Following in the footsteps of famed Antarctic explorers like Ernest Shackleton, your cruise will likely leave from the southernmost ports of South America, where your view of the continent will slowly be replaced by the ocean’s swells. You’ve entered the Drake Passage — a watery realm that is equal parts epic, eerie and magical.
Alternatively, if long days at sea are not your preferred mode of transport, you can bypass the Drake Passage with Silversea’s fly-and-cruise Antarctica Bridge program. Gliding through the clouds on a privately chartered flight with Business Class seats, the sights below are no less jaw-dropping: small blotches just under the waves signal the presence of whales, while your arrival at King George Island is bound to be punctuated by witnessing pinprick penguins dwadle below. In the distance: icebergs loom as tall as skyscrapers, meticulously carved by Mother Nature and Father Time.
Serving as the introduction to the barren continent, the Antarctic Sound will likely be your first experience with the continent proper. The Sound is a raw, sensory experience — monochromatic landscapes stretch beyond the horizon, with imposing icebergs the size of islands venturing off from the whitewashed kingdom, as if they were tourists departing for your world. There’s more than just iceberg-watching to do here, however — Zodiac cruises, kayaking and hiking excursions are all available with Silversea’s expert expeditionists. Whichever way you choose to experience the locale, keep a keen eye out for the extraordinary birdlife.
Farther south lies the Antarctic Peninsula; if the Sound was the introduction, this is the foyer. Blue-hued glaciers beckon from a distance, with blanched mountain peaks peering over the horizon beyond them. The gravity — the scale — of the continent comes to life here. You’re roughly 620 miles from South America's Tierra del Fuego; humanity hadn’t even seen this land until 1820. But just because civilization hasn’t managed to scratch more than a few research bases into the ice here doesn’t mean you’re alone: legions of adorable Adélie penguins call this peninsula home. With no natural predators on land, they’re likely to pose for a photograph or two.
As with all things travel, the destination is only half the fun. Your journey is bound to be an adventure, though never an ordeal, thanks to the seamless travel experience provided by Silversea Cruises. Silversea prides itself on taking care of everything with their Door-to-Door All-Inclusive fares — roundtrip flights, private transfers and more — translating to an easy, carefree journey. Whether you’re savoring an enriching lecture from the Expedition Team in anticipation of Antarctic landfall, feeling the frigid wind in your hair as you zip past icebergs in a Zodiac or pampering yourself post-excursion with your in-suite 24-hour dining and butler service, you can rest certain that this is travel as it’s meant to be: perfect, and perfectly thrilling.