While Antarctica is an epic destination for adventure travelers, most visitors never fully experience this pristine polar realm. The majority travel via cruise ship, often with more than a hundred other passengers. And while such voyages generally include shore excursions and Zodiac outings, there’s still a level of buffering from the elements, from silence and solitude, that define an authentic encounter with this incomparable polar wilderness. That’s why we’ve created a different kind of Antarctica expedition – one that immerses you completely in the magic of the White Continent.
- An Exclusive Itinerary — No One Else Offers This Trip
Natural Habitat Expeditions is the only company to offer this unique sailboat-based adventure. While others cross the Drake Passage via cruise ship, we do it like the legendary explorers of old did – on an authentic sailing vessel! Except our modern sailboat has an ice-strengthened steel hull and state-of-the-art navigation and safety equipment, ensuring that our thrilling voyage is also a much safer one than expeditioners endured a century ago.
- A Small-Group Wilderness Immersion
We take a maximum of just 7 travelers. Most Antarctica cruise ships carry from 50 to 150 passengers and sometimes more. On such voyages, you’re in the most remote place on the planet, yet you never get a break from the presence of many traveling companions, nor the noise of the ship. Our small-scale journey ensures a profound sense of solitude and quiet, which are ironically rare commodities on most Antarctica journeys!
- More Time Ashore…Alone
Typical ship-based Antarctica voyages generally spend 5-7 days making shore excursions on the Antarctic Peninsula. On our sailing expedition you'll have 8-12 days (depending on weather) to explore remote coves, beaches and icebound headlands, often on our own away from the crowds that are inevitable with larger ships.
- A World-Class Skipper & Crew
We've scoured the globe to find the premier vessel, skipper and crew for this extraordinary expedition. You can rest assured that you'll be in the hands of preeminently qualified mariners as we cross the Drake Passage and navigate the polar waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our skipper, Ben Wallis, has been around or on boats since before he could walk. By the age of 16 he had sailed in the prestigious Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, sparking his interest in Southern Ocean sailing. In 1997 at age 18, Ben began crewing on yachts in Antarctica alongside his father, a seasoned skipper in these waters. Since then he has worked his way up to skippering the 75-foot Australis, operating in both the Arctic & Antarctic polar regions for approximately eight months each year. Ben holds multiple certifications for offshore safety and sea survival training and guides a crew that is also exceedingly experienced in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.
- Exclusive Camping Opportunities
While some ships offer a chance for a single night’s camping on the ice, it happens in the company of up to 50 or 60 or more fellow travelers – not exactly the feel of a remote wilderness experience. Plus, these groups must arrive after dinner and be out by 5:30 am, without a chance to cook or really settle in for a camping experience on the ice. It's really just quick chance to sleep in the vicinity of many other fellow travelers. We, however, hold special permits from the National Science Foundation that allow us to spend up to six nights camping ashore (weather permitting), in locations far from any other human presence. When we camp, it’s just us and the penguins and seals. While camping is optional, it’s usually a major highlight of our travelers’ experience.
- Extended Hiking Ashore for a True Wilderness Encounter
Most visitors who travel to Antarctica aboard larger ships go ashore and essentially stand on the beach, perhaps walking a short distance in large groups. While even this opportunity can be exciting, often among multitudes of penguins, it pales in comparison to the chance to really explore away from the crowds. Our small group is able to hike farther, by ourselves, in the utter, vast, pristine silence of the polar world. This is a genuine wilderness experience, and it isn't available on other itineraries.
- Guided Small-Group Kayaking Excursions
Optional opportunities for kayaking are included as you are accompanied by our experienced Expedition Leader on exciting short excursions. We explore the shoreline in very small groups (no more than four people at a time) to ensure the quietest and most intimate wildlife encounters. (Kayak outings from larger ships often include groups of 20 or more.) Also, in such small groups you can also receive more personalized attention from our Expedition Leader to help you improve your paddling skills quickly and efficiently.
- The Best Expeditionary Equipment
As part of our unwavering commitment to safety and comfort, we use the best and most up-to-date equipment available on the market, including top-quality safety and survival gear, tents, kayaks and camping equipment. Our gear is meticulously maintained, reducing the chance for unexpected mishaps as we travel.
- Highly Personalized Guiding
While most Antarctica ship operators travel with onboard experts from naturalists to polar historians, few guests have a chance to interact with them personally. Most are consigned to attending lectures in the ship's lounge, rather than traveling with them side by side, asking myriad questions, and developing the kind of friendship that typically accompanies any shared genuine adventure. In contrast, our naturalist Expedition Leader provides a level of personalized service you just won't find on other Antarctica trips. With tremendous depth of knowledge and experience in the southern polar realm, as well as training and resources from WWF’s renowned scientists, our guide embodies why we hold a global reputation for hiring the very best! See Expedition Leader bios with traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Antarctica Expedition
With Natural Habitat Expeditions, you receive our exclusive quality & value guarantee, clearly stating that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and on this adventure you can travel knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset — Natural Habitat is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
- Natural Habitat is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our worldwide adventures, we have been chosen by World Wildlife Fund – the world's leading environmental conservation organization – as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Antarctica: The Ultimate Polar Nature Expedition adventure travel books
for this trip.