If you find the usual holiday suggestions in your local travel agency a bit bland for your taste, why not consider something a little different, like an Antarctica cruise expedition? Not your traditional holiday, a trip to the South Pole region will open your eyes and bring great reward to those intrepid enough to make the journey.
Those who have returned from an an adventure to the polar regions come back raving about the natural wonders of the South Pole region – the scenery (think icebergs, glaciers and nunataks), endless days of sunlight during travel season (typically during the southern hemisphere summer) and wildlife famous for enduring the harsh conditions of the region.
An Inspirational Region
An Antarctica cruise expedition is by far the best way to see this phenomenal and largely unexplored region. The South Pole is difficult to reach for many obvious reasons, so a pre-planned itinerary is one of the easiest ways to see the sights. Included in many sailing plans is a trip through the Drake Passage, stops at Elephant Island and Hope Bay, and even a few extra days on the Falkland Islands.
- The Drake Passage – Travelling through the Drake Passage is on the bucket list of many adventurous travellers, and rightly so. This part of the water is notoriously choppy so passing through it is a guaranteed adventure. But thanks to advanced forecasting technology, modern vessels are well equipped to handle a safe crossing. Plus, you’ll be following in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest explorers, including Charles Darwin! However, one explorer who didn’t travel this way is Sir Francis Drake himself. The famous adventurer chose the safer but much longer route through the Strait of Magellan in 1578. The passage was named after Drake as it was his crew who discovered it pretty much by accident, realising that it was a much shorter connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The first person who actually sailed through Drake Passage was the Dutchman Willem Schouten in 1616, nearly 40 years after Drake’s expedition.
- Elephant Island – This is a frozen landscape covered in ice and jagged towers of rock; it’s a sight that you won’t want to miss. It’s located in the outer parts of the South Shetland Islands and, as you can guess by the name, is home to a huge colony of Elephant seals. If you visit during mating season, you’re likely to hear them before you see them as they’re known for their booming, roaring noises. As well as its fauna, the island is also steeped in history. In 1916 the explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew survived on Elephant island after their ship, Endurance, got stuck in the ice. They ended up stranded on the island while Shackleton and a small group went to get a rescue ship on South Georgia Island.
- Hope Bay – If you’re looking for penguins, make sure to include this in your itinerary. Hope Bay is part of the Antarctic Sound which is a patch of ocean that separates the Trinity Peninsula from the Joinville, D’Urville, and Dundee islands. It was first explored by Swedish explorers in 1902. As a visitor, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity to spot large groups of Adelie penguins and Weddell seals. You might also see the Argentine scientific base, Esperanza, from afar. Despite its research purposes, the base was made famous when it became the first place where a child was born in Antarctica in 1978.
- Falkland Islands – If you’re interested in joining an Antarctica cruise expedition, then you’re probably someone who likes to find adventure off the beaten track. Say hello to the Falkland Islands! This destination is one of the last places to experience a true wilderness adventure. You can expect incredible bird life, breathtaking landscape and silence that you could cut a knife with. This takes “escape the crowds” to a whole other level. Make sure to add this to your itinerary for an unforgettable holiday. A nature lover’s paradise, those experiencing an Antarctica cruise expedition will be sure to never forget the wonders of the South Pole region. From graceful Emperor Penguins to hundreds of species of birds, from seals to sea life, there will be plenty of photo opportunities as you sail these little navigated waters. Take a further look at the animals who call the Antarctic region their home here.
- Birds – There’s no better place in the world for birdwatching. So whether you’re a fully-fledged twitcher or an amateur garden admirer, expect to be impressed with the birdlife on your Antarctica cruise expedition. This part of the world is home to 46 different species. As well as the numerous different penguins to spot, there’s a whole checklist for birdwatchers which includes the Wandering albatross, Snow petrel, Striated caracara, Yellow-billed pintail, Kelp gull and many, many more. Just don’t forget to pack your binoculars!
- Seals – If birds aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities that aren’t limited to the feathery kind. There are a number of seal species that each has fairly large populations so you won’t be disappointed. There is everything from your cute Fur seals to the huge, blubbery Elephant seals and the more terrifying Leopard seals, with their razor-sharp teeth. Whatever’s on your seal bucket list, you’re likely to find it.
- Whales – Finally, we come to the grand finale of the region’s wildlife sights and that’s the whales. No trip is complete without a bit of whale watching and a well-planned trip will ensure that you get a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to come face-to-face with these magnificent creatures. One of the best ways to witness the signature whale dive or lobtailing (slapping their flukes on the water) is to get out on the water in a zodiac boat.
The Cruise Experience
Voyaging aboard the Greg Mortimer is the ultimate experience. Everything about this ship was designed with the customer experience in mind. Built in 2019, the Greg Mortimer can host up to 132 people plus between 71 and 80 crew members. This might be an adventure-focussed trip but that doesn’t mean luxury has to be forfeited. Onboard you’ll find that every comfort and convenience has been catered for. Cabins are spacious, meals are presented with care and finesse, plus we have a number of bars perfect for unwinding after a day of whale watching or ice-hopping – there’s even a small gym!
Despite the feeling of luxury on board, this ship was built to withstand all year-round, including the extreme polar environment in the winter. It’s famous for being the first passenger ship to have the X-BOW® icebreaker hull, a feature that makes moving through water-efficient and smooth. With so much care and innovation applied to the design of this vessel, the Greg Mortimer allows visitors to travel further and into the remotest parts of this frozen world. This includes being able to offer an extra unique experience, like camping on the ice!
Thanks to careful landing restrictions in the region, the excursions will give you the sense that you’re the only people in the area for miles. According to these restrictions, only 100 people can set foot on land at any one time and only one ship can land on a site at a time. This means that you’ll have a pristine, unique landscape pretty much all to yourself. Generally, the Greg Mortimer will carry 126 passengers at a time. This means that we can maximise the time you get to spend on land; we’ll all land as a group and no rotation is needed. For this reason, it’s best to get your Antarctica expedition booked as early as possible.
If you need further convincing that an Antarctica cruise expedition here is a selection of first-hand accounts by people who’ve seen it and done it!
“What an excellent experience! My friend and I booked a trip over a year ago, so there were plenty of expectations to be met – and they were! We had an amazing time and everything was well managed right from the start. Very happy with the service and support provided, and I will be looking forward to further trips through Wildfoot.”
“From the beginning, we got a great impression of Wildfoot Travel; Simon responded fast to our initial queries and after a brief discussion with us, was able to provide an option that was exactly what we were looking for. Service was fast and professional all the way through and the trip was incredible! I can truly recommend Wildfoot Travel to anyone.”
“Pre-booking process was good as Wildfoot provided a wide range of suitable trips after I had specified the destination. This was very valuable as there are a lot of options with different itineraries, ship sizes, cabin standards and prices. It was well worth spending time reviewing them all in order to find the most appropriate one.”
“I dreamed about visiting this part of the world since my childhood. While I was surfing the internet about relevant trips I came across Wildfoot Travel. It is never easy to trust companies you haven’t used before but the moment Zoe, the tour operator, contacted me with her positive approach I knew that everything would be ok. Well, it was not just ok it was perfect!”
“Zoe answered multiple questions and helped me to choose the best. Many companies stop contacting you once you book a trip but she continued helping me, patiently answering my questions. My trip was magical and I have to thank Zoe for making this magic happen.”
“After my trip, she asked me about my experience and it was so great to share this review with the person who had helped me to fulfil my childhood dream. To be honest, after all the phone calls and multiple emails, it felt like she was someone I knew for a long time. I have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of Wildfoot Travel and have already started recommending the agency to my friends.”
“Our bucket list adventure holiday was wonderfully organised by Wildfoot Travel. I particularly want to mention Debbie, Tina and Joel for all their help. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Nothing was too much trouble. Debbie called me before the trip to check I had everything ready and after to ask how it went. What service.”
“Wildfoot helped me turn my long-held dream into existence by arranging two faultless trips. Both Simon and Sharon could not have been more helpful, informative and friendly and so will be highly recommended by me. Hoping to travel with them again one day!”
“Our “trip of a lifetime” was memorable for all the right reasons. Great advice, approachable and professional. Will have no hesitation in recommending Wildfoot to family and friends.”
“My Circle trip on the Sea Spirit was absolutely fantastic. Sharon, Gillian and Tina at Wildfoot Travel were extremely helpful in organising my flights, hotel and overall communication with Poseidon. All three were friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them, they kept me in the loop and I would recommend Wildfoot Travel to anyone. This is the third time I have used Wildfoot and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future.”
Given the beautiful scenery enjoyed from the comfort of a modern liner (see just how spectacular the views are) it is no surprise why an Antarctica cruise expedition is topping more and more liner-based holiday fans’ lists. With prices no longer extortionate, now has never been a better time to book!
At Wildfoot Travel, we combine first-hand experience with personal passion and excellent customer care to ensure that you have an unforgettable, bespoke experience of the White Continent. Our itineraries are carefully curated so that you have a range of itineraries to choose from. Whether you’re keen to experience the extremes of adventure offered by this remote destination or to get up close with the local and rare wildlife that this frozen world has to offer – or a little bit of both – we’ve got you covered. Our travel experts have explored this part of the world extensively and are dedicated to providing you with all the insider tips and advice that you need to make this the holiday of a lifetime.
Falklands Bird and Wildlife Tour
This 15-day experience highlights the incredible wildlife that can be found in the Falklands archipelago. You can expect close encounters with 5 different species of penguin, the black-brown albatross and the Falklands flightless steamer duck, which is one of the only two birds that are endemic to the islands. And don’t forget the seals! Elephant and fur seals, plus dolphins and orca will also be on the watchlist. If you’re looking for a wildlife paradise, this is it.
For those that are looking for a shorter Antarctica cruise expedition, this is the perfect trip for you. Not only will you get to experience the frozen fjords and encounter beautiful wildlife by Zodiac boat but this quick trip gives you the chance to witness the stark beauty from the sky. Your adventure begins with a flight from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island in the South Shetlands, giving you a chance to take in the scenery from above.
This itinerary promises an adventure of a lifetime with the added thrill of a helicopter flightseeing tour. This is for intrepid visitors who want to go all-out! You’ll travel through a landscape that has attracted explorers for centuries and continues to capture our imaginations today. Enjoy thrilling boat rides through the creaking ice, get close to groups of penguins and even spot a whale or two. But the real highlights are the helicopter trips, which take you to even more remote parts of the continent.
This enthralling Antarctica cruise expedition takes you to the Weddell Sea, which churns out ice on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This trip will be taken aboard the magnificent Greg Mortimer, which is ice-strengthened so it can handle all seasons and travel comfortably through different regions. This itinerary offers the chance to view the impressive ice shelves, the birthplace of icebergs. Plus, there’s the opportunity to see the incredible wildlife that calls this cold part of the world home.
If you’re ready for an experience of a lifetime, don’t hesitate to contact us and book your Antarctica expedition cruise with Wildfoot Travel. Our travel experts use their passion and knowledge to create an unforgettable holiday exploring the wonders of the White Continent. Adventure awaits!