ANTARCTICA SHIPS

FINDING THE RIGHT CRUISE SHIP

Booking an Antarctica cruise is a major investment and decision. Therefore, getting the right experience that suits you is hugely important.

For the majority of your cruise you will be aboard your Antarctica ship, this means that choosing the right Antarctica cruise ship will be one of the most important decisions you make when considering your Antarctica cruise.

There are almost 30 Antarctica cruise ships sailing each season. This fact often overwhelms prospective travellers.

To make the choices a little easier we have laid out all the Antarctica cruise ships below and set them out into three categories: Luxury Antarctica Cruise Ships, Expedition Antarctica Ships, Research Vessels.

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Types of Antarctica Ships

The type of Antarctica ship you choose will very much depend on your budget and type of experience you’re looking to book.

Research vessels are obviously less expensive, however, many people believe these ships give you a better experience as they’re generally smaller which means more landings and less queues. This in turn means more wildlife viewing and photo opportunities.

Luxury Antarctica ships are generally bigger, more spacious and have far more facilities such as fitness centers, spa and Jacuzzi, restaurant options and large sun-decks. There will be more people on board though and you will need to take into account that only 100 people can be ashore at one time. Luxury Antarctica ships are also the most expensive for obvious reasons.

Expedition ships often provide a compromise between the two. Often quite small to give travelers the best landing experiences, expedition ships are packed with facilities, deck space and optional activities such as camping and kayaking. Although not as luxurious or well-appointed as the luxury Antarctica ships, expedition ships do pack a punch and often provide full media lecture rooms, wellness centers and fully stocked libraries.

Another important issue to consider is how well you cope with ship movement. Some Antarctica cruise ships are ice-strengthened and fully stabilized whilst some are not. People who suffer from sea sickness should definitely take this into consideration.

To read more information on choosing the right Antarctica cruise ship, please click here. To see our Antarctica itineraries page please click here.

Luxury Antarctica Cruise Ships

This luxury vessel accommodates 168 passengers and is one of the most state of the art Antarctica cruise ships out there!

Fully stabilized and equipped with a Spa Therapist and Wellness Specialist, the National Geographic is a favorite among many.

All 81 cabins have window facing views and there is lots of deck space to wander about in comfort.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 148
  • Cabins : 81
  • Beam : 54
  • Length : 367

Facilities

  • Two Restaurant, Bar, Lounge, several Sun Decks, Observation lounge, Gym, Sauna, Library, Business Center with wifi access, Gift Shop, Mud room and lockers, Elevator, Laundry and Open Bridge

Equipment

  • Zodiacs, Remotely operated vehicle (R.O.V.) Kayaks, Snorkelling gear, Splash-Camera, Underwater video cameras, Video microscope

​Slightly smaller than its larger Explorer brother, the Orion is very well appointed, cozy and elegant.

The ship houses 102 passengers and comes equipped with a outdoor cafe, spa facility, library and dining rooms. Probably one of the most comfortable Antarctica cruise ships, the Orion is always highly recommended.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 102
  • Cabins : 53
  • Beam : 47
  • Length : ​338

Facilities

  • ​Gymnasium and Health Spa, Sun Deck with Outdoor Bar and Jacuzzi, Large Lecture Theatre, Hospital and Infirmary, Library with wifi Access, Lounge and Outdoor Cafe, Restaurant, Mud Room, Boutique and Salon, Glass Elevator

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, Remotely operated vehicle (R.O.V.), Snorkeling gear, Splash-Camera, Underwater video cameras, Video microscope

​Le Boreal

​​One of the more luxurious Antarctica cruise ships, the Le Boreal accommodates just under 200 passengers and comes with several restaurants, several lounges, salon, spa, steam room and gym.

The decor is modern and stylish and the ship even comes with an elevator! Expect large open deck space and well appointed cabins on this luxury Antarctica vessel.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 199
  • Cabins : 132
  • Beam : 59
  • Length : ​466

Facilities

  • ​Two Restaurant, Panoramic Lounge and Terrace, Theater, Library, Three Bars, Fitness Center, Salon, Spa, Steam Room, Wireless Internet, Three Elevators, 24-hour Room Services, Pool

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

​Le Lyrial

​​The French Connection! The Le Lyrial is very similar to its sister ship – the Le Boreal. Incredibly luxurious for an Antarctica ship, the Le Lyrial is equipped to house 199 passengers and provides excellent deck space and seating areas throughout the ship.

The vessel has a spa, sauna, gym, several restaurants and lounges, lecture theater and extensive library. There is often far more non-English speaking guests on board.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 199
  • Cabins : 132
  • Beam : 59
  • Length : ​466

Facilities

  • ​Two Restaurant, Panoramic Lounge and Terrace, Library, Theater, Three Bars, Fitness Center, Salon, Spa, Steam Room, Wireless Internet, Three Elevators, 24-hour Room Services, Pool

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Dynamic Positioning System

​Silver Exolorer

​​Probably the most luxurious ship in the Polar Regions. The Silver Explorer takes only 132 passengers, but boasts facilities of a much larger luxury vessel.

Facilities include a spacious library, fitness center, full-service spa, boutique shopping, beauty salon, Internet Cafe, sauna and two top-deck Jacuzzi’s! The ship also boasts 8 zodiacs so no one ever has to wait for landings! If you can afford this cruise, this is a very cool ship.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 132
  • Cabins : 65
  • Beam : 52
  • Length : ​354

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Two Lounges, Large Lecture Hall, Library with wifi Cafe, Open Bridge, Boutique, Full-Service Spa, Beauty Salon, Gym, Sauna, two Jacuzzis, Medical Center, WiFi

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

​​In June 2016, this 116 passenger Antarctica ship underwent a multi-million dollar restoration project to bring the vessel into the modern age – and it worked.

The Hebridean Sky now has state of the art stabilization, fuel efficiency and communications system. The ship is perfect for people looking for a feel of camaraderie, similar perhaps to a yacht experience.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 114
  • Cabins : 58
  • Beam : 50
  • Length : ​297

Facilities

  • ​Library (with Internet access), Lounge with Live Entertainment, Dining Room, Gym, Beauty Salon, Medical Facilities, Wraparound Sun Deck, Bar, Elevator

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

​​Carrying 450 passengers, the Seabourn Quest is unquestionably the largest cruise ship in the Antarctic region and arguably the most luxurious Antarctica ship.

The vessel has been described as “a game-changer for the luxury segment” and the dining experience is said to be as good as top restaurants offer. Glittering chandeliers, spa treatments and cafes await guests on this huge luxury ship!

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 450
  • Cabins : 247
  • Beam : 84
  • Length : ​650

Facilities

  • ​Atrium, Boutique, Casino, Grand Salon, Gym/Fitness Studio, Observation Bar, Patio, Pool, 4 Restaurants, Sky Bar, Spa, Whirlpools, Basic Nurse Station

Equipment

  • ​Stabilizers, Zodiacs, Kayaks (including 8 doubles)

​Silver Cloud

​​Carrying just 200 passengers, the Silver Cloud is the smallest luxurious ship in Antarctica. Interior is modern and deck space in large.

There are five dining options, including a Relais & Châteaux restaurant! The ships has a number of shops, internet cafes and panorama lounges. If you need to unwind then the full spa facility will do just that.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 200
  • Crew : 222
  • Beam : 70
  • Length : ​540

Facilities

  • ​Five Dining Options, Bar, Panoramic Lounge, Internet Cafe, Boutique, Salon and Spa, Casino, Two-Story Show Lounge and Lecture Theater, two Jacuzzis, Pool, Fitness Center, Onboard Doctor

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, WiFi, Elevator, Stabilizers

​​Carrying 500 passengers, the Midnatsol is one of the largest Antarctica ships. Decked out with nice pieces of modern art, the Midnatsol has a bight and colorful feel to it.

Natural light is everywhere and the main lounge is a two-story room with front facing panoramic views! Decked out with a Young Explorers Program, the Midnatsol is incredibly family friendly.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 500
  • Cabins : 278
  • Beam : 71
  • Length : ​445

Facilities

  • ​Two-story Panoramic Lounge, Restaurant, Separate a la carte dining, several Bars, Cafe, Library, Playroom, Sauna, Boutique, Jacuzzi, Fitness Room, Lecture Theater, Onboard Science Center, Physican on board

Equipment

  • ​Stabilizers, Kayaks, Polarcirkel Boats, Zodiacs

​​Named after the ship used by Norwegian Explorer Fridtjof Nansen, the Fram was purpose built for Polar cruises in 2009 and is one of the largest Antarctica ships with space for 269 passengers! Items from the original Fram are located around the ship which makes for a lovely bit of history.

As can be expected from a ship this size, the Fram offers several Jacuzzi’s, a gym, several restaurants and lounges and full spa facility.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 254
  • Cabins : 127
  • Beam : 66
  • Length : ​374

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Elevator, Observation Lounge, Bar, Sun Deck, Two Jacuzzis, Sauna, Gym, Gift Shop, Bistro, Two Lecture Halls, Library, Laundry Service, Onboard Doctor

Equipment

  • ​Polarcirkel Boats for landings, Stabilizers

Get a Cruise Quote!

Antarctica Guide do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

Epedition Antarctica Cruise Ships

​Ocean Diamond

​​​One of the more modern Antarctica ships in the region, the Ocean Diamond is a classy vessel that offers space for 189 passengers.

The ship is equipped with a several bars, polar library, wellness program, theater-style auditorium and gym. Rooms are comfortable and fairly spacious and the deck area is large and perfect for viewing landscapes.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 189
  • Cabins : 101
  • Beam : 52
  • Length : ​406

Facilities

  • ​Theater-style Auditorium, Restaurant, Bar, Polar Library, Gym, Spa, Clinic with licensed doctor, Gift Shop, Elevator

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, Adventure Equipment, Trekking Poles

​Ocean Endeavour

​​​One of the larger expedition ships in Antarctic waters, the Ocean Endeavour can accommodate up to 199 passengers. Ideally equipped for polar sailing and passenger comfort, the Endeavour comes with a full ice-strengthened hull, spacious restaurant, large sundeck and several large lounges!

The sauna, gym, juice bar and many zodiacs make the Endeavour one of our favorites.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 199
  • Crew : 124
  • ​Speed : 15
  • Length : ​449

Facilities

  • ​Restaurant, Lounges (2), Library, Gym, Sauna, Pool, Jacuzzi, Wellness Cafe, Lecture Theater, Boutique, Spa Services

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards (for an additional charge)

​Sea Spirit

​​​With only 116 passengers, the Sea Spirit is one of the smaller Expedition style vessels in Antarctica. However, the ship has a cozy and friendly feel because of this and the lounges are very spacious and the library is well stocked.

The outside deck area comes with a hot tub and area to serve bistro meals in fair weather. Perfect and intimate vessel for Antarctica.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 116
  • Cabins : 54
  • Beam : 50
  • Length : ​295

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Two Lounges, Bistro, Library, Gym, Hot Tub, Elevator, Internet, Access Clinic/Doctor

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, Stabilizers

​​​This small Antarctica expedition ship carries a 132 passengers and was completely refurbished in 2009. Thanks to the refurbishment, the cabins are all large and very well appointed, each one being window facing!

Deck space is large and ideal for wildlife viewing whilst the interior of the ship is comfortable and cozy. Much of the common space has large windows for ideal landscape viewing.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 132
  • Crew : 53
  • ​Draft : 14
  • Length : ​345

Facilities

  • ​Observation Decks, Lounge, Fine Dining, Pub, Gift Shop, Medical Clinic, Library, Computer Room, Gym, Sauna

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks

​​​One of the smallest expedition ships in Antarctica, the Island Sky is the perfect vessel for wildlife watching. Equipped with 11 zodiacs and excellent deck space, you’ll never miss a thing. The interior is elegant and the facilities are excellent.

All cabins are outward facing and come with private en suite bathrooms.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 110
  • Cabins : 54
  • Beam : 50
  • Length : ​297

Facilities

  • ​Bar, Elevator, Internet, Library, Fitness Center, Wifi, On board Doctor

Equipment

  • ​11 Zodiacs

Ocean Adventurer

The Ocean adventurer houses 132 passengers and was purpose built for Antarctica cruises. This fact can be seen throughout the ship – the cabins are all window facing and the large lounge, library and dining room are all completely lined in glass so you never miss a single moment!

Food is excellent and the staff are very friendly. Deck space is plentiful and there are several zodiacs for frequent shore landings.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 132
  • Cabins : 57
  • Beam : 54
  • Length : ​330

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Bar, Library, Clinic with doctor, Observation Lounge, Exercise Room

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, Internet

​Ocean Nova (Express Itinerary)

​​​One of the smaller vessels in the region, the Ocean Nova carries only 48 passengers. This gives the ship are very cozy and nice family feel to it. The Ocean Nova offers outside cabins, a presentation room, nice bar, spacious dining room, gym and a comfortable library.

The forward facing lounge is enclosed in glass for stunning landscape views. The Ocean Nova is generally used for the express itineraries.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 68
  • Cabins : 37
  • Beam : 36
  • Length : ​239

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Presentation Room, Bar, Lounge, Glass-enclosed Observation Lounge, Library, Gym, Clinic with Doctor

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

Get a Cruise Quote!

Antarctica Guide do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

​Research-Style Cruise Ships

​​​The Ortelius is an ice-strengthened vessel ideally designed for adventure cruises to the Polar regions. The Ortelius accommodates 116 passengers and has basic, but comfortable and cozy accommodation.

The ship facilities include two dining rooms, a lecture theater room, a bar and a good amount of deck space.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 116
  • Cabins : 53
  • Beam : 57
  • Length : ​299

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Bar and Lounge, Presentation Room

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, (Helicopter Weddell Sea itineraries only)

​​​With stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this Antarctica ship is one of the steadiest out there! Very well equipped and spacious, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov holds 92 passengers and offers a nice modern feel.

The interior and exterior spaces are large and the vessel facilities include a separate lounge, bar, sauna, plunge pool and library.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 92
  • Crew : 62
  • Beam : 60
  • Length : ​384

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Presentation Room, Bar/Lounge, Library, Sauna, Spa, Gym, Multimedia Center with computer and printer

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Sea Kayaks, Camping Equipment

​​​This 96 passenger Antarctica ship is one the strongest in the water and comes with stabilizers and ice-strengthened hull.

Fully equipped with a nice modern feel, the Akademik Ioffe offers a complete lecture theater and wellness program – including yoga instruction (only on select departures), registered massage therapist, sauna, daily meditation, hot water spa and a refreshing salt-water plunge pool!

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 96
  • Crew : 63
  • Beam : 60
  • Length : ​384

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Bar/Lounge, Library, Gift Shop, Sauna, Hot Tub, Presentation Room, Gym, Multimedia Center with computer and printer, Massage Room

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Sea Kayaks

​​​One of the larger research vessels in Antarctica, the Plancius can hold up to 116 passengers and is fully ice-strengthened for those extreme Polar regions! The ship has a very comfortable feel to it and there is tons of deck space to wander around.

The bar has large panoramic views across the sea and the observation lounge also doubles as a presentation room.  A basic, but tough and cozy ship with great views all around.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 116
  • Cabins : 53
  • Beam : 47
  • Length : ​293

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Observation Lounge, Presentation Room, Bar

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks, Snowshoes, Camping Gear

​Polar Pioneer

​​​One of the smallest Antarctica ships in the region, the Polar Pioneer research vessel can hold up to 56 passengers. This doesn’t stop the small ship from packing quite a punch though and on board facilities include a bar, library, sauna, lounge, dining room and lecture room.

Its small size allows it to make landings where other ships can’t – this is often more important than luxury!

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 54
  • Cabins : 29
  • Beam : 50
  • Length : ​235

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Library, Lecture Room, Lounge, Bar, Clinic, Sauna

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs, Kayaks (select itineraries)

​​​​The Spirit of Enderby carries 50 passengers and is well designed for adventure cruising to remote regions. With an ice-strengthened hull, the vessel is both cozy and comfortable and offers excellent catering.

During the off-season, the Spirit of Enderby is generally used for Oceanographic Research work.


Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 50
  • ​Speed : 12
  • ​Voltage : 220V
  • Length : ​236

Facilities

  • ​Two Dining Halls, Bar/Lounge and Infirmary

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

​​​The Akademik Shokalskiy ship is a fully ice-strengthened vessel designed for Polar oceanographic work. The ship carries 48 passengers and since becoming an Antarctic cruise vessel has undergone complete refurbishment.

Because of this the Akademik Shokalskiy is very well equipped for a research vessel and comes with a lounge/bar, library, lecture room and sauna. The ship has a lovely research feel about it that suits many people.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 48
  • Cabins : 28
  • Beam : 56
  • Length : ​236

Facilities

  • ​Bar, Library, Lounge, Lecture Room

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

​​​The Ushuaia is one the most respected vessels in the Polar region and well up to the task of the Weddell Sea! Ice-strengthened and originally built for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the boat has now been refurbished to accommodate 88 passengers and nearly 50 suites!

Large deck space, open bridge policy, open plan lounge and full media lecture room make this one the most popular vessels.

Specifications

  • Ship Type: Luxury Expedition Ship
  • Passengers: 88
  • Cabins : 46
  • Beam : 51
  • Length : ​278

Facilities

  • ​Dining Room, Observation Lounge/Lecture Room, Panorama Deck, Bar, Library, Gift Shop, Infirmary

Equipment

  • ​Zodiacs

Get a Cruise Quote!

Antarctica Guide do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote with our recommended specialist please complete the form.

quote-left

Great recommendation, thanks!

Mark W

USA

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you’ve enjoyed this page. If you have any further questions about choosing the right Antarctica ship, please just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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