Penguins are easily the most famous resident of Antarctica and the icy continent’s many surrounding islands. There are seven species of penguin that call Antarctica home, totaling more than 20 million tuxedoed residents. Among some of the most well known are the Emperor, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. Many penguin species are monogamous and mate for life, although some may only mate for a season. How they communicate with each other is just as amazing, creating unique calls to identify themselves to their mates and chicks. This is important as the parents are gone for hours at a time, traversing a well-worn penguin highway down to the shore where they spend all day in the water eating fish. When they return they regurgitate the fish in order to feed the baby penguins.
Any cruise, whether it crosses the Drake Passage or is a fly-cruise from South America will feature many opportunities to get close to these amazing animals. Most of the penguin species mate in the Austral Summer (November-March) and depending on the time of the trip, visitors may get to see penguins in a variety of life cycles. Visitors in the early summer months will enjoy watching the sometimes strange mating rituals of the penguins, while visitors in the late summer months will be delighted with the precocious penguin chicks.