Photographer: David DE VLEESCHAUWER

Set Sail on Antarctica’s First Icebreaking Superyacht

Meet the M/Y Legend, the world’s first luxury cruise liner built to venture into the globe’s coldest, farthest-flung corners. With her 77 meters and gadgets like a mini-submarine, snow scooters, and a Eurocopter, she’s the ultimate way to explore waters that are tricky to reach even with expedition ships. Bloomberg Pursuits was on the inaugural sailing, a 10-day adventure around the Antarctic Peninsula.

  1. A Bit of History 

    A Bit of History 

    The M/Y Legend was originally built in Holland in 1974 as a Class 1 icebreaker for use in the Baltic Sea during the Cold War. Dutch yacht owner Jan Verkerk and two other investors bought her in 2013, with the goal to add something completely new to the existing expedition cruise market. 

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  2. A Legend Reborn

    A Legend Reborn

    Following a two-year revamp at the Dutch Icon Yachts shipyard, she’s been transformed into a floating boutique icebreaker for 26 passengers. On board, there’s a Balinese spa, a giant heated outdoor Jacuzzi with a built-in rain curtain, a gym with a view, a panoramic salon with a piano, and a mini-cinema for cozy evenings after long days in the cold. 

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  3. Dining Alfresco

    Dining Alfresco

    Also on the ship: an outdoor dining deck (bundle up!) outfitted with an open-air kitchen, grill, and Teppanyaki station.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  4. Personal Submarine

    Personal Submarine

    Perhaps the most exclusive amenity onboard is the submarine, which can fit two guests at a time. It’s the perfect way to spot diving leopard seals and pods of orcas in their natural habitat.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  5. Master Stateroom

    Master Stateroom

    Each suite is named after a different city in the world. New York is sleek and modern while Tokyo has ruby red ceramic tiles adorned with cherry blossom patterns. The master stateroom, with a his-and-hers bathroom, is located in the bow of the ship and has portholes on both sides; it measures 69.25 square meters (745.4 square feet).

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  6. Tenders in the Lemaire Channel

    Tenders in the Lemaire Channel

    Sailing through the iceberg-dotted Lemaire Channel for a view of Una Peaks? No problem. Checking out the glacial Weddell Sea? It’s possible, thanks to the M/Y Legend’s relatively small capacity. Most other vessels exceed the strict passenger limits set by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, which regulates where groups can go on the White Continent. In other words: You’ll have more access to penguins and scientific stations than almost anyone else. 

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  7. Penguin Colony

    Penguin Colony

    On the M/Y Legend’s first trip, visiting a Gentoo penguin colony near an old whale station in Mikkelsen Harbor was incredible. Watching sea lions lounge on sheets of ice and rafting out to stunning Wilhelmina Bay were also highlights.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  8. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour

    As for happy hour, that can often happen off-deck: On one afternoon, for instance, the Legend crew set up an alfresco aperitivo with bottles of Champagne and Jägermeister chilled in a pile of Antarctic snow.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  9. Skip the Drake Passage

    Skip the Drake Passage

    Another advantage of sailing on the Legend is that her passengers never have to cross the infamously choppy Drake Passage. Since she’s among the few ships already stationed in Antarctica (rather than Ushuaia, in Argentina), passengers can take a comfortable, two-hour flight on DAP airline straight from Chilean Patagonia to Fildes Peninsula, on Antarctica’s King George Island. 

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  10. Beyond Antarctica

    Beyond Antarctica

    For her next charters, the M/Y Legend will head north to meet the polar bears in Spitsbergen, Norway, and anchor along the coast in Greenland for an epic heliskiing mission. Cruising through the coldest waters on our planet is obviously plain sailing for this resilient beauty.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe

  11. How to Book a Trip

    How to Book a Trip

    The M/Y Legend is available for charter from $489,000 per week, including 19 staffers and up to 10 expedition crew (but excluding fuel, food, and beverages). Inquiries via Nordic Luxury.

    Photographer: David De Vleeschauwe