How Can You Travel to Antarctica on a Cruise?

How Can You Travel to Antarctica on a Cruise?

February 27, 2024 0 By Alissa Burris

Ushuaia, Argentina at the southernmost tip of South America offers cruises to Antarctica that traverse the renowned Drake Passage. Most expeditions depart here.

A reliable tour operator must comply with strict rules regarding biosecurity, controlled schedules and the number of passengers permitted onboard. Doing your research or calling your Polar Travel Adviser can help you select the appropriate ship for your tour.


Though most visitors to Antarctica travel via ship through the Drake Passage, those unable or unwilling to spend several days at sea may also opt for flying instead, making up around 10% of all Antarctic trips today – an option especially appealing to families and those with limited time.

However, flying to Antarctica requires more than simply boarding a plane at your local airport; rather, it requires joining a tour operator that provides flights directly to Antarctica. Such tours focus more on expeditionary travel rather than public transit services and can include activities like guided hikes and snowshoeing expeditions.

Travellers visiting Antarctica by plane can expect to witness its more remote regions with dramatic mountain ranges and wide, flat ice deserts, as well as experience landing on an Antarctic blue ice runway, an unparalleled adventure that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Unfortunately, flights are more susceptible to weather conditions and delays may even occur during austral summer!


Lindblad Expeditions stands out from its competition by providing additional amenities beyond standard cruise amenities, including expert lectures and immersive activities onboard their Antarctic voyages. Their experienced expedition team includes top naturalists and undersea specialists as well as National Geographic photographers and engaging Citizen Science programs that make for a rich Citizen Science experience.

Expedition cruises take you off the ship daily for excursions aimed at discovering penguins, seals and whales or hiking up vantage points to appreciate this vast wilderness. Most cruises travel through The Drake Passage which can be challenging at times – however captain and crew strive to minimize discomfort as much as possible and ensure an enjoyable and safe voyage experience.

Some companies provide fly-in cruises from Southern Chile that bypass the Drake Passage altogether, offering more direct ways of experiencing Antarctica’s vast interior, including landing on its blue ice runway at Union Glacier Camp. Each season these flights are limited in number.


Antarctica can be an extraordinary journey – its beautiful untouched landscapes and historic tales of adventure make this trip unparalleled. To ensure an amazing journey, careful planning must take place, such as selecting the best time and ship that suit you personally.

Cruise ships are an increasingly popular way to reach Antarctica, offering various itineraries and prices from luxury to budget. Most departure from South America with options including Ushuaia and Punta Arenas as departure points; others may include stops along their route before reaching Antarctica.

An alternative to cruises is taking flights over and into Antarctica, saving time and making travel more comfortable for people concerned with seasickness. Though more costly than sailing across the Drake Passage, these trips provide the chance to see Antarctica without spending too long aboard ship.


For decades, Antarctica has captured our fascination. From nature documentaries and science books, to traveler’s dreams. Yet up until recently, traveling there seemed too distant an idea for most.

Thanks to private charter planes and companies like Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, accessing Antarctica has never been simpler – however it still presents its share of challenges.

Most travelers begin their Antarctic adventures by flying into Buenos Aires, Argentina before connecting to Santiago and then Punta Arenas where their ship awaits them. Some tour companies offer “fly-cruise” trips where passengers board at Frei Station on King George Island rather than Punta Arenas for ease of travel and seasickness relief; also this provides the unique opportunity to experience Antarctica without traversing Drake Passage! These flights give passengers a fantastic glimpse of its stunning landscapes and wildlife!