Bonus: $295 credit

Book an Antarctica cruise departing in 2020 or later and you'll get $295 toward an add-on adventure option for that journey.

See below for terms & conditions

Antarctica Cruise – Antarctic Explorer

Trip Length 11-12 Days
Group Size Varies by ship
Activity level
Starting from $7,495

Ready to book or looking for more info?

Cruise to this epic destination and the adventures it holds on this classic “Explorer” voyage.

Antarctica is an experience that will transform you. From diverse wildlife to dramatic mountain surroundings, this trip is the ultimate introduction to the White Continent. Our naturalist guides help us understand this unique ecosystem at work. We also have ample time to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of icy waterways, glaciers, bergs and rugged mountains.

We cruise through the silence of Antarctica aboard ice-strengthened vessels, stopping to take multiple shore landings, including a chance to take a bone-chilling polar plunge. We stay on the lookout for the wildlife that call the area home, visiting penguin rookeries and scouting for Humpback and Minke Whales. Enjoy Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore bays, channels and landing sites each day. Explore the impressive Peninsula mountains as we scramble up snowy pathways to a stunning, 360° vantage point. Soak up the crisp Antarctic air on the journey back across the Drake Passage. Reminisce on new memories with new friends made at this bucket list destination.

Also see our Extended Classic Voyage and South Georgia & King Penguins itineraries.

Open trip gallery
See all trip photos

Trip Highlights

  • Cross Antarctica off your bucket list on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage
  • Spot diverse wildlife, from a chinstrap penguin colony to humpback whales
  • Make landfall on several occasions and walk to a fantastic viewpoint
  • Stay aboard a comfortable ship with private cabins and bathrooms

Activities

The trip is rated Easy Active [2]. During most shore landings, trip participants will have the opportunity to walk for short distances (less than 1 mile) while visiting penguin rookeries and exploring the landscape. Dependent on location, walks may involve crossing snowfields or bare, rocky terrain. Individuals prone to motion sickness should carry appropriate remedies as high seas may be encountered while crossing the Drake Passage.

  • Cruising
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping

What's Included

For all ships the trip price includes: shipboard accommodations with daily housekeeping; all meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages while on board; beer and wine during dinner; all shore landings per the daily program (weather permitting); leadership by our experienced Expedition Leader; onboard speakers and presentations as scheduled; downloadable photo journal of the expedition; use of waterproof boots for shore landings; an official Quark parka to keep; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard the ship; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US $500,000 per person.

The trip price also includes one night of pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia; group transfer in Ushuaia from the airport to the pre-expedition hotel on Day 1; a group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia to the airport.

Accommodations

Comfortable cabins with private bathrooms

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Our journey starts in Ushuaia, Argentina.

With a population of over 63,000 people, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. The city has grown over the past few years, yet it has retained an easy going, accessible feel, with dramatic mountain surroundings it is a spectacular departure point for your Antarctic cruise. You can spend some time in the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, enjoy some Argentinean wines and barbeques in the city or visit the many boutique shops and cafes while preparing for your upcoming adventure. This evening meet some of your fellow travelers at the orientation briefing.

Day 2

Embarkation Day! Sail down the historic Beagle Channel.

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel. This historic channel transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of excitement as we depart - the next time you see land we'll be in the world's most southern continent!

Days 3-4

Crossing the Drake Passage, hope for calm waters.

Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, geology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

Days 5-8

Explore South Shetland and Antarctic Peninsula.

The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other—creating a unique, personal experience. Each day, you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. With wildlife always at the forefront of our minds, you will visit penguin rookeries, scout for humpback and minke whales, and search for a number of southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal.

Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy. Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier. Every day will be different, having been carefully crafted by your Expedition Team to inspire and educate you about this wonderful part of the world.

Days 9-10

Return via the Drake Passage to Ushuaia.

The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air. Spend time on the deck watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy a few final presentations by your Expedition Team or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Day 11

Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Today you'll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and your fellow travelers. You'll disembark in the morning so that you may catch your homeward bound flights. Outbound flights should not be scheduled until after noon.

Note: The 12-day itinerary will have one more day exploring the peninsula.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable during this expedition is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Trapped air is a very good insulator and you stand a much better chance of staying warm by wearing several thin layers rather one or two heavy items. You will also be able to add or shed layers more easily as the temperature changes.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Terms & Conditions

  • $295 bonus credit offer: Departures booked for 2020 and later will receive a $295 credit for each traveler to use toward an add-on adventure option on the cruise, like kayaking or camping.
  • Space is limited. Offer valid until trip capacity is reached.
  • Offer only valid for bookings made after Aug 23, 2019.
  • Offer is not transferable and not redeemable for cash.
  • REI Adventures trips are not eligible for the REI member dividend.
  • Not an REI member? Get a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $20 at https://www.rei.com/membership/benefits
  • To order by phone, call 1-800-622-2236 | Mon-Friday | 7am through 5pm PT.