With autumn in full swing in the United Kingdom, the expedition cruise season kicks into effect in Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere. Expedition cruising is one of the most unique ways to explore the world, allowing passengers to get up close and personal with incredible and remote destinations in a way which respects the local landscape and people. Here are three brand new expedition cruises in the Southern Hemisphere with upcoming departures.




Polar Routes, a British polar expedition cruise specialist, is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience Antarctica more intimately and deeply on its exclusively chartered ‘Ultimate Antarctic Expedition’. The small expedition ship MV Polar Pioneer is newly refurbished and carries just 53 passengers – almost half the size of the next closest equivalent ship – enabling it to visit parts of Antarctica other ships cannot reach. Charismatic broadcaster, environmental historian and award-winning author with extensive polar experience, Dr Huw Lewis-Jones, will lead the group and with five zodiacs on board, every full expedition day will have two extensive off-ship excursions (weather permitting).

Combining unrivalled passion with knowledge and many years of experience, Polar Routes’ ‘Ultimate Antarctic Expedition Cruise’ will sail for 23 incredible days between 21 January and 12 February 2025 exploring the very best of Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands. Guests will be able to spot wildlife including whales, penguins, elephant seals and albatross, as well as follow in the footsteps of the heroic explorer Ernest Shackleton to Elephant Island, located in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands.


The Ultimate Antarctic Expedition departs on 21 January 2025. Prices are from £14,999pp in a shared cabin.




British cruise specialist Swan Hellenic’s new 20-night expedition itinerary is a spectacular semi-circumnavigation cruise which crosses the South Atlantic from Africa to Latin America. Passengers will live aboard the SH Diana, the largest expedition ship in Swan Hellenic’s fleet with 192 guests spread across 96 spacious 5-star suites. The 125-metre boat, which only joined the cruise line earlier this year, is also equipped with two tenders which provide guests an alternative to Zodiacs for expedition landings, and a Polar Class 6 ice-strengthened hull to ensure stability and comfort through choppy polar waters.

Highlights of the itinerary include spending time with at least five species of penguin, paying homage to legendary British explorer Ernest Shackleton at his resting place on the island of South Georgia, and hiking on Gough Island, one of the largest seabird colonies in the world. A team of expedition experts accompany guests throughout the voyage to ensure passengers learn as much as possible about the biodiverse islands of the Southern Atlantic.


The Africa to America Antarctic Epic departs on 21 November 2023. Prices are from £12,985pp.




French cruise line Ponant’s signature blend of luxury and adventure is exhibited in their new 30-day expedition to Antarctica. In collaboration with Explorers Club, a society dedicated to promoting scientific exploration, the cruise will give passengers the opportunity to learn about the effects of climate change on the Antarctic ecosystem while onboard a luxurious ship, Le Commandant Charcot. The state-of-the-art icebreaker is the latest addition to the Ponant fleet and is equipped with two restaurants and a spa. The ship, with a capacity of up to 245 guests, is also the World’s Only Luxury Icebreaker powered by liquefied natural gas.

The ambitious half-circumnavigation of the globe sets sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, and crosses the entire Antarctic circle before reaching its final port of call in New Zealand. Passengers will be taken on an epic adventure to the boundaries of the known world: passing wonders such as the Ross Sea, the world’s largest protected marine area; and Mount Erebus, the highest volcano in Antarctica.


The Unexplored Antarctica between Two Continents departs on 7 January 2025. Prices are from £37,340 per person based on two sharing a prestige stateroom (deck 7).


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