A seal in Antarctica

Flying to Antarctica: A Unique Way to Visit the 7th Continent

Antarctica is an awe-inspiring destination. The frozen continent offers stunning landscapes, epic wildlife and a true sense of wonder.

Penguin in Antarctica

Many feel that visiting Antarctica is out of reach because of its distance, the cost, or the amount of time it takes to reach the seventh continent’s icy shores. Today, there are many options to experience Antarctica, whether you want to explore the continent for a couple of days, a week, or several weeks – there is an option for everyone!

The Ocean Nova in Antarctica

In February I sailed with Antarctica21 on the Ocean Nova which has a capacity for just 67 guests. This ship is charming and offers everything you need to be able to explore the great wilderness of Antarctica. The design is simple but comfortable, and the staff, crew and guides really makes the experience. They are exceptional and left us with memories to last a lifetime. Our server, Joey, who we came to love, knew what we wanted before we even asked. He had great foresight and was always taking care of us and treating us like part of the Ocean Nova family. Aside from the beauty we explored on shore, the relationships we formed on board were a highlight of the experience.

Trekking in Antarctica

Antarctica21 recently launched a more luxurious offering, the Ocean Nova’s sister ship, the Magellan Explorer. The style on this ship is completely different. It’s more modern, spacious and features private balconies for almost every cabin. With capacity for 76 guests your expedition is sure to feel intimate and special. You can certainly expect the same high level of service and guiding on the Magellan Explorer, as service is held as a high priority across the Antarctica21 brand.

Taking pictures in Antarctica

For our trip, we choose Antarctica21’s “Classic Antarctica Air-Cruise” itinerary on the Ocean Nova. The itinerary offers six-day/five-night programs on the continent, with additional nights required in Punta Arenas, Chile before and after the voyage. My family and I were able to do this trip in ten-days (door-to-door) from Minnesota without feeling rushed. In those ten days we also built in an extra night before the cruise, because I always recommend arriving early when embarking on an expedition cruise. (If you arrive late due to a flight cancellation or delay, they cannot wait for you and there is no way to meet up with the flight or the ship after it’s departed.)

Kayaking in Antarctica

Antarctica21 pioneered the fly-cruise expeditions in Antarctica and are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The company specializes in a variety of Antarctic experiences including full cruise itineraries, trips that include South Georgia and the Falklands, and their classic fly-cruise itinerary, which we experienced. They also offer shorter itineraries for those who have Antarctica on their bucket list but are pressed for time. While I always recommend at least 6 days on the continent, this “Antarctica Express” itinerary is a pretty unique offering!

Scenery in Antarctica

Other companies now offer fly-cruise itineraries, but Antarctica21 dedicates their entire season to this model and continues to offer the most departures each year.

When planning a trip to Antarctica there are many things to consider, including the season you visit, length of trip, the operator and the vessel.

Not only is Antarctica a seemingly infinite destination, but there seems to be just as many options to visit the continent. We are here to guide you through the planning process.

Two Travel Beyond passengers in Antarctica