As the number of travellers cruising to Antarctica swells, polar expedition companies are launching sustainable vessels designed for these bucket-list trips.
According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, approximately 56000 tourists visited Antarctica in the 2018-2019 season, a 53% increase from the 2014-2015 season. “Climate change is a chief reason for the increased interest in visiting Antarctica,” said Mary Curry, a small ship cruise specialist and travel planner at Adventure Life. “We truly don’t know if the region will ever be as magnificent as it is now. Antarctica itineraries often sell out one or two years in advance, so travellers should be prepared to book early.”
Interested in seeing the southernmost continent? Here’s a round-up of some of the tour operators planning itineraries for this year and next:
In November, Antarctica21 debuted the world’s first vessel purpose-built for Antarctic tourism: the 73-passenger Magellan Explorer, equipped with ice-detecting radar technology, a heat recycling system and a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats. A forward-facing observation deck and glass-enclosed lounge offer prime wildlife viewing, while designer guest rooms feature balconies.