Disney to take on a new continent with first cruises to Antarctica

Feb 27, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Watch out, penguins of Antarctica. The Mouse is on the way.

Family travel giant Disney plans its first cruises to the White Continent beginning later this year, using a chartered vessel, the company recently announced.

Disney also plans its first cruises to the Galápagos Islands, starting in 2022 — also with a chartered vessel.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter

Offered by Disney’s touring arm, known as Adventures by Disney, the trips will mark the first expedition cruises ever offered by Disney.

Disney until now only has offered traditional cruises through its cruising arm, Disney Cruise Line.

Expedition cruising is a specialized type of cruising that involves traveling to remote, hard-to-reach places on small, hardy vessels that carry their own landing craft.

Adventures by Disney is a separate division of Disney that is not part of its cruise line. It’s primarily known for upscale, family-friendly land tours, but it has offered cruises before — on Europe’s rivers.

'I Spent Thanksgiving in Antarctica': The Case For Vacation Over Tradition
Disney plans its first trips to Antarctica. (Photo by webguzs/Getty Images)

Disney’s new trips to Antarctica will take place on a vessel operated by Ponant, a France-based, upscale cruise line that specializes in expedition cruising. The trips to the Galápagos will take place on a locally based vessel called Galápagos Legend.

For all the trips, Disney plans family-focused activities curated by Disney’s travel experts. Disney-trained guides and naturalists will lead landings to see wildlife and offer onboard discussions about wildlife, animal conservation, photography and more.

Disney initially will offer just two Antarctica voyages, both 11 nights in length. The trips will include an overnight stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before a flight to Ushuaia, a port town at the very southern tip of Argentina, to board a Ponant vessel.

The two Antarctica sailings will take place on Ponant’s Le Lyrial and Le Boréal, which are identical vessels that each hold 264 passengers.

Before boarding one of the ships, passengers will spend two days exploring the area around Ushuaia, which is part of Patagonia. Sightseeing will include a visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park and a ride on the world’s southernmost functioning railway.

Related: Fast-growing Viking to offer first Antarctica trips 

Once in Antarctica, the plan is for several days of landings and water exploration by rigid inflatable boats that the Ponant ships carry on board. A premium, add-on kayaking excursion also will be available.

Tourgoers also can add on a three-night, pre-tour guided stay in Buenos Aires for an extra charge.

Like many Adventures by Disney tours, the Antarctica cruise is aimed at families with older children. The tour company recommends that kids be at least 12 years old to sign up and won’t allow those younger than 10 years to book it due to “the duration of the trip, potential for extreme weather or sea conditions and the amount of physical activity involved,” according to planning details posted on the company’s website.

Reaching Antarctica from Ushuaia involves a two-day crossing of the notoriously rough and unpredictable Drake Passage.

Fares for the initial Antarctica voyage start at $12,800 for adults and $11,500 for children.

The new Galápagos trips, which will focus heavily on the wildlife of the Ecuador-controlled islands made famous by Charles Darwin, start at $6,300 for adults and $5,600 for children.

In addition to encounters with such iconic Galápagos wildlife as albatross, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and Galápagos penguins, passengers can expect opportunities to snorkel, kayak and hike during the trips.

Adventures by Disney initially is offering five departures of three different Galápagos itineraries for 2022.

Adventures by Disney in 2022 also will continue to offer river cruises in Europe with itineraries along the Danube, Rhine and Seine rivers. The trips take place on river ships chartered from AmaWaterways.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by webguzs/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.