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  • Choosing a Vessel

  • Choosing a Vessel

  • Choosing a Vessel

  • Choosing a Vessel

  • Choosing a Vessel

Choosing a Vessel

We are here to help you figure out the very best vessel option given your interests, dates, and budget.   Some of the most fundamental considerations are Vessel Class (how luxurious or utilitarian is the vessel), Vessel Size (how many passengers), and Available Activities (whether they offer kayaking, SUP, camping, etc.).  Below is an overview.  We have found that this is something best understood by speaking with one of our Antarctica specialists over the phone, so please just give us a call to discuss your interests and our knowledgeable experts will answer your questions and steer you in the right direction:

Vessel class: We separate the vessels into two main categories: Luxury Vessels & Expedition Vessels. Luxury vessels were designed or refurbished for tourism, and tend to have more modern features and amenities, with fine dining and more of a “hotel” feel. Expedition ships are usually former working vessels, and offer a more authentic experience in a more basic style, but many are very comfortable. Below you will find the vessel list broken down by class.

LuxuryExpedition
National Geographic OrionOcean Nova
Hebridean SkyOrtelius
Island SkyPlancius
Sea SpiritOcean Adventurer
National Geographic ExplorerOcean Diamond
World ExplorerOcean Endeavour
L’AustralRCGS Resolute
Le BorealAkademik Ioffe
Le LyrialAkademik Vavilov
Le SolealUshuaia
Silver ExplorerOcean Atlantic
Silver Cloud

Vessel size: If you want a cruise with more amenities and larger cabins, you may prefer to look at larger ships, with capacity for more than 100 passengers. If you prefer a more intimate environment, which may mean more time with your guide and a closer relationship with your fellow passengers, you might lean toward a boat that carries fewer than 100 passengers. By typical cruising standards, none of the vessels on our site are large, never more than 200 passengers (compared to several thousand on large cruise ships), and most closer to 100. This truly is small ship expedition cruising.  Having less than 100 passengers can be an advantage in terms of the ability of the ship to handle landings in an efficient and timely manner for all of the passengers onboard.  With rapidly changing weather conditions in Antarctica that can affect the ability to do excursions in specific locations, the smallest ships can be more nimble in terms of taking advantage of windows of time when weather improves.  Some of the Fly & Cruise options (for example on the Hebridean Sky) offer cruises with under 100 passengers on ships that can fit more than 100 passengers (due to the passenger limits on the flights), so this can be an advantage for the Fly & Cruise options.

Activities and special interests: Some vessels cater to travelers with specific interests: photography, camping, or adventure activities like diving, kayaking, climbing, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). As you review the different vessels, you’ll see that different activities are offered on different departures.  Most of the vessels we work with will include some types of most popular active excursions, such as kayaking.  One of the main considerations with regard to kayaking is signing up upon booking, as those programs often fill up well in advance of the departure date.  We can help you find a vessel and departure that matches whatever your interests are and we’ll be sure to ask you what you like and what you don’t when you contact us.

Please find below a chart of available adventure options on various vessels. Not all adventure options are available for every departure.

Sea KayakingCampingMountaineeringSUPDivingSkiing
Akademik IoffeYesYes
Akademik VavilovYesYes
Hebridean SkyYesYes
Island SkyYesYes
Magellan ExplorerYes
Nat Geo ExplorerYes
Nat Geo OrionYes
Ocean AdventurerYesYes
Ocean AtlanticYes
Ocean DiamondYesYes
Ocean EndeavourYesYesYesYesYes
Ocean NovaYes
OrteliusYesYesYesYes
PlanciusYesYesYesYes
Sea SpiritYesYes
Silver Cloud
Silver Explorer
Ushuaia
World ExplorerYesYesYes

Call us to start planning your journey today:

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