Crossing the Antarctic Circle – Insights into an Epic Adventure

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  1 May 2019

Expedition cruises to the southernmost ends of our planet, crossing the fabled Antarctic Circle, add an injection of awesomeness to what is already a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Wondering if the hype of this exclusive endeavour is worth the investment?

Read on and find out!

How long does it take to cross the Antarctic Circle?

Check out our best Antarctica circle expedition here.

Typically, Antarctic Circle cruises last a minimum of 14 days and combine a classic 10/11-day run – with all the trimmings – with the added three/four days needed to sail farther south along the Antarctic Peninsula. These cruises are not only longer in duration but also typically cost a little more, obviously, given the extra voyage time.


2.Ocean Endeavour Communal

Traveler enjoying views onboard the Ocean Endeavour



Why are Antarctic Circle cruises so special?

Explore Antarctica in-depth onboard our Ocean Endeavour cruise ship.

In our modern-day world, where it seems no corner has been left untrodden and unexplored, it is immensely enticing to face an endeavour few people have ever accomplished. We’re not even talking historically here: given that cruises crossing the Antarctic Circle are still a rarity today – with just a few managing such a southern voyage every year – join a cruise past a latitude of 66°33’ S and you’ll be one of just a few hundred who’ll get this far, every single year. That’s quite a scoop. Besides this intangible benefit, you’ll also get to cast your eyes on a side of the continental waters not many ships can reach, sailing past bigger icebergs, more dramatic landscapes and having greater chances for whale watching along the way. Yep, not only will you earn some serious bragging rights whilst joining an elite group of adventures but you’ll also enjoy it all with 24 hours of glistening sunlight. 


Ice plates floating in Antarctica

Ice plates floating in Antarctica



What should I expect on an Antarctic Circle crossing cruise?

Get ready for adventures and join our Journey to the Antarctica Circle.

A lot more time at sea exploring the channels and icy landscapes of Antarctica, the satisfaction of having accomplished something truly magnificent and the awe-inspiring feeling of finding yourself, quite literally, in one of the world’s most remote corners. And that’s just the entrée! All Antarctic Circle cruises depart from Ushuaia, cross the Drake Passage and make on-shore landings in the South Shetland islands and the Antarctic Peninsula itself, meeting colonies of penguins, seals and sea lions, kayaking among fjords and icebergs and retracing the steps of ancient maritime explorers. A trip to Antarctica is a multi-dimensional adventure and a feast for all the senses – choose one that crosses the Antarctic Circle and you’ll simply be adding a delectable cherry atop what is an already mouth-watering cake. As per all Antarctic cruises, your expedition will include Zodiac outings ashore, lectures and guided trips with your on-board experts.


Explorers on a zodiac tour in Antarctica

Explorers on a zodiac tour in Antarctica



When should I travel if I want to cross the Antarctic Circle?

Crossing Antarctica circle is a rare opportunity. Don't miss a chance to book our tour here!

If you’d love to join a cruise crossing the Antarctic Circle then your dates will be fairly fixed – the expedition ships that make this voyage only do this once or at most twice a year. And there aren’t that many options. To ensure the greatest chance of success, expedition ships head this far south in January, at the very height of the Austral summer. It’s worth noting that a crossing of the Antarctic Circle is not 100% guaranteed and that’s because, this far south, Mother Nature calls all the shots. The yearly success rate, however, is exceptionally high, made even higher by travelling at the warmest time, which brings on the greatest ice melt.


Seal lying on the blue  floating ice in Antarctica

Seal lying on the blue floating ice in Antarctica



Is this the best way to see Antarctic wildlife?

For the best wildlife experience check out our tours to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

The few extra days spent crossing the Antarctic Circle are not going to gift you more wildlife-watching points, given that most sensible wildlife won’t swim this far south. Seriously, would you?! Having said that, you certainly won’t be decreasing your chances of spotting Antarctic wildlife, considering the circle-crossing days are added to a classic 11-day Antarctic cruise anyway, which are always abounding with wildlife encounters. Having said that, do note that the best wildlife destinations on Antarctic cruises are South George and the Falkland Islands; if wildlife is the utmost priority, you should consider choosing an Antarctic expedition that stops at both these animal-enriched heavens.

Here’s just a glimpse of a typical day in South Georgia


Penguin colony in South Georgia

Penguin colony in South Georgia



When should I book an Antarctic Crossing cruise?

Considering there are fewer cruises every year that sail south to the circle, we’d recommend booking at least 12 months in advance. These are hot-ticket items and cabins are limited: there’s really no reason to delay booking if your heart is set on this kind of expedition, most especially as you could bag some serious savings on early-bird sales.

At Viva Expeditions, we choose to cross the Antarctic Circle aboard the Ocean Endeavour, a phenomenal vessel that boasts a gym, jacuzzi (oh-hello!) yoga classes, amazing food and a spectacular service that’s among the best in the business. The OE carries just 199 guests, which means your time onshore is maximised for enjoyment and independence.

Fancy taking an Antarctic tour with us? Then check out our 14-day Antarctic Crossing expedition set to set sail in January 2021, and note the amazing discount we’re offering on selected cabins.

Contact us, at any time, for more details.

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