Arctic destination research – start planning your expedition to the Great North!
The Arctic is a magical place, defined as the region of the planet north of the Arctic Circle. Immense and remarkable, the Arctic stretches from Russia to Svalbard and to Greenland. You may visit places such as Norway, Greenland and Iceland on a two-week expedition cruise on an incomparable adventure. Small ship expedition cruising allows you to experience the destination, engage with onboard naturalists, and take in the wilderness and wildlife up-close.
Witness the Kings of the Arctic – Polar Bears – in their natural habitat! From the deck of your ship, see sunbathing walrus and seals, arctic fox foraging along the ice edges, as well as sea birds breeding and nesting on sea cliffs and tundra. Experience breaching humpback whales against carved out glaciers. Cruise along the beautifully-landscaped shores in a zodiac and visit remote villages with unique cultures. The aim of small ship expedition cruising is to offer an intimate, relaxed environment with exciting shore visits and amazing wildlife viewing.
When to Visit
The Arctic climate is famous for its harshness and unpredictability. However, for a few short weeks in July and August, summer arrives in these northern climes. At this time of the year most regions enjoy continual daylight, with the sun rarely setting. It is also at this time that the sea ice has melted enough to allow the expedition vessels to cruise around the islands of Svalbard, which include Spitsbergen.
How to Choose a Trip
Expedition-style tour operators will give you the most value for your money. Trips usually include an educational component with top-notch lectures and experts to personalize your experience through daily recaps, lectures, and guided excursions via foot and zodiac cruising. Most companies also have a commitment to preserving the environment.
Standards of accommodation and budget vary as well. Ships range from research vessels to 5-star luxury. Smaller expedition style ships (50-100 passengers) referred to as “icebreakers” rather than “ice-strengthened” ships are the way to see wonders up close. See the places big ships are unable to go. Smaller ships allow for the most time spent ashore with the least amount of people while visiting sites, kayaking or hiking.
Expedition Easy can help discuss the different itineraries and find the best trip for your interests, whether you’d like to focus on Norway’s Fjords and Arctic Svalbard, do a circumnavigation of Iceland, or cruise through the heart of the Northwest Passage.
What to Expect
Explore on daily zodiac and shore excursions, and enjoy time onboard with expertly-led lectures and spectacular scenery viewing. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of zodiacs for shore excursions. While ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances, over uneven terrain. Temperatures will range from the low 50s to mid-60s Farenheit, cooling slightly as you travel north.