Reasons to Visit
Don’t fill up your camera on the first iceberg you see: changing hues with countless shades of blue, icebergs can be stunningly beautiful. Every visitor soon becomes something of an expert in identifying different iceberg types, from low-lying ‘growlers’ that hover about the ship’s waterline to flat-topped tabular icebergs freshly broken from pack ice. Only a tenth of any iceberg can be seen above the water.
Some trips in the European or Canadian Arctic have the chance to see the Northern Lights, although this would be at the end of the summer season when there are some nightimes again after a summer where the sun does drop below the horizon.
The symbol of the Arctic, these magnificent bears, who could kill you with a single swipe of their paw, are the highlight of a trip to Svalbard. Lone males roam around looking for food, and mothers fiercely protect their young cubs. Your sightings of these amazing but endangered creatures will be a highlight of your trip.
A cruise around Svalbard will give you the opportunity for a lot of bird-watching, from the noisy colonies of guillemots and auks to the predatory skuas that patrol the skies around them, plus kittiwakes, glaucous gulls, ivory gulls, puffins and arctic terns to name but a few.
The waters of the Arctic are home to whales such as minke, fin, blue, beluga and bow, and standing on the deck of your boat searching for them is bound to be fruitful.
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Polar Expedition Cruising
Whichever part of the Arctic you visit, be it to the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago which includes Spitsbergen and is the most popular and easily accessible part, or Greenland, or the Canadian Arctic, a trip is an astonishing experience.
Generally best experienced on an expedition cruise, your trip will be breathtaking, educational and challenging, and a journey of this magnitude needs to be perfectly planned. These vast and remote regions are largely ice-bound for much of the year and all but the hardiest would find it impossible to survive long in this harsh environment. For a few short weeks however, the Arctic summer makes travel here possible.
This is where Audley comes in, our specialists can guide you through the myriad of options, giving advice based on their own first-hand knowledge of the Arctic regions. We appreciate the subtle differences in the vessels and the cruise itineraries, and can advise on the benefits of each Arctic destination, depending on what you wish to get out of the trip.
We recommend a small selection of expedition vessels for Arctic cruising. These are polar expedition boats which spend our winter in the southern hemisphere plying Antarctic waters, they then sail to the Arctic for our summer. The cruise companies operate a selection of trips ranging from short and relaxed Spitsbergen trips, to adventurous and remote Greenland exploration.
Camera batteries will run down much more quickly in the cold weather. Take a spare with you on your landings and recharge the spare in your cabin. Pack a hairdryer if it is important to you. Ships do not generally have them.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.
'The Future History of the Arctic' by Charles Emmerson. A vivid look at all of the Arctic, the forces that have shaped it both geologically and anthropologically, but most of all a look at its emergence onto the main stage of global affairs.
To the walruses grunting.
'Arctic with Bruce Parry' which sees the adventurer living with many of the indigenous people of the people of the region.
Whale, if you do as the locals do.
Hot chocolate. Not typical so much as warming after a couple of hours on shore.
The magnificent polar bear.
Fluffy polar bears from any airport in the region.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to the Arctic by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in The ArcticWhen to GoItinerary IdeasArctic expedition boatsPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in The Polar Regions:Antarctica
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