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  • Writer's pictureCarol McKee

Planning for Antarctica

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

There is a lot to think about when planning a trip to Antarctica. And the choices you make early on will be critical to how close the actual trip comes to matching your bucket list dream.

How can you get to Antarctica? Simply put you will need to travel there by ship.

To begin with, there’s the matter of booking a cabin on a good ship, something you’ll will definitely want to do as much as a year in advance. And definitely not all Antarctica cruises are alike in quality of experience. Lucky for you I have spent an extensive amount of time this year researching the best way to do this trip and which line offers you best experience in your polar travel. An expedition cruise to Antarctica is one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures that takes a lot of planning.

Everyone loves Penguins, but how close can you get?

The most desirable cabins — those toward mid-ship which will be the most stable in the rough seas around Antarctica — sell out far in advance. And you might want to book even more than a year in advance. What is the best way to travel to Antarctica? There are several variable between cruise lines that do this sailing as well. Some include only a short time on the seventh continent were you might just see the shore from the rail of the ship.

Does the cruise line offer activities that match your dreams? Not all do.

Others offer extensive adventure options including kayaking, hiking, camping, and landing on shore after whizzing around icebergs in a zodiac. Matching the line you choose to sail on to what you want to see and do is absolutely critical. Especially since the cost of this trip is perhaps one of the bigger travel expenses you may ever have. For all these reasons you need to be sure that you match your expectations to the right expedition line.

You should also know that the amount of available inventory on Antarctica cruises is very limited. Most expedition ships that go to the polar regions have just 50 to 100 cabins, and they only can fit in a few departures a year.

What is the best time to visit Antarctica? The summer in the southern hemisphere is the only time you can go there.

In addition the season for Antarctica trips is very short. Ships can only run in the waters of Antarctica from November until March.

Whale sightings are often better at the end of the season

Add in that what you want to see may only be at it’s peak for a couple of weeks during this short season. Wales and sea life are more visible at different times than breeding penguins for instance. Is visiting Antarctica really worth it? Yes absolutely. Antarctica should be on your bucket list and if you plan your trip right it will truly be the trip of a lifetime.

Whew! It's a lot to think about isn't it? This is where I can come in and help make the right match for you and what your heart desires on this trip.

Most Antarctica voyages start in Ushuaia which is at the southern tip of Argentina. If you’re starting in the U.S., you’ll typically first take a long-haul overnight flight to Buenos Aires and then spend a night or two there before continuing on with a flight to Ushuaia.

Some lines let you camp overnight on shore and some let you book that in advance

A trip to Antarctica is a dream worth working to make come true and this is one of the best times to make sure you have a pro on your side rather than plan your trip yourself. Personally this is very high on my bucket list. Anyone want to come with me? We are looking at this for fourth quarter of 2022 or perhaps even beyond that. If you are interested in that timing for this trip or have questions on how to best plan a trip to Antarctica please drop me a note at

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