Luxury Antarctica Experience: Magellan Explorer

Choosing Antarctica as your next adventure is a once in a lifetime experience for many.  After all, the time it can take for the trip and the cost that goes along with it can dictate that you only venture there once.  However, if you crave luxury within your Antarctica experience, we suggest you look to a grand vessel named, the Magellan Explorer!  Happy to report, our adventure wedding planning and photography team spent 6 glorious days on this ship and are thrilled to walk you through our journey…

Vessel Details

As of when this post was written, the Magellan Explorer ship is the most luxurious that discovers Antarctica.  Furthermore, it is also the newest built and was launched formally for the 2019-2020 season.  Specifically also the vessel is the world’s first expedition ship that is custom designed for Antarctic adventures.  Strong, stylish, sleek, and boutique is what you can expect from outside in.

As a matter of fact, the capacity of the ship carries no more than 100 guests and for the air-cruises they do not have more than 73 on board.  You can expect 60 staff running the show, catering to you and your unforgettable experience.  More information on the technical details can be found on Antarctica 21‘s website.

Meanwhile, the amenities you can expect are quite impressive.  First, you can expect to enjoy a forward-facing luxury lounge that has snacks, coffee, and tea 24 hours a day.  Second, a gym and sauna is on board that holds at least 15 guests at a time.  Thirdly, a beautiful dinning space awaits you with a detailed focused staff ready to serve you!  Fourthly, the bow of the vessel offers outdoor dining space and incredible viewpoints.  Lastly, there is also a library, a business computer you can check email, and a gift shop on board.

Antarctica Luxury Accommodation Options

Likely you have been searching for luxury accommodation options for your Antarctica expedition.  Choosing the Magellan Explorer is the perfect choice!  There are many room choices that all vary in budget depending on the expedition.  For example, the fly and fly (air-cruises) are more expensive than the cruise only ($12,995-26,995 USD per person as of when this post was written).

To put it further into perspective, we stayed and our Antarctica wedding clients stayed in (3) Grand Suites and it was $26,995 USD per person (yes per person, not per room).  The cost includes 3 meals a day, drinks (including beer and wine at lunch / dinner), 2 expeditions or landings per day, on board classes  by scientists, and access to all of the ships amenities.

Magellan Explorer Room Types (from most expensive to least):
  • Grand Suite -Offers a King size bed (or 2 doubles); 2 private balconies; a separate living room; desk and chair sets (both rooms); and 2 bathrooms with showers in both.  Total of 440 feet of living space (40 square meters) located on Deck #4.  NOTE: All of the mini bars and snacks in the room are no charge and replenished daily.
  • Penthouse Suite -Has a King size bed (or 2 doubles); private balcony; sitting area; and bathroom with shower.  Total of 330 feet of space (30 square meters) and located on Deck #5.
  • Deluxe Veranda -King size bed (or 2 doubles); private balcony; bathroom with shower.  Total of 220 feet of space (20 square meters) and on Deck #4.
  • Veranda Suite -King bed (or 2 doubles); private balcony; bathroom with shower.  Total of 220 feet of space (20 square meters) and found on Deck #3.
  • Porthole Suite -King bed (or 2 doubles); bathroom with shower.  Space you can expect is 220 feet (20 square meters) and located on Deck #3.
  • Triple Suite -2 Twin beds and 1 Queen size bed; 2 balconies, separate living area, and 2 bathrooms.  440 feet of space (40 square meters) and on Deck #4.

Which room would you love to wake up in on the luxurious Magellan Explorer while exploring Antarctica?

Antarctica Air-Cruise Journey

There is a lot to be said about choosing to go the fly and cruise route (aka air-cruises).  Mainly the difference being, not submitting yourself to having to the rough conditions that the Drake Passage often brings.  More often than not, you either have a good or bad experience, there isn’t anything in between.  Plus, the time that is involved getting to/from.  Wouldn’t you rather spend more time in Antarctica versus being stuck on a boat?  Timing to do an air-cruise journey would be between December-February.  Beyond March conditions are too unpredictable.

To illustrate, the air cruises on the Magellan Explorer are a total of 8 days and 7 nights with having 4 full days centered around exploring Antarctica!  Five nights will be on board the Magellan Explorer and typically the itinerary flows as follows…

Magellan Explorer Air-Cruise Experience:
  • Day 1 -You get yourself to South America in Punta Arenas, Chile by 2pm.  Then you’ll begin with checking into the host hotel (included), boot fittings, a group briefing, and a welcome dinner with your fellow shipmates.  You’ll be told that night when your flight will leave (they do not know before because of weather conditions).
  • Day 2 -When you leave the host hotel will depend on your flight time.  In our case, we left around 6:30am for a 9:30am chartered flight out to King George Island.  It’s about a 1.5-2 hour flight (note they give you a light lunch on the plane).  After arrival, you’ll hike about 30 minutes to where the zodiacs are.  Next the zodiacs will take you to the Magellan Explorer.  Likely, you’ll have lunch and get to settle into your room.  Their will then be a briefing of what the rest of the day and next day holds.  Along with that, you’ll have a vessel fire drill.  You will not be leaving the port until after dinner so don’t get your hopes up for any shore excursion this day.
  • Day 3 to 6 -Will bring 2 landings per day with optional activities too (additional cost) but more about that below.
  • Day 7 -Is the day you will leave the Magellan Explorer and fly back to Punta Arenas.  Usually they give you about 45-60 minutes on King George Island to explore the Russian Church, beach (may times penguins are hanging around), and the gift shop.  Last night in the host hotel, you’re on your own for dinner and free to leave as you wish.
  • Day 8 -They pitch this as the “leaving day” when you’ll have breakfast at the host hotel and then they have arranged shuttles to the Punta Arenas airport.  In our case, we left around midnight for a 2am flight, so w only stayed in the hotel room for a few hours for a nap.

Antarctica Expedition (What You’ll See and Do)

While aboard the Magellan Explorer expedition ship there will be many different experiences to partake in.  For instance things like the following could be activities you opt in or out from:

  • Kayaking (double so have a partner or make a new friend!)
  • Snowshoeing (not always available and you sign up on board).
  • Hiking- But be aware this is not intense hikes, these are easy like 10-15 minute one way types.
  • Zodiac Adventures to find wildlife.  What kind?  Whales (all types), seals (all types), penguins (all types) and different species of birds.
  • Polar Plunge from the ship!  Antarctica Travel Tip: Jump in the sauna afterwards!
  • Sites you may venture to… Volcanic areas, narrow passageways, Historical abandoned whaling areas, Antarctic research centers (note you will not see scientists working just where they live), crazy shaped mountains and icebergs, islands of different colonies of penguins, and shipwrecks.

5 Star Dinning Aboard

Most travelers love to delight in local cuisine while experiencing a new country.  However, since Antarctica is only inhabited by scientists and researchers, there really isn’t a local flavor to try.  On the other hand, the take the Magellan Explorer food and beverage team has taken is more of a 5 star dinning approach.  What you can expect for each meal on board…

Magellan Explorer Food:
  • Breakfast: A lovely buffet of fresh breads, juices, fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses and other continental style items.  Hot options like made to order eggs or omelet plus things like potatoes, french toast and pancakes are all available too.
  • Lunch: Varies depending on the day but always a salad bar, a sandwich of some type, side dishes, fish option, and a pasta option.  Several times they had theme options like a fresh pasta station.  Drinks available are sodas, coffee, teas, beer, and wine.  Know that cocktails and champagne / bubbles are all an extra cost.
  • Dinner: An example menu from one of our nights follows below.  Having a mix of a “3-4 course featured” menu and an “always available” was a really nice touch.  Options for drinks were the same as lunch.
  • Snacks: Within the lounge there was always cookies, coffee, and tea available 24-7.  Furthermore, during the briefings or “captain” welcome or farewell they had delicious appetizers and a choice of usually 3 cocktails (free of charge).  The bar list was decent but don’t go in expecting vintages or fancier cocktails.  For luxury champagne, the best they had was a standard bottle of Veuve Clicquot for around $100 USD per bottle.

The Staff

Antarctica 21 is the owner of the Magellan Explorer luxury ship.  Their staff run the vessel and the expeditions.  Above all, we found the team in all aspects running at a very high level of attention to details.  In short, from the hotel room staff making our cabin amazing several times a day to the restaurant staff remembering our favorite drinks, etc.  We felt taken care of aboard.

Moreover our only concern was in regards to the expedition staff.  Outside of our clients wedding day (which they were extremely accommodating for) they were not.  While on shore, many of them weren’t attentive.  For example, some had their own agendas they would push like photographing the wildlife on their own professional cameras versus putting us in a advantageous spot to do ourselves.  Or taking us on a boring zodiac ride trying to find an elusive “king penguin” who was around that area weeks ago versus exploring other areas with crazy looking icebergs, etc.

Booking an Adventure on the Magellan Explorer

Typically it is best to begin planning such an unforgettable trip at least 8-16 months in advance.  Similarly, we have indeed planned Antarctica elopements in less time but you cannot be choosy on dates or accommodation type.

In conclusion, have you found yourself totally inspired and craving to be aboard this amazing Magellan Explorer vessel?  Maybe you love the idea of getting married while in Antarctica too…  To sum up, feel free to contact us for more information on getting that journey started!  Lastly, stay tuned next time when we share you with the most amazing Antarctica wedding expedition!

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