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The 10 Best Antarctica Tours, Cruises & Adventures

The land of penguins, icebergs and glaciers, Antarctica is a remote, otherworldly destination where, historically, few have ever visited.

Over the last 50 years, however, Antarctica has become more accessible via cruise ship and private jet.

Check out these best tours and cruises for seeing Antarctica, the mysterious White Continent. 

Antarctica Travel Guide

History of Tours in Antarctica 

In 1966, 57 travelers became the first tourists to reach the Antarctic Peninsula via the first Antarctic expedition cruise. After organizing this initial trip, Swedish-American entrepreneur Lars-Eric Lindblad built a 104-passenger ship, the Lindblad Explorer, in 1969 and ferried passengers to Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic. After that, new Antarctic exploring companies formed and began offering tours to the White Continent. 

Now, the typical route starts with flying to Ushaiah, Argentina. Once there, board your cruise ship and spend the next two days crossing Drake Passage and sailing by the South Shetland Islands before you reach Antarctica. 

How expensive are Antarctica tours?

Traveling to a remote continent largely uninhabited by humans is not cheap. The Antarctica tours featured in this guide range between $7,600 and $45,000. But if visiting Antarctica is your goal, you can definitely make it happen if you plan ahead and budget well in advance.

What Gear do you need for an Antarctica tour? 

Bring along warm clothing, including a parka with a hard shell, down jacket, waterproof pants and winter gloves. Pack some insulated waterproof boots as well to stay dry when walking on the ice. 

When is the best time to go on an Antarctica tour? 

The best time to take a tour to Antarctica is between November and March. Wildlife is abundant and daylight lasts up to 24 hours during this period known as the “Antarctic Summer.”

The 10 Best Antarctica Tours & Cruises

Go beyond the outskirts of Antarctica and plunge into the continent’s interior aboard White Desert Antarctica’s private charter jet. Once the jet touches down on the blue ice of Wolf Fang’s Runway, you’ll head to one of three luxury camps — Whichaway, Wolf’s Fang or Echo. Once at your camp, enjoy delicious on-site cuisine before heading off to relax in your heated, furnished polar sleeping pod.

Then, it’s time to head out on an adventure. At Whichaway, explore ice tunnels and caves, scale the Nunatuk blue ice glacier and venture out on a rope walk above a 200-foot cliff.

Rappel down a rock face and learn how to use crampons and an ice axe to climb frosty walls of ice. If you’re staying at Wolf’s Fang, head out on a skiing adventure, jump on a fatbike to ride around the 10 km Explorers’ Loop or take a guided tour in a Skidoo snowmobile.

At Echo, take a guided mountaineering expedition to nearby ranges or camp outside in a tent overnight. 

White Desert Antarctica has six remarkable trip options to check out. Choices include a one day visit for $15,950 and a 5-6 day trip for $45,000, among others.  

Check out Oceanwide Expeditions’ 12-night cruise, which includes soft-climb mountaineering expeditions near Antarctica’s Neumayer Channel and glacier walks at the Pléneau and Petermann Islands, home to humpback whales and leopard seals. You can also take a Zodiac to Neko Harbor for views of mountain peaks and massive glaciers. 

Before heading out on your trip, book one or more “camp nights,” where you’ll sleep on the ice with a provided sleeping mattress, synthetic sleeping bag and breathable bivouac bag. Oceanwide Expeditions suggests packing thermal underwear, under-gloves, thick socks and sunblock so you’ll be set for your camping trip. 

On this cruise ship, a Superior cabin with one double bed and sofa costs $25,700 for two people and $21,845 for one. 

On Silversea’s six-day cruise, you’ll see the highlights of Antarctica and enjoy several activities along the way. You’ll fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, known as the Gateway to Antarctica. There, you’ll board the cruise ship, Silver Cloud, and begin your sailing trip. You’ll start by visiting the Antarctic Sound, found at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, then proceed to the Peninsula itself. 

Once there, enjoy hiking and kayaking with the Silversea Expedition team before heading to the South Shetland Islands. At this otherworldly destination, you’ll sail into a collapsed volcano caldera, where you can swim in the geothermally-heated waters of Pendulum Cove.

The door-to-door all inclusive cruise option starts at $19,500. 

Aurora Expeditions’ 14-day December cruise ferries you across the Antarctic Circle for a very memorable end to your year. This Antarctic Circle cruise option departs from Ushuaia, Argentina on Dec. 21, so you can spend Christmas exploring the icy seventh continent. Make the most of your voyage by adding on a sea kayaking trip or a snowshoeing excursion. Other adventures include scuba diving near grounded icebergs or snorkeling with experienced polar diving guides. 

This cruise starts at $21,195, but if you take advantage of the company’s new Adventure Deals, you get a discount of up to 20%, reducing the price to $19,075.50. 

Take Albatros Expeditions’ 13-day “Antarctica Explorer” cruise to reach the Antarctic Circle, where you’ll see icebergs in the Weddell Sea and isolated lands south of the Circle. There is no set itinerary on this trip, but the expedition captain will pick the best sights for the time of year you’re visiting the region. Possible adventures include hiking over the active glaciers at Neko Harbor, visiting a historic hut at Damoy Point and watching icebergs float past the cruise ship in the Antarctic Sound. Another excursion could be visiting Antarctica’s manned research stations. 

The price for a C Cabin on this cruise ship is $17,795. The next “Antarctica Explorer” cruise departs Feb. 19, 2025.

Quark Expeditions’ 11-day “Antarctic Explorer” voyage includes a flightseeing trip, where you can soar over Antarctica in a twin engine helicopter and see the icy landscape far below. This flightseeing adventure lasts 10-15 minutes and the helicopter fits a group of 7-9 people. Another great option is stand-up paddleboarding, where you’ll ride by seals lying on ice or penguins swimming in the sea. These stand-up paddleboarding opportunities happen in protected bays and channels when the weather permits. 

This tour costs $7,577 and departs from Ushaiah, Argentina. If you choose to depart from Buenos Aires instead, the tour will last 12 days and prices will start at $11,964.

On G Adventures’ 10-day “Antarctica Classic” tour, soak in the sight of leopard seals, orca whales and penguin rookeries from afar.

When you reach the Antarctic Peninsula, walk on shore twice per day and take in remarkable views of enormous icebergs and glaciers. Snap some photos of the local birds and whales and listen to the expedition staff’s lectures about Antarctica’s history and natural environment. 

Pack your bathing suit so you can take the “polar plunge” into Antarctica’s ice-cold waters as well! 

The price for this tour ranges between $8,199 and $12,639 depending on the month you go and the room type you select. If you’d like to try camping in Antarctica for $379 or kayaking for $999, book these add-ons when checking out.

Start your trip to Antarctica with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic team by flying to Puerto Natales, Chile.

The next day, you’ll had to the airport for a two-hour direct flight to King George Island, which is off the coast of Antarctica.

After landing at the Chilean research station at King George Island, you'll board a Zodiac craft and travel to your expedition ship, the National Geographic Explorer. 

Once aboard the cruise ship, the real adventure begins.

As the Explorer powers through pack ice, you’ll get up-close glimpses of giant glaciers and immense icebergs the size of islands. Some activities include kayaking out to those icebergs, riding in a Zodiac to look for seals and walking among thousands of penguins. 

This weeklong option, “Antarctica Direct: Fly the Drake Passage,” costs $7,975 per person. 

This 12-day “Highlights of Antarctica” cruise includes escorted Antarctic landings via small expedition boats and a three hour kayaking adventure through the Antarctic sea with phenomenal views of whales and seals.

If you’d like to camp onshore overnight, guides will show you where to pitch your tent on the ice before taking you on short walks to see scenic viewpoints and penguin colonies.

After your overnight stay, traverse the continent’s icy hills via Hurtigruten’s two hour snowshoeing trip. 

This tour, which typically costs $12,353, is currently discounted to $7,772. 

To learn about Antarctica’s wildlife and understand the impact climate change is having on the continent, check out Polar Latitudes’ 12-day “Adventures in Antarctica” cruise. Thanks to Polar Latitudes’ free Citizen Science program, you can participate in scientific research projects that record the effects of climate change, including a penguin-counting initiative and cloud observation project.

The company’s Polar Experts will also teach you about Antarctica’s history and wildlife and give photography tips. 

Polar Latitudes offers two kayaking opportunities. The $895 “Immersive” program is perfect for experienced guests who want to kayak during most excursions and landings, while the $250 “Discover” option is ideal for visitors who want a single paddling trip. 

A triple room is currently discounted to $7,600, a porthole is on sale for $8,905 and a window cabin is marked down to $11,200. 

The Bottom Line: Antarctica Adventures 

Enjoy planning your trip of a lifetime to icy Antarctica, a remote continent with breathtaking views and abundant wildlife.

During your visit, take care to leave its wild landscape as pristine as you found it, respecting Antarctica’s status as a largely untouched, uninhabited continent.

Make the most of your excursion to Antarctica when you take one of these amazing tours.


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