Tips on how to mitigate the costs of Antarctica cruises
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It’s no secret that Antarctica cruises are once-in-a-lifetime experiences yet, unbeknownst to many, they don’t have to come with a once-in-a-lifetime price tag. Finding the cheapest Antarctica cruises on the market is kid’s play, especially when we bundle them up and present them to you on a silver platter – or more appropriately in 2019 – a blog!
At Viva Expeditions, we love bucking the trend and sharing our insider tips to help YOU find the cheapest Antarctica tours no matter where in the world you hail from. Not only do we highlight the best priced Antarctica cruises around but also offer advice on how to mitigate costs. That’s just the kind of Antarctica specialists we are.
What Costs Are Involved in Antarctica Cruises
Before you get anywhere near an iceberg on an epic expedition ship to Antarctica, you’re going to have to reach the point of embarkation of your cruise ship. The cheapest Antarctica cruises cast off from Ushuaia (Argentina) that ethereal ‘end of the world’ city that sits right at the southern tip of South America.
Now, fair to say that if you live in Buenos Aires it won’t cost a fortune to reach Ushuaia but if you live in New Zealand or Australia then you will have to factor the cost of an international flight to Argentina. Antarctica cruises also depart from New Zealand and Australia just a few times during the cruising season Nov-March) although these are bonafide epic expeditions: they last for a minimum of three weeks, are awesome beyond words yet given their longer duration and much greater sailing time, these cruises are the most expensive on the market. If you’re looking to cruise Antarctica on a budget – or at least as cheaply as possible – cruises from our neck of the woods simply won’t fit the bill, lack of international flights notwithstanding. Find out more about Travelling to Antarctica from New Zealand.
Ushuaia remains the very best Antarctica cruise springboard of all – it is here that you’ll find the largest range of vessels and the cheapest deals of all.
Why Do Antarctica Tours Cost So Much?
One of the aspects of Antarctica cruises that surprises most potential visitors is the fact that adding just a few extra days to the itinerary (say, choosing a 14-day cruise rather than a 10-day one) can translate to a steep increase in price. This is due to several factors:
It’s expensive to operate an Antarctica expedition ship
Cruising costs are exorbitant in the White Continent, not only in terms of fuel costs (which is substantial enough) but also in terms of ship maintenance and specialised crew and equipment. These are not your run-of-the-mill cruise liners – Antarctica expedition ships are built to the highest standard of safety and environmental protection. If they’re not, they won’t be allowed down south so they essentially cost millions to build and run each year.
Comfort and luxury levels count
Taking everyone one needs to the ends of the world is an expensive endeavour, let alone when that ‘everything’ includes an array of luxurious options. 5* luxury costs a lot more than 3* everywhere you go – the difference in price is simply exacerbated when talking about Antarctica cruises. Some of the expedition ships cruising Antarctica are spectacularly lush and, combined with all the factors, among the most expensive in the world.
So, Is It Really Worth the Cost Cruising to Antarctica?
You bet, especially when you can mitigate costs and bag an Antarctica cruise you can actually afford. Many people make the mistake of comparing Antarctica tours with their usual ‘holiday’, rightly noting that ‘a 10-day Antarctic cruise can cost as much as one-month holiday in Europe’. Yes, sure, it can, but the two travel experiences couldn’t be any more distinct and comparing them is almost ludicrous to those who have enjoyed both. A one-month meander through France and Italy is lovely but it likely will not touch your soul or change your life. An Antarctica cruise has the potential to do both.
Antarctica is the last true pristine corner of our planet, a world of icebergs and hardy wildlife where the modern, human-focused world has no place. This is Mother Nature at her best, a gateway to some of the most sensational wilderness experiences you can ever enjoy, anywhere.
And that’s simply priceless.
How Can I Mitigate Costs travelling to Antarctica?
There are several ways to mitigate the overall cost of a trip to Antarctica:
- Look out for early-bird specials (a lot more common than last-minute deals)
- Book EVERYTHING well in advance and opt for flexibility on airplane tickets. You can save a bundle by being a cunning early-bird
- Note that the cheapest Antarctica cruises depart at the tail ends of cruising season (October, November, February and March – basically, skip December and January!)
- October, February and March are also cheaper flying months to South America and travelling during these shoulder-season months can easily shave off $1000 from your air-travel costs
- Take a few friends along and opt to share a cabin (some ships don’t charge single-occupancy supplement but most do – larger shared cabins offer the best value-for-money)
- Be scrupulous when searching cabin categories – Antarctica expedition ships boast an array of options, from budget cabins with shared bathrooms and showers to luxury suites that wouldn’t be misplaced at the Kempinski. You can save some serious money if you choose to share amenities and opt for a smaller cabin
The Cheapest Antarctica Cruises
Time to get down to business – here are the cheapest Antarctica cruises on the market right now.
You won’t be cruising to Antarctica when you choose a Falkland Islands voyage yet it’ll certainly feel like it when you’re face to face with a noisy colony of Antarctic wildlife. The Falklands boast a troubled past but when it comes to dramatic wilderness and wildlife, there’s no trouble at all. Several species of penguins, fur and elephant seals, dolphins, whales and an infinite array of birds head to its nutrient-rich waters each year with the Falklands being among the most underrated wildlife destination in all of South America.
Hands-down the cheapest Antarctica cruise around, this stunning 11-day voyage aboard the Ocean Endeavour is the stuff icy dreams are made of. Departing Ushuaia, you’ll cross the infamous (and very exciting) Drake Passage before reaching the wildlife-enriched South Shetland Islands just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Daily Zodiac landings, kayaking, hiking and snow-shoeing excursions await, along with unforgettable wildlife encounters. An unparalleled value-for-money deal, this trip is on a world-class ship that packs a sensational punch in terms of optional activities, amenities (wellness centre to boot) and destinations. This cruise is also available for 10 days on different dates. Click here to see more.
You’ll need a few extra days if you dream of crossing the Antarctic Circle and the Ocean Endeavour can take you there for an unbeatable price. Very few ships make it this far south along the peninsula each year so you’ll certainly be in illustrious company. The itinerary follows the same as above and continues further south of the invisible circle line. More landings and more days aboard your ship means more time for whale-watching, penguin and seal spotting!
The Big Daddy of Antarctica cruises, this 21-day voyage combines the best destinations of all: the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula along with the reputed ‘wildlife creche’ of South Georgia and a jaunt around the Falkland’s. Of these, South Georgia is the most coveted (home to a mind-boggling colony of King Penguins) and being the most remote means cruises here are the most expensive. This amazing journey, operated once again by the Ocean Endeavour, offers you the very best of Antarctic Tours at an unrivalled price.
So there you have it: your comprehensive guide to finding the cheapest Antarctica cruises and hopefully an inspirational intro to what is the world’s most magnificent travel destination.
See our complete collection of Antarctica Tours and, should you see something that tickles your fancy, you know what to do. Contact us today.