Demand for cruises to the Antarctic region has never been higher with many customers saying they hope to spot penguins after watching Sir David’s wildlife programs on the BBC. Cruising allows nature lovers to access remote areas and enjoy them in luxury accommodation from a small cruise ship that has minimal impact on the delicate environment. There are 18 species of penguins found in different parts of the world, but the southernmost continent has the largest population of penguins—half of the species can be found on Antarctic coasts and sub-Antarctic islands.
One of the best ways to meet penguins is to go on an Antarctica cruise, as some of the most breathtaking places where they’re located are only accessible by sea. A luxury Antarctic voyage will take adventurous travellers to see the mesmerising scenery and rich wildlife in some of the most popular destinations of the continent, including the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands and South Georgia.
The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most popular and accessible destinations in Antarctica. This northernmost region of the continent is home to the greatest variety of wildlife species and some of the most breathtaking scenery. One of the main attractions to The Peninsula is the abundance of penguins, particularly the Gentoo penguin, which are very common there.
The Antarctic Sound, known as the “Iceberg Alley,” is a channel lined with icebergs and is found at the northern tip of the Peninsula. It’s a great place to see the large Adélie and Emperor penguins. Tourists can also spot seals and hear the sound of whales cutting through the eerie silence.
Penguin Island is one of the smallest South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. This mile-long island offers a nesting and breeding place for Adelie and Chinstrap penguins. On the highest point of the island visitors can see the Deacon Peak inactive volcano. To avoid disturbing the wildlife, there is a 100-person limit on the shore. Visitors are not allowed to roam freely, but they are welcome to take guided excursions.
Elephant Island gets its name from the large Elephant seals that live there. It’s also a home for Gentoo penguins and nesting Chinstrap penguins. This remote island is regarded as one of the most desolate locations in the world and is a must-go for polar enthusiasts as they can find out more about the Endurance expedition crew that got stranded on the island for months.
Deception Island in the middle of South Shetland Islands is one of the most unique tourist destinations. In the midst of its fascinating landscape tourists can see a former whaling station and hundreds of thousands of penguins waddling around. In the center of the island is a massive crater formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption. The volcano on the island is still active which means that the black-sand beaches hold hot steam under the surface and visitors can take a warm volcanic bath.
South Georgia is a popular destination on an Antarctica cruise where visitors can step into a wildlife oasis. It’s known as the “Gateway to Antarctica” where tourists can spot petrels, seals, penguins, whales and albatrosses. South Georgia has the highest concentration of marine life on the planet.
The Drake Passage is an iconic part of the cruise journey to Antarctica. Arctic travellers are able to see a vast variety of marine life, including dolphins, humpback whales, orcas, and penguins, by navigating the notoriously rough waters of the Passage.
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