Antarctica Cruises: Expedition vs. Scenic

Cruisers gazing out to the Antarctica - Great White Continent
Antarctica is one of the world’s most spectacular destinations, a land whose very name conjures images of icebergs and Emperor penguins, of intrepid explorers and colossal mountain ranges.

It’s also one of the least visited places on the planet, welcoming just 51,000 people last year.

So, when the opportunity to discover its frozen beauty does come along, it’s worth grabbing with both hands. Though land expeditions are a rarity, cruising is a relatively achievable option.

There are two kinds of Antarctica cruises available: Scenic and Expedition.

Scenic cruises, as the name suggests, are a chance to witness the rugged coastline, the vast ice floes, and the abundant wildlife that calls Antarctica’s waters home – from a distance.

These cruises often employ larger cruise ships which offer a high level of comfort but are unable to get closer to the landmass. Scenic cruises do not land on the continent, nor do they visit the outer islands. And it’s a very good thing they don’t. Because, as you can imagine, a high-influx of visitors descending on the continent would cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

Don’t let the lack of shore landings put you off though. Scenic cruises are still a life-changing experience, a chance to witness a destination few other travellers will ever experience in their lifetime, together with some of the most beautiful and remote portions of South America.

A scenic cruise of Antarctica is often a more cost-effective option
A scenic cruise of Antarctica is often a more cost-effective option

Antarctica is one of the most awe-inspiring destinations on the planet.

Expedition cruises on the other hand do include landings. These cruises often employ much smaller vessels, either purpose-built cruise ships or converted research vessels.

As a result, expedition cruises to Antarctica are often considerably more expensive, with high costs and small passenger numbers to offset them. But you do get some serious bang for your buck. Zodiac landings and more personalised service are just the tip of the iceberg.

A zodiac expedition getting up closer to Antarctica
A zodiac expedition getting up closer to Antarctica

No matter which Antarctica cruise option you choose, you’re in for a seriously incredible trip!

Ready to set sail? Browse our Antarctica cruise packages here.

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