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Polar explorations

What Antarctica voyage is right for you? Best polar activities to do

Antarctica cruises serve up a truly breathtaking experience and unforgettable memories – but how do you know which voyage is right for you?

Antarctica cruise vacations offer up a smorgasbord of incredible wildlife, magical and unique landscapes, and a fascinating slice of history.

The time of year you go, however, makes all the difference to your voyage – some periods are better for specific wildlife while other months are better for certain activities.

In short, when planning Antarctica cruises you need to make sure you’re getting the right vacation for you to ensure you spot the animals you’re most keen to tick off and do the activities you’ll never forget.

Aurora Expeditions offers a raft of brilliant small-ship Antarctica cruises for 2022, 2023 and 2024 available to book now. The expedition company takes small groups of travelers on voyages of discovery ranging from 9 days to 24 days, all accompanied by expedition specialists.

Smaller ships mean greater flexibility when dealing with the challenging weather in this part of the world, as well as more landings so globetrotters really get the most out of their Antarctic expedition experience.

Our guide will help you pick the right Aurora Expeditions Antarctica expedition for you with the best adventures to show off to your friends about when you get home.

What activities do you want to do in Antarctica?

Snow time

Antarctica boasts a surprising array of activities. You may associate snorkelling, diving and the like with tropical seas but you can do polar marine explorations too! There’s also kayaking if you don’t fancy getting totally submerged.

Alternatively, stay on terra firma and try snowshoeing, ski/snowboard touring or alpine trekking. You can even go camping in Antarctica would you believe!

So, depending on what activities you want to do, these are the Aurora Expeditions itineraries you’ll need to take.

Best Antarctica adventure activities

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing sees you equipped with your own set of snowshoes and ski poles and led by expert guides as you walk up gentle slopes and across soft, powdery snow. You don’t need any previous experience and you’ll get to climb to some of the region’s best vantage points.

Snowshoeing in Antarctica can be done on voyages visiting the Antarctic Peninsula, but it does depend on the time of year.

12-day Spirit of Antarctica – this itinerary sails both directions of the Drake Passage over several voyages early in the Antarctic season – November and December 2022 and 2023 – so you can adventure on for longer thanks to endless hours of daylight.

13-day Across the Antarctic Circle – along with potentially venturing below Antarctic Circle, experience snowshoeing in Antarctica, with a guaranteed White Christmas on this special itinerary over Christmas in 2022 and 2023.

15-day Antarctic Peninsula in Depth – also sailing in November and December 2023 during Antarctica’s summer season, this voyage offers an in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula complete with potential early season sightings of whales, fur seal pups weaning and tiny penguin chicks growing up.

19-day South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey – this itinerary operates between October and March thanks to the islands’ position slightly further north. The Christmas and New year departure is the only one of Aurora Expeditions’ South Georgia Odyssey voyages to also offer snowshoeing in Antarctica.

Camping

Be just like the great explorers of old and stay out on the ice in a once-in-a-lifetime camping experience. Unsurprisingly, this is best done during the peak summer months of November and December.

You’ll get a thermal sleeping bag and mat but no tent so you can truly absorb the majesty of your stunning surroundings. You also don’t even need camping experience to try this one.

Camping is only offered on selected expeditions traveling to the Antarctic Peninsula. Note availability is strictly limited to 40 participants so book early to avoid missing out.

12-day Spirit of Antarctica – the Antarctic Peninsula boasts steep-sided mountains that plunge into the sea and breath-taking ice formations – be at one with nature by staying overnight amid it all in November and December, with several departures in 2022 and 2023.

15-day Antarctic Peninsula in Depth – this longer adventure voyage over November and December 2023 ensures you take in even more of the white continent – but maybe pack an eye mask to make sure you get some shut-eye despite the midnight sun!

16-day Falklands~Malvinas and Antarctic Peninsula – occurring over October and November 2023, is the only one of Aurora Expeditions’ voyages to the Falklands that also includes a camping stay on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Kayaking

On kayaking excursions, you’ll be in a small group led by a guide, paddling into the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to Zodiacs.

You’ll glide past brash ice and imposing icebergs and spot all manner of amazing wildlife, from penguins nesting to seals frolicking. Occasionally you may even spot leopard seals or orcas. Note, some experience is required for kayaking.

Kayaking is available on all of Aurora Expeditions’ Antarctica voyages – those to the Antarctic Peninsula, The Weddell Sea and The Falklands, South Georgia and more.

Scuba diving

You know what they say about the tip of the iceberg? Well here’s your chance to quite literally see what lies beneath as you take a polar plunge into the depth to admire glaciers, gargantuan icebergs and incredible marine life.

You’ll be led by expert guides but to participate you do need to be a trained, certified scuba diver with proof of certification beyond entry-level. What’s more, Aurora Expeditions requires you to have recent diving experience and proof of a minimum of 30 logged dives using a dry-suit before joining the voyage.

11-12-day Antarctic Explorer – with departures in February and March 2023 and 2024 this is the only Antarctic Peninsula-specific itinerary to offer scuba diving as it travels later into the season in February and March.

14-day Deep Weddell Following Nordenskjöld – this new voyage (offered 2024 onwards) focuses on the Weddell Sea region more than any other of Aurora Expeditions’ voyages. Passengers should spot ice seals such as crabeater and leopard seals on ice floes, as well as chinstrap and gentoo penguins and humpback, minke and orca whales.

18-day Circle & Weddell – Along with scuba diving, Antarctic adventurers can aim to tick two major boxes off their bucket list on this new March 2024 voyage, venturing below the Antarctic Circle and attempting to forge a path through the ice in the notoriously wild Weddell Sea.

Snorkelling

If you wish to head underwater but have no experience then snorkelling in Antarctica is perfect for you, with beginners and experienced snorkelers welcome on these outings – all led by expert guides.

Groups normally range from four-10 snorkellers per guide per Zodiac and you’ll be equipped with a snorkelling dry suit, hood, gloves and boots, and high-quality and polar-tested fins, mask and snorkel.

By snorkelling Antarctic waters and visiting sheltered bays and offshore islands, you can ogle the sculpted underbelly of icebergs, penguins diving for food and the remains of sunken ships. You’ll also spy marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs if you look carefully!

Snorkelling is available on all of Aurora Expeditions’ Antarctica voyages – those to the Antarctic Peninsula, The Weddell Sea and The Falklands, South Georgia and more.

Alpine trekking

The Antarctic Peninsula coastline is home to hundreds of peaks rising several thousand feet, so there’s plenty of opportunity for climbing adventures here.

Aurora Expeditions offers climbs for the moderately fit all accompanied by experienced guides. Treks vary between easy ascents to more technical routes, ranging from four to 10 hours, with at least two one-day alpine ascents and some ice climbing. Note, previous experience with crampons and ice axe is necessary.

11-12-day Antarctic Explorer – this classic voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula always includes at least one flight over the Drake Passage to skip the notorious leg in one or more directions. Choose the February 2024 departures for this voyage if you’d also like to try alpine trekking.

12-15-day Across the Antarctic Circle – this incredible itinerary operating between December and February takes intrepid explorers across the famed Antarctic Circle (as far south as 66 33’ S) which makes for some serious bragging rights! The further south you go the more remote this remarkable kingdom becomes, boasting swathes of pack ice and dramatic icebergs. The voyages departing over Christmas 2022 and 2023 also offer the chance for alpine trekking.

21-day Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula – this epic voyage packs in both these enigmatic subantarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula and is the only itinerary to the former to offer alpine trekking, departing in November 2022.

Ski/snowboard touring

Who needs the Alps when you have phenomenal skiing and snowboarding opportunities in Antarctica that few others have achieved? Here snow sport lovers can tackle alpine bowls, crevassed glaciers and long open slopes on day trips traversing across snow-capped peaks down into pristine bays.

Passengers will be accompanied by guides but will need an advanced level of skiing or snowboarding ability, with off-piste experience in a variety of snow conditions to participate.

However, the experts will teach you the required touring skills, along with key mountaineering skills such as ice axe and crampon use, roped glacier travel, constructing snow and ice anchors, assessing and moving in avalanche terrain, personal avalanche equipment and rescue, constructing emergency shelters, navigation and interpreting weather.

12-day Spirit of Antarctica – as well as experiencing the exhilaration of charging down the slopes, you can see penguins constructing nests and creating colonies as well as seals having pups on the ice on this November and December itinerary, with available departures in 2022 and 2023.

16-day Falklands~Malvinas and Antarctic Peninsula – admire all the wildlife and amazing bird life in the Falklands before hitting the snowy peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula and get that adrenalin soaring on this Aurora Expeditions voyage, departing in October 2023.

Set Sail

Antarctic Peninsula In Depth with Aurora Expeditions

When: November 28, 2023

Duration: 15 days

Where: Ushuaia | Drake Passage Crossing | Antarctic Peninsula

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Price: $13,356.00 pp

Find out more
Published 18.07.22