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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.

Luxury Expedition
Greg Mortimer Ocean Nova
Sea Spirit Ocean Adventurer
National Geographic Explorer Ocean Diamond
World Explorer Ocean Endeavour
L’Austral Ocean Victory
Le Boreal Expedition
Le Lyrial Fram
Le Soleal Ushuaia
Silver Explorer Ocean Atlantic
Silver Cloud Ortelius
Silver Wind Plancius
National Geographic Orion Hondius
Seabourn Quest Jansonius
Roald Amundsen

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, most of the vessels on our site are not large, rarely exceeding more than 200 passengers (compared to several thousand on large cruise ships), and many are in the range of 100-150. 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.

Kayaking Camping Mountaineering SUP Diving Skiing Helicopters Diving
Expedition Yes Yes
Fram Yes Yes
Greg Mortimer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hondius Yes Yes
Jansonius Yes Yes
Magellan Explorer Yes
Nat Geo Explorer Yes
Nat Geo Orion Yes
Ocean Adventurer Yes Yes
Ocean Atlantic Yes
Ocean Diamond Yes Yes
Ocean Endeavour Yes Yes
Ocean Nova Yes
Ocean Victory Yes
Ortelius Yes Yes Yes Yes
Plancius Yes Yes Yes Yes
Roald Amundsen Yes Yes
Sea Spirit Yes Yes
Silver Cloud
Silver Explorer
Silver Wind
Sylvia Earle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ultramarine Yes Yes Yes Yes
World Explorer Yes Yes Yes

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