The temperature you’ll experience during an Antarctic expedition cruise largely depends on the season and the specific regions you’re visiting. However, during the cruising season, which is the Antarctic summer (typically from November to March), here’s what you can generally expect:

  1. Early Season (November):
    1. Temperature: Between -2°C (28°F) and +2°C (36°F).
    2. Landscape: This is the time when the continent is coming out of its winter. You’ll witness the breaking up of the ice and snow, and the days start to get longer. Penguins and seabirds begin their nesting season.
  2. Mid-Season (December to January):
    1. Temperature: Between 1°C (34°F) and 4°C (39°F).
    2. Landscape: This is the warmest time of the year in Antarctica. Ice and snow melt is at its peak, and many ice-free areas become accessible. It’s also a prime time for wildlife viewing, as many species are active, with some young ones starting to emerge.
  3. Late Season (February to March):
    1. Temperature: Between -1°C (30°F) and +4°C (39°F).
    2. Landscape: By now, there’s less snow around the peninsula, and the ice continues to recede. This is a great time for whale watching, as many species become more active in these months.

Keep in mind that while these temperatures might seem relatively mild, the “feels like” temperature can be significantly colder due to wind chill. On the water, aboard zodiacs or the cruise ship, the wind can make conditions feel much colder than the actual ambient temperature.

Regardless of when you visit, you should be prepared for a range of conditions. Bring layers of clothing, including a high-quality waterproof and windproof outer layer, gloves, a warm hat, and other cold-weather gear. Your cruise operator will typically provide a suggested packing list to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the conditions you’ll face.


Lastly, remember that weather in Antarctica can be highly unpredictable, and conditions can change rapidly. Even during the summer, snow showers and sudden drops in temperature are possible.

Related & Curated Expedition Cruise Features

Expedition Cruise Lines List

Expedition Cruise Lines List

  This is a list of all the key expedition cruise lines operating globally. With links to their primary websites too. Key: Charter: This means the company does not own any ships but charters them each season so does operate. Expedition Cruise Line Number of ships...