Ross Sea Cruises

Explore the Ross Sea on an expedition cruise and visit explorer huts and areas of abundant wildlife including penguins, whales and other marine mammals.

Take an epic exploratory cruise to the very “heart of Antarctica”, the remote Ross Sea and one of the most untouched regions on our planet.

Cruises to the Ross Sea transport you further south than any other sea route, navigating masses of sea-ice where wildlife abounds, including penguins, sea birds, seals and whales.

Crossing the Southern Ocean deep into Antarctica has challenged even the best sailors, but it is well worth the adventure. The remote Ross Sea is the site of historic huts left behind by legendary polar explorers Scott and Shackleton, and it is home to the Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo Station, impressive mountains like Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, and the mysterious Dry Valleys.

Voyage through sea ice to view abundant wildlife: huge colonies of Emperor and Adelie penguins, sea birds, whales, seals and other marine mammals. Some ships carry helicopters specifically for shore excursions. On any journey to this side of Antarctica, you will usually visit some of the Sub-Antarctic Islands such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands, plus the World Heritage Site of Macquarie Island, home to three million Royal Penguins and hundreds of thousands of King Penguins.


Antarctic Peninsula

Ross Sea wildlife

Encounter extraordinary wildlife

The fauna of the Ross Sea is different from that on the warmer, more northerly Antarctic Peninsula.

At Cape Adare you might see the amazing sight of huge colonies of up to 250,000 breeding pairs of Adelie Penguins, which are suited to the harsh environment. Almost 5 million can be found here. There are also large colonies of Emperor Penguins – up to 80,000 breeding pairs. Marine mammals flourish here, including killer whales, humpback and minke whales, leopard seals, crabeater seals and Ross seals.
Historic huts of Shackleton and Scott

Visit the historic huts of Shackleton and Scott

Conditions permitting most voyages to the Ross Sea will visit the historic huts built by the Antarctic explorers on Ross Island in the Ross Sea.

The hut built in 1911 by Robert Scott and the British Antarctic Expedition is at Cape Evans. There is another hut built by Scott at McMurdo Sound during an earlier expedition. Earnest Shackleton’s hut, built in 1908 is at Cape Royds. And the oldest hut, built in 1899 is Carsten Borchgrevink’s Hut, at Cape Adare. The huts help to give an insight into what life would have been like for Antarctic explorers at that time.
Ross Sea and Ross Island

Ross Sea and Ross Island

The Ross Sea and Ross Island features extraordinary vistas of ice, plentiful wildlife, as well as scientific stations and explorers huts.

In the Ross Sea you can see the gigantic Adelie Penguin colonies at Cape Adare, the towering Admirality Mountains and wildlife at Cape Hallett and Franklin Island, the stunning Ross Iceshelf and Ross Island. Ross Island is dominated by the enormous active volcanoe of Mt Erebus. A number of scientific stations are found here, in particular the American McMurdo Station, as well as explorers huts including those of Scott and Shackleton.
Ross iceshelf

Encounter tabular icebergs and the Ross Ice Shelf

The enormous Ross Ice Shelf is the largest of its kind in Antarctica and was called “The Barrier” by early explorers.

About 800km wide, the Ross Ice Shelf is almost 600km in length and in some sections, soars 50m high above the water. Its height is particularly impressive given that 90% of the shelf sits below the water’s surface! Huge tabular icebergs, so abundant in the Ross Sea, often break off the ice shelf, large enough to calve dramatically themselves.
Sub-Antarctic islands

Wildlife rich Sub-Antarctic islands

Most journeys to the Ross Sea visit the remote sub Antarctic islands south and west of New Zealand, which are rich in unique flora and fauna.

The remote rocky outpost of Macquarie Island has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can find 4 species of penguin, King, Royal, Rockhopper and Gentoo, all very relaxed with humans. Hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals can be seen lying on the beaches. Snares Island is a nesting ground for albatross, Antarctic Tern and the Snares Crested Penguins. The Auckland Islands are home to royal Penguins, King Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins and elephant seals.

Want to find out more about our Antarctica cruises?
Get in touch with one of our destination specialists.

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Want to find out more about our Antarctica cruises?
Call one of our destination specialists on 1300 363 302.

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Brochure Pages

We have a unique selection of Antarctica and Ross Sea cruise options carefully chosen for their itineraries, as well as the vessels used. The ice-strengthened ships we utilise are all small to medium in size, carrying a maximum of 50-199 passengers, to ensure an authentic, intimate experience of the untrammelled wilderness. All of our cruises and tours are completely tailor made to suit our clients interests, budget, and timeframe. To find out more about the type of Antarctic Cruise program we can put together for you, please download the pages below.

Ross Sea

This epic voyage starts in Ushuaia in Argentina and voyages around Antarctica to Invercargill in New Zealand. Highlights include the Antarctic Peninsula, Peter I Island, the Bellingshausen Sea, the Amundsen Sea, the Ross Sea and Campbell Island. Two helicopters and a fleet of Zodiacs are carried on board for shore landings throughout the trip.

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In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton

Come face-to-face with raw nature and experience drifting icebergs vivid with colour, visit rookeries with millions of penguins and watch for whales navigating the ice floes as you follow in the footsteps of legendary polar explorers Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

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Ross Sea Overview

Why Ross Sea: The Ross Sea is one of the most remote and pristine areas of Antarctica and visited only by a lucky few. Wild and unpredictable, it has spectacular scenery on a monumental scale. Expect to see the enormous Ross Ice Shelf, towering Mount Erebus and spectacular numbers of seabirds and penguins. The historic huts of polar explorers such as Scott and Shackleton add another fascinating dimension to your journey.

Climate: The weather in eastern Antarctica is harsher and even less predictable than the Antarctic Peninsula. Fierce polar winds from the South Pole can blow for days, and the area is icebound for much of the year. Summer temperatures tend to be around -1oC.

Combine With: If your voyage starts or ends in Ushuaia, then it makes sense to include some sightseeing in South America with your itinerary. Most voyages to the Ross Sea start in New Zealand, so consider a pre or post-cruise holiday here.

Getting There: Voyages to the Ross Sea usually embark from Invercargill in New Zealand and return to Invercargill. Alternatively, you might embark or disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina.

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All of our tours are tailor made.

Contact us now to start customising your Antarctic or Arctic cruise.

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