Last Minute Antarctica Cruise – Setting The Record Straight

Last Minute Antarctica Cruise – Setting The Record Straight

May 21st, 2016 / Burnham Arlidge

With Antarctica cruises becoming ever-more popular, getting a last minute Antarctica cruise deal can be a tricky business.

37,000 people visited the white continent in 2010 and this number keeps rising each year. In 2018 there is expected be over 45,000 visitors.

With cruises averaging at $12,000, finding a last minute Antarctica cruise deal can cut the costs of your Antarctica trip significantly.

However, bear in mind that last minute Antarctica cruise deals do come at a price.

Though you may save money overall, you will usually have to compromise on the quality of your cruise experience.

If you are looking for a last minute Antarctica cruise, it’s unlikely that you will be able to pick and choose when and where you go as cruise spaces will be limited.

Although some agencies do offer a last minute Antarctica cruise option, you may find that the prices are not hugely cheaper unless you are going for a luxury cruise, where you can find discounted deals up to 50% off.

Below, we have written a comprehensive page covering everything you need to know about a last minute Antarctica cruise.

We set the record straight on what is and isn’t possible when searching for a last minute Antarctica cruise deal, covering all the information so you can make the best decision.

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Last Minute Antarctica Cruise Deals

Viewing in Iceberg from a Cruise


Scouring the web for last minute Antarctica cruise deals is a timely process as many tour operators advertise last minute deals but without much of a discount.

There are many agencies located in Ushuaia who do take last minute Antarctica cruise bookings via email. This means you will have a good idea of what cruises are available and you can then book accordingly.

When booking a last minute Antarctica cruise online or over the phone, make sure to do your research.

We highly recommend checking all the details before you book to make sure your last minute Antarctica cruise is what you want and there are no hidden costs.

Some details to double-check are sleeping arrangements, size of your cruise ship and whether extras such as drinks are included in the price.

Since there are limitations on the number of people permitted on land at any one time in Antarctica, you want to get the smallest cruise ship possible. Bigger cruise ships mean that you will be less likely to step onto the Antarctic Peninsula and may mean you have less chance to experience the beautiful wilderness.

The cheapest cruises also tend to be shortest. So check your itinerary to make sure you are visiting the places you want to go.

Cruises that last 9 or 10 days mean you will only get to spend 4 or 5 days on the continent – not that long considering the distance you will travel!


Antarctica is not a backpacking destination or a popular destination for those on a tight budget.

Usually, the more money you pay, the better your Antarctic experience! When looking for a last minute Antarctica cruise deal, prices can vary considerably and start at around $6,500.

Sound high? Sadly, in the last few years cruise prices to Antarctica have risen with general costs and the days of being able to get a last minute deal to Antarctica under $5,000 are over.

However, there is a myth that last minute Antarctica cruises are the cheapest option for people wishing to cruise to the White Continent. This is simply not true.

The cheapest way of reaching Antarctica is to book well in advance. If you keep on the lookout, you'll easily be able to get a cruise for around $5,000 per person. This will mean booking at least a year in advance, taking an early or late season trip and sharing a triple or quad cabin aboard a research style vessel.

By the time last minute deals come around, all triple and quad cabins are generally booked up.

This means you'll get a last minute Antarctica cruise price based on a single or twin room which will be an excellent price for the itinerary/room, but still more expensive than just booking well in advance.

Of course, if you are just travelling and make a snap decision to take a cruise to Antarctica, then a last minute deal is all you can go after.

Keep in mind though that last minute Antarctic cruises are not as cheap as some people like to write about, particularly over the last few years.

If you are travelling in a larger group and want to spend a bit more time exploring Antarctica’s landscape, wildlife and history, you may want to pay a bit more than the base rate.

Luckily, the more expensive cruises are usually much more discounted than standard cruises and you might even find a half price deal. This is far more common on luxury cruises that have a higher starting price tag.

In general, longer Antarctica cruises are priced around $10,000-$25,000, depending on what type of accommodation you choose, where you want to visit and how luxurious you want your cruise to be.

Last minute Antarctica cruise deals for a longer and more luxurious trips can range from $9,000-$20,000.

With these last minute deals, you can expect a smaller cruise ship – around 100 passengers- a shared twin room with shared bathroom and extras such as drinks included in the price.

Antarctica View

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Last minute Antarctica cruise deals in Ushuaia

Though there are several different ports around the world for Antarctica cruises, Ushuaia is the closest and most popular.

Typically, ports other than Ushuaia have chartered services which require you to book well in advance so last minute Antarctica cruise deals aren’t available.

The tourism season in Antarctica runs from November to March, so this is the only time to find last minute Antarctica cruise deals.

There are loads of Antarctica cruise agencies located in Ushuaia itself, so staying in Ushuaia to find a last minute Antarctica cruise is often a good idea.

However, staying in Ushuaia to find a good deal does mean paying for accommodation and food for an unspecified amount of time. It also means not being able to book return flights in advance as you won’t know your return date.

You will need to visit several travel agencies on a daily basis and be prepared to board a cruise ship the day after booking.

However, nothing is guaranteed and there may not be many last minute Antarctica cruise deals available.

If travelling in a group, it is likely that you won’t be able to find lots of spaces on a single cruise ship and may have to sleep in different cabins.

Once again though, booking well in advance will be cheaper than booking a last minute cruise in Ushuaia.


Despite there being last minute Antarctica cruise deals out there, finding one suitable for your trip may not be that easy.

You will have to factor in extra costs for staying in Ushuaia whilst looking for a last minute Antarctica cruise deal and you may find that discounted prices may not offer the best Antarctica experience.

Cutting on costs for your Antarctica journey may not be the best option for groups of travelers. It’s also difficult to plan your Antarctica trip without knowing your set dates of travel and may cause a lot more stress trying to find a suitable cruise!

If you are looking for a bargain, don't expect to find last minute Antarctica cruise deals for less than $6,500 and make sure to check the itinerary in detail to avoid disappointment.

However, if you don't think a last minute Antarctica cruise is for you, don't worry as there are lots of other reasonably priced cruises that can often work out cheaper than last minute Antarctica cruise deals when booked ahead.

To enquire about visiting Antarctica, please use this form


If you would like to know any more about a last minute Antarctica cruise then please just a comment below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. Alternatively, fill out our quote form to get a quote from our recommended operator.

Thank you and happy travels!

Posted on May 21, 2016

About the Author Burnham Arlidge

Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has visited some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet - his most memorable experience is Antarctica!

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  • Norma Byrne says

    7 years ago

    Thank you this great information. We will be in Ushuaia in 4 days time and hope to pick up a ladt min deal, we do understand that we are taking a risk. We are in Argentina at the moment and are finding it hard to get money out of the banks, as a tourist we can only take out, 2,400 pesos a day, if we get a last min deal in Ushuaia to the Antartic can we pay by credit card. Thanks so Much Norma

    • Burnham Arlidge says

      7 years ago

      Hi Norma, So sorry for the late reply! Yes, that can be hassle for everyone. However, although I can't speak for every operator, the ones I know certainly take credit cards. Because the ticket prices are generally fairly high for Antarctica cruises, I can't imagine any operator being unable to accept a credit card. Cheers, Antarctica Guide

    • kristine says

      6 years ago

      Hello Norma I Would be intereted to know if you found a good last minute deal and which office you booked from if you have the time it would be great to hear what you thought about the ship and the grandaughter and i are doing this next year Tks kristine

  • Edwin says

    6 years ago

    Dear Sir, Thank your your information. I am Edwin and looking for the last minute ticket to Antarctica. I will be in Ushuaia between 20-Jan to 15 Feb. If anyone have any information, please don't be hesitate to contact me, thanks a lot. [email protected]

  • Chad says

    6 years ago

    Yes, I’m also curious if you were able too. I arrive early February and looking for Cost below $7k for 11-14 day trip solo. Were you able to find a good deal? Planning to basically stay in hostels throughout February on the lookout!

  • Glaciers, Wine, Tango: The One-month Argentina Itinerary | FluentU Travel Blog says

    5 years ago

    […] with a week and a small fortune to spare could hop on a last minute cruise ship to explore the great white continent of […]

  • Kasar says

    6 years ago

    Hi Kristine, If possible could you share details of your trip like price, activities etc. Thanks, Kasar


    5 years ago

    Hey, thinking of last minute or? im on a quest to visit all 7 continents and Antartica and Australia last on my list... im solo, prefer my own room/bath,,, but... like options, can be pretty flexible and even fly to Argentina,, but is it a 50/50 shot at last minute on any day or week, or closer to 100% if i stay 3 or 4 days or how many? Thanks in advance Martin Caine

    • Burnham Arlidge says

      5 years ago

      Hi Martin, Sorry for the late reply - somehow didn't get notified of the comment! Sadly, there is no guarantee on last minute cruises. You could turn up and get straight on a boat, or you may have to wait several weeks. During December and January you will probably have to wait longer as this is the high season and most cruises are full. You also need to bear in mind that a luxury berth might become available instead of a cheap research berth... this means you'll be paying more than a standard ticket anyway, but you'll be on a luxury ship that's worth more. Sorry we can't be any more useful, but it's a complete lottery!

  • Don says

    5 years ago

    Hi, I Just did this. Dec. 2018. So I was living in Peru and decide to hope on down to Ushuaia to see if I could catch a last minute cruise before returning to the US. Anyways, this article is spot on. I got a 10day cruise - 198pass boat for 5400. Note this was just cost of cruise ticket. I arrived on a monday and searched and found a boat for Friday. I don't know if make out with good deal or not, remeber you gotta factor in extra cost like accommodations and food while waiting (I bummed around at hospitals for about 20 bucks a day), your flight to and from Ushuaia (or however you plan to get there). Also extra cruise cause like insurance and gratitude. (Insurance - I found online super cheap $25 , but i didnt include trip cancelation (I paid with my travel credit card, so I kinda felt covered). Gratitude - is mando on ship and paid at end roughly 13 bucks a day). So if come down try to check before hand, I went with a company called Antarctica travels, but also talked with pinguinos expediciones and freestyle travel. The cheapest offer insay was 3900 but was on a flyer and when inquired about it, it was booked up. Good luck hunting if decide to go this route. Its an adventure, enjoy it!

  • Jezzy Wally says

    5 years ago

    I am looking for somebody who would be interested in sharing a cabin from December 9th, 2018 on. I am a 38 year old male from the U.S. who is interested in photography and saving money on a last minute deal. [email protected]

  • Gordon R. Ladwig says

    5 years ago

    We plan to arrive January 19,2019. Anything available? If not Antarctica, how about other excursions to the various TDF islands or fjords?

    • Burnham Arlidge says

      5 years ago

      Hi Gordon, thanks for getting in touch. I noticed you enquired so our partner will be in touch soon.

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