The increasing desire for superyacht owners and charterers to get off the grid is obvious – more explorer yachts are currently in-build than ever before, and charterers are booking longer vacations so that they have enough time to go off-the-beaten-track and explore some truly adventurous destinations. Even one of the world’s final frontiers – the wintery reaches of ice-covered Antarctica – has become an attraction for anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime superyacht charter experience. Winter 2021/2022 saw 15 superyachts venturing to the South Pole’s snow-covered shores, compared to just two in the 2019 season.
If you’re a lover of skiing and other snow sports or a wildlife-watching enthusiast who’s hoping to spot the region's famous residents like penguins and whales, the Antarctica Peninsula should be on your travel bucket list – and there’s no better way to discover this destination than on a luxury superyacht expedition. Take a closer look at the explorer superyachts currently available for charter in Antarctica to help you plan your voyage to the end of the earth…
Stats: 87.6 metres, Schichau Unterweser, 1969, 12 guests, 28 crew
What to expect in Antarctica: Arctic is a true expedition yacht that blends sea-battling capabilities with over 600 square metres of luxurious guest spaces. Behind a rugged profile her interior is packed with amenities such as a 4-D immersive cinema, a heated beach house pool protected from the elements, a fully-equipped gym, a curated library and an armada of toys including a professional dive centre. In Antarctica, her top deck will prove useful for spotting wildlife including orcas, penguins and seals as she cruises the Weddel Sea. Arctic’s broker can also arrange for unique activities including an expedition to a polar exploration base, where guests can assist scientists with wildlife tagging and ice observation. Though a recent addition to the charter market, this recently-refitted classic already has a number of successful Antarctic expeditions under her belt.
Arctic is managed by Y.CO with a weekly charter rate starting from €500,000.
Stats: 126.2 metres, Lürssen, 2003, 12 guests, 42 crew
What to expect in Antarctica: Game-changer Octopus led the charge for the development of superyachts equipped for science, research, and ocean-crossing voyages when she was delivered in 2003. An ice-class 1A steel hull allows her to safely navigate icy waters while an impressive fleet of toys including helicopters and submersibles offer greater flexibility for exploring the world’s southern-most continent to the full extent. Once a super-private vessel, Octopus joined the charter market for the first time in 2021 and will spend her second winter season in Antarctica from December 2022 onwards. Once there, guests will be able to embark on a range of activities including heli-skiing and polar plunges as well as opportunities to assist with local environmental conservation projects. After a day in the cold, warm up with an afternoon in the spa, cosy up to a film in the cinema, try a tipple in the library in front of a roaring fire or take in sightings of Antarctic landscapes and wildlife from the impressive observation deck and underwater lounge.
Octopus is managed by Camper & Nicholsons with a weekly charter rate starting from $2,200,000.
Stats: 31.39 metres, Brooke Marine, 1939, 8 guests, 6 crew
What to expect in Antarctica: One might presume that the only superyacht visitors to Antarctica are rugged explorer yachts and converted tugs. But despite her more delicate appearance, the classic wooden sailing yacht Eros has the mettle to take on cold-weather cruising in the South Pole. The former yacht of Greek shipping billionaire Stavros Niarchos will be braving the icy waters of Antarctica in the 2023/2024 winter season and will offer charter guests the chance to follow in the footsteps of early polar explorers by cruising through the far-flung region under sail. Travel experts Pelorus will arrange activities for charter guests like snow camping, ski-touring and ice-water kayaking as well as photography and scientific research opportunities on this unique expedition.
Eros is managed by Classic Charters, with a weekly rate starting from $44,000.
Stats: 48.01 metres, Fassmer, 2006, 12 guests, 18 crew
What to expect in Antarctica: Hanse Explorer spent winter 2021 in Antarctica and will return for another stint later this year. Her exhilarating itinerary has been put together by adventure travel experts EYOS Expeditions and will see guests kayaking past icebergs, scuba diving to the depths, sailing into the volcanic caldera of Deception Island and taking the Zodiac tenders out for penguin spotting and whale watching expeditions along the frozen coasts of the Antarctic peninsula. After a day out in the cold, warm up in Hanse Explorer’s newly refitted modern interiors, complete with a wood sauna and saltwater Jacuzzi. With a hardy hull boasting the highest level of ice classification, Hanse Explorer is more than prepared to take on the extremes of Antarctic cruising.
Charters in Antarctica on Hanse Explorer are managed through EYOS with a weekly charter rate starting from €200,000 for the 2022/2023 season. Single cabins will also be available to charter.
Stats: 77.4 metres, IHC Verschure, 1974, 22 guests, 28 crew
What to expect in Antarctica: Want to explore the South Pole from above? Legend has a commercially certified helipad with refuelling facilities for embarking on heli-skiing expeditions or chopper tours. Want to discover it from below? This explorer also comes with a submersible for five guests. Transformed into a luxury yacht in 2016, this former Soviet ice-breaker retains her robust explorer capabilities and has become something of a veteran on the Antarctic circuit – she’s the vessel of choice for polar explorer and pioneer of Antarctic skiing, Douglas Stoup. Other activities guests can expect on Legend as she cruises through the iceberg-dotted waters of Antarctica include visiting penguin and seal colonies, braving a “polar plunge” swim, dropping by for dinner at local scientific research centres or racing across the landscape on snowmobiles. When you’re ready to return to the warmth, the Balinese-style spa and private movie theatre on board will keep you entertained into the evening. Legend is in Antarctica until the end of this winter and will return again for the 2022/2023 season.
Legend is managed for charter by Y.CO with a weekly rate starting from €595,000.Read More/Far, far away: Yachts for charter in remote locations