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The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where the Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole.
Antarctica is home to the South Pole, which is one of the two points where the planet's axis of rotation intersects the surface. The other point is the North Pole, which can be found in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. You can find the South Pole in the middle of the continent of Antarctica, which is fast becoming a popular travel destination for those who are looking for the next great frontier. At the site of the South Pole Antarctica is where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is situated. This research station, which is operated by the United States, is one of many research stations in Antarctica, and visitors to the continent can tour it if they please.
South Pole Antarctica expeditions were quite popular in the early 1900s, as various countries were hoping that their representatives would be the first to reach it. The first successful expedition to the South Pole took place in 1911, and it was led by Roald Amundsen. This Norwegian-led expedition reached the pole about a month before the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott arrived with four traveling companions. South Pole Antarctica is an unforgiving place, thanks to the cold weather, the dry air, and the usually strong winds, and unfortunately, Scott and his party perished on their attempted return to the McMurdo Sound area. It wasn't until 1929 that the first plane flew over the South Pole in Antarctica, and ground visitors did not return until 1956.
During the winter months at the South Pole, the sun never rises. As such, it can be an excellent place for astronomical observations in the wintertime. During the summer months, the sun never sets, and those who are enjoying summertime South Pole tours won't want to forget their sunscreen. South Pole Antarctica sits atop an icy plateau that is approximately 9,300 feet above sea level. Thanks to this high altitude, the sunlight is usually very intense. Sunscreen is a must wherever you go in Antarctica, even if you find yourself closer to sea level. That's because all the snow here reflects the sunlight. In addition to sunscreen, anyone planning South Pole tours, not to mention Antarctica vacations in general, will also want to remember to bring sunglasses, as snow blindness is always a risk. Knowing what to pack for a trip to Antarctica is key to having a pleasant vacation experience. In addition to sunscreen and sunglasses, you'll also want to pack a good hat.
Interestingly enough, the ice at the South Pole in Antarctica is estimated to be about 9,000 feet thick. The land under the ice is actually close to sea level, which is something that you might find hard to believe on your expedition to the South Pole. Even though the sunlight is strong in terms of UV rays at the South Pole, it isn't very warm. In fact, South Pole Antarctica boasts one of the coldest climates on Earth. Because the South Pole is located at such a high altitude in the middle of a land mass, it is much colder than the North Pole is. Even in the middle of summer, the temperatures here only average minus twelve degrees. Come the winter months, an average temperature of around negative 85 degrees is to be expected. Because of all the cold weather and the drifting snow that can be found at the South Pole, some visitors might be surprised to know that the climate here is described as being a desert climate. This has a lot to do with the fact that the area hardly receives any precipitation.
Because of the harsh climate at South Pole Antarctica, you won't find any resident animals or plants in the area. Some visitors have seen birds on occasion, though it is generally determined that these birds are simply flying off course. Hopefully, you won't find yourself off course at any time during your expedition to the South Pole. Should you be interested in South Pole tours, they are usually very expensive, as it's not an easy place to get to. That being said, there are companies that offer tours to this unique destination, so you can certainly arrange a visit with relative ease if you can afford it. For those with funds to spare, private South Pole tours are arguably the way to go, however group tours are more affordable.
Antartica And South Pole Facts
Here are some interesting facts about the South Pole. If you or your class would like to find out more about Antarctica and the South Pole.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and driest place on earth.
Antarctica has no native population or permanent residents, but there are a number of researchers and explorers who stay for extended periods.
The South Pole has a desert climate, almost never receiving any precipitation. Air humidity is near zero. However, high winds can cause the blowing of snowfall, and the accumulation of snow amounts to about 20 cm per year.
It almost never gets above 0° C in Antarctica and the highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is 7° F -13.8° C.
The world’s lowest temperature of -128 degrees F was recorded at the Russia Vostok Station in Antarctica.
The continental ice sheet of Antarctica contains about 7 million miles3 of ice, 90% of the world’s total.
Only 2% of Antarctica’s land is not covered in ice
The weight of all this ice is so enormous that the continent buried beneath it would rise to an average altitude of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) if the ice sheet were removed
Due to its ice cap, Antarctica is the highest continent average approximately 2,300 m above sea level.
During the South Pole Winter (late March to late September) it is dark all the time In the summer, it is light 24 hours a day, although the sun is very low in the sky.

Antarctica Ships

Luxury Expedition Ships (75-200 Passenger Range)
Luxury Class doesn’t have to do with the size of the ship, but rather the class of travel. A luxury ship to Antarctica offers luxurious accommodations, spacious public spaces and lounges, and Five-Star amenities such as a TV/VCR, mini-refrigerator, choice of bed type (twin or queen), elevator, as well as Butler Service and verandas in select cabin types. It carries you in style to the most remote wilderness destination in the world.

You do not need to trade comfort for safety and adventure. Luxury ships to Antarctica still come with ice-strengthened hulls, active stabilizers for motion control, sophisticated navigation equipment, ample Zodiacs for landings, expert expedition staff and lecturers, an experienced crew and wait staff. This type of ship provides you with an Antarctic experience with luxury accommodation.

Sea Explorer Cruise Ship
Sea Explorer
114 Passengers
Adventure Options
Le Boreal Cruise Ship
Le Boreal
199 Passengers
FlyCruise SeaExplorer Plane
Fly and Cruise — Sea Explorer
71 Passengers
Adventure Options
Silver Explorer Cruise Ship
Silver Explorer
132 Passengers
Sea Spirit Cruise Ship
Sea Spirit
114 Passengers
Adventure Options
National Geographic Orion Cruise Ship
National Geographic Orion
106 Passengers
National Geographic Explorer Cruise Ship
National Geographic Explorer
148 Passengers

Expedition Ships (50-200 Passenger Range)
Expedition ships are the bread and butter of Antarctic exploration. Though the ships themselves aren’t small – they displace from 2000 to over 5000 tons – they are designed to carry small groups of passengers for a more intimate travel experience.

Expedition cruising began in 1966. This category of ship still adheres to the principles of conservation and preservation and world exploration for the fortunate few. These vessels let you get up-close and personal with the beauty of Antarctica while having minimal impact on the local environment. All are equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft and staffed by qualified expedition leaders, experienced naturalists and lecturers.

You can’t go wrong aboard one of these ships for your Antarctica voyage.

Sea Adventurer Cruise Ship
Sea Adventurer
117 Passengers
Adventure Options
Ocean Diamond Cruise Ship
Ocean Diamond
189 Passengers
Adventure Options
Ocean Endeavour Cruise Ship
Ocean Endeavour
199 Passengers
Adventure Options
Sea Adventurer Cruise Ship
Sea Adventurer - Z
110 Passengers
Adventure Options
Plancius Cruise Ship
114 Passengers
Adventure Options
Polar Pioneer Cruise Ship
Polar Pioneer
56 Passengers
Adventure Options
Ioffe Cruise Ship
96 Passengers
Adventure Options
Vavilov Cruise Ship
92 Passengers
Adventure Options
Ortelius Cruise Ship
120 Passengers
Expedition Cruise Ship
134 Passengers
Adventure Options
Ushuaia Cruise Ship
84 Passengers
FlyCruise Ocean Nova Plane
Fly and Cruise — Ocean Nova
68 Passengers
Adventure Options   
Ross Sea, East Antarctica Ships and Specialty Trips (50-125 Passenger Range)
The sub-antarctic islands and Ross Sea region of Antarctica offers very unique opportunities but is characterized by much longer trips with more time at sea.   Some of the unique sites and sights found on a Ross Sea visit:

• Historic Huts
• Dry Valleys
• Awe-inspiring Ross Ice Shelf
• Majestic snow-capped volcano of Mount Erebus
• McMurdo Station
• Scott Base
• Enormous Adélie Penguin rookeries
• Emperor Penguins

The forgotten islands of the South Pacific, are the Galapagos' of Antarctica. They include the following: Snares, Aucklands, Macquarie, Campbell, Antipodes, and Bounty Islands. These islands can be numbered among the last unspoilt environments on Earth, they are home to a rich diversity of plants, seabirds and marine mammals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Nine species of great albatross come ashore to breed, as do many different species of petrels, prions and shearwaters. Eight species of penguin, three of which are endemic, breed on the Islands and the world's rarest sea lion makes its home in the Auckland and Campbell Islands.

• Abundant wildlife
• A birders paradise
• 8 species of penguins
• 9 species of Albatross
• Hooker Sea Lion
Land Based trips offer a completely different experience of Antarctica including visits to the South Pole, Emperor Penguins, trekking  and other very adventurous itineraries.

Land Based Trips
South Pole and Emperor Penguins
Silver Discoverer
120 Passengers
Sub-Antarctic Islands
Spirit of Enderby Cruise Ship
Spirit of Enderby
50 Passengers
Ross Sea

The best way to reach Antarctica is by small-passenger cruise ship. Many tour companies run Antarctic cruises and expedition programs, providing a wide range of Antarctica travel options, ships, itineraries, dates and prices.

We only represent ships and programs operated by companies that are full members of IAATO, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. 

Select Your Antarctica Cruise
Polar Cruises offers a wide variety of ships - from the rustic to absolute luxury to accomodate travelers taste and budget. Each type of ship offers its own unique travel experience, amenities and advantages.

Pick a few Antarctica vacations that appeal to you. Then call us at 888-484-2244 or 541-330-2454. We take the time to learn your travel style and preferences, and then we help you book the best Antarctic cruise for you. The goal is to match you with the ship and trip that best meets your travel needs and vacation expectations.

About Your Antarctica Cruise Vacation 

Popular travel destinations include: the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea and the Ross Sea region. 
Trip prices include ship travel to Antarctica but not flights to departure destinations. 
Antarctic Peninsula trips usually start from Ushuaia, Argentina. 
Longer Antarctica trips can include the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Shetland Islands. 
Ross Sea and Eastern Antarctica trips usually begin and end in either Australia or New Zealand.
Ships are typically small, comfortable, and offer varying degrees of luxury and adventure. 
Many ships are converted research vessels with ice-strengthened hulls for polar travel and touring. 
Zodiacs shuttle passengers from ship to shore and provide scenic tours. 
A few select Antarctic trips include helicopter shuttles and flight-seeing. 
On-board experts and naturalists offer lectures on wildlife, geology, oceanography, glaciology, and history.
Antarctica tours, plans and itineraries can change, depending on weather and ice.

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