Top 5 luxury expedition cruises to Antarctica

For many people a visit to Antarctica is a dream bucket list trip but access to the White Continent has never been so easy. New ships have come on to the market in the last few years making small luxury expeditions ever more accessible.

If money is not an object, then a private charter to Antarctica is the way to go with prices starting at the £400,000 mark for a 7-night trip, however for the rest of us you can still experience luxury in Antarctica on these 5 stunning ships below.

Ponant Commandant Charcot

Luxury cruise line Ponant has imagined and designed the cruise voyage of tomorrow with its new ship, Le Commandant Charcot. The latest addition to the fleet takes its guests along the footsteps of the great polar explorers (it’s named after the eponymous legendary French explorer) complete with luxury services never before offered in the farthest reaches of the southern hemisphere.

Commandant Charcot, Antarctica luxury cruise

Additionally, the ship has been built with the greatest attention to detail in terms of safety and respect for the environment. The communal areas including the indoor swimming pool, conservatory, panoramic restaurant, Blue Lagoon outdoor restaurant, Main Lounge, Observation Lounge and lobby have all been designed to convey both the French-style discreet luxury and stimulate wonder and amazement. All of the common spaces have large windows allowing the natural light to come in and for ultimate landscape and wildlife observation opportunities when relaxing on board.

Commandant Charcot, Antarctica luxury cruise

With just 135 cabins, every one of them including a private balcony, the Commandant Charcot stays true to the Ponat philosophy: to provide a rare and exceptional ambience for every passenger welcomed on board and to reinforce the feeling and sense of sailing on a private yacht. The highlight of this ship is the breath-taking 125 m² (1,345 ft²) Suite de l’Armateur (Owner’s Suite) on deck 8 which features wide sliding glass doors offering stunning panoramic views and opening out onto a 122 m² (1,300 ft²) private terrace with Jacuzzi, dining space and sun beds. This cabin offers the most pristine and luxury accommodation currently on the market.

Commandant Charcot, Antarctica luxury cruise

Silversea Endeavour

The Silver Endeavour is the newest addition to Silversea’s fleet of luxury ships, heralding a new class of luxury expedition travel. Featuring a PC6 ice-class rating and state-of-the-art exploration technology and equipment, the Silver Endeavour takes voyagers even deeper into some of the most remote polar destinations on the planet, all in complete luxury. 

Silver Endeavour, Antarctica luxury cruise by Silversea

The facilities for up to 200 guests are spread over eight public decks with luxurious cabins, a range of with seven different class of suite, all featuring a balcony and butler service, multiple leisure options and several excellent restaurants. The crew to guest ratio on the Silver Endeavour is an exceptional 1:1, meaning that service is second to none.

Silver Endeavour, Antarctica luxury cruise by Silversea

Guests can choose from four different dining options onboard the Silver Endeavour. The main restaurant features regional specialities depending on your destination as well as timeless classics. The Grill serves international dishes in a casual atmosphere which is always a favourite with guests. Il Terrazino brings the taste of Italy aboard, featuring Silversea’s famous La Terrazza cuisine. La Dame is the fine dining choice onboard this ship. Enjoy the best of France’s cuisine in this superb restaurant. The Observation Lounge is a favourite spot for enjoying the view onboard. 270-degree windows ensure that you are fully immersed in your destination. The pool deck is completely enclosed in glass, meaning that you can relax in the pool while still enjoying the breath-taking views. This is luxury expedition travel at its absolute best.

Silver Endeavour, Antarctica luxury cruise by Silversea

Scenic Eclipse

Inspired by the sleek contours of a sailing yacht and custom-built with an unwavering commitment to safety and excellence in design, Scenic Eclipse combines a wealth of world-class facilities with the opportunity for unrivalled exploration.

Scenic Eclipse, Antarctica luxury cruise by Scenic

The handcrafted itineraries are full of rare opportunities and extraordinary experiences, from the ethereal beauty of Antarctica to the rich biodiversity of South Georgia and the majestic fjords of Chile. Intimate and luxurious, with every amenity you could wish for, the Scenic Eclipse fleet has been designed with you in mind.

Scenic Eclipse, Antarctica luxury cruise by Scenic

Delighting both the keen explorer and elegant traveller, the scenic Eclipse is certain to surpass all your ocean cruising expectations. With an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, your time on board will be one of unparalleled indulgence. From the ultimate Spa Sanctuary to the expansive array of dining experiences, spacious lounges and bars, outdoor terraces and multiple pool areas, the luxurious wonders on board never cease. The onboard helicopter and submarine enable you to experience views of Antarctica which few people have ever encountered. This really is the next generation of expedition cruising.

Scenic Eclipse, Antarctica luxury cruise by Scenic

Seabourn Venture & Seabourn Pursuit

The Seabourn Venture launched in July 2022 with her sister ship, the Seabourn Pursuit due to set sail in mid-2023. The ship is designed for diverse environments with features including PC6 Polar Class standard and a plethora of modern technology which will allow the ship to deploy to further flung destinations.

Seabourn Venture, Antarctica cruise

The design of this ship is pure luxury, allowing guests to experience incredible expedition travel in the utmost comfort and style.  A new and exciting offering for this ship is two custom-built submarines which will provide an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean’s surface. The Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit both feature 132 ocean-front suites, allowing for spectacular views as you sail along. Split over seven categories, from a Veranda Suite to the Grand Wintergarden Suite. The décor is classic and stylish with warm, muted colours and luxurious amenities. Each suite offers a private veranda and a spacious bathroom as well as a separate seating area.

Seabourn Venture, Antarctica cruise

The luxury onboard is not reserved for the suites and the ship’s public areas offer unrivalled comfort and experiences. The Discovery Centre offers a variety of natural history and cultural programming with space to accommodate all the ship’s guests at one time. Wellness, of course, is not forgotten on the Seabourn Venture or Seabourn Pursuit and guests can choose from a range of indulgent treatments in the luxurious spa or relax in the sauna to ease those aching muscles after a day’s activities. The Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit are exceptional ships, offering luxury expedition travel to exciting and unique destinations.

Seabourn Venture, Antarctica cruise

Magellan Explorer

They say small is beautiful and the Magellan Explorer is just that. A modern expedition vessel which was purposely built for Antarctic air-cruises. For each air-cruise, the Magellan Explorer has a capacity of 73 passengers in seven different cabin categories, including dedicated cabins for solo travellers.

Magellan Explorer

All cabins, except Porthole cabins, feature private balconies to allow for guests to take in the amazing views along the journey. All double cabins except two have two twin beds that can be configured as one king-size bed. All other cabins have two twin beds that can be configured as one queen-size bed. All cabins feature a wardrobe, individually controlled heating system, a sitting area, and a private bathroom with shower. The ship features a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a spacious and stylish dining room, a well-stocked bar, a library, meeting room, gym, sauna and a medical clinic. The forward-facing observation deck leads to the bow of the ship, which is accessible to guests to offer proximity to marine wildlife. The ship has a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats that are well suited for disembarking and wildlife watching. The vessel was designed and operated by the original pioneers of the Antarctic Fly & Cruise concept and built to the latest Polar Code specifications with Polar Class 6 ice-class making it a fabulous way to explore the White Continent.

Simon Williams is Director of Humboldt Travel. Humboldt Travel is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America.

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Comments (7)

  1. Panch Dwarka says:

    The article provides a comprehensive list of top-rated luxury expedition cruises to Antarctica, along with their unique features, such as the size of the beds, onboard amenities, and other options. The author has put in significant effort to provide readers with detailed information about each cruise, which will help travelers to make informed decisions when planning their trip to Antarctica. The article also highlights the importance of responsible tourism and conservation efforts in Antarctica, emphasizing the need to minimize the impact on the fragile ecosystem.

  2. Steve says:

    I bet Shackleton and his men are turning in their graves. More comfort than on their polar expedition.

  3. Ian Gilbert says:

    I never realised how big Antarctic cruising has become. Nice guide to some of the better ships.

  4. Ivor Hunter says:

    As I grew up in an era where the Antarctic seemed a long, long way away I find it hard to believe that now it’s such a great place for luxury cruises.

  5. Chris H says:

    We have always been very impressed by our cruises with Silversea. I think we need to take an in-depth look at what Endeavour has to offer.

    • I’ve travelled to Antarctica on the Silver Cloud just prior to the pandemic and the Silver Endeavour looks a more modern version, especially with its styling. It also operates lots of Silversea’s ‘Antarctica Bridge’ itineraries which enable you to fly the notorious Drake passage.

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