What you can see on the Antarctic Peninsula Cruise
Different travelers have different expectations for their Antarctic cruise. You may come for the wildlife, see various penguin species, learn about marine mammals or immerse yourself in the rich history of Antarctic explorers – we cover it all.
Got your camera ready? The Gerlache Strait, with its glacier-covered mountains and blue waters, is one of the most picturesque places on Earth. Wildlife lovers will be ecstatic about an abundance of penguins, humpback and killer whales, weddell, crabeater and leopard seals.
Antarctic Peninsula Expeditions
Depart from Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the Sea Spirit and cross the infamous Drake Passage to the White Continent. Discover the South Shetland Islands and their iconic wildlife. Sail the Weddell Sea, the northernmost part of mainland Antarctica and continue south to the Gerlache Strait, one of the most picturesque places on Earth with its glacier-covered mountains, blue icebergs and crystal-clear waters.
Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula
Leave Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the Sea Spirit for your first stop on your Antarctic Peninsula expedition cruise: The Falkland Islands. It’s a birder’s paradise with albatross and penguin rookeries on idyllic farmsteads. From there we continue to South Georgia Island, where pristine beaches bustling with penguins and seals, framed by an alpine landscape, await you. Embark on your final stop, the Antarctic Peninsula.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Looking for a unique voyage? From Ushuaia, Argentina we’ll cross the infamous Drake Passage aboard the Sea Spirit and catch our first glimpse of the White Continent passing the South Shetland Islands. Enjoy their rich iconic Antarctic wildlife. Continue to the Gerlache Strait, framed with glacier-covered mountains and look out for iconic marine mammals and penguins. From there, if weather and ice conditions allow, we push further south than any other cruise, crossing the Antarctic Circle.
About the Antarctic Peninsula
Mountains with peaks as high as 3,184m (Mount Jackson) dominate the peninsula, with terrain similar to that of Tierra del Fuego. The surrounding islands, as well as the peninsula itself, feature volcanos. Antarctic tundra dominates the landscape, as well as glaciers and pack ice in coastal areas.
You’ll find the mildest temperatures on the entire continent here, with Antarctic summers featuring around 1 to 2 °C in January, while winters range from -15 to -20°C. While you find little to no precipitation in continental Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula gets rain occasionally
Even though Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen was likely to spot the Antarctic Peninsula first on January 27th, 1820, credit goes to Edward Bransfield and William Smith who were the first to discover the peninsula as part of the Antarctic continent three days later. Different discoverers gave the peninsula various names: Trinity Peninsula, Graham Land and Palmer Peninsula, until it finally became known as the Antarctic Peninsula in 1964.
The krill-rich ocean feeds an abundance of wildlife around the peninsula: penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. Chinstrap, emperor, gentoo and adélie penguin dominate the Antarctic peninsula, with ample space for their rookeries. The Antarctic Treaty System protects the ecosystem of the peninsula. Ecotourism and sustainable tour operators play a significant part in preserving their habitat and minimizing human impact.
Top Things to See
Shortly after leaving Ushuaia on the cruise ship, we will cross the infamous Drake Passage. Thanks to our ship’s stabilizing fins, you can enjoy wildlife viewing such as humpback and fin whales in comfort.
You’ll see plenty of wildlife on the Antarctic Peninsula. Pinnipeds such as weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, as well as humpback and killer whales, live in the adjoining waters. If you are a penguin lover, you will love to see their boisterous nesting colonies! For the best king penguin encounters, we recommend you book one of our cruises that includes South Georgia Island.
South Shetland Islands
As the northernmost islands of Antarctica, the South Shetlands feature tundra vegetation such as mosses, lichens and algae. As they’re surrounded by krill-rich waters, be sure to look out for seabirds, seals and penguins while taking a stroll on the volcanic sand beaches.
Picturesque mountains surround this bay, where you can also see chinstrap penguin colonies.
Discover the rusty shipwreck of former Norwegian whaling ship Guvernoren, which sank after a fire in 1915.
A must-see on your Antarctic Peninsula voyage! Pristine landscapes, spectacular glaciers and mountains frame its crystal-clear waters.
Known as the “Kodak Gap” for its picture-perfect scenery, this narrow iceberg-filled channel is the pinnacle of Antarctic photography!
Explore the modern-day British scientific station Port Lockroy and visit its museum and gift shop. You can even send Antarctic greetings to your loved ones at home from their post office.
Plan you Antarctic Peninsula Tour
How to get to the Antarctic Peninsula
Our expedition cruises begin in Ushuaia or Buenos Aires, where you will board our small expedition ship, the Sea Spirit. You have to arrange your own tickets to and from the departure port. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. You will then board our ship to begin the journey.
Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Argentina. We are happy to advise you on visa arrangements, the required set of documents and can also assist with contacting the relevant consulates. Please reach out and we’ll be glad to help!
Antarctic Peninsula Ships
An epic expedition cruise requires a small expedition ship with all the luxuries that you can dream of. Designed for only 114 passengers, the Sea Spirit features multiple cabin categories. Enjoy deluxe meals in the restaurant, a bite at the outdoor bistro, tea and coffee around the clock in the club lounge and a drink at the bar. Check out the polar library or listen to a lecture in the presentation hall. The Sea Spirit is also equipped with its own gym. We also take along our small inflatable expedition boats (Zodiacs), in which you will cruise close-up to the icebergs and wildlife and do landings. Our state-of-the-art expedition vessel is equipped with stabilizing fins to make your stay comfortable during rough weather at sea.
When to visit the Antarctic Peninsula
We cruise during the Antarctic summer months (December to March). It’s the best time to visit and temperatures are relatively mild, around 1 to 2°C. But weather can still change suddenly. Expect sunshine, wind and snow in any combination.
Facts about the Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula covers roughly 522,000 km2, with 80% of it covered in ice. The peninsula stretches over 1,500km. January features temperatures around 1 to 2°C versus -15°C in winter. There are no permanent residents on the peninsula. On the entire White Continent, there are currently 70 permanent research stations representing 29 different countries. Thanks to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the waters surrounding Antarctica and the Antarctic peninsula are rich with nutritious krill, the main food source for the iconic wildlife of the region.
Do I need travel insurance?
Consider dressing in layers. Warm undergarments (wool or synthetics), middle layers made of polar fleece or wool, wind- and waterproofs as top layers, comfortable shoes for onboard activities, hats, gloves and sunglasses. We’ll provide boots for the duration of your trip for shore excursions.
Is there internet, email or telephone on board?
Free Wi-Fi is available on your cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula.
What clothes should I pack for Antarctic Peninsula?
While in the Antarctic summer the temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula average around 2°C, we still recommend warm thermal undergarments (not cotton), polar fleece and wool and layering your clothes. Waterproof and windproof outer clothes, as well as a hat, scarf and gloves are a must to explore the snowy hills of Antarctica. We’ll have our warm expedition parka available on board, which you can take home with you, as well as rubber boots for landings, which are yours for the duration of the trip. Click here to review our check-list on what clothes to bring.
Am I going to get seasick?
It depends on several factors and your personal condition. Consult your physician prior to your cruise and carry the recommended preventative medication. Our ship has stabilizing fins to reduce pitching and rolling during the Drake Passage crossing.