Antarctica – Comparing Luxury Cruise Lines travelling to the region

When it comes to planning your once-in-a-life-time Antarctic adventure, its important to find the right cruise line and vessel for your all bucket list journey. We’ve done the hard work so you can get the most out of your Antarctic voyage.

Here are a selection of our favourite luxury cruise lines and their points of difference:

Scenic Luxury Cruises Expedition Voyages

Scenic image credits – Scenic Cruises

  • Australian founded company
  • Scenic have one luxury 6-star ship the Scenic Eclipse – with a second vessel due for completion in 2024.
  • Scenic are the only company with 2x Helicopters and Submarine onboard the Scenic Eclipse (bookable 3 months in advance of departure)
  • Every suite has a veranda and all have ocean views
  • Butler service for all guests
  • 200 passengers – to maximise landings in Antarctica
  • All inclusive – food, select premium beverages, shore excursions (except Helicopter and submarine), tips and gratuities, internal flights only, night in Buenos Aires.
  • Up to 10 dining experiences including 24hr in-suite and 9 restaurants & bars on board from casual to fine dining
  • Senses Spa, theatre, Gym, Pilates studio, outdoor vitality pools
  • Zodiac’s, Kayaks and paddle boards
  • Expedition Parka
  • Use of Polar Boots

Scenic Cruises feature 3 itineraries in Antarctica:
– In-depth Antarctica 13 Day Itinerary (of which 6 days spent in Antarctica)
– Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands 20 Day Itinerary (of which 5 days are spent in Antarctica)
– Antarctica into the Weddell Sea 16 Day itinerary (of which 4 days are spent in Antarctica)

Silverseas Cruises

Image credits – Silversea Cruises, Richard Sidey, Michel Verdure

  • Silversea are the only company that offer fully inclusive ‘Door to Door’ service – from your home. With private chauffer airport transfers, flights from Australia return and everything in between!
  • Silversea also feature a Fly/Cruise option (below) for those short on time or concerned about sea sickness, enabling you to skip the Drake Passage sailing for a shorter cruise 5-6 Night option.

Scenic have 3 expedition vessels that go to Antarctica:
Silver Wind
– Silversea’s newest expedition ship to join their fleet. Silver Wind holds up to 274, however only they only take 254 to the polar regions
– Up to 5 dining experiences including 24hr in-suite and 4 restaurants & a bar on board, from casual to fine dining. (La Dame restaurant is an additional 60USD)
– Spa & Beauty Salon, fitness centre, heated pool and spa and 2 lounges. – 20 zodiacs & 10 Kayaks

Silver Cloud
– Silver Cloud holds up to 254, however they only take 240 to the polar regions.
– 80% of the suites have verandas.
– Up to 5 dining experiences including 24hr in-suite and 4 restaurants & a bar on board, from casual to fine dining. (La Dame restaurant is an additional 60USD)
– Spa, fitness centre, heated pool and spa, 3 lounges.
– 20 zodiacs & 10 Kayaks

Silver Explorer
Holds up to 144 guests for a truly intimate experience
Up to 3 dining experiences including 24hr in-suite and 2 restaurants & bars on board, from casual to fine dining.
Spa & beauty salon, fitness centre, 2 heated whirlpools and two lounges
12 Zodiacs & Kayaks

  • Flights from Australia are included (Economy class with upgrade to business available at a reduced cost)
  • Intimate ultra-luxury ships with superior service
  • All the cabins on all 3 ships are suites and all have ocean views
  • Butler service for all guests
  • All inclusive – food, select premium beverages, shore excursions, tips and gratuities, economy class flights (or business upgrade at reduced rates), internal flights, hotels pre & post (or day use if not required due to flight schedules)
  • Multiple dining experiences from casual to fine dining, including 24hr in-suite dining (the number or restaurants depends on expedition ship you travel with Silver Explorer, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind.)
  • Spa, fitness centre, lounges (some vessels have pools)
  • Zodiac’s, Kayaks and paddle boards
  • Souvenir Expedition Parka

Silversea feature 3 itineraries in Antarctica:
– Fly /Cruise – Silver Explorer – Antarctica Bridge Cruises, skip the Drake Passage fly straight into King George Island, just a 2-hr sail from the Antarctic Peninsula. From 5 to 9-day itineraries.
– Antarctica from Ushuaia (Argentina) 10 to 12-Day itinerary
– Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands 18-Day Itinerary (options for either or both South Georgia & the Falklands)

Ponant

Ponant image credits – Ponant – Oliver Blaud, Mike Louagie, Giles Trillard

  • Ponant are a French company with a French crew

Ponant have 5 vessels that travel to Antarctica:
Le Commandant Charcot – Polar Explorer
– Ponant’s most luxurious ship in the Antarctic region, designed to go deeper into areas their sister ships can’t access through thick ice
– 5-star luxury expedition vessel fitted with ABB and condition monitoring. This Polar Class 2 expedition vessel features the largest energy storage system ever installed on a cruise ship as well as two ABB Azipod propulsion units. The worlds very first luxury hybrid electric polar exploration ship powered by liquified natural gas, fitted with a Polar Class 2 (PC2) icebreaker hull.
– Holds up to 270 guests
– 2 Dining experiences by Michelan Star rated Alain Ducasse, pool, wellness lounge, 2 additional lounges, pool, a theatre and spa
– 123 suites or staterooms with private balconies or terrace
– 16 Zodiacs

4 Ponant Sister Ships; Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial
– Combining luxury, intimacy and serene well-being
– Each vessel holds up to 264 guests but take 200 to Antarctica
– 2 restaurants, 24-hr room service, exterior bar, pool, wellness area, 2 lounges, theatre and spa
– 132 staterooms and suites
– 11 Zodiacs 10 double kayaks (Kayak is additional cost from 350 Euro for 2 hrs approx)

  • Ponant’s tariffs include; Accommodation the night prior, internal economy class commercial flight, most meals and beverages as per programme selected on vessel
  • Suites on deck 6 have butler service
  • Tips not included

Seabourn

Seabourn image credit – Seabourn

Seabourn have 2 ultra-lux expedition ships that sail to Antarctica:
Seabourn Venture (launched in 2022) & Seabourn Pursuit (to launch in 2023)
– Each vessel carries 2 submarines (available for viewing at an additional cost)
– Polar class vessels
– Each vessel holds up to 264 people
– All 132 suites have verandas and ocean views
– 2 restaurants and in-suite dining
– 2 lounges and a pool
– 24 zodiacs & double kayaks (at an additional charge)

  • All food and beverage is included in the expedition cruises
  • A daily shore excursion is included with the expedition guides in zodiacs. Additional excursions are at a cost.
  • Internal flights and pre accommodation as per itinerary chosen

Seabourn feature 3 main itineraries to Antarctica:
– East Antarctica (coming in 2023/4) departing from Christchurch New Zealand
– Antarctica Exploration
– Antarctica with South Georgia and the Falkland

Click here for more information and to book cruises to Antarctica