Taking a trip to Antarctica is a once in a lifetime experience. What you might not realize is how important it is to find the right vessel to take you there.
As much as you’re thinking about the trip, you should be considering the ship. This will be your home away from home in one of the most remote parts of the planet. You need to find the ship that matches what you want to get out of the journey.
It can be overwhelming looking at all the options. Sites like Polartours allow you to narrow in on the choices and find your dream trip. We pulled out a few notable vessels that might be just what you’re looking for as you consider a polar expedition.
This mid-size classic expedition ship has gained a reputation for doing things a little bit differently. A health and wellness expert is on board, along with a spa and sauna, to make sure you’re feeling your best each step of your epic journey. A dedicated crew and multiple on-board activities, from polar plunges to theme nights, mean all your needs are attended to. With a modern Zodiac fleet and viewing decks, you get close to wildlife. Ocean Endeavour’s workshops and events keep you informed about all the amazing things you’re seeing.
A truly first-class ship, with experienced guides eager to lead you off the ship as much as possible to encounter the wilderness. This is also the first passenger vessel to feature X-BOW, which cuts down on emissions and seasickness. The perfect base camp for faraway adventures, this is a ship made for rugged landscapes. It includes local specialists who give educational and entertaining presentations about the history, culture, and biology of the area. The outdoor Jacuzzis on the top deck are an especially nice way to take in the polar horizon.
3. Sylvia Earle
The Sylvia Earle is a newer ship, making its debut voyage to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia in November 2022. It also has an X-BOW feature to cut down on emissions and seasickness, and uses a virtual anchor, which minimizes damage to the sea floor. Named after a scientist and Time Magazine “Hero of the Planet,” this powerful vessel honors Earle’s long-standing marine conservation efforts. With comfortable cabin options and multiple zodiacs, this is a cruise meant to maximize expedition and relaxation time in between. There is even a heated saltwater pool and professional massage therapists on board.
This ultra-modern ship was made for the Antarctic. A first-class vessel, it allows passengers to skip crossing the Drake Passage and be flown from Punta Arenas directly to the continent itself. This saves times and allows for a comfortable journey, and the limited number of guests means all aboard can go ashore at once, which means no waiting around. A glass-enclosed observation deck, boutique gym, and cabins with portholes and private balconies all complete the luxurious experience.
A smaller luxury ship, the Ultramarine is a newer cruise option designed to go beyond the familiar. With two helicopters on board, a trip aboard this vessel can take you into new realms of discovery. The best-in-class operational range is complemented with sustainability features that exceed all industry standards, such as working towards a zero-waste plan aboard. With spacious suites and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other ships of its size, the Ultramarine delivers the ultimate polar experience.
Booking a dream adventure to the Antarctic is a significant commitment, and your choice of ship can make or break the experience. The above are all solid options, but (forgive the pun!) only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s available. Do your research and, if possible, speak to an expert about the type of adventure you want to have and what’s important for you to get the most out of your trip of a lifetime.