Ships to Antarctica vary widely in size, comfort level and expeditions. We recommend first figuring out which locations you want to visit and setting a budget. After that, it is time to consider which suit your desired adventure best. We have rated each ship by size, comfort level, daily expedition quality, how many zodiacs are available and how many zodiac embarkation areas are available onboard.
There are two main types of ships. Our recommendation is an expedition ship, with fewer than 500 guests, that are built to bring travellers on shore for activities. The second type is an ocean liner, with 500 to a few thousand passengers, who are not allowed to bring guests ashore. While we can assist travellers with mobility issues who would prefer an ocean liner, note that our website only features expedition ships.
Over 150 different ships travel annually to Antarctica and they range from small expedition ships with under 75 passengers to giant ocean liners. As you can imagine, those experiences are incredibly varied.
We have included some helpful tips on how to pick the right Antarctica ship size for your adventure. This is one of the most crucial aspects of planning your Antarctica adventure!
The overall comfort level onboard is reflected in our ship star rating. This includes cabins, common areas, and amenities like cuisine and also takes into consideration overall customer service from staff. We only feature and offer ships that meet a minimum 3* overall rating.
There are many options ranging from 5* luxury ships with private cabin butlers to 3* standard ships offering great excursions and pricing.
Expeditions refer to how many daily excursions are offered, the variety of options and the quality. In general, a lower number of passengers to a higher number of zodiacs and embarkation areas, the more time you will spend off the ship.
Note that only 100 guests can be on shore at one site at a time. For ships with over 100 guests, there may be more waiting involved with multiple excursions a day.