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Antarctica

Early Season Antarctica

An expedition cruise to the frozen continent aboard the Ocean Albatros Antarctica Cruises

Length

12 Days

Ship category

Premium

Ship type

Large Ship

Capacity

189 Passengers

Early Season Antarctica

2 Reviews

Trip highlights

No set itinerary! A true explorer's voyage!

Conquer the Drake Passage

Penguin rookeries

Cross the Antarctic Circle

The Polartours experience

Best price guaranteed

Set the first foot of the season on the frozen continent

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Expedition Parka

On this 12-day ultimate Antarctica cruise, we explore the Great White Continent's magnificent landscapes, glacial mountains, and incredible wildlife. This adventure is unique since we have NO SET ITINERARY, which makes this a true exploration voyage.

As our voyage begins, we pilot through the calm, gunmetal grey waters and sloping glaciers of Beagle Channel. Turning southward, our journey begins in earnest, and we enter Drake Passage. A body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, called the Roaring Fifties. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement, and you will complete the crossing twice!

With wide eyes, we will weave through the South Shetland Islands, a shimmering necklace of glistering, ice-covered islands and dormant volcanoes. Numerous Zodiac excursions are landfalls are likely. We are constantly on the lookout for whales, sea lions, elephant seals and an unbelievable amount of sea birds and penguins.

Continuing onward, we enjoy the calming silence and alluring beauty of the Antarctic mainland during hikes and Zodiac excursions. From here there is no set plan, our captain and expedition leader will look at ice charts and weather reports and explore our options. This could be the mighty tabular icebergs of the Weddell Sea, the seldomly visited lands south of the Antarctic circle or manned research stations in the most isolated places on earth. One thing is for sure we will see fantastic wildlife and real adventure.

Your ship: Ocean Albatros

Ocean Albatros Exterior
Ocean Albatross Deck Plan
Ocean Albatros Exterior

Welcome aboard the brand new Ocean Albatros. This stunning, purpose-built polar cruise ship will be deployed to a large selection of expedition cruise destinations, Antarctica, the Arctic, and a variety of exciting new destinations in between.

Ocean Albatros offers a total of 95 comfortable staterooms and suites, all with unobstructed sea view, and most with their own balcony. Like her sistership, the Ocean Victory, her amenities include two restaurants, a wellness area, the “Albatros Nordic Bar”, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenitie … Read more about Ocean Albatros

Cabins

triple porthole cabin/ albatros/ victory
Category F - Triple Porthole Stateroom

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

french balcony suite/ albatros/ victory
Category E - French Balcony Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Ocean Victory/Albatros Junior Suite
Category A - Junior Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

single porthole cabin albatros/victory
Category G - Single Porthole Stateroom

Type:

Single

Max. occupancy:

1

More about this cabin

Ocean Victory/Albatros Junior Suite
Premium Suite (Freydis Suite)

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Premium suite albatros/victory
Two Bedroom Suite (Brynhilde Suite)

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Cat B Balcony Suite Albatros/Victory
Category B - Balcony Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Balcony C albatros/victory
Category C - Balcony Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Cat D/ Porthole Stateroom/ Albatros Victory
Category D - Porthole Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

Camping in Antarctica

0 Days

5.0

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Camping in Antarctica

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Take your expedition voyage to the next level with a once-in-a-lifetime overnight camping adventure in Antarctica! This is one of the very best ways to experience Antarctica, hopefully under a sky full of stars. Camping is available on many early-season Antarctic voyages. Your ship operator will provide your gear. All you are left to do is enjoy. This is one of the most popular activities, and we recommend you book early. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Polar snowshoeing

0 Days

Polar Snowshoeing

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow easy and fun, allowing you to visit places others struggle to reach in boots alone. You’ll have your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, and the expert guides will provide you with all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to summit to some of Antarctica’s best viewpoints, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica! The minimum age for this activity is 14. IMPORTANT: This activity is dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Sea-Kayaking-What-To-Wear-In-Antarctica

0 Days

5.0

(1)

Sea Kayaking

Embark on an exhilarating sea kayaking adventure in some of the world's most magnificent and biodiverse wilderness areas, including Antarctica and the Arctic. Take in the breathtaking scenery as you navigate through ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. In Antarctica, spend unforgettable moments with penguins, seals and whales, and keep an eye out for the occasional encounter with leopard seals or killer whales. In the Arctic, paddle through bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around huge icebergs. Led by experienced guides, you will join a small group of like-minded adventurers to explore the picturesque coastlines of these wild and remote destinations. Paddling offers an intimate and unique way to experience the beauty of these regions and make the most of your time there. Important: This activity is subject to weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Arrival to Ushuaia
morning in Ushuaia
morning in Ushuaia

Beagle Channel

Arrival at Ushuaia

Embark in Ushuaia

Ushuaia is often called the "Gateway to Antarctica". Thanks to its position on the shores of the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of Argentina, Ushuaia's harbor is equally popular with luxury cruise vessels and huge, rugged ice breakers. A vital port for the resupply of many of the Antarctic research bases, Ushuaia is also a beautiful city that really does feel like it's at the edge of the world.

From the rugged peaks that soar high about the town to the aptly named "Train and the End of the World" steam railway; from fascinating museums and cultural centers to boat trips along the Beagle Channel to get up close and personal with penguins and seals, Ushuaia is a remarkable destination in its own right, as well as a wonderful place to start or finish your Antarctic cruise.

Crossing the Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is the name given to the infamous stretch of open ocean between the tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

It usually takes 2 or 3 days to cross the Drake Passage, and this is a great time to learn from your expert Antarctic naturalist guides. Through a series of fascinating talks and lectures, you'll begin to learn more about the remarkable wildlife and awe-inspiring geology of the Antarctic continent.

Your guides are always on hand to help you identify the sea bird species that always follow the ships, as well as spotting whales and other cetaceans that can be seen en route to the Antarctic Peninsula or the South Shetland Islands.

South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands

Northeast beach Ardley Island

Baily Head on Deception Island

Telefon Bay

Penguin Island

Pendulum Cove

Hannah Point

Point Wild

Turret Point

Barrientos Island

Whalers Bay

Sometimes overlooked as a destination by people keen to set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands are a must-see destination in their own right.

Often the first and last landfall on an Antarctic cruise, many people are taken aback by the stunning beauty of these islands. What better way to make contact with the Antarctic than by making your first beach landing here surrounded by gentoo penguins?

Apart from some of the most southerly species of penguin, the South Shetlands are home to a huge range of Antarctic wildlife, and they make a superb introduction to the wildlife of the whole region, including key species like elephant seals, humpback whales, and more.

With active volcanoes, the relics and remains of its history as a centre for whaling, and some of the most beautiful Antarctic mountain scenery, the South Shetland Islands are a fitting first destination for any Antarctic cruise.

South Georgia
Antarctica 21 Hebridean Sky
Antarctica Classic

Cuverville Island

Georges Point, Rongé Island

Neko Harbour

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Goudier Island

Danco Island, Errera Channel

Damoy Point

Jougla Point

Yalour Islands

Orne Harbour

D’Hainaut & Trinity Island

Orne Islands

Portal Point

Petermann Island

Wordie House, Winter Island

The North-West portion of the Antarctic Peninsula is the most frequently visited and is home to many of the most popular landing sites for expedition cruises.

Being the most northerly part of the whole continent, the Peninsula enjoys the mildest Antarctic condition, with temperatures in winter averaging a balmy -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F)! In the summer, things warm up to an average of just above freezing. Large areas of this part of the peninsula are therefore ice-free, and important breeding and feeding grounds for many iconic Antarctic species.

It's here that many of the historic Antarctic expeditions began, and where early military and scientific bases were first established, some of which you will be able to visit if conditions allow. These remarkable artefacts have been left as time capsules, their contents showing remarkable levels of preservation thanks to the dry and cold climate.

Antarctic Peninsula
Before and After Antarctic Peninsula
South Georgia

Cuverville Island

Georges Point, Rongé Island

Neko Harbour

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Goudier Island

Danco Island, Errera Channel

Damoy Point

Jougla Point

Astrolabe Island

Orne Harbour

D’Hainaut & Trinity Island

Orne Islands

Portal Point

The Drake Passage is the name given to the infamous stretch of open ocean between the tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

It usually takes 2 or 3 days to cross the Drake Passage, and this is a great time to learn from your expert Antarctic naturalist guides. Through a series of fascinating talks and lectures, you'll begin to learn more about the remarkable wildlife and awe-inspiring geology of the Antarctic continent.

Your guides are always on hand to help you identify the sea bird species that always follow the ships, as well as spotting whales and other cetaceans that can be seen en route to the Antarctic Peninsula or the South Shetland Islands.

Antarctic Peninsula
Before and After Antarctic Peninsula
South Georgia

Cuverville Island

Georges Point, Rongé Island

Neko Harbour

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Goudier Island

Danco Island, Errera Channel

Damoy Point

Jougla Point

Astrolabe Island

Orne Harbour

D’Hainaut & Trinity Island

Orne Islands

Portal Point

The North-West portion of the Antarctic Peninsula is the most frequently visited by expedition cruises and is home to many of the most popular landing sites. The Gerlache Strait is renowned for the stunning scenery with the snow covered mountains, as if covered in icing sugar, with numerous glaciers tumbling down to the sea.

Being the most northerly part of the whole continent, the Peninsula enjoys the mildest Antarctic condition, with temperatures in winter averaging a balmy -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F)! In the summer, things warm up to an average of just above freezing. Large areas of this part of the peninsula are ice-free in the early season, being important breeding and feeding grounds for many iconic Antarctic species.

It's here that many of the historic Antarctic expeditions began, and where early military and scientific bases were first established, some of which you will be able to visit if conditions allow. These remarkable artefacts have been left as time capsules, their contents showing remarkable levels of preservation thanks to the dry and cold climate.

Drake Passage
Crossing the Drake Passage
Beagle Channel

The Drake Passage is the name given to the infamous stretch of open ocean between the tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

It usually takes 2 or 3 days to cross the Drake Passage, and this is a great time to learn from your expert Antarctic naturalist guides. Through a series of fascinating talks and lectures, you'll begin to learn more about the remarkable wildlife and awe-inspiring geology of the Antarctic continent.

Your guides are always on hand to help you identify the sea bird species that always follow the ships, as well as spotting whales and other cetaceans that can be seen en route to the Antarctic Peninsula or the South Shetland Islands.

Arrival to Ushuaia
Arrival to Ushuaia
Laguna Esmeralda

Arrival at Ushuaia

Ushuaia, located in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, serves as the southernmost city in the world and the starting point for many Antarctic expedition cruises.

The city offers a range of options, from small-ship expeditions to larger vessel tours, providing travelers with an unforgettable experience in the remote and beautiful Antarctic. Many cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands, allowing visitors to see diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes.

In addition to the natural beauty, Ushuaia also boasts a rich history and a stunning national park, making it a unique destination worth exploring. Overall, Ushuaia is the perfect base for those seeking adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Antarctic.

Dates & Prices

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

28

Oct

2025

8

Nov

2025

Full

Upon Request

28

Oct

2025

8

Nov

2025

Full

Upon Request

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

12-day/11-night cruise with accommodation in a shared outside double stateroom with private facilities

Shuttle transfers to ship from city centre/from the ship to city centre or airport (Ushuaia)

All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary

Expedition parka

Rubber boot rentals

Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team

Special Photo Workshop

English-speaking expedition team

Visual Journal link after voyage including voyage log, gallery, maps, species list and more!

Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks

Free tea and coffee 24 hours’ daily

Welcome and farewell cocktails

Taxes

What's not included

Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary

Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades

Meals not on board the ship

Beverages (other than coffee and tea)

Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)

Personal expenses

Transfers to/from the ship

Credit Card charges may apply

A fuel surcharge may apply at a later stage. More info

Reviews

client

Genesis Alberto Guerrero Martinez

Ocean Albatros Arctic and Antarctic cruises

Premium

June 2024

From start to finish, their organization was impeccable, ensuring every moment aboard our sturdy ship, with its exceptional hotel team, was filled with excitement and wonder. My favorite moment was witnessing polar bears and walruses against the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. I have to highlight, the expedition team's deep insights into the region's history and culture enriched our journey profoundly. Their passion for adventure, respect for wildlife, and commitment to climate awareness made the experience unforgettable. I can't wait to embark on another adventure with them. Highly recommended for anyone craving an enriching Arctic experience aboard a ship that felt like home.

Polar Latitudes Antarctica

Kaustav M.

Ocean Albatros Arctic and Antarctic cruises

Premium

I reached out to Polartours while researching options for an expedition cruise to Antarctica. I was impressed with their prompt and attentive follow-up! Natalya scheduled a video call immediately and while on the call took the time to carefully listen to my family's requirements and constraints. She then came back as promised within two days with a host of options for our consideration. Her follow through was terrific with relevant added details as needed and, of course, gentle reminders on looming deadlines. If the entire Polartours team is like her, you can do a lot worse than reaching out to them to plan out a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Aurora Expeditions Greg Mortimer Antarctic Explorer

Elsa

Ocean Albatros Arctic and Antarctic cruises

Premium

Great holiday (Copied from Swoop Antarctica)

FAQ

When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:

Flying to Antarctica:

  • Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.

  • Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.

Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:

  • Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.

  • Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.

In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.

All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:

  • Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
  • Bird Watching
  • Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
  • Dinghy rides
  • Kayaking
  • Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
  • Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.

All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.

Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:

  • Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
  • Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
  • Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
  • Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
  • Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
  • Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.

In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.

We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!

Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.

Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.

Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.

Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.

Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.

*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.

An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.

Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.

Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.

If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.

Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.

Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
Early Season Antarctica

5.0

(2)

Premium

Price

Upon Request



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