Elephant Island Cruising Guide

Named for the many families of elephant seals that swim the waters of the Weddell Sea and Bransfield Strait, Elephant Island is a haven for nature and wildlife lovers. Soak up unique vistas of ice-capped mountains and sprawling glaciers. Break out your binoculars and spot colonies of penguins, and keep your eyes peeled for the island’s namesake seals during your Antarctica cruise

Top Things to Do in Elephant Island

Admire the Local Seal Population

You won’t find the seals on Elephant Island living in practically any other place on Earth. They’re known for their trunk-style noses that resemble—you guessed it—an elephant’s trunk. These creatures are massive; adult male elephant seals can weigh upwards of 8,000 pounds fully grown. Keep a look out for fur seals and their tiny pups, which are the smallest species of seal. Dwarfed by the elephant seals, fur seals rely on their furry coats to stay warm.

Spot Penguins in the Wild

Multiple varieties of penguin species migrate to or live on Elephant Island, including the chinstrap penguin and the gentoo penguin. Gentoo penguins are recognizable by their waddling tails, while chinstrap penguins can be identified by the black strip under their heads, which almost looks like the strap of a helmet. 

Learn More About South America Shore Excursions

Culture and History of Elephant Island

The storied past of Elephant Island recounts tales of bravery and resilience in the face of harsh conditions. Elephant Island was first discovered by a British explorer in 1820 and mapped by Russian explorers by 1821. In 1914, the Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 28 other sailors were trapped in ice and forced to abandon their ship. They made their way to Elephant Island, where they stayed for months until it was warm enough to melt the ice. Miraculously, Shackleton and the entire crew survived. Today, a handful of researchers and naturalists still brave the elements to live and study on the island, but it’s largely inhabited by the seals and penguins. 

Find Cruises to Antartica's Elephant Island (Cruising) Port

Previewing: Promo Dashboard Campaigns