Turtle has pretty much covered it.

To me a drive by cruise would be like standing outside the finest restaurant in the world and reading the menu while watching diners inside at their tables - then walking on past and going to McDonalds.

I would make a start with reading some of the many trip reports we have on Trip Advisor by those of us who have done one or multiple expeditions to various parts of Antarctica on the icebreakers or small expedition ships.

The reports are cross referenced by year, expedition company, and ship name - so easily searchable.

At the end of the day its a choice only you and your budget you can make.

But to me - money is the least important factor when I want to achieve my life goals. And yes - every single solitary second that I have spent on shore on the polar continent during 4 trips of 116 days - was well and truly worth it.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Kapitan Khlebnikov Nov 2010 (West Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Riser Laarsen Coast, Sth Sandwhich & Sth Georgia Islands)
Kapitan Khlebnikov Dec 2011 (Final voyage - East Antarctica & Heard Island)
Sea Adventurer: Feb 2014 (East side of Antarctica Peninsular, South Georgia Is, Falkland Is).

Ortelius: Feb 2014 Bluff NZ, Ross Sea, West Antarctica, Peninsula, Peter 1st Island, Ushuaia
Other regions: too many to list so just the highlights:
P&O Oriana 1984 (Indian Ocean) and 1986 (Pacific Ocean), Superstar Virgo 2003 (Indian Ocean),
Radiance of the Seas: Nov 2014 Bravo Theatre Opera cruise - Noumea.