antarctic Peninsula to reach the Antarctic Circle will see you enter narrow ice-filled channels.  Wildlife will begin to thin out however it’s a great opportunity for whale and orca experiences this far south. Antarctic Circle voyages are usually always 12+ days and spend around 6 – 9 days exploring Antarctica and the South Shetland Islands.

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ANTARCTIC PENINSULA & WEDDELL SEA

Zodiac cruise, Antarctic cruise passengers

Antarctic tourists cruise close by a huge tabular iceberg in the Weddell Sea. Photo Amanda Till

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 12-15 days
  • Departure dates: December – March
  • Prices from: AUD$11,000* per person Quad / Triple berth
  • Prices from: AUD$13,000* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Ushuaia, Argentina & Punta Arenas, Chile

The Weddell Sea is home to huge glaciers and tabular icebergs, where most of the Antarctic Peninsula icebergs calve from. It is one of our favourite itineraries and often the forgotten Antarctic Itinerary. The Weddell Sea is the region of the Antarctic Peninsula on its eastern coastline. These itineraries will almost always explore both the west and eastern coastlines of the Peninsula, which provides for an incredibly diverse Antarctic experience. A good way to think about the two sides of the Peninsula is that the western coastline is wildlife rich, while the eastern coastline is geology-rich. 

The Weddell Sea is about experiencing the grandeur of Antarctic geology. It is here in the Weddell Sea that most of the Antarctic Peninsula’s icebergs calve and then drift through the Antarctic Sound and around to the western coastline. Here in the Weddell Sea, you’ll experience glacier and tabular icebergs of immense proportions and if you are lucky, you may even spy an Emperor penguin from Snow Hill Island.

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FLY/CRUISE ANTARCTICA

Antarctica passengers arrive to King George Island by Charter flight

Antarctica passengers arrive at King George Island by Charter flight.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 12-15 days
  • Departure dates: December – March
  • Prices from: AUD$11,000* per person Quad / Triple berth
  • Prices from: AUD$13,000* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Ushuaia, Argentina & Punta Arenas, Chile

If you or your travel partner are nervous about crossing the Drake Passage or you are short on time, then our extensive selection of Fly/Cruise voyages will be just the ticket for you. Our Fly/Cruise voyages have 2 distinct itinerary options available:

  1. Fly both ways across the Drake Passage
  2. Fly one way and sail the other

Voyages that fly both ways across the Drake Passage are restricted in where they can travel to, as the voyage must begin and end at King George Island on the South Shetland Islands as this is where the airport is located. Voyages that fly one way and cruise one way have a great level of flexibility. Fly only voyages can only travel up and down the Antarctic Peninsula, while the Fly one way / Cruise one-way options are open to exploring the Weddell Sea, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands.

Because of the charter flight, these voyages are usually more expensive than a standard voyage and while the total duration of the voyage may seem comparatively short, you do not have the 3-4 days at sea crossing the Drake Passage. So in actual fact, even though the total voyage time is shorter, often these voyages will allow for a longer period of time in Antarctica due to the 2-hour flights.

Dedicated ‘Fly both ways’ voyages are only able to operate from November through until early March due to the weather conditions at the airport on King George Island, Antarctica. Fly and cruise options are more flexible as they can use the airport on Stanley, Falkland Islands and may operate from October through until March.

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ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & FALKLAND ISLANDS

Seal among king penguins on South Georgia Island

Lone seal among King penguin rookery. Photo David Mannix

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 18-24 days
  • Departure dates: October – March
  • Shoulder Season: (Oct)
    • Prices from: AUD$12,000* per person Quad / Triple berth
    • Prices from: AUD$13,000* per person Twin berth
  • Peak Season (Dec-Jan)
    • Prices from: AUD$17,999* per person Quad / Triple berth
    • Prices from: AUD$22,999* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia; Argentina, Montevideo; Uruguay & Punta Arenas; Chile

These extended voyages are our all-encompassing itineraries, bringing together all the best elements Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands have to offer. You’ll experience the history and tribulations that surround the Falkland Islands, wildlife on a grand scale in South Georgia and be in awe of the pristine landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula. These voyages usually spend around 4 full days in the Antarctic Peninsula, 3-4 days around South Georgia and 1-2 days at the Falkland Islands. Traditional cruise options are available as are Fly/Cruise options.

The truly great thing about these voyages is that throughout the entire season they will tick almost every box. As South Georgia is further north than the Antarctic Peninsula and outside the Antarctic Convergence, its warmer temperatures mean penguin chicks hatch much earlier. The wildlife here is also non-migratory (why would you leave, seriously) and from October right through to March South Georgia is thriving. If this voyage is a dream of yours and you don’t think you have the budget, we’d suggest looking at some of our options in October as these voyages offer exceptional value.

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SOUTH GEORGIA IN-DEPTH

Resting seals on South Georgia. Photo Amanda Till

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 10-15 days
  • Departure Dates: November – March
  • Prices from: AUD$11,500* per person Quad / Triple berth
  • Prices from: AUD$14,000* per person Twin berth
  • Departing from: Punta Arenas, Chile

Most of our options for the South Georgia in-depth voyages depart from Punta Arenas, Chile on a charter flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. From Stanley, it is between 1-2 days sailing to reach South Georgia before you will be immersed in a world teeming with wildlife and history. These voyages are ideal for nature lovers, photographers, historians and geologists alike or even those who travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula previously but missed out on South Georgia. These in-depth voyages spend considerably more time exploring the island, often allowing 8 to 10 days of exploration and even circumnavigating the island.

There’s no need to be shy on South Georgia because the friendly locals will want to meet you at every chance. You’ll be up close and personal with numerous penguin species, including the Kings, perhaps a baby seal, and Wandering albatross will take full flight overhead. In-depth South Georgia voyages operate in November and March and are limited to two departures for the entire season, so be sure to enquire early.

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ROSS SEA & COMMONWEALTH BAY

Antarctic cruise tourists, mawson's hut

Antarctic tourists exploring Mawson’s Hut at Cape Denison. Photo David Mannix

 

 

 

 

 

  • Duration: 25 – 35 days
  • Departure Dates: January – February
  • Commonwealth Bay & Mawson’s Hut
    • Prices from: AUD$22,600* per person Twin berth 
  • The Ross Sea
    • Prices from: AUD$30,900* per person Twin berth 
  • Departing from: Bluff, New Zealand & Hobart, Australia

COMMONWEALTH BAY: Cape Denison lies at the very head of Commonwealth Bay and is the site of Sir Douglas Mawson’s hut from the historic 1911-1913 expedition, a well preserved time capsule from a great era of exploration. This is one of the most exclusive places on earth – more people have stood at the top of Mt Everest than have stood inside this historic hut. An expedition to Commonwealth Bay will also visit Port Martin, the site of 100 grounded icebergs, allowing our guests to get up close and view these amazing sites; and Dumont d’Urville, the French base renowned for its rich local wildlife, including colonies of Adelie and Emperor penguins. The region is one of the richest areas for seabirds and supports breeding colonies of Emperor and Adélie penguins, snow petrels, Antarctic petrels, Wilson’s storm petrels, cape petrels, southern giant petrels, Antarctic fulmars, and skuas.

Voyages to Commonwealth Bay depart in mid-December and mid-January. We recommend travelling on the January voyage where possible, to give yourself the best chances of making it to Cape Denison and experiencing Mawson’s Hut.

THE ROSS SEA: Our Ross Sea voyages take you to the very heart of Antarctica, one of the most remote, untouched regions on our planet. Travelling a sea route that takes you into the far south, navigating sea-ice rich with wildlife including the elusive Emperor penguin, seabirds, seals and whales. History abounds – the Ross Sea is home to historic huts left by heroic polar explorers Scott and Shackleton and the mysterious Dry Valleys. Mount Erebus dominates Ross Island against the dramatic backdrop of the Ross Ice shelf, while gigantic Adelie penguin colonies dominate Cape Adare, the towering Admiralty Mountains at Cape Hare.

Voyages to the Ross Sea depart in January and February. As these voyages travel so far south it simply is not possible for them to leave any earlier.

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iExpedition is Australia’s only dedicated expedition specialist. We deliver an advanced search and booking site for Australian travellers interested in expedition travel. With a selection of more than 600 Antarctic and Arctic expedition departures across close to 40 expedition vessels, we make it easy for you to search, compare, save and reserve or book your next expedition. We are here to help, so please feel free to Contact Us via email or on 1800 960 577.  Ready for adventure? Your expedition begins here.

*Pricing in this document is shown in Australian dollars for ease of comparison and are per person rates. The particular voyage you may consider may be priced in USD$ so please do consider this and will be converted at the time of quoting. Due to exchange rates the pricing contained here is a guide only.

 

 

 

 

 

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