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Rating: Deluxe    

Antarctica21 overview

Cruise Antarctica in style onboard an Antarctica21 small ship, exploring the seventh continent on foot and by zodiac, with options for kayaking and snowshoeing on some trips, amidst some of the most breath-taking scenery you'll ever see. It's the trip of a lifetime.

Two of the three itineraries start and end in Punta Arenas and include return flights to King George Island where you board the vessel, saving you valuable time and the possible discomfort of sailing Drake Passage. The third begins in Ushuaia where you board the ship, and saves time at the end with the flight back to Punta Arenas. All therefore maximise your time in Antarctica, where you cruise through deep fjords, marvel at icebergs and glaciers and encounter penguins, seals and seabirds. Excursions are led by professional guides who also give talks on board to prepare you for the adventures to come.

The 3 expedition ships, Ocean Nova, Magellan Explorer and Hebridean Sky, are purpose built for cruising in these conditions, and have been refurbished to provide high quality accommodation and creature comforts. All cabins and suites have climate control, a large window or porthole and en-suite bathroom. You can relax in the observation lounge or on deck without missing any of the stunning scenery, catch up on some reading in the library and enjoy fine food and wine in the restaurant. Hebridean Sky provides some extras such as private balconies for some suites, a wraparound deck, outdoor cafe and lift between decks.


Operational: Ocean Nova was built in 1992 and refurbished in 2006 and carries a maximum of 67 passengers. Hebridean Sky, formerly known as Sea Explorer, was also built in 1992 and refurbished in 2005 and 2016. She carries a maximum of 71 passengers. Magellan Explorer was built in Chile and is due to enter service in 2019. She can carry up to 69 passengers. Cruises run between the end of November and end of February.

Location: Antarctica21 (previously Antarctica XXI) are based in Punta Arenas in Chile and offer 2 cruises in the Antarctic that begin with a night’s accommodation in a hotel (Cabo de Hornos or similar) in Punta Arenas and a 2 hour flight the following morning to the Antarctic to board the ship. The cruise ends with a flight back to Punta Arenas and a final night’s accommodation in the hotel there, followed by a transfer to Punta Arenas airport the next morning. The third cruise, Antarctica Express, starts in Ushuaia and concludes with a flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas, a night in a hotel there and transfer to the airport the following morning. Flights are in a BAE-146 aircraft operated by Aerovias DAP for Antarctica21.

Rooms: Ocean Nova has single, twin and triple cabins, all outside and with a picture window. Each cabin has individually controlled heating, a desk, chair, wardrobe and en-suite shower room. Single cabins are 8sqm and have a single lower bed, twin cabins are 10sqm and have 2 lower beds, Triple cabins are 14sqm and have 1 upper and 2 lower beds. There are 5 single cabins, 12 twins and 4 triples on the upper deck and 16 twins in the bridge deck.
Hebridean Sky has 8 categories of suite, all with a private bedroom and beds that can be configured as a double or 2 singles. The owner’s suite is 34sqm, has a sitting room and a balcony. Penthouse suites are 30sqm, have a sitting area and balcony. Veranda suites are 24sqm with a sitting area and balcony. Deluxe suites are 22sqm, have bay windows and a sitting area. Single suites (22sqm), window suites (21sqm), triple suites (21sqm and with a sofa bed) and promenade suites (20sqm) all have a window and sitting area. Suites are arranged over 4 decks with the triple, window and single suites on deck 3, promenade and deluxe suites on deck 4, veranda suites on deck 5 and penthouse and the owner’s suite on deck 6.
Magellan Explorer has 7 types of cabin. All have heating controlled from within the cabin, a wardrobe, a sitting area and a private shower room. All except the porthole cabins have a balcony and all apart from the single cabins and 1 deluxe veranda cabin and 1 grand suite (queen bed) have beds that can be configured as doubles or twins. Grand suites and triple suites are 40sqm, penthouse suites are 30sqm, deluxe veranda cabins, veranda cabins, single cabins and porthole cabins are all 20sqm. Accommodation is arranged over 3 decks, with porthole (3), single (4) and veranda (7) cabins on deck 2, deluxe veranda cabins (12), the triple suite and grand suites (7) on deck 4, and the 3 penthouse suites on deck 5.

Activities: There are 3 cruise itineraries: Classic Antarctica, Polar-Circular and Antarctica Express.
Classic Antarctica is an 8 day trip, cruising from King George Island in the South Shetland Islands along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula with its fjords, icebergs, birds, seals and whales, before returning to King George Island.
Polar-Circular is a 10 day trip, including a round trip cruise from King George Island that takes in the South Shetland Islands and western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, with the aim to sail far south enough to reach the Polar Circle.
Sea kayaking is offered as an extra activity on the Classic Antarctica and Polar-Circular cruises, to be paid for at time of booking the cruise. It is available on a first-come first-served basis to experienced kayakers aged 16 years and over. Hiking and snow shoeing are also offered on these cruises for an extra charge and for those aged 12 years and over with a good level of fitness.
Antarctica Express is a 6 day itinerary starting in Ushuaia, passing Cape Horn before crossing Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. The cruise ends here, and you are flown to Punta Arenas, where you have a night in a hotel.
Itineraries are offered subject to change, due to weather conditions or other factors beyond Antarctica21's control.

Facilities: Ocean Nova has a dining room on the upper deck, lounge, library and small gym on the bridge deck an observation lounge, bar and observation deck on the top deck. She has a fleet of 7 zodiac boats. Ocean Nova has a staff of 46.
Hebridean Sky offers a little more luxury. She has a restaurant (deck 2), lounge and reception on deck 3, library and the club on deck 4, outdoor cafe and sundeck on deck 5, and an observation area on deck 6. There is a lift for easy access to all decks. She has a fleet of 10 zodiac boats. She has 85 staff.
Magellan Explorer has a dining room, reception and gift shop on deck 3, library, meeting room, gym, sauna and observation deck on deck 4, glazed observation lounge and bar, observation deck and outdoor barbecue area on deck 5. There's also a presentation room with audio-visual equipment. Magellan Explorer has a fleet on 10 zodiac boats and a staff of 60.

Dining: Breakfast and lunch are served as buffets, and dinner is a 3 course meal. The menu is varied and food is of a high quality. There’s a selection of fine Chilean wines to accompany dishes. Afternoon tea and snacks are served in the lounge.

Children: Children aged 8 years and over are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by a fully responsible adult.

Health: There is no malaria in Chile.

Communication: There is wifi internet access on board ship but this is sporadic and slow and should not be relied upon.

Notes: Cruise rates include return transfers from the airport to the hotel in Punta Arenas, pre-and post-cruise accommodation in Punta Arenas, return flights from Punta Arenas to King George Island, accommodation on board the ship, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner on board, wine, beer and soft drinks with meals, hot drinks and snacks on board, guided shore excursions, talks and entertainment on board, loan of waterproof boots for landing in Antarctica. Please note the Antarctica Express itinerary starts in Ushuaia where you board the vessel, but does include the flight back to Punta Arenas, 1 night hotel accommodation and transfer to the airport.

Map for Antarctica21

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Guy Marks
Paul Cook
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