Weddell Sea

Be part of a true expedition voyage as you cruise into an area of amazing wildlife and huge tabular icebergs.

Cruises to the Weddell Sea

Antarctica - Elephant Island - Weddell Sea - Polar Circle
Up to $6100 OFF

Antarctica - Elephant Island - Weddell Sea - Polar Circle

Venture beyond the polar circle, visiting some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-filled waters and islands

PLA31-24 This expansive expedition takes you into the Antarctic Circle, combining the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. Such key landing sites as the legendary Elephant Island and Crystal Sound...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

7 Mar - 21 Mar, 2024

Berths start from:

6300 USD

Weddell Sea – In search of the Emperor Penguin, incl. helicopters

Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins

OTL22-24 A true expedition, our Weddell Sea cruise sets out to explore the range of the Emperor Penguins near Snow Hill Island. We will visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and Gentoos.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

10 Nov - 20 Nov, 2024

Berths start from:

12100 USD

Weddell Sea – In search of the Emperor Penguin, incl. helicopters

Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins

OTL23-24 A true expedition, our Weddell Sea cruise sets out to explore the range of the Emperor Penguins near Snow Hill Island. We will visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and Gentoos.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

20 Nov - 30 Nov, 2024

Berths start from:

12100 USD

Remote Weddell Sea Explorer incl. South Georgia - South Sandwich Islands - Neuschwabenland - Vahsel Bay - Larsen Ice Shelf - Paulet and Devil Island - Elephant Island, incl. helicopters

This expansive voyage explores one of the most remote, scenic, wildlife-filled regions on Earth: the great Weddell Sea

OTL30-25 This adventurous expedition explores one of the least-visited areas on Earth, Antarctica’s amazing Weddell Sea. After visiting some of the same sites legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton’s charted in South Georgia, we’ll enjoy the Weddell’s exotic wildlife...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

11 Feb - 10 Mar, 2025

Berths start from:

24700 USD

Antarctica - Elephant Island - Weddell Sea - Polar Circle

Venture beyond the polar circle, visiting some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-filled waters and islands

PLA31-25 This expansive expedition takes you into the Antarctic Circle, combining the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. Such key landing sites as the legendary Elephant Island and Crystal Sound...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

9 Mar - 23 Mar, 2025

Berths start from:

10500 USD

Video

Latest blog and customer story

Blog

Guide’s Choice for Binoculars: Swarovski Optik

Our guests often ask us what they should pack when it comes to the more optional polar travel gear, such as cameras or binoculars.

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Customer story

A helicopter flight over Antarctica

Dutch journalist Gemma Venhuizen embarked on the m/v Ortelius during the Weddell Sea cruise ‘In search of the emperor penguins – including helicopters’. Flying over the Antarctic Peninsula was a dream coming true.

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Latest highlight and wildlife

Map of

Weddell Sea photo

Weddell Sea cruise reviews

by Bruce Acton
Melanie and I had the most wonderful Antarctic experience with 95 of our now closest friends. The crew, the guides, and hotel staff all provide exception service to each and every guest. The wildlife and scenery were mindboggling. Read full review
by Neil Gibson
We had an absolutely outstanding expedition to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica on the Plancius. The ship was perfect for this style of adventure. The crew were all outstanding, and the meals were spot-on day after day. The expedition team were excellent, superbly led by Ali. They genuinely cared about giving us every possible opportunity to experience everything that the area offered. My expectations were very high leading into this trip and to be honest my expectations were exceeded. The wildlife encounters were unbelievable, the scenery absolutely stunning, and the overall experience was unforgettable.
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by Maria Lange
Fabulous crew, wildlife better than expected. Read full review
by MAXIME GARCIA
Everything is wonderful. The team is perfect and they are all passionate. Seeing emperor penguins and landing in a helicopter on an iceberg are unforgettable experiences. Everything is very well organized. The whole team is friendly, the food good. The landscapes are breathtaking. Don't hesitate, book the expedition to see the emperor penguins.
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by Lieke van der Woude
It was my long time wish to come to Antarctica, and I tried to temper my expectations. But all expectations were exceeded by far! Which was in no small part due to the excellent crew on board. From expedition to hotel to navigation crew, all were the nicest people with great expertise that made this a truly unforgettable journey! I’m already planning my next trip with Oceanwide Expeditions Read full review
by Elena Canzi
Amazing excursion, a dream came tru! Read full review

Weddell Sea FAQ

You can see enormous amounts of animals in and around the Weddell Sea such as  Adelie penguins, Emperor penguins, Weddell seals and Orca. 

The Weddell Sea has a big impact on the local climate. The area typically has strong surface winds, and this carries strong winds into the mountains and lower latitudes. These winds also have an impact on the South Atlantic Ocean because they tend to push ice into this area. The Antarctic Bottom Water of the Weddell Sea usually ranges from -0,8 to 0 degrees Celsius (31.8 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit), but surface temperatures are generally below freezing.

The western Weddell Sea (the Antarctic Peninsula) is experiencing warming conditions and decreasing sea ice while in the eastern Weddell Sea, sea ice has been increasing over the past few decades contributing significantly to an overall increase in Southern Ocean sea ice extent.  

Although we may not be able to reach the emperor penguin rookery of Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea (less than 50% chance) we have good chances to observe individual emperors on the edge if the pack-ice.

The Weddell Sea is located between the land boundaries of the Antarctic Peninsula to the west and Coats Land to the east. When you travel to the Weddell Sea region, your cruise will take you through territorial areas that have been claimed by Britain, Argentina and Chile. Most of the Weddell Sea is covered in dense sea ice all year around and only the northwestern part can be visited by ships.

The Weddell Sea takes up an area that is approximately 2.8 million square km (1.1 ×106 square miles). The widest part of the Weddell Sea is 2,000 km (1,200 miles). 

James Weddell is believed to be the first person to discover and explore what would eventually become known as the Weddell Sea. Weddell and his crew reached the area in 1823, after mistaking some icebergs for land. 

About

Weddell Sea Weather

The eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula (where the Weddell Sea is located) is known for its wild weather. At its warmest you can expect temperatures around 0°C. What you really have to dress for on your Weddell Sea cruise is the winds which can howl through the area to carry away your body heat.

If you scroll one third of the way down this page you’ll find a handy guide to help you pack for your trip.

Facts about The Weddell Sea

  • The majority of the southern part of the Weddell Sea is permanently covered by sea ice.
  • The Weddell Sea is the body of water that sits to the east of the arm that is the Antarctic Peninsula and the main body of the continent.
  • The Weddell Sea (along with the Antarctic Peninsula) is the most diverse area for marine life in the Antarctic region. The food chain starts with the massive amounts of krill that are found in the waters.
  • The Weddell Sea as a whole is claimed by both Britain and Argentina, and Chile also claims a portion of the area.
  • The Weddell Sea is named after James Waddell who, on the Jane and the Beaufoy, was the first to be able to sail into the area in 1823.
  • There are over 200 species of fish in the area, including the Channichthyidae which are known as “bloodless fishes.”
  • The Weddell Sea is said to have the clearest water of all the seas in the world.

Travel to the Weddell Sea

Heading to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula, your Weddell Sea expedition takes you to an area of amazing wildlife depth and diversification despite the harsh conditions. On your cruise including the Weddell Sea you’ll have the chance to encounter whales, seals, birds, and thousands of penguins, all of which have adapted to the remarkably difficult yet beautiful environment.

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