Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations in the world and can only be explored by booking a cruise. While some people just want to check off visiting their seventh continent, Antarctica has so much more to offer, including wildlife, endless adventure and the opportunity to explore one of the most pristine places left on the planet. Here are some of the reasons why you need to take an Antarctica cruise at least once in your life.

Penguins Everywhere You Look

Credit: TravelStrategy/Shutterstock

Penguins might just be the unofficial ambassadors of Antarctica as they are seemingly everywhere. Because penguins aren’t fearful of humans, you could fill your days just photographing and admiring these beautiful birds up close. Regulations state that you can’t get any closer than five meters, but some penguins didn’t get that memo, so don’t be surprised if a curious one waddles right up to you.

There’s More Wildlife Than Just Penguins

Credit: hecke61/Shutterstock

While penguins get top billing for most people wanting to visit Antarctica, the region is home to a number of other animals as well. If you’re lucky, you might spot whales, seals and a large variety of other birds who call Antarctica home.

See the Massive Icebergs Firsthand

Credit: TravelStrategy/Shutterstock

Photos can’t adequately capture just how massive the icebergs are that you’ll see floating around Antarctica. Some are the equivalent in size to a multi-story building. Even if you’ve seen icebergs before, you haven’t seen the ones in Antarctica yet. Icebergs come in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll find that no two are ever identical.

Endless Photo Opportunities

Credit: Yongyut Kumsri/Shutterstock

Even if you are just a hobby photographer, every photo you take in Antarctica looks like it jumped off a postcard. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture some absolutely stunning photos here. If you do want to enhance your photography skills, you can even book photography-themed cruises. One example is Lindblad Expeditions, where you’ll have National Geographic photographers onboard every cruise. You can learn more from them while out in the field, attend onboard clinics and even have one-on-one time with these award-winning photographers.

Visit a Scientific Research Station

Credit: chrisontour84/Shutterstock

Another reason to visit Antarctica is the opportunity to meet people who live in Antarctica, at least part of the year. There are several research stations, some of which close for the winter, while others are occupied year-round. Researchers are there studying climate change, but you’ll also find some astronomers who’ve developed a deep love for Antarctica thanks to its lack of light pollution. Astronomers have the ability to get a better look at what is happening out there beyond our planet. Most cruises to Antarctica offer the opportunity to visit one or more research bases where you can chat with the staff to learn what life is like and about the work they are doing on the polar continent.

Unique Adventures Await

Credit: Budkov Denis/Shutterstock

For adventure seekers, Antarctica offers countless opportunities for some truly unique adventures. Explore smaller channels in a Zodiac, go kayaking alongside the gigantic icebergs and you can even camp out overnight on the ice. Another long-standing tradition for fearless travelers is the Polar Plunge, where you are dunked in sub-freezing waters for a few seconds.

We Don’t Know What the Future of Antarctica Tourism Will Be

Credit: Wim Hoek/Shutterstock

The effects of climate change are noticeable in Antarctica. A dramatic change in water temperatures and rising sea levels are impacting the local ecosystem. As larger ice shelves break apart, they present a bigger risk for cruise ships. In addition, a higher demand for tourism in Antarctica means prices are on the rise. With laws mandating the number of cruise ships that are allowed to visit Antarctica each season, it means availability is even more limited, so now is the time to go, as it may not be an option in a few years.