Extreme Antarctica: 7 of the most exciting expeditions in 2023

Travel Advice

Setting foot on the seventh continent is a polar achievement that relatively few people experience in their lifetime.

Even more rare are the milestones of sailing the Weddell Sea, travelling beyond the Antarctic Circle and, perhaps most adventurous of all, semi-circumnavigating the continent. As expedition vessels have become more advanced and operators vie to entice travellers on ever more exciting sailings, we're seeing more and more unusual itineraries that travel further and push the boundaries of expedition cruising.

Perhaps the most stand-out of these extreme itineraries is an epic semi-circumnavigation of the Antarctic Continent on board the 245-guest Le Commandant Charcot which, with its unrivalled ice-breaking capability, offers the widest range of unusual itineraries designed to travel to areas unreachable for other ice-strengthened vessels. Departing from Ushuaia on the 16th January 2023, a 28-night cruise takes you to barely explored regions of the Ross, Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, visiting land so remote that even today it remains terra nullius, unclaimed by any sovereign nation, eventually finishing your voyage in Dunedin on New Zealand's scenic South Island.

Ponant - Le Commandant Charcot

Scenic have recently released details of their 2023/2024 Antarctica season, which will see their second discovery yacht, the Scenic Eclipse II, join the stylish 228-guest Scenic Eclipse with an expanded range of itineraries. In December 2023 two new sailings venture into the rarely visited Weddell Sea and explore the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, offering one of the most pioneering Antarctic voyages available from the luxury operator.

Scenic Eclipse in Antarctica

Aurora Expeditions are also maximising the capabilities of their advanced ships, with the 132-guest Sylvia Earle embarking on a comprehensive exploration of the region. Departing Ushuaia in March 2023, when the ice conditions are at their most favourable, a 21-night voyage includes the beaches of South Georgia, renowned for their incredible wildlife, the Falklands, the Antarctic Peninsula, and a crossing of the Antarctic Circle. Attempting a similar journey, Hapag-Lloyd's 230-guest Hanseatic Inspiration will sail from Ushuaia on 9th February 2023 on a 19-night voyage.

Aurora Expeditions - Greg Mortimer in Antarctica

If your sole focus is to travel beyond 66°33' S and cross the iconic Antarctic Circle then Quark Expeditions' new 199-guest vessel Ultramarine aims to do just that on a 12-night sailing departing Ushuaia on 7th January 2023, which also includes exploring the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Another opportunity to travel beyond the Antarctic Circle is with Silversea's much loved 144-guest Silver Explorer before she leaves the Silversea fleet in September 2023. A pioneer of luxury expedition cruises, Silver Explorer has been delivering exceptional discovery itineraries since joining the fleet and establishing Silversea as one of the world's first luxury expedition operators.

Silversea - Silver Explorer in the Antarctic

Refurbished in 2018, the ship has never looked better, and on 12th February 2023 will depart Puerto Williams on a 20-night 'Deep South Expedition' to parts of Antarctica rarely seen, accompanied by a team of experts, on a journey designed to reinvent your idea of travel.

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Our expedition cruising guide to Antarctica will tell you everything you need to know, including when to visit, what to see and how to get there.

Alex Loizou
Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Adventures

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