The Antarctica Express air-cruise is designed for travelers looking for a quick and affordable Antarctica expedition. Cruise the Drake Passage, land in Antarctica, and fly back. You thereby avoid the stormy seas of the Drake Passage – and the potential seasickness – and experience only the best Antarctica has to offer.
Flying over the Drake Passage allows you to make the most of your precious vacation time. We skip a one-day ship crossing and include a 2-hour flight to spend more time on the Seventh Continent.
Fly the Drake
A two-hour flight takes you from Punta Arenas, in the Chilean Patagonia, directly to Antarctica where you board your expedition ship, making you save a whole leg of sailing the Drake passage, which last more than 2 days. Alternatively, depending on the itinerary chosen, you can also cruise down to Antarctica and then fly back to Punta Arenas.
We offer a boutique-style wilderness adventure, not a cruise. Feeling more like private yachts than cruise ships, our small expedition vessels give you privileged access to Antarctica, taking you where larger ships cannot. With a smaller number of passengers, disembarkation is fast and efficient so you spend time exploring, not waiting.
COMFORT: Avoid storms in the Drake Passage
SPEED: Get to Antarctica quickly and save time
SIZE: Enjoy a small-ship, yacht-like experience
Leaving from Ushuaia, we take you through the Beagle Channel and to legendary Cape Horn. Cross the mythical waters of the Drake Passage and explore one of the most spectacular places on earth – Antarctica.
Day 1: START OF THE AIR-CRUISE – Your journey begins in Ushuaia, Argentina. Board your ship and sail along the Beagle Channel towards Puerto Williams, Chile, the southernmost town in the world. Explore the surroundings before setting sail to Cape Horn.
Day 2: CAPE HORN AND DRAKE PASSAGE – After an overnight crossing of Nassau Bay, you awake in full view of legendary Cape Horn! Weather permitting, board a Zodiac and be one of the few privileged adventurers to step foot on this famous and rarely visited island. Back on board, set sail towards Antarctica and cross the famous passage named in honour of Sir Francis Drake, the great 16th century British explorer.
Day 3: DRAKE PASSAGE – As you sail through the Drake Passage en route to King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands, attend an engaging program of lectures and presentations. In the company of expert guides, watch for wildlife from the glass- enclosed lounge or from the outside decks. You may spot magnificent sea birds, such as albatrosses and petrels, as well as different species of whales on their way south to Antarctica.
Day 4: DRAKE PASSAGE AND ANTARCTICA – After crossing the Antarctic Convergence, the environment changes noticeably. Keep your camera ready, as this is the time to watch for the first icebergs and the first sight of Antarctic land. Reaching the South Shetland Islands, sail in ice-filled bays, while enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals and whales. Board a Zodiac for your first memorable shore visit to a penguin colony. Taking advantage of the endless Antarctic daylight, exploration will continue well into the evening.
Day 5: ANTARCTICA AND SCHEDULED RETURN FLIGHT – Upon reaching King George Island, disembark at Fildes Bay and explore the area, such as the Chilean Base Frei and the Russian Base Bellingshausen. Bid farewell to Antarctica before boarding the flight back to Punta Arenas, Chile. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Note: Meals in Punta Arenas are at your leisure and not included in the program).
Day 6: END OF THE AIR-CRUISE – After breakfast, transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for your onward flight.
Veteran Antarctic aircraft pilots, experienced sea captains, an international team of polar guides and academics, and a team of seasoned travel professionals come together to create the experience. With passion, creativity and dedicated teamwork, we handcraft every expedition to be unique and personal.
Experience and Expertise
Our product pioneered the Antarctic Air-Cruise model. We are the world’s leader in this unique style of travel to Antarctica. We have completed over 140 fly and cruise departures, more than any other company in the world, by far.
One flight per expedition
We use a single flight to carry all travellers to and from Antarctica for each of our expeditions. This makes our operation fast and efficient while reducing the chance of weather-related delays compared to the alternatives.
Unique in its kind, “Bigfoot” was specially designed and built for our air-cruises. Its traction system can adapt to the changeable conditions of the Antarctic terrain.
High staff/traveller radio
Travel with a well-staffed team of at least twelve professional polar guides. Passionate and engaging, they will make your trip memorable.
Small is beautiful
Our air-cruises only operates small ships. With a small group of travellers, disembarkation is fast and efficient so you can spend more time exploring and less time waiting.