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Our guide to the cruising sites of South Shetland Islands

Select a cruising site

These are the sites around South Shetland Islands that are visited by expedition cruise ships. Select a site from the list to find out more about it below.

Deception Island

Elephant Island

Deception Island is one of the most incredible islands on the planet. It is an active volcano in the South Shetland Islands, off the Antarctic Peninsula. Its unique landscape comprises barren volcanic slopes, steaming beaches and ash-layered glaciers. It has a distinctive horse-shoe shape with a large flooded caldera. This opens to the sea through a narrow channel at Neptune's Bellows, forming a natural sheltered harbour. It is one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of a restless volcano.

It earned the name of 'Deception' from the concealed horsehoe-shaped harbour. The volcano beneath it was formed 10,000 years ago but erupts still in modern times, with fissures and cones in the late 60s and in 1970 that destroyed UK and Chilean scientific bases. Seismic activity was also detected in 1992 but no eruption occurred. This volcanic activity probably accounts for fewer glaciers on the island than on other islands in the area.

Telefon Bay is a small bay on the north-west coast of Port Foster, Deception Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It is surmounted by Telefon Ridge. The name appears on the chart of the French Antarctic Expedition under Charcot, 1908–10, and derives from the ship SS Telefon, which sat here awaiting repairs.

Points of interest include volcanic caldera, geothermal hot springs, scientific bases, extensive moss beds with the additional wildlife: Chinstrap penguin, Cape petrel, Antarctic fur seal, and Weddell seal, which is the most southerly of the Antarctic seals and lives mostly on fast ice.