When you’re traveling to Antarctica, a cruise is a surefire way to do it big! Cruises allow you to see the most idyllic parts of Antarctica while still having a comfortable home base to return to when your adventures are done. But with several cruise lines specializing in Antarctic cruises, which one do you choose?
The best cruises to Antarctica can be found aboard the ships of Silversea Expeditions. The small luxury ships of this cruise line are perfect for seeing the Antarctic Circle in style. From butler service to sumptuous suites with an ocean view, there is no better Antarctic cruise available.
Silversea may take the prize when it comes to Antarctic cruises, but there are many cruise lines available for an adventure to the frozen wastes. Keep reading and learn more about taking a cruise to Antarctica on one of the best cruises ever.
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Silversea Is the Best Cruise to Antarctica
With ten different luxury ships to choose from, Silversea Expeditions is the top name when it comes to Antarctic cruises. While these cruise trips can be a little pricey compared to European or Caribbean cruises, they take guests on a journey to one of the most isolated and gorgeous landscapes on the entire planet.
Silversea has many ships that are designed to cater to the whims of their passengers, but the real draw of a cruise to Antarctica is getting to see a part of the world that most people only ever see on television or in photographs.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of some of the amenities you can expect when you see the Antarctic with Silversea.
Silversea Cruise Ships Sail to Exclusive Destinations
Silversea cruises in Antarctica involve cruises that visit the following areas (Source: Silversea):
- King George Sound
- Antarctic Sound
- South Shetland Island
- King George Island
- Antarctic Peninsula
- Carcass Islands
The Silversea cruises that pass through these regions expose their passengers to a wide variety of wildlife that is active and indifferent to the presence of humans. This gives visitors a chance for once-in-a-lifetime interactions with some of the rarest creatures on Earth.
The Silversea cruise line features ten different ships that vary in size, from fifty suites to over three hundred suites. Of their ten ships, three are now outfitted for Antarctic service.
Some of the benefits of taking a smaller cruise ship are that small cruise ships can port at harbors that are unable to accommodate larger ships. This allows them to take riverways or other narrow straits and allows them more versatility when it comes to shore excursions.
Silversea Offers Fine Dining at Sea
Along with the beautiful vistas, Silversea Expeditions is also known for its diverse spread of fine dining options on each of their luxury cruise ships. One allure of the smaller luxury cruise ships is the main open-seating restaurant venue. This allows guests to mingle not only with other members of their travel party but also with new friends they meet on board.
Here are a few of the dining options available on Silversea cruises (Source: Silversea):
- Spaccanapoli: Spaccanapoli is named for a street in Naples that is renowned for its world-famous pizzerias. Spaccanopoli prides itself on serving authentic Italian dishes with homemade dough and fresh ingredients in a relaxed dining service.
- The Grill: The Grill is a unique fine dining experience where guests cook their food in an at-table service with searing hot lava stones. During the day, this bar and grill converts to a casual burger bar and rotisserie station.
- Silver Note: Silver Note is a tapas jazz bar that specializes in serving bite-sized appetizers with an international flair. This restaurant is the perfect venue for late-night party goers who have the urge to snack after a long evening dancing and enjoying the venue’s live entertainment.
- Seishin: Seishin is an Asian fusion restaurant that features influences from Thailand, India, Japan, Vietnam, and China. Here, Asian dishes are taken to the next level with luxury ingredients such as spider crab and Kobe beef. This restaurant also serves sashimi and sushi during lunch.
- La Terrazza: La Terrazza is an a la carte Italian restaurant that is designed to highlight the Silversea cruise line’s Italian background. This venue has indoor dining with an ocean view as well as la fresca seating on the deck of the ship.
- Kaiseki: Kaiseki is Silversea’s resident sushi bar, and this Japanese restaurant features raw ingredients presented in high art fashion. Kaiseki features evening teppanyaki service as well as sushi, sashimi, and other Asian fusion dishes.
- La Dame: Named for “La Dame de Paris” or the Eiffel Tower, La Dame is a bespoke French venue that features white-glove service and a French menu that draws from both historical and contemporary French culinary influences.
Along with their many restaurants, Silversea ships also feature room service 24 hours a day at no additional charge. While many of Silversea’s fine dining options do require reservations ahead of time, this reflects the quality of the restaurants.
No matter whether a person wants to try every possible combination of sushi, or they prefer a black-tie dinner at sea, Silversea has a little bit of something for everyone. These restaurants offer once-in-a-lifetime dining experiences to act as a perfect backdrop to a once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic adventure.
Silversea Offers Intensive Guest Services
A significant perk of taking a Silversea cruise is traveling in luxury. In keeping with their standard of excellence, the guest services at Silversea are among the most luxurious of any cruise line.
Here are some examples of the guest services available through Silversea Expeditions:
- Personalized butler service: Silversea can say without a doubt that they have the most intensive butler services when it comes to guest accommodations. With a butler to guest ratio of 1:1, anyone traveling on the Silversea’s Antarctic expeditions can look forward to having their every need quickly tended to by friendly and attentive staff.
- Customized mini-bar: The tailored mini-bar in Silversea suites is set up according to your preferences, meaning you can get the brands and liquor types that you want most. All beverages on the ship, from your morning coffee to your cocktail nightcap, are covered in this all-inclusive cruise. Gratuities are already included.
- Open-seating dining: The open-seating dining options at Silversea allow guests to dine whenever and however they like. Twenty-four-hour room service will a full dining menu means that you’ll never go hungry.
- Zodiac expeditions: Guests will not only get a chance to see the landscape on deck; these ships allow for shore expeditions once or twice a day via Zodiac heavy-duty inflatable boats. The boats are used to transfer guests ashore a dozen at a time. Guests can expect to receive lectures on the Antarctic Circle from numerous experts on their shore trips.
- Unlimited free Wi-Fi: Just because you’re out at sea doesn’t mean you have to be out of pocket when it comes to communications. Silversea cruises feature unlimited free Wi-Fi throughout the ship, so you can connect with family or complete work at your leisure.
- Complimentary parka: Along with all the services available to guests, Silversea also gifts each guest a complimentary parka. These brightly colored parkas aren’t just a souvenir—they also help keep guests visible during sea and shore expeditions.
The Antarctic cruises by Silversea boast many of the same amenities you’d find at other luxury cruise lines. However, the contrast between the plush luxury of these ship services and the harsh, unforgiving landscape beyond makes for a wonderful combination that you can’t find at other cruise destinations.
Because the ships that make the Antarctic runs for Silversea tend to be on the smaller side, this means that all guest services are split between fewer guests. People who travel with Silversea for their Antarctic vacation can expect to get an intimate level of attention from butlers and wait staff alike.
Other Antarctic Cruises Available
Silversea is the highest standard for Antarctic cruises, but they aren’t the only cruise line traveling to this exotic frozen continent. Below you’ll find a few other cruise lines that offer expeditions to Antarctica other than Silversea.
National Geographic Expeditions
National Geographic is one of the biggest names in adventure travel, and with good reason—the experts that manage these expeditions have led hundreds of trips into the Antarctic Circle. An advantage of going on a National Geographic Expedition is that guests have the chance to interact with teams of experts ranging from undersea specialists and biologists to regional historians and geologists.
Unlike Silversea cruises, which focus on luxury, the National Geographic Antarctica Expeditions feature a more scholastic and casual flair. Special amenities include a well-stocked library and expansive decks for spotting local wildlife.
Lindblad Expeditions prides itself on delivering guests to one of the last great wildernesses on the planet. Like the National Geographic Expeditions, the Lindblad Expeditions focus on academic advancement and feature a score of naturalists and biologists to help teach guests about the frozen landscapes around them.
Lindblad Expeditions have been bringing citizen explorers to the Antarctic Circle for over fifty years, and their experience has allowed them to refine the process for the betterment of their guests.
Quark Expedition has cruises that are available at different times of the year so that guests can plan their trips based on what they want to see. In late winter, adventurers to the Antarctic Circle can see baby penguins hatch, while spring is a better time to see whales return to their Antarctic feeding grounds. The time of year also influences the weather (especially the temperature).
Quark Expeditions cruises to local regions around Antarctica, including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Snow Hill Island—one of the largest breeding colonies of Emperor penguins in the world.
Hurtigruten is a Norwegian cruise line that has the distinction of being the greenest expedition cruise fleet available. That means if being eco-friendly is a deciding factor in your vacation, Hurtigruten is an excellent option to choose. (Source: Hurtigruten)
Hurtigruten’s Antarctic expeditions allow travelers to visit both Antarctica and Patagonia on the same trip since these cruises leave from the tip of Chile and cross the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula. A major advantage of Hurtigruten cruises is that they have a full refund policy, no questions asked. In these uncertain times of travel, this kind of security can be an advantage.
Hapag-Lloyd Expeditions feature a wide variety of different expeditions that hit the Antarctic Peninsula after traveling down the coast of South America, with trips that begin at Ushuaia, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, or Valparaiso.
The great thing about the variety of expeditions available through Hapag-Lloyd is that there are expedition lengths and schedules to fit every preference. Those who would prefer to visit during peak whale watching season will have the option to reserve a ship that’s perfect for it, as will guests who are more excited to see penguins and seals with their young.
No matter what time of year guests visit, taking an expedition with any of the above cruise lines will give adventurers the chance to check out panoramas and wildlife that can be seen nowhere else.
How Much Is a Cruise to Antarctica?
The costs for an Antarctic cruise vary greatly depending on what type of expedition you’re going on and how long you intend to stay. Most Antarctic expeditions range between $12,000- $24,000. The good thing about going on an all-inclusive cruise is that gratuities and other fees are included, so there isn’t much in the way of additional fees.
Some cruise packages to Antarctica also include pre-cruise hotel arrangements and airfare, which further simplifies the process of putting an Antarctic adventure together.
Silversea Expeditions are objectively the best cruises to Antarctica when it comes to luxury, but they also come with a luxury price tag—these expeditions are among the more expensive available. More affordable expeditions exist, but they also come with more modest amenities.
For those who don’t buy a cruise package that includes airfare and hotel accommodations, the cost of these fees must be factored in when calculating the overall cost of your Antarctic cruise. Since a trip to Antarctica is a trip that is not likely to be repeated, it’s worth spending the extra money.
Why Take a Cruise to Antarctica?
There are a lot of reasons why a cruise to Antarctica is one of the best ways to experience the continent. Here are a few reasons why a cruise to Antarctica can be a great travel investment:
- No visa needed: Since Antarctica is not the domain of any one country, there is no travel visa needed to come to Antarctica. This makes traveling to Antarctica a much less frustrating option versus other international destinations. Antarctica is also not easily influenced by travel advisories that affect other countries with regards to civil or political unrest.
- A photographer’s dream: Antarctica offers some of the most stunning panoramas and landscapes that you’ll ever behold, so if your hobby is photography, you can’t get much better than a cruise to Antarctica. These cruises also give travelers an up-close look at many kinds of wildlife, from seals and whales to penguins and other sea birds. You and your camera will be very busy on a cruise to Antarctica.
- Luxury in beautiful surroundings: One of the best things about a cruise is the view from the deck of the ship, and Antarctica is home to some of the most beautiful vistas in the world. Whether you’re gazing over deep blue glaciers or watching a pod of whales, a luxury cruise lets you enjoy it all at the height of sensory pleasure.
- A vacation with some adventure: Many people have gone on cruises to Europe or the Caribbean, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that has managed to visit Antarctica. A trip to Antarctica is a serious notch in the belt of any seasoned explorer. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and mark this icy wonderland off your bucket list.
- Less crowding: Cruise lines are known for crowded environments, but a major benefit of Antarctic cruise ships is their smaller size. This allows guests to take advantage of the amenities of a traditional cruise ship while also offering the intimacy of a smaller expedition vessel.
There are many cruise expeditions to Antarctica available, and determining which one is best for you will depend on your budget and what you want to get out of your trip. But no matter which cruise line you choose, you’ll get to experience a trip that other cruise destinations simply cannot.
Cruises to Antarctica Are A Wonderful Opportunity
A cruise to Antarctica is a serious and expensive venture. It should be planned carefully, and you should check out all the options available to you before committing to an expedition. But there are plenty of state-of-the-art, seaworthy vessels available for you to look into if you’re thinking of tackling the frozen landscapes of the world’s southern pole.