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What is the best month to cruise to Antarctica?

The best time to cruise to Antarctica is from November to March. Check out the month-wise sightings to choose your best month.

By Cruise Booking Team

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Cruises sail to Antarctica from November to March, when the melting of ice begins in the southern hemisphere. Deciding the best month for visiting Antarctica on a cruise depends upon your sightseeing preferences.

What is the best month to cruise to Antarctica?

Decide the Best Month to Cruise to Antarctica

This article gives you detailed information on all things you can explore in Antarctica month-wise to help you choose the best month to cruise to Antarctica.

1. Icebergs in November

Most cruise lines start their journey in November. During this month, the ice starts breaking but is not fully under the water. So you can catch a glimpse of the snowy landscapes and large icebergs.

There are few travelers this month because of the cold temperature, giving you ample space to explore and click beautiful sunset pictures. In this first month of the cruise, landscapes are neatly snow-capped and do not contain guans. The days become longer gradually.

During this time, penguin chicks start hatching, and you can see penguins mating. It is a perfect time for seeing wildflowers in sub-Antarctic regions, seabirds over the Drake Passage, and elephant seals courting. You can also travel on an icebreaker into the Weddell Sea.

2. Warm December

December is arguably the best month to cruise to Antarctica, where days are longer, with almost twenty-four hours of daylight and warm temperature. Cruises at this time are also extremely costly, for it is also a holiday month.

For the prolonged daylight, it becomes easier for travelers to explore the beauty of Antarctica. Starting from migrating whales to seabirds courting, December is perfect for you if you are a bird enthusiast.

Mid to late December is the perfect time for wildlife enthusiasts. In the first half, the ice remains thick but during late December, the wildlife gets active enough to attract your attention to them.

3. Penguins in January

January is considered to be the peak season in Antarctica. Twenty-four hours of daylight continue from December into January with enough sightings of wildlife. There are little to no discounts available, making the fare costly.

During this month, you can witness fluffy penguins on the shores. In addition to witnessing penguins, you will also get to witness seals and whales migrating to feed or kill prey.

During January, the environment is relatively calmer. You can get out on paddleboards and explore. Some cruises offer a voyage to the Ross Sea, where you can visit various places seldom visited by anyone. These offers are extremely expensive but worth it.

4. Whale-watching in February

If you are fascinated by Whales, February is the best time to cruise to Antarctica. The days start getting shorter in February, but the temperature remains warm. You get to see beautiful sunsets lasting up to long hours as an advantage of shorter days.

You get to see all types of whales, from humpbacks to minkes. Fluffy penguins will now be replaced by larger penguins that might not be as photogenic as the former but still are an incredible sight to witness.

The landscape is less snowy and muddier during February. Places where travelers land from cruise ships are generally not snow laden but covered with guano or penguin droppings. For this reason, the hikes can become slippery and dirty.

5. Watermelon snow in March

The temperature starts to fall again, making it cold enough for people not to plan their cruise this month. The days get shorter with longer nights, and Antarctica slowly enters the winter season again.

The degradation of landscapes continues in March, but you can experience fresh snowfall this month. The sea ice begins to form again at much higher altitudes, and crossing the Arctic Circle is not feasible anymore this month.

You can catch a glimpse of leopard seals that come out to prey on juvenile penguins that start swimming. The most attractive feature in this month is pink algae that grow in the snow giving a watermelon snow effect. You can also find green algae on shorelines.

Final Thought

To decide the best month to cruise to Antarctica, you need to be sure of what you want to experience, along with searching for the best cruise line to satisfy your needs. Many cruises offer discounts, especially for December. Even though the holiday months are crowded, it is still the best choice.

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