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For many travelers, Antarctica is the final frontier. It’s often the final continent they need to visit before declaring themselves a seven-continent traveler, and the farthest south global citizens can travel. Nicknamed “The Ice,” and inhabiting most of the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica is a snow and ice-covered tundra about 2,500 miles south of southern Argentina—and yet it can feel like a different dimension to travelers (thanks in large part to the sun patterns being wildly different than what we’re used to). Trekking to the base of the globe is an adventure second to none, and cruising is a popular way to see the Antarctic peninsula and the surrounding islands. For luxury travelers who want a completely private Antarctica cruise, we’ve found the most coveted private Antarctica cruising opportunities so you can start planning your trip to the seventh continent.
Extraordinary Journeys will tailor your entire Antarctica trip to your travel interests—that’s what their private safari experience is all about. You have two options: either flying from Cape Town, South Africa to Antarctica and then sailing with Extraordinary Journeys on a private Antarctic safari, or sailing with them from Ushuaia, Argentina to Antarctica. The latter trip will, of course, mean sailing the Drake Passage’s famously choppy waters. Once on the seventh continent, you might see the Antarctic penguin colonies, stand-up paddleboard or kayak on glacial waters, or cruise over to South Georgia. You’ll work with professional polar explorers to venture out on adrenaline-packed adventures, like driving the tundra in Jeep 4x4s, ice climbing, or fat-tire biking.
Pelorus paves the way for over-the-top opulence in the White Desert aboard an expedition superyacht. Planning a private superyacht charter with Pelorus involves finding the perfect vessel, customizing a bespoke itinerary based on your (and your guests’) preferences, and even finding the right captain and crew to escort you on your life-changing expedition. To cruise by private yacht around Antarctica, Pelorus will typically arrange for a private flight over Drake Passage, and you’ll board the cruise on King George Island. While cruising Antarctica, you can ski the frozen tundra, glamp on the iced-over continent, or head out on safari to see South Pole wildlife. All the details will be worked out long before you embark, so that while on board, you and your guests can sit back, relax, and enjoy the private sail.
Ponant’s newest ship, Le Commandant-Charcot, accommodates 270 people but can be completely bought out for a private charter. A private Antarctica cruise on the hybrid vessel can sail to destinations like Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica’s largest ice formation within striking distance of (read: a few hundred miles from) the South Pole. You can also sail to Siple Island to explore Antarctica's highest peak, or the magnificent Shetland Islands, and of course, your guests will spend ample time with the White Continent’s chinstrap penguins and centuries-old glaciers.
Jacada Travel gives travelers interested in private Antarctica cruises the option to sail through or fly over the Drake Passage to start their expedition. The cruise can then bring you and your family and friends to the Antarctic peninsula—so you can have that prized I-made-it-to-the-seventh-continent moment—before whisking you to South Georgia Island and the Falkland Archipelago. The beauty of Jacada Travel’s private charter is, of course, that you have complete autonomy when it comes to planning your itinerary. Jacada Travel works with scientists on the ground in Antarctica to tailor your expedition to your interests, and the yachts typically service intimate groups of private travelers.
Eyos offers private yacht charters to Antarctica and the team specializes in finding vessels that cruise the most remote regions of the globe in refined style, using state-of-the-art technology. They work with yachts like the celebrated Pioneer, which accommodates 10 guests and is the “first yacht to circumnavigate North America,” and the “ice-classed” Hanse Explorer, which is outfitted for 12 adventure-seeking guests. Each expedition has an experienced crew, a meticulously crafted itinerary, and visits destinations like Paradise Bay and Petermann Island.