No matter which Antarctic cruise you embark upon, you will come to rely heavily on Zodiac boats. These rigid inflatables are used around the world—by beach patrols, the military, and thrill seekers—and you will depend upon them throughout your time in Antarctica. The only way to get off your ship—to disembark or join excursions—is via a Zodiac.
Sometimes the excursion is just riding in the Zodiac itself. Some cruises will offer at least one opportunity to go on a marine safari by boat, taking the fast and maneuverable inflatables to narrow inlets, icebergs, and who-knows-where-else in search of seals, penguins, and birds.
Be prepared, though—a trip on a Zodiac can be cold and wet. If you’re just transiting, you can get away with a light coat, but if you’re embarking on a marine safari, be sure to wear a waterproof jacket and bring something to protect your camera from the water that will invariably splash up. The extra precautions are worth it for the chance to be up close and personal with some of the most beautiful animals in the world.