svalbard cruise


Join Secret Atlas on a 12-day in-depth wildlife viewing and photography expedition to the Antarctic peninsula. This expedition is aimed at those wanting to spend the maximum amount of unhurried time ashore observing wildlife and is suited for photographers and wildlife watchers. 

What makes this trip even more special is that our vessel takes just 48 guests, the smallest group size in Antarctica. When you are ashore you will be in a small group of just 12 guests for an intimate wildlife and photography experience. Travelling on a small expedition vessel gives us more flexibility, more time ashore and allows us to visit landing sites that the large cruise ships can’t visit.

Antarctica Highlights

  • Small group experience of just 48 guests, the smallest group size available in Antarctica.
  • A rare opportunity to join a in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula with extended time ashore to view and photograph wildlife.
  • Explore key wildlife sites on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.  
  • Comfortable, and intimate ice-strengthened expedition vessel with sauna. 
  • Encounter Antarctica’s wildlife including penguins, fur and leopard seals and whales.
  • This trip give you the maximum time ashore.  All guests can fit in the Zodiacs and land at the same time, so no waiting time. 
  • Numerous opportunities to photograph Antartica’s Icy and stunning landscapes from the ship and shore.
  • Led by highly experienced expedition leaders and photography guides.

The Voyage

Day 1  Welcome aboard! Depart Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 2  At Sea

Day 3  First landing on South Shetland Islands

Days 4 – 9  Exploring the Antarctic peninsula

Days 10 – 11 At Sea

Day 12  Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina

Antarctica route map
Antarctica wildlife cruise

Your Vessel

Expedition Motor Polar Pioneer

south georgia expedition vessel

Step aboard Polar Pioneer a true polar expedition vessel

Polar Pioneer needs no introduction. She is a veteran expedition vessel with a proven track record exploring the polar regions. She returns in 2022 with a full refurbishment.

We love this vessel because she was built for the polar regions and is a very strong and capable vessel to explore the ice with. She takes just 48 passengers offering the lowest group numbers in Antarctica and South Georgia.

She has a large deck space with raised areas making her perfect for photography. She features a large passenger saloon with bar, and an onboard sauna to warm up in after a day in the cold.

She is crewed by a team of experts with decades of experience navigating polar waters, and is an ideal vessel for guests looking to go on a real expedition with an authentic expedition vessel.

There is accommodation for 48 guests across twins, triple cabins and suites. She is equipped with Zodiacs that can accommodate all guests for shore landings and exploring.

The Polar Pioneer can transit open water crossings with ease and comfort due to its integrated dynamic water ballast system, which guarantees a great reduction of rolling in heavy seas. As a result, Polar Pioneer is among one of the most stable vessels currently in operations in the Polar regions.
small ship cruise south georgia
  • Capable expedition vessel with highest ice class gives the best chance of reaching the sea ice edge

  • Small group size of 48 guests ensures an intimate experience

  • Large passenger saloon with bar

  • Newly refurbished to a high standard with warm, comfortable cabins

  • Sauna
  • Equipped with 5 x zodiacs for shore landings. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs together so no waiting to go ashore.
  • Large open deck space and raised areas for photography

  • Expert team of crew and guides

  • Boots provided for shore landings

Dates and Prices

Prices quoted are per person. Twin and double cabins are based on double occupancy.

1st January – 12th January 2024

Cabin Type
Persons per Cabin
Price per person
Triple Cabin with Shared Facilities
Twin Cabin with Shared Facilities
Twin Cabin with Private Facilities
Mini Suite
Owners Suite

Polar Pioneer is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment. We can’t wait to share the new images with you shortly. The renderings below show how the interior will look like.

A render of the new lounge style 

A render of the new cabin style 

Captain’s Suite (Category A)

With double bed and separate lounge area, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom, hairdryer. Forward and port windows. 

Cabin Size: 22.5 m2

Mini-Suite (Category B)

With double bed and separate lounge area, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom, hairdryer. These cabins have a window.

Cabin Size: 16.8 m2

Twin Cabin with Private Facilities (Category C)

With two lower berths, a writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom, hairdryer. These cabins have a window, private bathroom, 2 lower berths, except #402 and #403 which have upper and lower bunks and a couch. 

Cabin Size: 12 m2

polar pioneer twin private

Twin Cabin with Shared Facilities (Category D)

With two lower berths and sofa, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin, hairdryer. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.

Cabin Size: 9.8 m2

Triple Cabin With Shared Facilities (Category E)

With one bunk (one upper and one lower berth) and one additional lower berth, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. This cabin has a porthole.

Cabin Size: 10.2 m2

Peace Of Mind Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

We would like to ensure our guests about our risk free booking policy.

As travel returns to normal we would like to ensure you we will do everything to make sure your trip goes ahead as planned.

If your trip is canceled by us you can rebook on another departure free of charge or receive a full refund with no questions asked.

If you can’t enter the departure country due to covid travel restrictions we will offer you a free rebooking on a future departure.

You can read our full policy here.

Payment Options & Information

We offer payment via the following methods:

  • Credit card
  • Payment by bank transfer

Please let us know at the time of booking your preferred method.

A 30% deposit is taken at the time of booking with the final 70% payable 90 days prior to departure.

We highly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking that also covers cancellation. 

Solo Travelers

Solo travellers are welcome on all our voyages. We often host solo travellers, particularly on our photo voyages so the chances are you won’t be the only one. We offer the following accommodation options:

  • Option to share a twin cabin with another traveller of the same gender.
  • Option to have your own cabin for an additional supplement. Please contact us for this option as the price varies depending on trip and availability.

Booking terms

This trip is operated by Secret Atlas and is subject to the Secret Atlas terms and conditions of travel. You can read the full booking terms here. 

If you have any questions about this Antarctica Expedition Cruise
please get in touch