Antarctica21 to build new polar expedition cruise ship

Magellan Discoverer will join the fleet for the 2026-2027 season and is designed exclusively for Antarctic exploration

Antarctica21 to build new polar expedition cruise ship


Magellan Discoverer will provide boutique-style expeditions when it debuts in 2026

By Laura Hyde |

Antarctica21 is to build a new expedition cruise ship designed exclusively for Antarctic exploration. Magellan Discoverer is scheduled to join the fleet for the 2026-2027 Antarctic season. 

According to Antarctica21, the new ship order is a response to the “increasing demand” for the operator’s fly-and-cruise Antarctic expeditions, which enable guests to fly to Antarctica to join their ship directly, rather than sailing the rough seas of the Drake Passage. 

Magellan Discoverer has been designed as a sister ship to the company’s existing polar expedition ship, Magellan Explorer, but will have “numerous enhancements”. 

The vessel will feature a yacht-like aesthetic and accommodate up to 76 guests in 40 cabins across three passenger decks. It will comply with the Tier III emission standard, thanks to its hybrid diesel-electric propulsion and heat recovery systems. 

Magellan Discoverer deck plan

The accommodation has been designed to “encapsulate the essence of adventure”, according to Antarctica21

Magellan Discoverer will have 12 Suites, 22 Deluxe veranda cabins and six Single Deluxe veranda cabins, all with private balcony. In addition, it will feature a dining room, meeting rooms, an observation lounge and bar, a gym, a sauna, and a gift shop.  

“This ship is born out of our unwavering commitment to meeting the rising expectations of our guests,” said Jaime Vásquez, president of Antarctica21. “Equipped with the latest technology, Magellan Discoverer strengthens our dedication to sustainability while offering seamless comfort for our travellers. With its modern elegance and advanced technical features, it supports our ongoing effort to provide unparalleled experiences in the spectacular Antarctic region.” 

The ship will also have an onboard wet science lab to support Antarctic research programmes, and a wraparound walking deck, providing 360-degree views of the Antarctic landscapes. 

“Leveraging our experience with Magellan Explorer and our fruitful collaboration with the shipbuilder Asenav, I am thrilled to embark on the Magellan Discoverer project,” said Claudio Bobadilla, fleet director at Antarctica21. “We are committed to innovating and setting new standards in expedition cruising. Several design enhancements have been developed, reflecting our learnings from building Magellan Explorer together. Our goal is to exceed the high standards expected by our guests. Magellan Discoverer will set a new standard of excellence in the Antarctic tourism industry, and be a point of pride for our team.” 

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