Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Small ship cruises to Antarctica offer the perfect opportunity for wildlife watchers, photographers, and adventurers to get closer to nature in an intimate group.

Introduction To Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Our hand-picked Antarctica small ship cruises offer the smallest group sizes in Antarctica, with a choice of ships carrying between 48 and 130 like-minded guests per voyage. These cruises allow an unprecedented opportunity to explore the white continent in an intimate group size.

A considerable advantage of Antarctica small ship cruises is that you enjoy exploring outdoors. Each ship has enough Zodiacs to simultaneously take all the guests out on a shore landing or Zodiac cruise. Antarctica small ship cruises are ideally suited to guests who want to maximise the expedition experience and ideal for wildlife watchers, photographers, and those who would like to undertake optional activities such as kayaking or polar snorkelling. 

A new range of purpose-built Antarctica small expedition ships offer never-seen-before levels of comfort, adventure and sustainability. The new X Bow design on the latest state-of-the-art ships vastly improves the ship's stability with increased speed, ensuring you spend more time exploring and less time at sea. 

Antarctica small ships have well-appointed cabins with private balconies, unique observation lounges in the bow of the ship, and spacious interiors, and guests can enjoy amenities such as on-deck hot tubs and great dining. 

Not looking for an Antarctica Small ship cruise? Please see our  Antarctica cruises

Best Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Guests looking at Icebergs in Antarctica
Small Ship
Ushuaia - Ushuaia
Feb 4 - Feb 17 2025
13 Nights

Price from per person

whale in Antarctica
Small Ship
Ushuaia - Ushuaia
Dec 10 - Dec 20 2024
10 Nights

Price from per person

King penguins in South Georgia on a cruise
Small Ship
Ushuaia to Ushuaia
Nov 4 - Nov 23 2024
20 Nights

Price from per person


Highlights Of Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Why Visit?


Intimate Wildlife Encounters

Antarctica small ship cruises are perfect for wildlife lovers who want to encounter the continent's wildlife, including penguin rookeries, seals, and seabirds, in a smaller group.


Exploring with Zodiac Cruising

Each small expedition ship is equipped with a fleet of Zodiacs that can accommodate all guests and is used for shore landings and Zodiac cruises led by the guide team of polar experts.


Photography Opportunities

Antarctica offers countless opportunities for photographers from the ship, shore, and Zodiac. Wildlife, glaciers, and icebergs are among favourite subjects.


Intimate Group Size

Enjoy a more profound experience with a limited number of guests and more interaction with guides, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared adventure.


Great For Adventure Activities

Due to their limited group sizes, Antarctica small ship cruises offer the best options for additional adventure activities such as kayaking and polar snorkelling.


Expert Polar Guides

Each expedition is led by a team of expert guides who will take you exploring. Antarctica small ship cruises enjoy the best guide-to-guest ratios for a more personal experience.


State of the Art Small Ships

Enjoy cruising on a new generation of purpose-built specialist small polar expedition ships built around guest comfort, sustainability and the expedition experience.

Getting to our Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Most Antarctica small ship cruises depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, and sail south across the Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea. Ushuaia has daily flight connections to Buenos Aires and international connections to the rest of the world. Flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires are often included in the itinerary. 

For guests who prefer to fly the Drake Passage, Antarctica small ship flights and cruises offer the opportunity to fly from Punta Arenas, Chile, to join a small ship in Antarctica. Punta Arenas is connected by air to Santiago. Often, flights to Punta Arenas from Santiago are included in the itinerary. 

Our Travel Experience Team is here to assist you with your journey. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. To learn about all the different ways to get to Antarctica, including flying, please see our complete guide below.

When To Go On An Antarctica Small Ship Cruise

Antarctica’s small ship cruises operate between November and March during the summer months. This offers the best wildlife-watching opportunities and the warmest temperatures. We offer a wide range of Antarctica small ship cruises each season, with a choice of ships and itineraries to suit any explorer’s interests.

Antarctica Small Ship fly and cruise expeditions have a slightly shorter season and operate between late November and the end of February, as this provides the optimal window for landing in Antarctica.

To learn more about what an Antarctica Small ships cruise offers each month, including wildlife sightings, please see our guide below.

Types of Antarctica Small Ship Cruises

Magellan Explorer small ship Antarctic fly and cruise

Antarctica Small Ship Fly and Cruise Expeditions

For guests who would like to begin their expedition in Antarctica and Skip the Drake Passage, we have a selection of Antarctica fly and cruise expeditions on small ships with just 73 guests per departure for a truly intimate experience.
kayaking in Antarctica

Antarctica Small Ship Adventure Cruises

For guests looking to embark on additional activities, we have a range of Antarctica small ship cruises that offer kayaking, polar snorkelling, camping and extended trekking.

Places To Explore On An Antarctica Small Ship Cruise

Tabular Icebergs in the Weddell Sea on a luxury Antarctica cruise

Weddell Sea Small Ship Cruises

Embark on a small ship cruise and explore the lesser-visited Weddell Sea, famed for its raw nature and giant icebergs.
How To Get To Antarctica people on a shore landing

Antarctic Peninsula Small Ship Cruises

Explore the Antarctic Peninsula in an intimate group on a small ship cruise from Ushuaia in Argentina.
Guests on Zodiacs in the polar circle in Antarctica on a luxury cruise

Polar Circle Small Ship Cruises

Embark on an epic Antarctica small ship cruise to cross the polar circle for the ultimate adventure.
Greg Mortimer small ship in South Georgia

South Georgia Small Ship Cruises

Explore the remote island of South Georgia, famed for its penguin colonies, on a small ship cruise that also visits the Antarctic Peninsula.

Our Recommended Antarctica Small Ships

Ocean Explorer

138 Guests
104 meters
Ocean Explorer is the latest small expedition ship exploring Antarctica, offering exciting cruises to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. With a fleet of Zodiacs that can accommodate all guests simultaneously, Ocean Explorer is the ideal choice for adventurers looking to spend the maximum amount of time exploring. The ship features stylish cabins with verandas, on-deck hot pools, a well-situated observation lounge and an atrium at the bow of the ship.

Sylvia Earle

132 Guests
104 meters
The Sylvia Earle is a state-of-the-art small expedition ship purpose-built for exploring the polar regions. Certified 100% climate neutral, the ship features an X bow that increases the ship's stability and reduces fuel consumption. Onboard guests can enjoy a large atrium in the ship's bow, offering captivating views of Antarctica and comfortable cabins with private balconies. The ship features outstanding amenities with jacuzzis, a sauna with a view and a gym. It is an ideal choice for guests looking for a small ship cruise to Antarctica or guests who would like to participate in activities such as kayaking.

Greg Mortimer

132 Guests
104 meters
The Greg Mortimer is the sister ship of the Sylvia Earle and offers an outstanding small-ship expedition experience in Antarctica. Featuring an X bow, the ship has excellent stability in rougher waters. Unique to this ship is a hydraulic viewing platform that can be extended over the side of the ship, offering photographers a perfect view of Antarctica. Many cabins feature private balconies, and guests can enjoy the jacuzzis, sauna and gym between expedition outings.

Magellan Explorer

76 Guests
90.7 meters
The Magellan Explorer is one of the smallest ships in Antarctica and offers the smallest group size for fly and cruise expeditions. This purpose-built small expedition ship offers surprisingly large, comfortable cabins, many with private verandas. The ship has a stylish interior that features a large observation lounge leading to a viewing area on the ship's bow. It is ideal for guests seeking an intimate fly and cruise experience in a small group.

Plan Your Antarctica Small Ship Cruise

Book Well in Advance: Antarctica small-ship cruises are highly demanded, and the limited choice of ships and dates tends to fill quickly. We recommend reserving your cruise well in advance to secure your chosen ship and cabin.

Choose Your Itinerary: We offer a variety of small expedition ships, itineraries and activities to choose from. Our Travel Experience Team will recommend different options based on your preferences.

Reserve Your Cabin With North Pole Cruises: We will ensure you receive the best price from the operator on your Antarctica small ship cruise at the time of reservation. Our knowledgeable Travel Experience Team will help you choose your trip and answer any questions. We will also provide lots of helpful information, including packing lists, before the voyage and support you during your journey if you have any issues. Moreover, with every booking, we offer peace of mind with 100% financial protection.

Travel Insurance: When booking, purchase comprehensive travel insurance for your Antarctica small ship cruise that covers trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and evacuation from remote locations. Ensure that your policy explicitly covers polar travel.

Frequently Asked Questions

The price of an Antarctica Small Ship Cruise varies depending on several factors, including the ship, the type of cabin and activities you choose, the time of year, and the length of the voyage.

In 2024, a 15-day in-depth small ship exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula on the Greg Mortimer starts from $17,095 per person sharing a twin stateroom and rises to $34,195 per person for the Captain’s Suite.

Small ship fly-and-cruise expeditions to Antarctica in December 2024 onboard Magellan Explorer for an eight-day, seven-night Antarctica Classic Air Cruise start at $15,995 per person for a porthole cabin and rise to $26,995 per person for the spacious penthouse suite.

Our Travel Experience Team is here to help you plan your Antarctica small ship cruise and will offer free obligation advice to help you choose a ship and voyage that aligns with your interests. We advise contacting us to find the best prices for your Antarctica small ship cruise.

Yes, we offer no single supplement on selected Antarctica small ship cruises, but these are in high demand due to the fewer cabins onboard. If you are a solo traveller, we recommend contacting our Travel Experience Team to access the best offers for solo travellers.

Antarctica small ship cruises offer the most diverse range of activities of any ship operating in Antarctica. Included in your cruise are zodiac rides, shore landings and hikes with the expedition team, onboard lectures, and a polar plunge if the opportunity arises.

Several optional activities are available on selected departures, including camping, kayaking, trekking and paddleboarding. 

If a particular activity interests you, please contact our Travel Experience Team. They will happily recommend different ships and itineraries based on your preferences.

Financial security is paramount for our clients, so all bookings made through North Pole Cruises include 100% financial protection. We also include supplier failure insurance free of charge for extra peace of mind. This ensures you have the very best protection on your booking. 

When reserving your chosen itinerary, the payment options will be quoted.

Typical payment terms are a 25% deposit when booking to reserve your cabin and the final balance payable 90 days before departure. 

We accept payment via credit card or bank transfer.

Do you need help planning your expedition cruise?

Why Reserve With Us?

Join Us

Subscribe to be the first to know about new voyages, exclusive offers and insider travel tips.

North Pole Cruises – a brand by the Expedition Collective Limited

© 2024 The Expedition Collective

Ask A Question

Do you have a question for our knowledgeable Travel Experience Team? We’re all ears! Just fill out this form, and we will be in touch shortly to answer your question.

Call Us

USA & Canada

Your Guide To Exploring The Polar Regions

Subscribe to be the first to know about new voyages, exclusive offers and insider travel tips.