A journey to Antarctica is a travel milestone, and a hard-won milestone at that. To reach this continent of looming glaciers and abundant wildlife, you must travel through the wild landscapes of Patagonia and embark on a cruise through the legendary Drake Passage. Named after the 16th-century English navigator Sir Francis Drake, this notoriously rough passage is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet and winds swirl unchecked by land. Keeping company with albatrosses, whales and dolphins, you'll sail past the South Shetland Islands, populated with vast penguin rookeries, Antarctic fur seals, and wallowing southern elephant seals. Some of the most beautiful waterways lie ahead, including the flooded caldera of Deception Island and the Neumayer and Lemaire channels, narrow passages between towering rock faces and spectacular glaciers. South of these lies Petermann Island, where adélie and gentoo penguins, skuas, and blue-eyed shags nest. And everywhere, vistas of towering ice sculptures and endless blue sky remind you that you are in a place that is like no other place on Earth—one you won't soon forget.