One of the best features of an Antarctic cruise is the opportunity to whale-watch from the decks of the vessel while cruising toward the continent. Travelers should be on the lookout for the gigantic humpback and sperm whales, as well as smaller minke, right, and fin whales. The very lucky may catch a glimpse of the elusive and incredible blue whale, the largest animal on earth.
Seals are prolific on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most impressive being the elephant seal with huge nose and formidable size. Crabeater seals, fur seals, and leopard seals are also common sights.
But far and away, penguins are the creatures that have made Antarctica famous. The majestic emperor penguin, which achieved fame in the movie March of the Penguins, and its cousin the king penguin roam the ice in stately dignity. The comic rockhopper, royal, and macaroni penguins with colorful flares of feathers on their head are hard to miss on the white landscape. The classic Adelie penguin is also in abundance, the arch typical black and white penguin that comes to mind when travelers think of the penguin family.
While penguins are relegated to the icy ground, several species of Albatross criss-cross the skies. Even more species of petrels call the Antarctic skies home, as do many gulls and terns. An Antarctic cruise will reveal the true abundance of wildlife in the frigid region!