Journey to the Circle

About the Experience

Voyage with verve and panache aboard the impressive Ocean Endeavour on your adventure, Journey To The Circle! Satiate your curiosity and inner polar explorer as we depart Ushuaia, Argentina,  navigate the Drake Passage and arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula where we will venture below the circle and back. 

There’s a reason why Antarctica and the word magic are interchangeable. The birds and the wildlife of the South Shetland Islands will inspire having binoculars permanently attached to your face. In no time you’ll know your brush-tailed penguins and be able to identify your chinstraps from your gentoos and Adelies. We’ll even teach you how to distinguish elephants from furs, crabeaters, from leopards and Weddells (seals). Experience the marvel of Antarctica below the Circle with your new circle of friends who have long dreamed of the great southern continent’s allure.

To plant a rubber-booted foot on the continent of Antarctica is a rare privilege only a few can claim (unless you are among a waddle of penguins). On one of the ship’s Zodiacs, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Antarctic ice and the dynamic landscape of frozen history and iceberg-poked horizons. Warning: Photographers will exhaust several memory cards in an attempt to capture the 360 panoramas, cobalt sea and startling juxtaposition of volcanic terrain. 

You can earn all of your Girl Guide badges in one remarkable trip: Ornithology, Marine Biology, Geology, Glaciology, Volcanology! The Antarctic Peninsula quickly reveals the earth’s timeline of shifting tectonic plates, surging seas, calving glaciers and the mighty subterranean power of volcanic activity. 

Our expert guides will walk you through Antarctic history, South Shetlands wildlife habits, seabird identification–all subject to interruption by starboard whales and dolphins, of course! 

The Ocean Endeavour is designed to fulfill your polar dreams to the max. There’s a shipboard library with 24/7 coffee and tea if the thrill of it all leaves you sleepless-not-in-Seattle. Onboard resource staff facilitate a myriad of workshops, lectures and film screenings that you can squeeze in between a jacuzzi soak or reflective time in the sauna. 

As the ship crosses the invisible Antarctic Convergence, prepare for a drop in temperature (but remember, there’s always a sauna to retreat to!). We’re not giving you the cold shoulder–it’s nature’s natural, super-efficient air conditioning. These nutrient-rich waters attract several species from the albatross to humpback, Sei and minke whales. You won’t mind braving the chill for this kind of live entertainment!

Crossing the Antarctic Circle on the Journey To The Circle adventure is exactly what your kid-self dreamed of. Remember shaking up that snow globe and being instantly mesmerized? Do you remember shutting your eyes tight and imagining yourself on a different planet? One full of curious penguins and icicles that would take all winter to finish licking?

Don’t miss out on this interactive experience to the majestic end of the world! Shake up your snow globe and make the magic happen today!

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Journey to the Circle

About the Experience

Voyage with verve and panache aboard the impressive Ocean Endeavour on your adventure, Journey To The Circle! Satiate your curiosity and inner polar explorer as we depart Ushuaia, Argentina,  navigate the Drake Passage and arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula where we will venture below the circle and back. 

There’s a reason why Antarctica and the word magic are interchangeable. The birds and the wildlife of the South Shetland Islands will inspire having binoculars permanently attached to your face. In no time you’ll know your brush-tailed penguins and be able to identify your chinstraps from your gentoos and Adelies. We’ll even teach you how to distinguish elephants from furs, crabeaters, from leopards and Weddells (seals). Experience the marvel of Antarctica below the Circle with your new circle of friends who have long dreamed of the great southern continent’s allure.

To plant a rubber-booted foot on the continent of Antarctica is a rare privilege only a few can claim (unless you are among a waddle of penguins). On one of the ship’s Zodiacs, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Antarctic ice and the dynamic landscape of frozen history and iceberg-poked horizons. Warning: Photographers will exhaust several memory cards in an attempt to capture the 360 panoramas, cobalt sea and startling juxtaposition of volcanic terrain. 

You can earn all of your Girl Guide badges in one remarkable trip: Ornithology, Marine Biology, Geology, Glaciology, Volcanology! The Antarctic Peninsula quickly reveals the earth’s timeline of shifting tectonic plates, surging seas, calving glaciers and the mighty subterranean power of volcanic activity. 

Our expert guides will walk you through Antarctic history, South Shetlands wildlife habits, seabird identification–all subject to interruption by starboard whales and dolphins, of course! 

The Ocean Endeavour is designed to fulfill your polar dreams to the max. There’s a shipboard library with 24/7 coffee and tea if the thrill of it all leaves you sleepless-not-in-Seattle. Onboard resource staff facilitate a myriad of workshops, lectures and film screenings that you can squeeze in between a jacuzzi soak or reflective time in the sauna. 

As the ship crosses the invisible Antarctic Convergence, prepare for a drop in temperature (but remember, there’s always a sauna to retreat to!). We’re not giving you the cold shoulder–it’s nature’s natural, super-efficient air conditioning. These nutrient-rich waters attract several species from the albatross to humpback, Sei and minke whales. You won’t mind braving the chill for this kind of live entertainment!

Crossing the Antarctic Circle on the Journey To The Circle adventure is exactly what your kid-self dreamed of. Remember shaking up that snow globe and being instantly mesmerized? Do you remember shutting your eyes tight and imagining yourself on a different planet? One full of curious penguins and icicles that would take all winter to finish licking?

Don’t miss out on this interactive experience to the majestic end of the world! Shake up your snow globe and make the magic happen today!

 


DAY ONE: USHUAIA, ARGENTINA 

Upon arrival at Ushuaia Airport (hurray!) make your way to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be anxiously awaiting to transfer you to your hotel. There’s no challenge here–they will be holding a sign with your name on it! 

The first night will be spent in the humming adventure hub of Ushuaia, the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). Here, the Andes meet the Beagle Channel and the grade school maps you coloured with a lot of indigo blue Crayola come to life!

The remainder of the day is pure leisure–explore, let your jaw drop, poke around the vibrant artisan markets or slide into a café for your first authentic Alfajore (an irresistible Argentinian dulce de leche cookie). It won’t be your last! There are several museums including one that is housed in a former prison (Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia). Learn about sailing, whaling and natural history in a museum hop or wander the streets aimlessly and simply absorb the town’s dramatic setting in a pocket of snow-blanketed mountains purring with travelers ready to embark on their dream. Make sure to satiate your taste buds with local lamb and king crab, world class dining awaits.

 

 

DAY TWO: EMBARKATION IN USHUAIA

Sleep in or jump start your day by seeking out the best Alfajores in Ushuaia! This morning you are free to explore the city a little deeper or discover the wilds of Tierra del Fuego National Park, the most southerly national park of South America. This divine park offers several hiking trails (choose from an easy stroll or strenuous quad-quivering climb) that winds around peat bogs, lagoons, woodland, rugged coastline, glaciers, pounding waterfalls and still lakes. Keep watch for flying steamers (ducks, not cooking implements), Andean foxes and surprisingly, the North American beaver! How did she get here? Ask around, it’s a controversial story that was intended to kickstart a fur trade in 1946. The Argentine military flew 20 Canadian beavers to Tierra del Fuego–there are now more than 110,000!

Birders will go bonkers for the airshow of austral parakeets, Andean condor, magellanic oystercatchers, kelp geese and torrent ducks. Be on high alert for the concheros too–these shelly deposits provide evidence of human life thousands of years ago. *Note: Shelly deposits should not be confused with any group members named Shelly who sneak into the woods for “just a minute.”

Late afternoon, there will be a transfer to the port of Ushuaia to embark on the Ocean Endeavour. The Expedition Team and the ship’s Officers will be waiting to welcome you aboard, Love Boat style! Kind of. 

This evening, the Endeavour will sail along the famed Beagle Channel towards the White Continent of Antarctica. As we leave the dazzly lights of Ushuaia behind in the ship’s frothy wake, train your eyes to find rafts of magellanic penguins (fun fact: a group of penguins in the water are referred to as a ‘raft’ but on land they become a ‘waddle’), air-drying rock cormorants, petrels and the black-browed Albatross. Hear something? That will be the brazen sea lion colonies welcoming you to their favourite place in the world.

 

 

DAY THREE- FOUR: DRAKE PASSAGE

The Drake Passage has nothing to do with Canada’s rapper and media darling, Drake, though some millennials might assume an affiliation. Named after the legendary English explorer, Sir Frances Drake, the Passage splits the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. As Melissa Etheridge sang, “the only thing that stays the same is change.” The Passage is famously unpredictable—it can be rough and turbulent or as calm as a curled up cat in a sunny spot—so be prepared! Stay tuned for Drake Lake, or Drake Shake!

Be sure to take advantage of the Endeavour’s incredible amenities! Whether you join the “posers” and stretch into your best Warrior II and plank in a yoga class or attend a scholarly presentation by the expert Expedition Team, your body and mind will love all the engagement. Learn more about geology or whale romance or take the chill off and chill out with newfound gal pals in the outdoor salt water hot tub.

Sailing towards Antarctica, there is an abrupt dip in temperature as we cross the Antarctic Convergence and enter the bracing waters of the Antarctic Ocean. You will notice an increased number of seabirds, whales and other species that are magnetically drawn to the nutrient and krill-rich waters. Here, north-flowing colder polar region waters meet warmer south-flowing equatorial waters creating the mercury plunge. This is why polar fleece was invented!

Pull on an extra layer and head to the deck to look for the mighty albatross. They have the longest wingspan (7 to 8 feet for the black-browed while the wandering albatross can measure up to 12 feet!) of any bird on the planet, so you should be able to spot them! If you need to give your craning neck a rest, scan the moody waters for breaching whales and bobbing icebergs. 

We continue our course south in a valiant attempt to make landfall by the evening of Day 4 (depending on the weather conditions and Melissa Etheridge lyrics). Be on high alert for the first sighting of land—it heralds your official arrival to the White Continent! It’s not a mirage! (Unless you had more Malbec than recommended!)

 

 

DAY FIVE-EIGHT: SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS

The next four days will be spent intimately exploring the South Shetland Islands and dramatic Antarctic Peninsula, a region that was trendy with explorers centuries ago–long before travellers latched on to the contemporary version that includes a gym, sauna and vegetarian options for lunch. We explore the area by Zodiac, cruising in the shadows of wind-carved icebergs and giant petrel wings. There will be shore landings where you can mingle with penguins (they are a hard group to get away from!) and climb to vantage points to ooh and ahh and OMG! (this will be repeated several times) over the stellar views. There may be opportunities to visit a scientific or historic base, kayak or snowshoe. For amateur cinematographers or seasoned penguin paparazzo, this is the perfect time to learn and trial some photography hacks from one of our in-house experts.

By now, you should be under the full spell of Antarctica. Whether you are consumed by the imposing glaciers and unearthly icebergs or crabeater seals and chinstrap penguins or birds overhead, the White Continent delivers in so many categories. 

As we cruise from one landing site to the next, check out a lecture program or digest the scenery from the outer decks of the Ocean Endeavour. We’ve all been guilty of joining a gym and failing to show up–here, there are no excuses! The ship’s sumptuous spa, dry saunas pool, hot tub and gym will meet all your wellness needs. 

Maybe you will be one of the brave and 100% certified Wild Women who choose to take a plunge in the biting glacial waters! (There should be a Girl Guide badge for that too.) Rest assured, whether you let your hair down or put a merino wool toque on it, every single day introduces a new experience, opportunity and landing site to investigate.

 

 

DAY NINE- TEN: ANTARCTIC CIRCLE

Depending on the weather conditions (not-so-fun fact: Brides who are planning outdoor weddings and ship captains share the same heightened interest in forecasts), we will continue southwards in an attempt to reach latitude 66°33’S and cross the famed Antarctic Circle. Fun fact: the 66°N parallel line is 61km south of the Arctic Circle.

Our voyage south takes us past colossal icebergs, seemingly sculpted by an artist’s intuitive hands and chisels to a point on Earth only a few starstruck travellers will ever experience. If the brooding weather allows us to reach this momentous, heart-pounding, goosebumpy goal, we will ¡Salud! the titanium nerves of the explorers who first ventured this far south. Of course, we will also celebrate our own impressive achievement with a big bucket list checkmark ✅ and(perhaps) champagne the same temp as the waters bubbling below. 

This land is home to the mystical midnight sun, shifting ice, krill-rich waters, the trills and low-frequency buzzes of Weddell seals and haunting humpback song. Can you hear it? (It could be your cabin mate drifting into dream.)

For fans of Jeopardy! Here’s your Double Jeopardy intel: Weddell seals are uniquely adapted to this severe environment, and use their canines and incisors to rasp open new ice to maintain breathing holes in the ice. If you happen upon a walnut you can’t crack open, it’s always great to have a Weddell around.

These seals also have extremely accurate powers of navigation (better than the misguided GPS in your SUV), enabling them to seek out breathing holes when their teeth are worn down from age or injury and unable to maintain or create their own breathing holes.

 

 

DAY ELEVEN: ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

Having crossed the Antarctic Circle (whew and wow!), we set a course north, exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands more intimately by Zodiac and shore landings. Scan the surface for whales and seals or have a Jonathan Livingstone Seagull moment following the cruising seabirds above.

 

 

DAY TWELVE-THIRTEEN: DRAKE PASSAGE

As we leave the Antarctic Peninsula behind with a big sigh, there is satisfaction in realizing that your senses are almost wonderfully weary from such constant stimulation! With full camera cards, unbelievable memories, whale sightings, postcards full of !!!! marks (because you have to send a postcard from the White Continent!), penguin encounters and friendships made in the suspense and thrill of travel, we set a course for the Drake Passage. Take in a final lecture or presentation or keep focused on the wildlife and leeward birds from the observation lounge and outer decks. Or, relax from the ‘wild life’ and indulge in a spa treatment, sauna or saltwater pool dip.

Having crossed the Drake Passage once more, we enter the calmer, welcoming waters of the Beagle Channel bound for Ushuaia’s neon glow.

 

 

DAY FOURTEEN: DISEMBARKATION IN USHUAIA

We are scheduled to arrive in Ushuaia early this morning and will disembark after a final breakfast aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

After saying farewell to the trusty Expedition Team and Ocean Endeavour crew, we transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. We know, waaah! It’s too soon! You may also choose to spend an extra day or two in Ushuaia to enjoy a few more Alfajores and Malbecs or return to the national park and lively markets of Ushuaia.

 

 

 

MAP

 

 

 

OCEAN  ENDEAVOUR

The Ocean Endeavour is an opulent 137-metre (450-feet), 198-passenger ice-strengthened vessel with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment and stabilizers. A doctor, paramedic and medical clinic offer complete peace of mind. The ship has several lounge areas, a library (Compass Room) and multiple viewing decks to totally chill out by yourself or with your newfound waddle!

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!
Cabin Category 10, Double Suite, Deck 7

  • Window
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath with full tub
  • Sitting area
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 9, Double Junior, Deck 5

  • Window
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bathroom, some with bathtub
  • Sitting area
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 9, Double Junior, Deck 7

  • Forward-facing picture windows, unobstructed view
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath with full tub
  • Sitting area
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 8, Superior Twin, Deck 5

  • Windows, some with partially obscured views
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath
  • Sitting area
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 8, Superior Twin, Deck 7 Forward-Facing

  • Forward-facing picture windows, unobstructed view
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath with full tub
  • Approximately 180 square feet

Cabin Category 8, Superior Twin, Deck 7

  • Windows, some with partially obscured views
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath
  • Sitting area
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 7, Select Twin, Deck 5

  • Window
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath

Cabin Category 7, Select Twin, Deck 8

  • Window
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 6, Comfort Twin, Deck 4

  • Window
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath
  • $13,795USD

Cabin Category 6, Comfort Twin, Deck 7

  • Window
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath
  • Refrigerator
  • $13,795USD

Cabin Category 6, Comfort Twin, Deck 8

  • Window
  • Matrimonial bed (bigger than US double but smaller than a Queen)
  • Private bath
  • Refrigerator

Cabin Category 5, Main Twin, Deck 7

  • Window
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath
  • $12,795USD

Cabin Category 4, Exterior Twin, Deck 4

  • Porthole window
  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath
  • $14,795USD

Cabin Category 3, Interior Twin, Deck 4

  • Two lower berths
  • Private bath

Cabin Category 2, Triple, Deck 4

  • Three lower berths
  • Two private baths
  • $11,795USD

Cabin Category 1, Single, Deck 5

  • One lower berth
  • Private bath

General

What’s not included in your Antarctic trips?

When booking your voyage, please enquire about international and domestic flights and transfers to and from your destination. We can arrange tour accommodation pre- and post-trip. Optional activities such as sea kayaking, snowshoeing and camping need to be booked prior to your journey. Drinks, souvenirs, laundry services and any communication charges are not included and need to be purchased separately.

What’s included on your Antarctic trips?

Comfortable accommodation and comprehensive pre-departure information ensure the essential details are taken care of. Our onboard chefs pride themselves on all meals provided, with tea and coffee available around the clock. On departure, you will be provided with rubber boots to use for the duration of your trip so you are ready to explore. On all our polar expeditions, you have the option to step off the ship onto our fleet of sturdy Zodiac boats. Opportunities for bird and wildlife watching are the backbone of our expeditions. Groups are hosted by world-renowned naturalists and ornithologists, giving you insights to the Antarctic environment and its wildlife.

How fit do I need to be to participate?

All of our Antarctic trips are accessible to people of all levels of fitness with no major mobility issues and do not require any physical preparation. Activities onshore and excursions involve a bit of walking, but all are optional. You may have to cross uneven ground and take on challenging conditions underfoot. You will have support stepping on and off the Zodiac boats.

Are there vaccinations required for this region?

Vaccinations vary from country to country. We strongly recommend you visit your travel doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure, so allow plenty of time.

What if I get seasick? Is there medical assistance on board?

The waters of the Antarctic can be rough, especially when crossing the Drake Passage. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before departing.

It's also recommended that passengers come equipped with motion sickness tablets or patches and avoid eating greasy foods or consuming alcohol. There is a doctor on board to assist in severe cases!
A licensed doctor and an emergency doctor are assigned to every ship.

How far in advance should I book an Antarctica trip?

As Antarctic trips are seasonal, they tend to book out quickly! Our advice is to book as soon as you've made the decision to travel – you can look at availability on the trip page.

International flights are available for booking approximately 11 months prior to the tour departure date. Please contact us to discuss booking options.

Are there extra/optional activities?

You'll get plenty of opportunities to step off the ship for an up-close look at wildlife and take part in excursions. There are also other ways to see this amazing place! Hike to remote alcoves with an experienced guide, sea-kayaking, snowshoeing, and camping! These additional activities must be booked before departure and incur additional costs. Spaces are limited, so please enquire at the time of booking.

Can I visit Antarctica any time of year?

Not exactly. Trips to Antarctica depart between November and March. This is during the summer months allowing better access (the ice has melted a little). There is also more light to explore and see wildlife this time of year!

Late spring and early summer (November to early December)
As the winter pack-ice begins to melt, fresh and magnificent ice landscapes emerge and animals come out to play.

  • Witness the courting rituals of colonies of penguins and seabirds
  • Watch seals take to fast ice and shorelines
  • See spring wildflowers bloom on Falkland and South Georgia Islands
  • View elephant and fur seals establishing breeding territories
  • See ice at its sharpest.

Full summer (mid-December to January)
The festive season sees local wildlife activity reach an incredible peak.

  • Watch seal pups play on Falkland and South Georgia Islands
  • Keep an eye out for the increasing number of visiting whales
  • The long days and wondrous midnight light is perfect for photography
  • Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins are sheltering eggs; chicks hatch in January.

Late summer (February to March)
At this spectacular time of year, you can witness:

  • Penguin chicks beginning to fledge
  • Snow algae in bloom
  • Beautiful Antarctic sunrises and sunsets
  • Whale sightings at their best
I am travelling alone. Will you find a roomie for me?

Yes! If you’re travelling alone, you’ll be paired with another wild woman  to bunk with.

If you don’t want to share your space, mention it to our support team when booking and they may be able to organize your own room – we call this a single supplement – depending on availability. You will need to pay a single supplement charge.

Can I pay for a single supplement/upgrade?

If you're travelling solo and would prefer not to be paired up with a fellow wild woman to share a room, ask our support team if a 'single supplement'  is available. This is subject to availability and an additional charge.

If you are travelling with someone, please let us know what room setup you would prefer (twin or double, or in some cases triple rooms may be available).

Do I need Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is absolutely necessary on all Wild Women tours and a condition of travel. When selecting your policy, it should be comprehensive and cover medical expenses, including emergency repatriation. We strongly suggest the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Can you help arrange my travel visas?

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a rule of thumb, most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months validity on your passport. On arrival, you may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

If you have more questions about this please reach out to support@wildwomenexpeditions.com

What happens if there is bad weather?

Trip delays and unforeseen disruptions are not uncommon in Antarctica – mainly due to weather and sea conditions – so a travel insurance policy that covers bad weather delays is an absolute must (especially if you are travelling on a fly/cruise voyage).

When travelling in remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel and means that every voyage is unique. Please be aware that while we endeavour to make the best arrangements for each trip, no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

Meals

What type of food will I eat?

The food served on the ship is excellent! Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet-style, with dinners generally served to your table and usually featuring three courses. A vegetarian choice is always offered. The range of food is diverse, with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of gourmet dishes.

What if I have dietary requirements/restrictions?

If you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please let us know before the trip starts. If you have a more restrictive dietary requirement (vegan, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, etc) it is likely you can be catered for. Unfortunately, we are unable to cater to a kosher diet.

Responsible Travel

How does WWE minimize its environmental impact?

Our partners are both members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators operators (IATTO) – dedicated to promoting and practicing safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica.

Members of IATTO are obligated to operate within the parameters of the Antarctic Treaty System along with IMO Conventions and similar international and national laws and agreements.

How can I be environmentally conscious on my trip?

Tourism and cruise activities in the Antarctic operate within a comprehensive framework of international and national laws and regulations to ensure safety and preservation of the environment.

You will be briefed during each trip on the best way to be respectful, environmentally friendly and safe during the expedition.

Top responsible travel tips for The Antarctic:

  • Don’t use aircraft, vessels, small boats or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
  • Don’t feed, touch or handle birds or seals, and don’t approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or moulting.
  • To avoid damaging plants, refrain from walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
  • Don’t take ‘souvenirs’ of rocks or flora off the island.
  • Ensure that all backpacks and clothing that will be worn on shore are free of seeds and other foreign matter before going ashore.
  • Know the location of areas that have been afforded special protection and observe any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near those areas.
  • Be careful not to damage, remove, or destroy historic sites or monuments, or any artifacts associated with them.
  • Don’t interfere with scientific research facilities or equipment.
  • Dispose of rubbish thoughtfully, including cigarette butts. Refrain from smoking in wilderness areas and leave no rubbish behind.
  • For more tips, see the IATTO visitor guidelines.

Geography and Wildlife

Where is Antarctica?

Antarctica is the seventh continent in the world, located on the southernmost part of the globe. Its closest access point is in South America (Ushuaia, Argentina is the major thoroughfare for Antarctic cruises). From here you can visit the Antarctic Peninsula as well as the sub-Antarctic islands such as South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. A cruise will take anywhere from 10 to 23 days when leaving from Ushuaia; if crossing directly to the peninsula you can be there in as soon as one-and-a-half to two days.

Antarctica is governed internationally through the Antarctic Treaty system. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by the 12 countries whose scientists had been active in and around Antarctica at the time. Among the original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty were Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. These countries have various territorial claims to parts of Antarctica, some of which overlap. The Antarctic Treaty helps avoid any conflict over sovereignty. It entered into force in 1961 and has since been agreed to by many other nations.

What kind of wildlife will I see?

Each day brings the possibility of new wildlife sightings!
Check out the Adelie and king penguins; leopard and Weddell seals; orcas patrolling the waters; fin and humpback whales breaching nearby, and in some parts you can see albatross.
The opportunities to encounter wildlife on each voyage are endless!

Our Ships

What type of ship do you use in Antarctica?

All expedition vessels have ice-strengthened hulls so they are perfectly suited to travel in this icy environment. As well as being tough expedition vessels, they are built for passenger comfort; all cabins have an ensuite, the majority of cabins are external with either a window or a porthole, and the ships’ restaurants, lecture theatres and lounges are warm and cozy.

What is a Zodiac?

Can you say fun? All ships are accompanied by a sturdy, inflatable fleet of Zodiac boats. These small vessels fit 10–12 people and are used to transfer passengers from the ship to the shore. Essential to all polar voyages, they’re also used to navigate closer to the ice and get up close to marine life!

How much room is there for luggage?

Cabins vary in size, including what storage space is available. There are wardrobes and drawers to allow you to unpack completely and some ships have a mudroom so that you don’t need to store wet gear in your cabin.

It is recommended that you travel with soft luggage so that once emptied, it can go under your bunk or at the bottom of a wardrobe.

What's included in our cabins?
  • Basic toiletries are provided in the ensuite of your room, such as soap, shower gel and shampoo.
  • Yes, hairdryers are available in rooms on all polar trips.

Are ships accessible for people with physical restrictions?

Unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access on our ships. Some ships have lifts but these may not access all decks on the ship. There are often stairways, and passengers need to be mobile enough to keep themselves steady and be able to get around reasonably without being assisted. We can help you to further clarify whether this trip is right for you.

Is there smoking on board?

There is a designated outdoor space for smoking on each ship.

Is there internet, Wi-Fi and telephone access on the ships?

Internet access is available on most Antarctic ships, at a cost. Alternatively, there may be a ship-based email system where you will have an email account to stay in touch with family and friends. Because of the remoteness of Antarctica, connections can be slow, so all ships charge for data used rather than time spent online. Please refer to your detailed pre-departure information for more information on Internet facilities on your ship.

The short answer is no, your mobile phone will not work during your tour of Antarctica.

Antarctica is still a remote and wild destination with a telecommunications system to match. We think you’ll enjoy it best if you embrace the adventure and leave uploading all your photos and giving your friends the rundown until you get home.

That being said, you won't be totally cut off from the wider world. All of the  Antarctic expeditions operate on vessels equipped with satellite phones that can be operated at the discretion of the ship manager on a pay-per-minute basis. However, satellite communications from the ship can be disrupted when travelling through mountainous areas or through narrow channels, or until satellites next pass overhead. As such, these phones are generally reserved for emergencies only.

Internet access is possible via wi-fi on your personal laptop or device in certain areas of the ship and is charged via a prepaid card which can be purchased through the ship manager. Be aware that connections can be slow and intermittent, so all ships charge for data used rather than time spent online. Accessing some websites such as Facebook using the ship's wi-fi will be very expensive, as downloading picture-heavy content uses a large amount of data. Text-only emails are therefore the most affordable way to communicate with friends and family at home.

If you are planning a trip to Antarctica, make sure your loved ones have realistic expectations of your (in)ability to communicate with them.

What is the currency on board?

There is no currency in Antarctica. The unit of currency in Argentina is the Argentinean peso, in Chile it is the Chilean peso and in Uruguay it is the Uruguayan peso. If your Antarctic cruise includes the Falkland Islands, the currency of the islands is the Falkland Islands pound, although the GBP is accepted as well. If you visit Port Lockroy Post Office on the Antarctic Peninsula, USD is accepted, as is the GBP and EUR. Most cruise ships accept EUR and USD. Major credit cards, particularly Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted on board. In general, all onboard purchases made during the cruise are charged to your cabin and settled at the end of the voyage.

Will I be able to change currency on board?
No. You will need to come prepared with local currency for any purchases made off the ship. Refer to your pre-departure information for more detail.

What forms of payment do you accept on board?

Major credit cards are accepted on all ships. Refer to your pre-departure information for information on currencies accepted onboard.

What language is spoken on board?

All announcements made onboard are in English.
At times, there may be large groups of non-English speakers travelling with their own translator. Although the crew will be from various countries and speak multiple languages, the only translation service offered for individual travellers is on Quark ships in Mandarin.

Are life jackets provided?

Yes, all ships are equipped with life jackets. You will wear a life jacket every time you step off the ship and into a Zodiac boat, or if you choose to go kayaking.