The Best Cruise Line to Visit Antarctica With Kids

When we were in Cusco, Peru, it occurred to me:

We were in South America already, the gateway to Antarctica– and it would make our 7th continent in 7 years of full time travel.

Why not?

I started to get discouraged after emailing a lot of cruise companies. Most would not consider taking a three year old.

There were a couple who hedged and said they might allow it. The cost would be upwards of 12k for one week-per person.

One newsletter from, claimed the best way would be to arrive in Ushuaia and wait for last minute sales. But it would still be at least 3k.


Ushuaia, Argentina

That’s why Holland America’s Zaandam seemed too good to be true.

zaandam distant

This is a three week long cruise. I worked with travel agent Danielle from For $3,669.03 per person for the first two people and $1200 for a third person, we booked an inside cabin-but, we lucked out. Due to a mistake in our booking, they upgraded us to a cabin with a window. For a cruise to Antarctica turned out to be worth it, since the reason this cruise is less than some others is because there is no actual disembarkation. It’s all about the views. And boy, are the views something else:

ryder bed antarctica

green glacier

misty white


Despite this, we still saw animal wildlife, like the one of the largest penguin colonies in the world:

largest penguin colony

The itinerary included:

Departure from Santiago (Valparaiso) Chile

Days ashore in Puerto Montt, Castro, Puerto Chacabuco, and Puento Arenas; the Falkland Islands and Montevideo, Uruguay; and Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Concluding in Buenos Aires.

I am now converted to cruises after this trip-but really this was the cruise to end all cruises. You can’t visit Antarctica except via boat anyway. Well, there are flights but that’s a very brief trip. We spent three full days looking out the window at a truly fantastical, other-worldly vista.

What I loved about this cruise:

The library and its selection of books:

library ship

The Zaandam Dancers, borderline cheesy, incredible costumes:

zaandam dancers

Kids Club: Here they are decorating cookies

kids club cookie decorating

Cooking classes with recipes. Cutest chef ever-and from Dallas!

chef from dallas 

Lectures from Antarctica authorities


Lido Deck and unlimited food

lido deck

Christmas and New Years Celebrations

 santa claus

new years 2015

Pool and hot tubs plus taco bar

pool area

taco bar swimming pool 

Kareoke in the Crowe’s Nest

crowes nest

Art history classes and auctions

art auction

Unlimited movie rental: I introduced Ryder to my favorite Christmas film, Home Alone, this way!

Home Alone

Free daily fitness classes

zaandam gym

The majority Filipino crew who all had a genuine love of Ryder. He misses them a lot!

filipino worker

We got a schedule each night, along with chocolates and folded towels, stating the next day’s itinerary. I was never bored on this ship. It is also convenient-there is even coin-op laundry.This is a magical way for families to get to experience Antarctica.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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