Now departing: the last affordable Antarctic cruises.
New laws banning heavy fuels will bar big ocean liners from Antarctica starting August 1. Smaller, more ecofriendly vessels will still be allowed to make the trip, but ticket prices will likely top $10,000—more than twice what you'd pay on big ocean liners this season.
Antarctica's final big-ship cruising season is already in full swing. It began in November and runs through the end of February. Plus, if you book now, you may be able to squeeze onto a cruise in the late season—the only time of year when you can see baby penguins there.
As of press time, there were still tickets on Holland America Line's 16-night South America and Antarctica sailing, departing from Valparaiso, Chile, on December 20 (hollandamerica.com, from $1,999). Similarly, Princess Cruises has a 16-night sailing from Buenos Aires along the Antarctic Peninsula, with a stop at the penguin colonies on the Falkland Islands, departing January 9 (princess.com, from $2,795).