Antartica21 Cruises Review: Cruise Ship Guide, Itineraries, Bookings & Deals

Antarctica21 stands as a beacon of exploration, offering discerning travelers the opportunity to embark on unforgettable expeditions to the pristine and remote wilderness of Antarctica. With a fleet of specialized expedition ships, Antarctica21 is committed to providing guests with an unparalleled experience, combining luxury, adventure, and conservation in equal measure. The heart of the Antarctica21 experience lies in its fleet of expedition ships, meticulously designed and outfitted to navigate the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula with ease and comfort. From the sleek and modern Magellan Explorer to the intimate and luxurious Hebridean Sky, each vessel offers guests a unique and immersive way to explore the wonders of Antarctica.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Fly & Sail Expeditions: Antarctica21 offers boutique wilderness adventures to Antarctica and beyond. Their unique expeditions combine flights over the Drake Passage with cruise experiences, allowing guests to reach Antarctica quickly and explore its icy landscapes.
  2. Small Ship Experience: Travelers sail on small ships, which provide an intimate and personalized journey. These vessels allow ample time for exploration in remote destinations.
  3. Ocean Nova: A sturdy and nimble ship designed for ice-choked waters, Ocean Nova is well-suited for Antarctic expeditions.
  4. Magellan Explorer: Custom-built for Antarctic air-cruises, the Magellan Explorer features modern design and innovative technologies. (See Our full Review)
  5. Explorers House: Antarctica21 recently opened a private members club called Explorers House in Punta Arenas, Chilean Patagonia. It serves as a gateway to Antarctica and offers exclusive amenities.
  6. Forbes Recognition: Forbes highlighted Antarctica21’s new private club and its significance as a base for Antarctic exploration.
  7. Magellan Discoverer: Scheduled to join the fleet in the 2026-2027 Antarctic season, this new expedition cruise ship is exclusively designed for Antarctic exploration.
  8. Antarctica Cruise Reviews: Travelers can find updated ratings and reviews of cruises to Antarctica, including those operated by Antarctica21.
  9. Flight and Cruise Combo: Guests can save up to $2,000 USD per person on select Classic Antarctica air-cruise departures, making it a popular choice for expeditions.
  10. Breathtaking Landscapes: Whether flying over the Drake Passage or exploring the 7th Continent, Antarctica21’s expeditions promise awe-inspiring views and unforgettable experiences.

Antarctica21, a company synonymous with Antarctic exploration cruises, boasts a rich history intertwined with the evolution of its expedition ships. Here’s a glimpse into this legacy:

Early Endeavors (1990s-2000s):

  • Humble Beginnings: Antarctica21’s story starts in the 1990s with small, chartered vessels. These ships, often Zodiac inflatable boats or research vessels, prioritized safety and functionality for navigating the often-harsh Antarctic waters. Their focus was on providing access to remote areas for scientific research and exploration.
  • Commitment to Sustainability: From the very beginning, Antarctica21 placed a strong emphasis on sustainable travel practices. The small size of the early vessels helped minimize impact on the fragile Antarctic environment.

Evolving for Exploration (2000s-2010s):

  • Expanding Horizons: As interest in Antarctic exploration grew, Antarctica21 began operating mid-sized expedition ships. These vessels, like the MV Explorer (launched in 2003), offered improved passenger amenities and capabilities for exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Features like Zodiac landing crafts and on-board lecture halls by polar experts enhanced the guest experience.
  • Focus on Education: Antarctica21 places a strong emphasis on educating passengers about the Antarctic environment and the importance of conservation. Expedition teams onboard these ships consist of experienced naturalists and researchers who share their knowledge through lectures and presentations.

Modern Era of Expedition Cruising (2010s-Present):

  • A New Era: The 2010s saw Antarctica21 introduce newer expedition ships like the Ocean Nova (launched in 2013). These vessels incorporated innovative technologies for navigation and safety, while still maintaining a commitment to sustainability. Features like fuel-efficient engines and advanced waste treatment systems minimized environmental impact.
  • Increased Passenger Capacity: Newer ships boasted increased passenger capacity, allowing Antarctica21 to introduce their adventures to a wider audience. However, these ships remained small compared to some larger cruise lines, preserving a sense of intimacy and adventure.

The Legacy Continues:

Antarctica21’s expedition ships continue to evolve, reflecting advancements in technology, passenger comfort, and sustainable practices. From the humble beginnings of small research vessels to modern ships with advanced capabilities, Antarctica21’s fleet embodies a rich history of exploration, education, and conservation in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Focus on Exploration and Education:

It’s important to note that while Antarctica21’s history is linked to its ships, the core focus has always been on exploration and education. These vessels have served as the tools that have allowed Antarctica21 to introduce countless travelers to the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula and foster a deeper appreciation for its unique ecosystems.

The Antartica21 Cruises Fleet

Antarctica21 is a small-ship cruise line that offers unique and immersive travel experiences to Antarctica. With a fleet of just three ships, Antarctica21 provides guests with a personalized and intimate cruise experience, with a focus on adventure, exploration, and cultural immersion.

One of the standout features of Antarctica21 ships is their size. The ships are small, with a capacity for between 69 and 71 guests. This allows for a more personalized and intimate experience, with a high staff-to-guest ratio and attentive service. The ships are also designed to navigate the challenging waters of the Southern Ocean, providing guests with a safe and comfortable journey.

The cabins on Antarctica21 ships are comfortable and well-appointed, with modern amenities and tasteful decor. The cabins feature comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and air conditioning, as well as windows or portholes that provide guests with stunning views of the passing scenery. The ships also feature a range of public spaces, including lounges, bars, and libraries, providing guests with plenty of space to relax and socialize.

The dining experience on Antarctica21 ships is exceptional, with a focus on regional cuisine and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The ships feature a range of dining options, from casual buffets to formal, multi-course meals. The menus are designed to showcase the flavors and ingredients of Antarctica, providing guests with a unique culinary experience. The ships also offer a range of beverages, including fine wines, beers, and spirits, as well as soft drinks and coffee.

The entertainment options on Antarctica21 ships are varied and engaging, with a focus on enrichment and cultural immersion. The ships offer a range of lectures and presentations, led by expert guides and local experts, providing guests with a unique insight into the history, culture, and traditions of Antarctica. The ships also offer a range of activities and excursions, including hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing, providing guests with the opportunity to explore Antarctica in depth.

The ships’ staff is attentive and professional, ensuring that every guest is well taken care of and has a memorable experience onboard. The staff is knowledgeable and experienced, providing guests with a safe and comfortable journey. The ship’s crew is also passionate about exploration and adventure, providing guests with a unique and authentic travel experience.

Antarctica21 ships offer a range of itineraries and destinations, with a focus on Antarctica and the surrounding islands. The ships’ smaller size allows them to navigate narrow waterways and shallow waters, providing guests with access to destinations that larger ships cannot reach. The ships’ itineraries are designed to showcase the best of Antarctica, with a focus on cultural and historical landmarks, as well as natural wonders.

One of the standout features of Antarctica21 is its commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism. The ships are designed to minimize their environmental impact, with advanced waste management systems and energy-efficient engines. The ships also support local communities, sourcing food and supplies from local producers and providing employment opportunities for local residents.

In conclusion, Antarctica21 ships offer a unique and immersive cruise experience that combines intimacy and adventure with luxury and comfort. The ships’ smaller size allows for a more personalized and intimate experience, with a high staff-to-guest ratio and attentive service. The cabins are comfortable and well-appointed, while the dining options are exceptional, with a focus on regional cuisine and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The entertainment options are varied and engaging, with a focus on enrichment and cultural immersion. The excursions and activities provide guests with the opportunity to explore Antarctica in depth. The ships’ staff is attentive and professional, ensuring that every guest has a memorable experience onboard. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time cruiser, Antarctica21 ships are sure to exceed your expectations. With a commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism, Antarctica21 is a cruise line that you can feel good about supporting.

The Magellan Explorer

The Magellan Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition vessel designed for unforgettable Antarctic air-cruises, offering guests a luxurious and immersive experience in one of the world’s most remote and pristine regions. Here are some key highlights about the Magellan Explorer based on the provided sources:

Vessel Features

  • The Magellan Explorer boasts modern amenities and comforts, including all cabins featuring private bathrooms with heated floors, individually controlled heating systems, and a sitting area.
  • The ship features a glass-enclosed observation lounge, a stylish dining room, a well-stocked bar, a library, a gym, a sauna, and a medical clinic.
  • With a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats for wildlife watching and disembarking, guests can get up close to marine wildlife during their Antarctic exploration.
  • The fitness center onboard has been designed by Anytime Fitness professionals, offering guests top-notch facilities for staying active during the cruise.

Sustainability Efforts

  • The Magellan Explorer is equipped with efficient engines meeting stringent emission standards to minimize its carbon footprint.
  • The vessel features stabilizers for comfortable navigation, bow and stern thrusters for excellent maneuverability, and an ice-detecting radar for safe polar exploration.
  • A waste heat recovery system recycles engine heat to power the ship’s heating system, contributing to sustainability efforts on board.

Capacity and Comfort

  • Despite having a capacity for 96 passengers, the Magellan Explorer limits guests to 76 to ensure an intimate and comfortable small ship experience in Antarctica.
  • The ship offers a variety of comfortable accommodations, including single cabins and cabins with private balconies for guests to enjoy stunning views of the Antarctic landscape.

Activities and Exploration

  • Guests aboard the Magellan Explorer can engage in various polar activities such as Zodiac cruises, kayaking, hiking, and snowshoeing to enhance their Antarctic experience.
  • The vessel is well-equipped for extended periods away from port with extended fuel range and comfortable crew quarters to support long Antarctic air cruises.

The Magellan Explorer provides travelers with an exceptional blend of expedition adventure and boutique hospitality in Antarctica. With its focus on sustainability, comfort, and immersive exploration activities, the ship offers guests a unique opportunity to discover the wonders of the Antarctic region in style. Whether enjoying panoramic views from the glass-enclosed observation lounge or participating in Zodiac cruises to encounter marine wildlife up close, guests aboard the Magellan Explorer can expect an unforgettable journey that combines luxury with adventure in one of the world’s most remote destinations.

See the Full Review of the Magellan Explorer

Destinations of Antartica21 Cruises

  1. Magellan Explorer:
    • Purpose: Custom-built for Antarctic air-cruises.
    • Features: Modern design, spacious accommodations with private balconies, glass-enclosed observation lounge, dining room, bar, library, gym, and advanced technical solutions.
    • Energy Efficiency: Utilizes an energy-recovery system to recycle engine heat for warmth.
    • Amenities: Offers a boutique gym designed by Anytime Fitness.
  2. Ocean Nova:
    • Adventure Focus: Ideal for pure adventure travelers.
    • Strength: Sturdy, ice-strengthened hull for challenging ice conditions.
    • Accommodations: Smaller but comfortable cabins, including dedicated single, twin, and triple options.
    • Observation Deck: Perfect for landscape photography.

3. Itineraries

Choose from four exciting itineraries:

  1. Classic Antarctica: Explore the White Continent, witnessing its glaciers, wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes.
  2. Polar Circle: Venture deeper into Antarctica, crossing the Antarctic Circle.
  3. Antarctica & South Georgia: Combine the wonders of Antarctica with the wildlife-rich South Georgia.
  4. Antarctica Express Air-Cruise: A shorter option, including a visit to Cape Horn and a brief Antarctic experience.

4. Magellan Discoverer

Antarctica21 is building a new expedition ship, the Magellan Discoverer, set to sail in the 2026-27 Antarctic season. Here are the highlights:

  • PC6 Ice-Class Ship: Designed for Antarctic fly-and-sail operations.
  • Boutique Aesthetic: Yacht-like elegance and modern features.
  • Onboard Amenities: 40 cabins, observation lounge, sauna, gym, meeting rooms, large dining area, and wet lab for Antarctic research.

Antarctica21’s commitment to sustainability, comfort, and unparalleled experiences ensures that travelers can explore the world’s most remote and awe-inspiring destinations with ease. Whether flying over the Drake Passage or stepping onto the icy shores of Antarctica, these expeditions promise unforgettable memories.


Accommodations aboard Antarctica21’s expedition ships are a study in comfort and elegance, with spacious cabins and suites designed to provide guests with a tranquil retreat after a day of adventure. From cozy twin cabins to expansive suites with private balconies, guests can expect plush furnishings, modern amenities, and breathtaking views of the Antarctic landscape.

Dining onboard Antarctica21’s expedition ships is a culinary journey in itself, with expert chefs crafting inspired menus featuring locally sourced ingredients and flavors inspired by the regions visited. From gourmet meals in the ship’s elegant dining room to casual al fresco dining on the deck, guests can savor a variety of delicious dishes prepared with care and creativity.

One of the highlights of an Antarctica21 expedition is the opportunity to participate in a wide range of immersive and educational activities led by expert expedition teams. From guided shore excursions and zodiac cruises to informative lectures and workshops, guests have the chance to deepen their understanding of Antarctica’s unique ecosystems, wildlife, and history.

Service aboard Antarctica21’s expedition ships is warm, attentive, and personalized, with a dedicated crew committed to ensuring that guests have a memorable and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Whether providing expert guidance on excursions or attending to guests’ needs and preferences, the crew goes above and beyond to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere onboard.

In addition to its exceptional onboard amenities and activities, Antarctica21 also prioritizes environmental sustainability and conservation, with a commitment to minimizing its ecological footprint and preserving the fragile Antarctic ecosystem. From reducing single-use plastics to implementing energy-efficient technologies, Antarctica21 is dedicated to protecting the pristine wilderness of Antarctica for future generations to enjoy.

Overall, Antarctica21 offers travelers a truly extraordinary opportunity to explore one of the last great wilderness areas on Earth in comfort, style, and safety. With its fleet of specialized expedition ships, luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, expert-led excursions, and commitment to environmental stewardship, Antarctica21 sets the standard for luxury expedition cruising in Antarctica. Whether embarking on a thrilling adventure to the bottom of the world or simply seeking a deeper connection with nature, guests can expect an unforgettable journey with Antarctica21.

– Reviewed by Contributing Author Silvester Thomson

N.B. – The information on this review has been compiled by contributing author and Cruise Expert Silvester Thomson for and is provided “as is” for the convenience of online readers. The Sources come from personal opinions, online research on official and unofficial websites, and in some cases with the help of AI generated content. It should not be taken as fact, as it can be mistaken or altered by future ship modifications from the cruise line done after review. does not and cannot verify all information and should not be taken as granted fact. All readers must take measures to find reliable facts by their travel agent or from the official page of the cruise line to verify any doubts.

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