The Best Small Ships Going to Antarctica in 2023-24?

Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams  |  5 July 2022

We work with a huge range of ships travelling to Antarctica, and our Antarctica destination experts are often asked which are the best.

From the quality of the rooms to the excursions on offer, the experience you’ll have both on board and on the ice can vary greatly depending on which ship you choose.

Two of our favourite small ships for the 2023-24 Antarctic travel seasons are the Ocean Victory (launched in November 2021), and soon to follow in her glory, the Ocean Albatros (launching in May 2023).

Why are these two vessels our pick as the best small ships for Antarctica cruising?

Like all modern Antarctica cruise ships, these two vessels offer a level of luxury that early Antarctic explorers could only have dreamed of! But there are few extra features that make these two ships stand out as our current favourites.


Five reasons the Ocean Victory & the Ocean Albatros are our top picks for cruising to Antarctica in 2023-24


1. The Ship's X-Bow Technology

With the highest Polar code 6 and Ice class 1A, these ships are ideal for small-ship cruising in Antarctica due to their sturdy construction and X-Bow®-Infinity class, which provides high stability in rough weather and allows for the smoothest movements on high waves.

The Ocean Victory and Ocean Albatros are part of a brand new generation of low-energy vessels, with 4 diesel engines and 2 electro engines, all controlled electronically to optimize speed and fuel consumption. The vessels have more than a 50% lower carbon footprint than traditional expedition vessels.

We also love the size of these ships.  With no more than 194 guests onboard, all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy excursions twice a day. Up to 100 people can land for a shore excursion to look for curious penguins and seals hauled up on the beach, while the other half of the passengers will head out on a zodiac cruise to see wildlife loafing around on icebergs and hopefully see humpback whales breaching nearby.

Zodiac excursion from the Ocean Victory Cruise Ship

Zodiac excursions are a huge highlight of any Antarctica cruise!


2. The Great Range of Excursions

You will have a busy time with excursions that are included as part of your Antarctica tour package, and there are also optional activities you can choose from such as kayaking, a photographic program, snowshoeing and the unforgettable ‘polar plunge’ for the thrill seekers! 

When I was last in Antarctica, I was blessed with one of the most epic experiences in my life while out kayaking.  We spotted whales nearby and paddled over to check it out. Before we knew it, we were sitting in the centre of a whale feeding frenzy. Humpback whales, minke whales, and fin whales glided by gorging themselves of the krill which we could see through the crystal-clear water. It was truly amazing.

Kayaking in Antarctica


3. The Rooms

With a total of 95 comfortable staterooms and suites, all with unobstructed sea view and most with their own balcony, the Ocean Victory & Ocean Albatros will definitely become one of the most popular expedition cruise vessels in the world. The ships also have a total of 12 dedicated solo travel cabins without a single-supplement. There is a range of different staterooms and suites available to choose from, all with ensuite bathrooms, comfortable beds & sitting areas. 

Room with a view aboard the Ocean Victory

Beautifully appointed rooms aboard the Ocean Victory


4. The Onboard Facilities & Services

On each vessel there are two restaurants, a wellness area, an Albatros Nordic Bar, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenities. After an unforgettable expedition during the day, guests can relax in the heated swimming pool and two jacuzzies. Or they can enjoy being pampered in the Polar Spa with some unique Albatros-only treatments, like a Midnight Sun or a Fire and Ice Massage.

For the active explorer, they offer a fully equipped gym with some of the best views in the industry, while shoppers can enjoy the Albatros boutique. A selection of lectures, screenings and activities will keep your brain interested and entertained while at sea. Of course, there are also several bars with a large selection of drinks, including wine tasting menus developed in partnership with French wine producer and expert Gerard Bertrand, who is a leader in producing biodynamic farmed wines.

The carefully designed menu is a feast for your senses and has been developed in the interest of maintaining the well-being of guests, while emphasizing freshness, diversity and delectable choices.


Dining facilities onboard the Antarctic Cruise ship, the Ocean Victory

Dining facilities aboard the Ocean Victory


5. The Price

These ships are some are amid the best on the market in terms of value for money. The vessel is luxury by Antarctica standards but not excessively so, and is available at an incredible price compared to many other offerings in the market. For a great quality expedition option, it is truly hard to beat. 


Choose an Antarctica cruise that is perfectly suited to you

When you’re planning a trip to Antarctica, one of the first things you’ll want to think about is what type of ship you want to travel on.

As you’ll be spending a lot of your time on board, selecting the best ship for your Antarctica adventure is an important decision, and it’s one that we’re more than happy to help you with!

Get in touch with our Antarctica destination experts for personalised advice and help to make sure your Antarctica experience is everything you dreamed of and more!


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