At a Glance
Incredible wildlife and breathtaking scenery
A fantastic expedition team, made up of highly skilled and experienced guides and lecturers
Guests are invited to participate in scientific research projects on board
Chance to camp out on the Antarctic peninsula, a real once in a lifetime experience
Comfortable, spacious cabins, all exterior facing and some with private balconies
The Drake Passage which the ship traverses can be very rough at time - but there are fly cruises on offer with Antarctica XXi which avoid the need to traverse the passage
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Antarctic weather is a lesson in extremes. Antarctica is the world’s coldest, windiest and driest continent. During the summer months the winds abate considerably and the weather is surprisingly comfortable, averaging between 20 and 50F. Summertime also means 18-24 hours of sunlight which allows life to flourish for a brief summer period. Long days also allow extensive exploration by small ship cruise to Antarctica. Antarctic weather allows for a short season of cruising from November to March each year.
To start planning your vacation to Hebridean Sky
Experience the breathtaking Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands on board the fantastic small expedition ship, the Hebridean Sky (formerly Sea Explorer), whose journeys offer incredible wildlife observation, daily landings and lectures on board.
The ice-strengthened Hebridean Sky sets sail from the port of Ushuaia and takes guests on spectacular 11-night journeys to the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as longer journeys which also take in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
The ship sleeps up to 110 passengers in 56 exterior facing cabins, some with their own private balconies. On board facilities include a library, bar/lounge, exercise room and a wraparound sun deck with jacuzzi, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the incredible scenery.
There is a fantastic on board expedition team supporting the cruises, made up of naturalists, professional photographers and lecturers.
Explore this last true wilderness on earth observing magnificent waterways, glaciers, rugged mountains and abundant wildlife. The wildlife, which you may encounter on your epic voyage include penguins, shags, terms, seals, orcas and humpback whales.
Passengers on board the ship will enjoy daily guided shore visits and for those looking for something extra on selected cruises there is the option to participate in kayaking and camping on the Antarctic Peninsula.
The cruises run between November and mid March, which is the Antarctic summer, when passengers can enjoy long hours of daylight. In addition to the longer 10-20 night cruises there are also shorter fly-cruises with the Hebridean Sky on offer.
The Hebridean Sky has 56 double cabins with exterior view, distributed across five decks.
All the cabins are en-suite and all are equipped with flat screen TV with dvd/cd player, independent temperature control, telephone and minibar. The suites all have a queen size bed or two single beds and all have a sofa that be converted for an extra person.
The policy is that children must be a minimum of 12 years old to join a Hebridean Sky itinerary. However, exceptions may be sometimes made for children aged between 8 and 12, at the discretion of the cruise company.
Facilities on board the Hebridean Sky include a dining room, bar/lounge, exercise room, an elevator between decks, lounge with audiovisual facilities, DVD movie library, a library with computers, WiFi internet and a medical clinic.
Each trip aims to maximize wildlife observation in a respectful and environmentally sound way, using zodiacs between ship and shore. Typically, and depending on weather conditions, there will be eight to ten landings at selected points and additional activities such as kayaking and overnight camping can also be arranged. On board lectures generally take place in the evenings.
Guests are also invited to take part in the Citizen Science program, which harnesses the power of travelers in remote and difficult locations to participate in academic research. The Hebridean Sky takes part in projects such as surveying penguin populations, mapping cloud patterns and tracking ice changes.
In terms of size and amenities, the AD, like the baby bear's porridge, felt just right. There were enough passengers to engender a lively atmosphere, but not so many that excursion opportunities would have to be rationed. (According to the international agreement that regulates tourism activities in Antarctica, only 100 passengers are allowed on shore in any one place at any one time. Some cruise ships carry three to four hundred passengers and use a rota system for excursions; others are more like floating small towns and allow for no disembarkations whatever.)
Exploring the Lemaire Channel
Boasting some of the most spectacular mountain scenery and icebergs, the Lemaire Channel is a truly beautiful part of the Antarctic Peninsula to explore, both on your ship and on Zodiac excursions.
Spectacular South Georgia
Longer Antarctic expeditions include time exploring South Georgia, arguably the highlight of your cruise. With breathtaking scenery, huge congregations of king and macaroni penguins and amazing birdlife, there is so much to discover here.
The Drake Passage
The stretch of sea between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica is the Drake Passage, an often turbulent stretch of sea that marks the beginning and end of your journey south. Take in the midnight sunset and watch albatrosses fly alongside you.
The Falkland Islands
With clear skies, seamless horizons and large numbers of penguins and albatross to be found on white sand beaches and amongst tufts of vibrant tussock grass, The Falkland Islands are rich in natural beauty and a visit here is culturally fascinating too.
Visiting Port Lockroy
Port Lockroy is a British-built research station situated on Goudier Island and restored into a museum about the early explorers in 1996. A fascinating place to explore, and plenty of gentoo penguins outside to entertain you, too.
One of the real highlights of an Antarctic cruise is getting out on the water in small Zodiac vessels, the ideal way to get up close to the icebergs, wildlife and marine life.
Location & directions
This unique trip to the White Continent starts and ends in Ushuaia and includes visits to the most spectacular attractions: the Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
How to get there
16-hour flight to Buenos Aires, followed by a 3-hour 30-minute flight to Ushuaia where the cruise commences (charter flights are included by the cruise operator to fit in with the cruise dates).