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Cruising Antarctica means constant exposure to panoramic views unlike any you’ve seen before. The Antarctic scenery is filled with icebergs, glaciers, and seals—revelatory vistas that top most adventure travelers’ bucket lists. And an Antarctica cruise grants you an all-access pass to the frozen continent, allowing you to sail narrow passageways and remote, unexplored waters. When planning the adventure of a lifetime, consider one of these luxury Antarctica cruises:
Scenic USA Discover Yacht Cruise
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours does a 13-day voyage, departing from and returning to Buenos Aires, with six days of Antarctic peninsula exploration. Getting there simply requires booking a round-trip flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Scenic’s Discovery Team Leaders have led countless expeditions through Antarctica and are a wealth of information for guests. On your way to Antarctica, you’ll cruise through the iceberg-lined Lemaire Channel, which is just 2,290-feet wide at its narrowest point. This, of course, is made possible by the discovery yacht you’ll call home for 12 nights: the Scenic Eclipse. Aboard the Scenic Eclipse, deck eight has a helipad, deck seven has a yoga and pilates room and indoor and outdoor pools, and deck six has a spa and plunge pools. For the discovery yacht’s most luxurious accommodations, book a grand panorama suite, a grand deluxe verandah suite, the owner’s penthouse suite, or a spa suite.
Silverseas Silver Cloud Antarctica Cruises
Silverseas’ Silver Cloud is newly refurbished and will sail 10 or 15-day routes to Antarctica in 2020. Most of the Silver Cloud itineraries start in Ushuaia, Argentina, which you can get to on a direct flight from Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Ushuaia, travelers will cross the Drake Passage, before coming to the Antarctic Sound and Antarctic Peninsula, which is 620 miles from Tierra del Fuego. Silver Cloud cruises to the South Shetland Islands, one of the best spots on mainland Antarctica to see Chinstrap and Adelie Penguin and elephant seals. In terms of the ship, Silverseas touts the Cloud as the “most spacious and comfortable ice class vessel in expedition cruising.”
Ponant Le Lyrial
Ponant’s fourth ship in this series, Le Lyrial, is an intimate, luxury vessel coveted for Antarctic exploration. With only 122 staterooms and suites, Le Lyrial is a tough voyage ticket to secure. The ship’s 17-day Beyond the Polar Circle cruise starts in Ushuaia, Argentina, venturing to the Falkland Islands, and then to South Georgia to see King penguins, elephant seals, and fur seals. The journey continues across the Antarctic Circle while guests brace to see glaciers, icebergs, multiple penguin species, and humpback whales.
Crystal Expedition Cruises Crystal Endeavor
Departing from Hobart, Tasmania and concluding in Christchurch, New Zealand, Crystal Cruises offers a 22-night Antarctica cruise primarily in the Southern Ocean. Travelers will cruise down to the Balleny Islands, coming to Cape Adare in East Antarctica, and later spending time on Antarctica's Ross Island and Coulman Island. The three-week experience is aboard the Crystal Endeavor, Crystal's polar-class yacht, launching this year. Travelers will fly into Hobart, which has an airport accessible from most major Australian hubs—you'll likely fly through Melbourne. You'll depart from Christchurch International Airport, which may require connecting through Auckland.
Abercrombie & Kent Antarctica Expedition
Abercrombie & Kent also uses Le Lyrial for their exclusive 13-day Antarctic expedition. However, the luxury tour operator further limits availability such that there are no more than 199 guests onboard. On the Abercrombie & Kent voyage, guests will enjoy an all-inclusive cruising experience with meals, house drinks, valet laundry service, expedition gear, and other amenities. Travelers will fly into Buenos Aires, where they’ll stay for a night at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, before boarding Le Lyrial. A&K runs different Antarctic departures throughout the year, including their photography voyage with experiences led by photo coaches, and a philanthropic-focused voyage that takes an in-depth look at climate change effects with researcher Dr. James McClintock.
Pelorus Antarctica Private Superyacht Charter
Cruising Antarctica with Pelorus means experiencing the white desert by private yacht charter. From onboard spa treatments to personal chefs to helipads, the Pelorus yacht charters exemplify over-the-top luxury. Two of your top choices for superyacht will be the STEEL and MAGNA GRECIA, both outfitted for 12 guests in six cabins, the former of which has a deck pool and jacuzzi and a gentleman’s bar, and the latter of which has a heated outdoor dining area and a helipad. Alternately, you can select the LEGEND superyacht, which accommodates 26 guests in 13 cabins and features a Balinese spa, a waterfall deck jacuzzi, and the option to add on a helicopter or submarine.
Seabourn Cruises Seabourn Quest
Aboard the Seabourn Quest, Seabourn Cruises runs a 21-day Antarctica and Patagonia experience, starting in Buenos Aires and concluding in Santiago (or vice versa depending on the voyage). Travelers will need to book two separate flights, because of the differing departure and arrival cities. The cruise allows six full days of Antarctic exploration and one day for the Falkland Islands. The Seabourn Quest features 229 suites, a stunning pool deck, upscale dining options, and even a card room.