Best Antarctica Cruise - Celebrity or Holland America

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 11:30 PM.
Bakertsfield, CA, USA
148 Posts
Joined May 2001
I am thinking of going on one of the 2 mainline cruise lines that go to South America/Antarctica - Holland America for 22 days or Celebrity for 14 days.
Holland America spends 4 days in the area called the Antarctic Experience which goes to the Palmer Archipelago, Danco coast and Antarctic sound.
Celebrity spends 2 days in the area and goes to Schollart channel, Paradise bay, Gerlache strait and Elephant island.
Are the locations for these 2 cruises the same or does HA go to more locations?
Does anyone have an opinion what one is the best cruise? Since HA spends 4 days in Antarctica and Celebrity only spends 2 days there, thus on the surface it appears that HA is the best choice if you want the most time there. If you are going to spend a lot of money and time on these cruises, it would seem that the one with the most time in Antarctica would be the best choice (HA spends extra time going up to Santiago vs Celebrity goes back to Buenos Aries).
Any opinions on these cruises would be appreciated from people who have been on them.
Thanks, Rick
4,676 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Globehoppers is correct, if you really want an Antarctic experience you need to be on a small (200 or less) person boat. That way you get to go on the ice, not just near it.
9,575 Posts
Joined May 2009
While I agree that an expedition on a small ship would be "best," and ours was incredible, not everyone is able to do that.

The OP expressly asked about non-expedition cruises.

OP: you are comparing two very different cruises, pretty much apples and oranges. One is a more than a week longer than the other; they have very different itineraries. The HAL cruise is three weeks long, and if it's the one I pulled up to look at, it's a cruise around the Horn from Buenos Aires to Santiago, which will give you much more of South America than the two-week cruise on Celebrity, which is RT out of Buenos Aires. (You might find one of those cruises easier in terms of air travel, but that's your call.) As best I can tell, HAL also has a port call in the Falklands; this is not always made because of weather, but from what I've read, it would be great if you make it.

Since you are looking at cruises of such different lengths and itineraries, I suggest you really need to consider what is most important to you here.

Also, besides posting in this forum, I would also post on the HAL and Celebrity boards. You are not likely to get comparisons anyway (folks are not likely to have done both cruises), but I think you may well find it helpful to get replies from people who have taken these cruises with each cruise line, and a good way to get that info is on those boards.

I hope this was helpful.
Palm City, Fl
3,857 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
For expanded knowledge about a cruise ship in Antarctica, I suggest you spend some time on YouTube. There are some enthralling videos from sailings of major cruise lines as well as expedition ships.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Carnival Spirit 2003 (Caribbean)
Carnival Fascination 2004 (Caribbean)
HAL Noordam 2004 (Norway)
Celebrity Horizon 2005 (Caribbean)
Sun Princess 2006 (Caribbean)
Diamond Princess 2007 (Alaska)
Carnival Splendor 2008 ( E. Mediterranean)
Carnival Glory 2010 (b2b E+W Caribbean)
Emerald Princess 2012 (Caribbean)
Island Princess 2012 (Panama Canal-full transit)
Ruby Princess 2014 (Caribbean)
HAL Ryndam 2014 (W. Caribbean)
Ruby Princess 2014 (W. Caribbean)
Carnival Glory 2016 (Journey-E. Caribbean)
HAL Zaandam 2016 (BA to Santiago)
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,810 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We are doing the HAL cruise in Jan a much better itinerary.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
For Cruise Reviews and Pictures, visit our website at

See reviews and pictures of our Celebrity Eclipse Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Silhouette Transatlantic; Celebrity Constellation Holy Land; Iceland/Ireland on the Celebrity Eclipse; Oceania Riviera Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Equinox Transatlantic; Oceania Nautica China/Japan Cruise; Oceania Riviera Mayan Mystique Cruise; Infinity Panama Canal Cruise;Eclipse Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands Cruise ; Island Princess Alaska Cruise and Land Tour; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

Upcoming Cruises:
Celebrity Solstice - June 2017 - Alaska
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam - October 2017 - Eastern Caribbean
HAL Zaandam - January 2018 - Antarctica/South America
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean

1,490 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Celebrity's two days can soon turn into a big disappointment if the weather decides to intervene. Two days, for me, is too risky.

If it's Antarctica you want to see, as opposed to it being part of a South American trip, then you should take a serious look at an expedition trip on a smaller ship that will allow you to land. A world of difference, and one which is more than worth the extra cost (which may not be as much as you imagine).
480 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
If it's important for you to see Antarctica but not particularly important to do landings the HAL is better as it gives you a couple more days around the peninsula. Besides it also visit Chilean fjords which are beautiful in a different way. The big advantage of the celebrity itinerary is it is shorter and requires less time off work but that might not be a factor to you.

If you do decide to do an expedition including landings, ideally you would want a ship carrying about 100 people. Any ship carrying more than 200 may be considered too big by some but then you also have to consider comfort level. Chances are it will be a compromise of several factors.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Azamara Quest - Mar 2018 - Cuba Intensive Voyage
Ponant Le Lyrial - Jan 2019 - Antarctica, South Georgia and Falklands

So much ocean ~ so little time ~