Polar bears gently bounding across ice flows and splashing through the chilly waters, endless vistas of white and blue. Pods of bowhead whales slipping through the sea. A chill breeze but warm tea below decks: it’s all waiting for you on an Arctic expedition.
And because many Arctic expedition boats are scientific vessels converted to take passengers, on this trip, and whether you’re young or old, you never forget that you’re an explorer.
Most boats pass through the Northwest or Northeast Passages, which is a chance to see Siberia and the unique wildlife of the Bering Strait. Some cruise around the top of Canada to visit Ellesmere Island and Greenland and from there, it’s an exciting trip up to the North Pole. And the best way to see the North Pole when you arrive? By helicopter.
Trips are usually out of Murmansk and it’s not long before your ship is smashing its way through thickly packed ice but all the way you will be in comfort. Cabins and suites have private facilities and some boats come with gyms, saunas, heated indoor swimming pools and on all of them the chefs prepare excellent food. As you sail you will receive talks on the natural history and exploration history of the unique environment that you are visiting. After that, you can relax in the bar, stocked with everything from whisky to Champagne, and take a book from the library. The ships come equipped with small zodiac boats that will take you right up to the ice floes and remote beaches where you can go ashore. And you are welcome on the navigation bridge to watch the captain and crew taking you through the ice.
So if you have a hankering for something a bit different, to see somewhere few people have ever set foot, an Antarctic voyage may be the cruise for you.