Some trips take longer to plan for, which is why Oceanwide Expeditions is announcing its 2017 Antarctica adventure cruise now. The adventure cruise company specializes in excursions to polar regions and has a new expedition scheduled for 2017 taking travelers to the Ross Sea in Antarctica. This polar region is challenging to navigate but it is a dream come true for intrepid adventurers looking to visit one of the most remote and extreme locations on Earth.

Only discovered in 1841, the Ross Sea is a deep bay in the Southern Ocean in Antarctica. A thick layer of ice forms the Ross Ice Shelf, known to explorers as the Ross Barrier, as it blocks access to the region at certain times of year. After offering wannabe explorers the opportunity to discover this far-flung region near the South Pole in 2013, then 2015, Oceanwide Expeditions is once again due to set sail for the Ross Sea with a boatful of amateur adventurers in 2017.

The 116 passengers will be carried by the Ortelius, a Polish vessel specially equipped to sail icy waters. Once serving the Russian Academy of Science, this sturdy steel voyager has been converted into a cruise ship for polar expeditions.

A 32-day Trip

The Ross Sea cruise is actually more of an expedition than a cruise. It is scheduled to leave the South American continent and head for the Antarctic Peninsula. The route crosses the polar circle, arriving at the west of Peter I island, before sailing through the ice to the Ross Ice Shelf and finally reaching the Ross Sea. The trip then heads to the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island and ends in New Zealand. The firm will be operating two Ross Sea cruises in 2017, with one running in the opposite direction, from New Zealand to Argentina.

Two helicopters will be allocated to accompany the amateur explorers, taking them to remote locations like the refuges used by the first explorers to discover the region. Oceanwide Expeditions warns that conditions at one of the cruise’s Antarctic destinations “are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars anywhere on Planet Earth.” Travelers will have plenty of fauna to discover too, from the royal albatross on Campbell Island to minke whales and killer whales in the Ross Sea.

Head to the Oceanwide Expeditions website for a chance to win a free ticket for the Ross Sea Cruise, valued at over $25,000.