Antarctica cruises are becoming more and more popular. It may surprise you to learn that from November to March, the temperatures range from the 20's to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
What will you see on your Antarctic cruise or tour journey? Sights change rapidly during the austral summer season. Local flora and fauna must pack a lot of living into these few warm months, so each cruise departure is, in effect, travelling to a different and ever changing Antarctica. November to early December offers the spectacular courtship rituals of penguins and seabirds, wildflowers on the Falklands and South Georgia, and the highest level of research activity. Mid-December to January see the emergence of penguin chicks and seal pups, escalating whale sightings, and longer days creating incredible light conditions for photography. February to March bring whale sightings at their best, blooming snow algae, and increasingly numerous fur seals on the Antarctic Peninsula. The wildlife of Antarctica has a lot to do during this short summer, penguins nest, chicks hatch and seals and whales make the most of abundant food stocks. Whether you visit at the beginning or end of the season there is always something to see.
Though it isn't a passive destination, rest assured that travel to the Deep South doesn't require great physical exertion or feats of special fitness unless you book with an adventure tour company where things like kayaking, hiking or sleeping on a glacier are optional.
If you are looking to travel to Antarctica in 2014, many trips are sold out. November and December 2014 may have some limited availability, but remember that you can also book Antarctica cruises and tours for January through March 2015.
For thousands of years, Antarctica lay hidden from the rest of the
world. Then, during the Age of Discovery, when European explorers were
sailing around the globe, this new continent was discovered. Sir Francis
Drake, while sailing through the Straits of Magellin in 1578, was blown
southward. Crossing Drake's Passage today, you feel the spirit of all
the explorers who sailed these same rough waters for the past 400 years,
spotting the first icebergs, seals and penguins, while watching the
albatrosses follow the ship.
In 1773, James Cook set out to explore this frozen continent and became the first man to cross the Antarctic Circle. During the next 200 years, explorers from many countries set out to discover the secrets held by this unique land. In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed so that this continent "shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes".
All Antarctica cruises begin in Argentina, 620 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. Weather and ice determine the schedules in this part of the world, with cruises taking place during the Antarctic summer, November to March, when there are up to twenty hours of sunlight each day. Even with this much sun, temperatures only range from 20 to 50 degrees. Cruises can vary in length, usually between 10 and 17 days, but all offer excellent presentations on this very special place and optional activities such as camping and kayaking.
Any time you go to this frozen wonderland, you will be amazed at the wildlife and beauty, but different months offer different sights. If you go in early spring, November and early December, you will be able to see penguins and sea birds acting out their courting rituals, Elephant and Fur seals establishing their breeding territories, and pack ice and giant icebergs just beginning to melt and break up.
Mid-summer, December and January, are the warmest months with the longest amount of daylight, great for photo opportunities at midnight. You will get to see the first penguin chicks emerge, Fur seals breeding, and seal pups playing. During late summer, February and March, whale sightings are at their best, including Orcas and Blue Whales, penguin chicks are beginning to become independent, and there are more Fur Seals on the Antarctic Peninsula than any other time.
The Shelter Islands are an amazing stop on any cruise. Here is Elephant Island, where members of Shackleton's expedition of 1915 were stranded for 135 days, and several islands are home to wildlife such as penguins, seals and birds. Deception Island is a must-see, not only because it is an active volcano and old whaling base, but because you will get a chance to swim in the Antarctic Ocean, somewhat heated by the volanic activity.
Crossing the Antarctic Circle puts you in a very elite club, as very few people ever get this far south, 66 degrees, 33.7 south. You will see some of the most amazing sights imaginable while navigating the Neumayer and Lemaire Channels. Here you will see high mountains and huge glaciers, millions of penguins, and Humpback and Orca whales. It is truly the trip of a lifetime
An Antarctica expedition is an unforgettable journey of discovery. Breathtaking floating castles of ice glistening in the warmth of the austral sun.. moments later they are a glow in an iridescent display of color. This immense wilderness is a fabulous place and a virtually pristine paradise for wildlife with incomparable scenery of mountains, snow and ice.
It is a privilege to visit the awe-inspiring land and experience the special magic that has lured explorers, adventurers and scientists for more than two centuries.
Few have experienced Antarctica, truly the last pristine region on earth and land like no other in the geography and history of the world. And fewer still have combined their journey to include her outer islands or the Chilean Fjords. Your days will be filled with unparalleled opportunities to observe this abundant wildlife filled land.
We only offer tours with companies that are a part of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. We have compiled a list of various Antarctica tour operators and cruise lines who specialize in traveling to Antarctica and categorized them by trip length to make your research easier.