The future of Antarctic cruising

Saul Greenland  |  30 October 2018




The future of Antarctic cruising


It’s barely been over 100 years since humans first set foot on Antarctica, and a mere 195 years since sailors first cast their eyes on the Antarctic Peninsula. Until recently, Antarctica was a destination for nobody but the hardiest of polar explorers – legends such as Scott, Amundsen, Mawson and Shackleton. But, the tides are changing as Viva Expeditions unveils the new look Antarctica cruise that’s just around the corner.


New immersive experiences and improved comfort are being designed directly into a purpose built, state of the art expedition ships. Gone are the days of being wedged into steel, polar expedition vessel designed for scientific expeditions and more adept at transporting crates rather than travellers. These newly launched or ‘still in production’ Antarctica cruise ships close the gap between expedition and luxury. Multiple restaurants, dining experiences and even your own personal butler are all part of the future of Antarctica cruising. You no longer have an excuse to skip your workout routine as gyms, spas and swimming pools are now a standard feature. New activities including paddle boarding, helicopter rides and camping can be enjoyed, and updated technologies bring further relief for seasickness sufferers. 


Here are just a few examples of Viva Expeditions favourite futuristic Antarctica cruise ships that are now today's reality.


The Greg Mortimer launches in late 2019 as one of the first Antarctica passenger ships to tame the Drake Passage. Cutting-edge nautical technology, an inverted bow concept, is a real game changer. The patented Ulstein X-BOW® cuts through waves with more stability allowing the water to flow over the bow, reducing the impact and improving efficiency.


The ship has been built with expeditioners in mind, featuring custom-built features seen first on the Greg Mortimer. It features two custom-designed hydraulic viewing platforms, folding out from the bow of the ship, allowing photographers an unobstructed view of the marine life and seabirds. Sea level launching platforms on deck 3 enables a quick and easy boarding of Zodiacs, allowing more time spent ashore. At the aft of the ship the activity platform activity, preparation area will allow for easy access to adventure activities, whether it be kayaking, diving or snorkelling.


With climate change in the air, cruise ships are increasingly looking towards their energy efficiency. As a conscious traveller, you will be pleased to hear Hybrid propulsion is now possible. The MS Roald Amundsen, due to be launched in 2019, cuts emissions by 20% sailing on electric propulsion and using more effective uses of electricity. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, it is hoped this ship will carve the way for a new future in shipping, one that is silent and emission-free.


The MS Roald Amundsen has also created a new experience called the Amundsen Science Center or an 'edutainment' area. A space full of state-of-the-art technology, gadgets and science equipment dedicated to giving guests a deeper understanding of Antarctica. The expeditions team will use the latest technology, including VR, to give lectures and hands-on training. But, for a real 'immersive' experience below the icy waters, the Le Lapérouse has a feature called the 'Blue Eye'. Two large oval portholes 2.5 meters under the water. You can relax in an innovative, submarine, multi-sensory lounge with blue lighting, curves and importantly, a bar. The lounge also gives an audio immersion using state of the art technology that captures sound across a 5km radius and subtly interacts with you through the furniture.


Silver Cloud Expedition has the ultimate dining experience for foodies. This cruise ship has four dining options for all tastes including a lava stone cooking experience. This restaurant encourages guests to cook their food directly at the table. If you prefer somebody else to cook your food, you can dine in the worlds southernmost Relais & Châteaux restaurant with chefs serving French dining at its best. Although, the Crystal Endeavor pushes the boat out a little further. Due to launch in 2020, it will be the most spacious luxury expedition yacht to operate in Antarctica. With six-star service that includes 6 stunning venues, Michelin-inspired food and a personal butler for nights in, it will also be the most luxurious.


To get away from the crowds rather than travel alongside them, the Magellan Explorer is a purpose-built vessel with a low capacity of 100 passengers or 69 passengers for air-cruises.  If like many, you don't have the time to spare for an expedition to Antarctica the Magellan Explorer is the world’s first expedition ship perfectly designed for Antarctic air-cruise operations. Remaining in Antarctica for extended periods of time you can fly part of the journey increasing your time admiring Antarctica's dramatic coastlines.


New technologies are pushing the boundaries for Antarctica expedition. Viva Expeditions believes the Antarctic experience will become cleaner, quieter, more immersive but less intrusive as efficiencies improve and hybrid technologies are introduced. Recent sobering studies have revealed the heartbreaking truth that Antarctica’s ice is melting faster than ever. Viva’s view is that the best way to protect this threatened destination is to become an Antarctica ambassador; fall in love with Antarctica by visiting. Tourists can potentially be the best Antarctic ambassadors of all and these cruise ships help pave the way through accessibility and new methods to encourage immersion and education.




Notes to editors:

High-resolution images for cruises are available in the following link. Please be aware that some of these cruises haven’t launched yet so some are computer mock-ups -



Saul Greenland

(0064) 9 950 5918


About Viva Expeditions

Viva Expeditions is a Latin America and Antarctica travel specialist with over ten years’ experience of routes, destinations as well as the Central and South American people and their cultures. Each employee has travelled independently or worked as a tour leader and guide reaching the furthermost reaches of the continent. The company has driven over half a million kilometres in South America. 

Viva Expeditions creates and operates its own small group holidays and overland expeditions. The company’s trips include carefully designed small ship cruises, overland expeditions, tailor-made adventures and luxury escapes. Viva Expedition’s holiday collection consists of 190 tours to Antarctica, South and Central America.

As proud members of Rainforest Alliance, Viva Expeditions highly values responsible tourism as a dynamic way to create better experiences for travellers while benefiting the environment and local populations.

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Founder and Managing Director Rachel Williams travels across South America year-round. You will probably find Rachel swimming in the Antarctic sea or traveling in the wilds of Patagonia.

Rachel previously worked for five years as a tour guide in South America then worked for a wholesaler in New Zealand. She quickly noticed her colleagues had no experience of the South American continent. Driven to give others the Latin America experience she loves, Rachel launched Viva Expeditions in 2008.  

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