The Arctic region provides one of the world’s most elusive and unique holiday experiences and there is a vast range of holiday options available. Luxury Arctic cruises are designed with two things in mind – comfort for everyone on board, and exploration of amazing destinations.
Unlike travel to Antarctica where you have one destination that covers the entire South Pole, the ocean of the Arctic is actually home to a number of countries, each with their own unique culture and experiences. From Spitsbergen in Norway to the Canadian Arctic, cruises to Iceland and Greenland, through to Alaska, Russia and the North Pole.
If you’re planning tours to the Arctic circle region, you want to base it on the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. The most popular luxury Arctic cruises operate between June and September, where you can enjoy anywhere from 18 to 24 hours of sunlight. Travel in June will still provide you with plenty of ice and polar bears, while September is ideal if you plan to circumnavigate Spitsbergen. This is also when the birds begin their migration.
If your ultimate goal is to see the Northern lights, the lights are usually visible between the end of September and early March. If you do travel in winter, keep in mind you’ll have limited daylight and won’t be able to enjoy the scenery as much. It’ll also be well below freezing!
Cruises to Iceland and Greenland are ideal for breaking the myth – Iceland must be filled with ice, Greenland must be green! In fact, it’s the other way round.
Although Iceland is surrounded by glaciers, this part of the polar region is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful greenery through the National Parks. You’ll explore breathtaking waterfalls, geysers and the blue lagoon – where people love to take a dip in the relaxing 39 degree Celsius waters. Iceland is teaming with colourful houses, lava fields and marine caves, and is home to the gorgeous little seabird, the Atlantic Puffin.
From the green to the ice, Greenland is an island that is actually 80% ice. It’s the closest you’ll find to Antarctica in terms of geology, though much smaller in size at just 1.7 million km2 (compared to 14 million km2). Greenland has an intriguing history and was discovered by Vikings in the 10th Century.
It is home to the biggest glacier outside Antarctica, the Ilulissat Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the wildlife you can see includes polar bears (usually north of the pole), humpback whales, musk oxen, walruses, and reindeer. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the elusive Arctic fox!
Spitsbergen is part of the Svalbard archipelago, located between Norway and the North Pole. It is one of the most northern inhabited areas in the world and is home to polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes. There are six National Parks to explore and with 24-hour sunlight during summer, it is an ideal luxury Arctic cruises destination. It is here that you will also have the opportunity to experience the Northern Lights in all its glory during winter.
The Northwest Passage takes holiday-makers across the top of the world, quite literally. You’ll head across the top of Europe, towards Asia, and over the top of Canada, as you explore the fjords and wildlife along the way. There is an abundance of itineraries to choose from for this region, so make sure you do your research and decide on a tour that’s right for you.
If you want to truly experience a unique holiday, visiting the North Pole is something most people never have the opportunity to do. Your luxury Arctic cruises will take your ship through the pack ice, stopping at Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote landscapes on earth. Franz Josef Land is a Russian archipelago that is inhabited by military personnel.
It’s made up of 192 islands and is home to polar bears and colonies of kittiwakes, as well as passing bowhead whales and Atlantic walruses. As your cruise continues through the North Pole, you’ll spot Polaris, the North Star – and a point of direction for many sailors in history. Although the North Pole is much warmer than the South Pole, don’t expect the temperatures to be more than 0 degrees Celsius in summer.
Luxury Arctic cruises will also take you to Russia and the Far East where you can experience an abundance of whale and wildlife viewing; and Newfoundland, where you can explore the rich Viking history, Labrador and the Inuit culture of Baffin Island.
When planning your luxury Arctic cruises, do some research to find the ultimate tour. Eclipse Travel has holidays and expeditions you’re guaranteed to love.
|Cruise||Deals||Cost (from)||Days||Next Depature||Highlight|
|World Explorer: Introduction to Spitsbergen - Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife||Exclusive||NZD $10316pp||10||11 Jun 2020||The Introduction to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard itinerary gives you a taste...|
|Greg Mortimer: Iceland, Jan Mayen and Svalbard||Exclusive||NZD $8632pp||11||12 Jun 2020||From the lush green mosses and bustling bird cliffs of Iceland to the stark, sublime...|
|L'Austral: The Best of Spitsbergen||Exclusive||NZD $13232pp||8||28 May 2020||Experience something exceptional by discovering the Far North and the immense open spaces of the...|
|Le Soleal: Magnificent Volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands||Exclusive||NZD $16874pp||13||10 Jul 2020||Enjoy a fabulous sea journey between Russia and Alaska, along the Pacific Ring of Fire....|
|National Geographic Explorer: A Circumnavigation of Iceland||Free Bar Tab & Tips
||NZD $14895pp||10||21 Jun 2020||Explore the wonders of Iceland in comfort on the National Geographic Explorer, a state-of-the-art ship...|