Skip to main content

So you’re going to Antarctica on a cruise! The excitement is palpable, but you still have to pack, travel a very long way and be prepared for the one million photo opportunities.

It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed, it’s not every day that you travel to the icy continent. Never fear, here’s a complete list of what to take with you for an adventure of a lifetime.


Forget about packing a huge, bulky jacket. Most cruiselines provide a heavy-duty waterproof jacket for your cruise – and you even get to take it home with you.

You will also be provided with boots for expeditions, so no need to worry about footwear when out exploring. But you’ll still need some essential layers. Key word: layers!

Do take:

  • Waterproof Pants      – one size bigger than your usual size to accommodate for layers
  • Gloves           – Waterproof and woollen
  • Socks                        – At least 6 pairs and preferably wool.
  • Sunglasses           – Two pairs, polarised
  • Base layers           – Thermal leggings, thermal vests, thermal long sleeve tops
  • Footwear           – Flat, comfortable shoes for the ship
  • Neck Gaiter           – Two, light weight gators
  • Beanies           – Two plus headband and/or ear muffs
  • Swimwear.                  – For your polar plunge and for the on-board spas
  • Jacket.                         – A light puffer jacket and/or vest
  • Casual clothing          – To wear around the ship

 Don’t take:

  • Formal wear – Unless you want to dress up after a big day exploring
  • High heels– The ship can be rocky, best to wear flat shoes with grip
  • Cotton socks– Wool or bamboo for comfort and warmth
  • Cheap gloves              – Waterproof only

Toiletries and Medications

  • Seasickness medication – Visit your doctor a few weeks before cruising. There are many different types of sea sickness medications. Not all over-the-counter meds will be suitable for the conditions you might face.
  • Regular mediations        – Ensure you take at least double the quantity, just in case
  • Other medications         – Paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistamines, saline nasal spray, saline eye drops
  • Small first aid kit              – Bandaids, bandages, antiseptic, gauze, safety pins
  • Sunscreen                 – A large bottle and a small one to carry during expeditions
  • Lip Balm with SPF            – Two small roll-on tubes
  • Moisturiser                 – Day with SPF, night heavier cream
  • Sanitary products            – Be prepared
  • Oral rehydration tablets – Hydralyte or similar with electrolytes

Electronics and camera gear

Before cruising, check what the electrical sockets are on board i.e American, European and take the appropriate power adaptor if necessary.

Depending on your photography level, you might need an extra bag for your lenses and accessories.

Just remember, you’ll be carrying all your gear alone with only the provided backpack to store things.

There is limited space in the zodiacs and be prepared for your gear to get wet. Don’t take anything too heavy to carry for more than two hours.

A very important note: There are strict environmental laws which means any clothing and gear that will be taken on expeditions will be inspected and cleaned with a vacuum. Everything need to be carried and no gear or bags or personal equipment is to be placed on the land/snow/ice.

  • Camera – With telescopic lens or zoom
  • Camera bag and strap– Protection from elements and to keep your hands free
  • Memory cards– Take multiple
  • Batteries/battery pack– A battery pack is easier which can be charged every day
  • Lap top             – To download images and stay in touch
  • Phone– For photos and videos
  • USB cables   –  For charging. Most ships have USB ports in cabins

Other travel tips

Getting to Antarctica is not simple, but part of the exciting adventure. As you will be boarding your cruise in Ushuaia, Argentina, you will most probably be flying to Buenos Aires and then boarding a charter flight to Ushuaia.


  • Spend at least a day before in Buenos Aires, preferably two
  • Take extra travelling clothes for the flights
  • Make sure have comprehensive travel insurance
  • Buy any snacks or last-minute toiletries in Ushuaia
  • Attend any briefings hosted by your cruiseline before departure
  • Make sure all your paperwork is printed out.

And the ONE thing not to forget, is your sense of adventure. Don’t miss out on any opportunity to go out on an expedition while in Antarctica. You might never have that moment again. And, if you get the chance to take a polar plunge, take that leap!