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Epic Adventure Awaits: 7 Reasons to Join Our New Antarctic Voyage

At the edge of civilization and the confluence of nature, wildlife, and history, is what has been called the greatest destination on the planet: the White Continent of Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula stretches for more than 800 miles from north to south, with a landscape boasting glaciers as tall as skyscrapers and as wide as entire states; rookeries with millions of penguins; and some of the most impressive marine and avian life anywhere on the planet. Get Inspired By Photos, Videos, Webinars, Stories, And Exclusive Offers. Sign Up


This winter, we have two opportunities—December 28, 2022 or January 27, 2023—to experience this region on an epic scale, on a 35-day adventure into the ice. Board the new National Geographic Endurance and witness her state-of-the-art polar power as we go further into the frozen landscape than ever before—touching ice that no human has encountered before, discovering pristine landscapes, walking among hundreds of thousands of king penguins, and visiting subantarctic islands that are so remote, we will be among the very select few to have ever seen them in person. Here are more reasons this voyage is not to be missed.


1. Zodiac Among Glistening Bergs in the Lemaire Channel

Launch into a unique world of wildlife and nature in the Bellingshausen Sea on our specially crafted rubber Zodiacs, the key to unique explorations down on the water’s surface. Seeing icebergs from above on the ship's deck is one thing, but getting an up-close view gives you a whole new perspective. In the Lemaire Channel, you'll float among glistening glaciers and 'bergs—each one as fantastical as a Dr. Seuss creation—as you explore this ethereal frozen sculpture garden.

2. The Magnificent Moment Crossing the Antarctic Circle

A circle crossing in Antarctica is truly an event to celebrate. Unlike the Arctic Circle, which is accessible year-round and easily reached from Norway, navigating far enough into the 7th Continent to cross the elusive Antarctic Circle at 66°33' S requires a ship and crew that can push the boundaries of polar travel. It also requires a long enough journey to explore the dramatic scenery. The voyages aboard National Geographic Endurance and Resolution provides both, allowing you to achieve this lifetime highlight. Head out onto the deck for a countdown with the crew, perhaps with a cocktail or champagne in hand, to commemorate this magnificent moment in this unforgettable journey.

3. Sail the Remarkable Ross Sea

Incredibly remote and seldom visited, the Ross Sea, the world’s southernmost body of water, is often called the “Last Ocean.” Twice the size of Texas, spanning 246,000 square miles, and set between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land, it’s one of the least-accessible polar destinations and, perhaps not surprisingly, also one of the most pristine. Visit not only for the envy-invoking bragging rights, but also for the truly impressive wildlife. Almost a third of the world’s emperor penguins—the largest of all penguins at 45 inches tall—and nearly half of all Adélie penguins on the planet can be found here. Also keep your eyes peeled for Antarctic minke whales, three types of orcas, leopard seals, and crabeater and Weddell seals.

4. Witness the World's Largest Ice Shelf

There’s ice, and then there’s the Ross Ice Shelf. The size of France, this spectacular frozen vista comprises ice cliffs towering 130 feet above the water and extending for more than 400 miles, creating a cliff of frozen water that seems like you’ve arrived at the edge of the world. The shelf covers close to half of the Ross Sea and plays an important role in stabilizing the Antarctic ice sheet, buttressing the ice that is constantly moving over the land surface. And all of that shimmering surface is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, with 90% of the mass hidden below the surface. Plus the sounds here are as fascinating as the sights. Researchers recently discovered the shelf ‘hums’ when winds whip across the snowy surface, creating an otherworldly soundtrack for your visit.

5. Explore the Seldom-Seen Subantarctic Isles

This entire icy marine region has been designated a UNESCO Heritage Site, and we’ve been granted special permission to visit these highly protected subantarctic islands considered to be a birders paradise southeast of New Zealand. We’ll explore several intriguing islands including the rocky Snares, North East and Broughton islands, the closest subantarctic islands to New Zealand. These islands are covered with endemic plant life, heavy tussock grass and wind-beaten forests of tree daisies, that creates a home for a stunning numbers of breeding birds. There are 99 recorded species including albatross, Antarctic terns and endemic crested penguins. Then we’ll head off in Zodiacs to Enderby Island, where rare yellow-eyed penguins may be visible as they move to and from their nests in the forests beyond the beach.

6. Be Dazzled by 100,000 Pairs of King Penguins on Macquarie Island

The exposed crest of an undersea ridge where the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates converge, remote Macquarie Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a large variety of wildlife, including thousands of seals and millions of penguins. Among the highlights are 100,000 mating pairs of king penguins, who appear as regal as their name suggests. Standing nearly three feet tall with sleek coats, slashes of vivid orange jutting out of their lower beaks and on the sides of their head and a golden glowing ring around their necks, they look as though they’ve been newly anointed the supreme beings of these remote islands. Look out for three other breeding species in residence on the island, too, including the endemic royal penguin, the gentoo, and the southern rockhopper. 

7. Enjoy the Power of Our New Polar Ship

This once-in-a-lifetime itinerary takes place aboard National Geographic Endurance. There’s a pure joy in sailing on this beautiful new vessel custom designed to glide through Antarctica's spectacular icy landscapes with speed, grace, and power. But it’s not just her sheer engineering that’s sure to impress, there are highlights throughout the ship that will delight and surprise, including a one-of-a-kind polar art exhibition and state-of-the-art science lab. Don’t miss the glass igloos where you can spend the night gazing at the glowing arc of polar stars overhead while you stay cozy in your geodesic dome. You can also take a dip in an outdoor hot tub for views you’ll never forget. Back indoors, relax in the spa where the saunas have glass walls so you won’t miss a single vista.

Geodesic glass igloo overlooks Antarctic landscape

Main Image: Michael S. Nolan