FAQ – The Arctic
Here’s some great information about taking an expedition cruise to the Arctic. If you have another question, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Where is the Arctic?
The Arctic can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), consisting of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Alaska (USA), Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. The Arctic region consists mostly of ocean and adjacent seas, with seasonally changing ice cover. The landscape is dominated by treeless permafrost, mountains and small plant life.
What is the best time of year to visit the Arctic?
Antarctic trips run during the southern hemisphere summer – from late October through the end of March. Each part of the season has its particular highlights. You should choose your trip based on your interests in Antarctica.
June – mid-July (late spring, early summer)
This is the best time to see ice and snow. The midnight sun has not yet melted the ice, so polar bears and walrus will be hunting on the ice edge. Birds are returning to breed.
Mid-July to mid-August
The best time to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, as ice is less likely to block channels. Tundra flowers are blooming. Wildlife is abundant.
Mid-August to September
The days are shortening; birds begin to migrate south; and skies can be moody. A good time for Northern lights voyages in Greenland
Are deals available for the Arctic?
Sometimes we receive leftover berths aboard Arctic expeditions, usually around a month before departure. If you are considering waiting to book a deal to the Arctic, please e-mail us. We will add you to our ‘deals list’ and keep you posted on new offers.
What will the weather be like?
Weather conditions are variable, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. The continuous daylight warms sheltered areas so that you may find temperatures warm enough for t-shirts. However, you may encounter snow squalls, fog, wind and white-outs, during an expedition.
What should I pack?
A waterproof outer layer is the most important part of your Arctic gear. We recommend a waterproof jacket with hood, waterproof pants and gloves, as well as a warm hat. All ships will provide rubber Wellington boots for shore excursions and some provide a parka. Layers are key in Arctic weather, as conditions change quickly. Fleece or thermal clothing is also recommended, along with sunglasses and sunscreen!
Will I get seasick?
Most Arctic voyages do not have open sea navigation, which is different from Antarctica voyages. Trips around Svalbard or Greenland are mostly within protected waters and ship movement is minimal.
Please consult us about your particular trip and we can advise.
Will we explore onshore?
Yes! Every ship we offer becomes an expedition base camp and floating hotel. The ship moves from place to place, allowing you to visit a variety of stunning locations. Zodiacs are used for shore landings and for cruising around bays.
Daily activities are shore landings and zodiacs cruises. You will visit rocky beaches, hike carpeted tundra valleys, and marvel at glistening ice fields. You may visit Inuit in their home communities.
How much time will we spend ashore?
The daily goal aboard expedition vessels is two excursions per day, depending on weather and ice conditions. Excursions can be hikes, zodiac cruises or village visits. Excursions range from 1-3 hours.