As a small expedition cruise ship operator, we are proud to offer the unique experience that only traveling on small ships can offer. What’s the difference? Glad you asked! When you go on an Antarctic cruise, the size of the ship makes a big difference in your adventure. When paired with our recognition of the importance of your entire experience, it’s what makes our Antarctic voyages so special.

Boarding expedition ship MS Seaventure

Excursion Numbers

When we head out on an excursion, typically everyone heads out together at the same time. It’s faster to get everyone off the ship and into their zodiacs because there is a limited number of passengers. The capacities of larger ships do not allow everyone to be on land together at the same time as there are limits in place to protect the region. This means less time on shore so each guest can be staggered to accommodate. By being on a smaller ship like the ones we use, guests can maximize their time ashore and truly immerse themselves in the dramatic scenery and the incredible world of the local wildlife.

Access to Remote Areas

By traveling on a smaller expedition-style cruise ship it’s easier to navigate through the sea ice and explore areas that larger ships can’t access. These purpose-built ships can venture into hidden coves, and remote bays, forging through sea ice easily – and that’s a big difference compared to larger ships built for cruising more well-worn and warmer routes.

Boarding expedition ship MS Seaventure

Ratio of Guests to Staff

By joining a small ship like our Seaventure or Island Sky, you’ll notice that the limited number of guests means our staff can be more attentive to everyone. We are the first and only operator to implement a role called ‘Passenger Service Manager’ as part of our Expedition Team. This means we have one person anticipating and responding to your needs. Our staff love interacting with each other and our passengers, whether it’s gathering out on deck to watch wildlife together, participating in activities in our science lab, or having a one-on-one photography session with our dedicated photo coach. On many of our voyages, the owners of Polar Latitudes may even be on board and driving your Zodiac. All of us share a deep love of Antarctica and we are happy to share our knowledge with you. Through the course of your voyage, you will get to know everyone on the staff at a personal level.

Making New Friends

Small ships mean fewer people, and after days of adventuring together, eating together, and gathering each night to share stories about the day, by the end of your journey everyone on the ship will know each other by name. You may even make some new friends for life. Learn more about life on board.

cruise passengers dancing on deck

Let’s Eat!…All Together

Because our dining room is the right size to hold everyone simultaneously, there are no ‘shifts’ when it comes to meals. We all eat together at the same time each day. You’ll see our staff joining guest tables so there’s more time to get to know them better. We are all one team, and Antarctica is an intimate, personalized experience we share. Another bonus of being on a small ship is the extra care and attention that goes into food preparation and service. Our meals are fabulous, and we get many rave reviews after each trip about the top quality of our dining experience.

Responsible Travel

Another advantage of small ship cruising is that these ships leave less impact on the environment. We work diligently to seek ways to make the least amount of footprint possible. We pay attention and strictly adhere to biosecurity measures; we keep single-use plastics to a minimum and provide stainless steel water bottles and water stations on the ship. Nothing is left behind in Antarctica and everything is disposed of properly when we get back to port. We use a fuel optimization system to lessen our footprint and every effort is made to ensure we are working as sustainably and responsibly as possible.

These are the things that make a difference when considering the advantages of small ship cruising.

As you make your decision on who best to travel with, we suggest reading more about what’s important to us. If it’s important to you too – we’ll see you on board.

Have questions? Contact our team anytime.