Antarctica Travel
- from the UK and Europe

Antarctica Cruise and Adventure Travel With Cool Antarctica and Expedition Trips

  Travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula

The majority of trips to Antarctica Leave from the South American port of Ushuaia in Argentina and visit the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands of the Scotia Arc (fig 2) that stretches east from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, to South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and back to the west again through the South Orkney Islands before joining the northernmost tip of the Peninsula.

There are a smaller number of trips that leave from Australia or New Zealand and visit Eastern Antarctica taking 6-7 days to sail there and the same back again so making the trips longer and consequently more expensive. These trips usually leave from Hobart, Australia or Invercargill, New Zealand, often leaving from one and returning to the other.

Fig 1. Trips to Antarctica leaving from the UK most commonly leave from Ushuaia, Argentina at the tip of South America and visit the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands.

There are a smaller number of trips that leave from Hobart, Australia or Invercargill, New Zealand (frequently leaving from one port and returning to another) that visit the more remote Eastern part of Antarctica.

Distances miles / km
London - Ushuaia, Argentina 8,310 / 13,380
London - Hobart, Australia 10,790 / 17,370
London - Invercargill, NZ 11,800 / 18,990
trips to antarctica from uk
        1 - London UK    2 - Ushuaia, Argentina
        3 - Antarctic Peninsula

Fig 2. Trips to the Peninsula region of Antarctica. Shorter trips visit the Peninsula 6 only and some nearby islands such as the South Shetlands 5. Longer trips may also take in the Falkland Islands 3 and / or South Georgia 4 and possibly some other landings en route.

Cruises most commonly go down the western side of the Peninsula as they are less likely to encounter problematic sea ice that is more likely found on the Eastern side in the Weddell Sea.

Distances miles / km
Ushuaia - Falklands 480 / 770
Ushuaia - South Georgia 1,255 / 2,020
Ushuaia - South Shetlands 610  / 980
Ushuaia - Peninsula tip 724 / 1,165
Punta Arenas - Peninsula tip  870 / 1,395
Peninsula top to bottom 765 / 1,230
Peninsula top to Antarctic Circle 280 / 450

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements

antartica trip peninsula

        1 - Ushuaia, Argentina    2 - Punta Arenas, Chile
        3 - Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas    4 - South Georgia
        5 - South Shetland Islands    6 - Antarctic Peninsula

  Travel to the Ross Sea / Commonwealth Bay Region - Eastern Antarctica

Fig 3. Trips to the more remote Eastern side of Antarctica usually leave from Australia and New Zealand often Invercargill / Port of Bluff in New Zealand 2, Invercargill has the airport, Bluff, 30km away by road has a deep-water port. Less commonly trips may leave/return from Hobart, Australia 1, and Dunedin, New Zealand (about 180 km / 110 miles from Invercargill).

The trip may depart and return to the same port or leave from one and return to another in either direction. It takes about six to seven days sailing to reach Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand, the journey there and back is usually broken up with visits to the wildlife rich Macquarie Island 3 and others such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands that lie between Macquarie and New Zealand.

Once having reached Antarctica trips usually spend their time either in the Commonwealth Bay area 4 or the Ross Sea region between Cape Adare 5 and McMurdo 6 with possibly a short trip along the front of the Ross Ice Shelf R

Distances miles / km
Hobart - Commonwealth Bay 1640 / 2640
Invercargill - Commonwealth Bay 1720 / 2760
Hobart - Macquarie Island 940 / 1500
Invercargill - Macquarie Island 690 / 1110
Commonwealth Bay - Cape Adare 805 / 1300
Cape Adare - McMurdo 470 /760

        R - Ross Ice Shelf     1 - Hobart - Australia
        2 - Invercargill / Port of Bluff - New Zealand
        3 - Macquarie Island    4 - Commonwealth Bay
        5 - Cape Adare    6 - McMurdo / Scott bases

Ross Sea Region v Antarctic Peninsula Cruises

Ross Sea region

  • Remoteness - You will see little if any other shipping and get a greater feeling of isolation and being at the end of the world, this is a rarely visited part of the planet.You are going where the world's biggest icebergs are and the most extreme weather conditions.

  • Greater chance of rough seas due to longer spent crossing the open ocean which can take 6-7 days in each direction, no flights available.

  • See Emperor Penguins, the birds of the deep south that rear their young in the depths of the Antarctic winter, the largest of all penguins.

  • See Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost active volcano and the Ross Ice Shelf, a 600km long wall of ice between 15m and 50m high.

  • Visit the huts of Mawson, Scott and/or Shackleton depending on where your particular cruise goes. This is the area where much of the early exploratory history of Antarctica was played out and where historical remains still stand.

  • Exclusivity - of the people who go to Antarctica, only a small proportion visit regions other than the Peninsula, there are relatively few trips here and they are often fully booked up well in advance.

  • Trip length of 26-30 days, sometimes there may be the possibility of a semi-circumnavigation over a similar time period from the Ross Sea to the Peninsula.
Antarctic Peninsula

  • It takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula, rough seas are possible though short-lived, you can also fly across it in 2 hours on a fly-cruise trip.

  • Varied mountainous scenery with glaciers and icebergs, some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

  • The most wildlife rich area, with huge penguin colonies and many other breeding birds, seals are common and whales may be seen. The sub-Antarctic islands you may visit en route are very wildlife rich, especially South Georgia.

  • Historic preserved British Base, now a working post office at Port Lockroy, there are other research bases that you may visit.

  • Easier to reach, The closeness of the peninsula to the tip of South America  means that travel time to reach Antarctica is much less than to reach Eastern Antractica. It also means that a greater portion of the trip is spent in Antarctica rather than travel to and from.

  • A large number and variety of trips available, duration from 6-24 days, a range of ships and choice of travel dates and itineraries.

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements Antarctica Ross Sea Region Cruise

Antarctic Peninsula - Sample Cruises - 2016 / 2017

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Antarctica Cruise - Discovering the 7th Continent South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin Rookeries, Lemaire Channel Optional kayaking, camping and snowshoeing $6,995 -
Antarctica Cruise - The Peninsula Classic Antarctica, pristine scenery, classic sites of scientific and historic interest, experienced naturalist guides. Optional kayaking, camping, cross-country skiing and mountaineering $6,295 -
Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise Fly over the Drake Passage in both directions, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Wildlife, Scenery, Ice Optional kayaking and snowshoeing $10,795 - $19,995 8

Antarctica Ross Sea Region - Sample Cruises - 2016 / 2017

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
The Ross Sea Region - In the Wake of Scott and Shackleton Auckland Islands, Macquarie and Campbell Islands, Explore the Ross Sea, Historic Huts, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo base. $22,300 -
East Antarctica - In the Wake of Mawson Antarctic Peninsula to Ross Sea, Historic Huts, remote East Antarctica, Emperor penguins, sub-Antarctic islands, helicopter excursions $16,000 -

South Georgia / Falkland Islands / Antarctica - Sample Cruises - 2016 / 2017

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands Vast Colonies of King Penguins, Breathtaking Scenery, Historic sites, optional kayaking $23,100 -
Antarctica and South Georgia Two great destinations, anticipate penguins, whales, seabirds and seals as well as scenic highlights $9,995 - $20,995 16

* Prices are based per person, the lowest price is usually for triple occupancy in a basic cabin, the highest for double occupancy in the best available suite.

Options may be at additional cost and are usually booked when the cruise is booked - it may be too late once the cruise has started.