Your journey to the Seventh Continent will begin at the very bottom of South America, from where you will set sail across the Drake Passage or fly over it, whatever your time or inclination affords. Itineraries vary in size and scope and destination, but award-winning cruise lines such as Seabourn Expeditions, Silversea and Scenic have a travel plan for every luxury adventurer.
In the South Atlantic, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) is home to abundant bird life and a few farms, along with the tiny capital of Stanley. Further east in the archipelago of South Georgia, albatrosses and petrels will guide the ship toward beaches teeming with king penguins and harems of elephant seals. You can also visit the graveside of famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
On the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands, there are glistening glaciers, penguin rookeries and abandoned whaling stations to explore, on foot or by kayak, in places like Port Lockroy and Deception Island. The Antarctic archipelago has more than its share of wildlife. You can get very close to different kinds of penguins and seals, and will soon be able to tell them apart. You will also witness birds flying alongside the ship, nesting in crags in the rocks or feasting on crustaceans along the shore – blue-eyed shags, Antarctic terns, brown skuas, snowy sheathbills and numerous varieties of petrels.
And despite being thought of as a big deep freeze, Antarctica has temperatures that hover around 30 degrees Fahrenheit during the day if you go in the “summer,” which begins in early December. Why, you barely even need a hat.