When you’re heading on a voyage to the frozen continent of Antarctica, you want to be sure you’re choosing the best possible ship to suit your needs.

Fortunately, the experienced team at Aurora Expeditions is here to make life a little easier with our list of top things to consider when planning your Antarctic voyage.

1. Size of the ship 

Usually, the first thing a traveller will look for when deciding on a voyage is the number of passengers, or the size of the ship. For some, larger cruise liners can be an attractive option, as they appear to be more sturdy on the open water. However, it’s important to remember that smaller vessels will also have stabilisers to ensure a smoother journey.

When it comes to crossing the Drake Passage you’re likely to experience swells of some kind, no matter how big the ship – it’s all part of the adventure!

Polar Pioneer

2. Landing potential 

Do you envision yourself going ashore, or would you rather enjoy the view from the ship? If you would like to venture ashore on a landing or two, remember that larger ships often won’t be able to offer them as an option. Mid-size ships may also only have limited landing opportunities, due to the max 100 passengers per landing rule.

By opting for a smaller vessel with under 100 passengers, you’ll have more chances to get to the shore. For example, on the Polar Pioneer, we opt for 2-3 landings and Zodiac excursions a day, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with Antarctic wildlife.

3. On board experience 

If you’re looking for a more intimate, less crowded experience where you can get to know your fellow passengers and guides, the size of the ship will play a huge role in this.

4. The view 

Enjoy the view or get up close, it’s up to you. Check to see what facilities are on offer for each particular vessel to see whether they’ll be right for you. Some vessels offer butler service and balconies, while others, like the Polar Pioneer offer a more simple style of accommodation as most of your time will be spent on landings or on the deck taking in the amazing landscapes.

5. Special requests 

If you have particular requirements, from dietary needs to extra help, you’ll need to ensure your chosen vessel is equipped to accommodate this. Checking for child friendly facilities, gluten-free meal options and even whether the bar stocks your favourite beverage are all queries you should make prior to booking.

6. Crew and guides 

When setting out on an Antarctic voyage, you’ll want to know you are in safe hands. Who is manning the ship? Who are your guides and what are their specialities? Have they been to the region before?

Remember to also ask about the crew, as they are just as important as your guides. On the Polar Pioneer, we have an all-Russian crew – they are after all, the ice masters.

Pack Ice in Antarctica

7. Food 

An important factor to take into account, your dining options can vary from one ship to another. Ask yourself whether you’re intent on fine dining, or if you’d be happy to forfeit gourmet cuisine for more homely, but tasty fare. On an Aurora Expeditions voyage, we offer the latter – you are in Antarctica, after all!

8. Cabins

As with our previous point, cabins can also differ significantly depending on your choice of ship. Some may offer gold-plated taps, while others will have simpler decor. When enquiring about the amenities of the accommodation on board, don’t forget to ask if your cabin has a window – we assure you, you won’t want to miss the view outside.

To find out more about what life is like on board the Polar Pioneer, you can check out our Voyage Logs by past passengers. In addition, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team with any questions you may have.


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