The A To Z Of A Polar Cruise

The chances are that even if you have been on a standard ocean cruise in the past, you are yet to embark on a polar adventure. Therefore, you may not know what to expect or what the most important aspects of your trip will be. Here is our A to Z of polar cruising to help prepare you for what’s ahead and inform any decisions you may have to make.

A – Arctic or Antarctic

This is probably the first big decision that you will have to make before your journey gets under way. Do you want to head north to the Arctic and polar bears, or south towards Antarctica and performing penguins?

B – Bears

Polar Bear With Paws On Side Of Ship

Polar bears are the kings of the Arctic and the chances of spotting one during your expedition cruise are quite high. Any trip heading to Canada or Spitsbergen will almost certainly include a sighting or two.

C –Cold

As if you hadn’t already have guessed. However, it won’t be as cold as you might be expected. All of our polar cruises take place during the summer period in each hemisphere and so the temperature should only drop a few degrees below zero at the most. This doesn’t mean you should forego sunscreen though as the high winds and reflective snow can still lead to bad sunburn.

D – Drake Passage

The notorious Drake Passage lies between your departure point in Argentina or Chile and the Antarctic Peninsula. The waters here are known to be more than a little bit choppy, but it’s all part of the experience.

E – Environmental Concerns

We only work with expedition cruise lines that are committed to looking after the environment. From carbon neutral voyages to planting trees to offset their emissions, each operator has their own way of caring for the places that they visit.

F – Falklands

Houses In The Falklands

In recent years, the Falkland’s have been synonymous with war and conflict. However, as soon as you set foot on these islands during your Antarctic cruise you will be in awe of their natural beauty and rustic charm.

G – Guides

Your expedition guides will be the ones looking out for you during your cruise. They will run you through all the safety information you need to be aware of, enrich you with their past experiences, answer any questions you have, and generally lead by example.

H – Helicopter and Hot Air Balloon

Whilst the view from the ground is amazing, it gets even better when you take to the skies. Helicopters and hot air balloons are just two modes of transport you could be using during your adventure in order to change your viewpoint. Helicopters are also sometimes used to transport travellers from the ship to the shore.

I – Iceland

Iceland is perhaps one of the most naturally beautiful countries you can visit on our polar cruises. This land of fire and ice always has a surprise up its sleeve and is the home of many mystical creatures such as elves and sprites.

J – Jump In

Polar Dive

On arrival at the North Pole you will be invited to experience this magic place in a way that will really get the adrenaline pumping. Travellers can jump into a hole that is cut out of the ice to see how long they can stand the freezing waters.

K – Kayaks

Kayaks are used by many of the operators we work with to aid with your explorations. You will be able to get closer to caves, inlets and fjords as you paddle your way around some awe-inspiring coastlines.

L – Luxury

One of the best parts of a cruise is getting to enjoy a bit of luxury once in a while, and our expedition cruises are no different. Many of the ships have beauty salons and Jacuzzis on board and there’s always an opportunity to just enjoy the views from your balcony. Why not take a look at our extended luxury offerings.

M – Midnight Sun

The midnight sun is just one of the natural phenomena you can see on our Arctic cruises. Between the months of May and August the sun rarely ventures below the horizon, casting an eerie but magical light over all the lands it touches.

N – Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Another magnificent natural occurrence, the northern lights are frequently spotted on trips to Iceland, Norway, Greenland and Canada.

O – Orcas

Orcas are one of the many sea creatures that you are likely to spot as you sail these icy seas. Killer whales are often seen surfacing around the ship and putting on a show for everyone watching.

P – Penguins

There’s no doubt that penguins are the highlight of a trip to the Antarctic. Wildlife lovers will be pleased to know that there are eight species that can be found in this part of the world. How many will you spot?

Q – Quark

Quark is one of the world leaders in polar travel and have been travelling to both ends of the Earth for more than 20 years. We also work with great names such as Lindblad, Poseidon, Oceanwide, G Adventures, Silversea and Hurtigruten.

R – Restaurants

Silver Explorer RestaurantSilver Explorer Restaurant

Whilst your venue choices may be a little more restricted than on a typical ocean cruise, there is still some delicious food to be enjoyed during your expedition. Chefs will try to use ingredients local to the places you visit, so expect plenty of seafood and delightfully fresh dishes.

S – Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen, an island belonging to Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, offers a truly wild landscape that’s waiting to be discovered. Rugged hills and giant glaciers make for a place that is almost entirely untouched by mankind and which is also home to a large popular of polar bears.

T – Trekking

Undoubtedly, your expedition cruise will include plenty of opportunities to explore a variety of different terrains. This will be done via a mixture of hiking, mountaineering, ski-trekking and snow-shoeing.

U – Ushuaia

The southernmost city in the world, this Argentinian settlement is likely to be your point of departure when heading off towards Antarctica.

V – Victory

50 Years of Victory

50 years of it to be exact. ‘50 Years of Victory’ is the name of the nuclear icebreaker that will be taking people to the North Pole for at least another three years. This is just one of the great ships that could escort you on your travels.

W – Weddell Sea

The Weddell Sea surrounds the Antarctic Peninsula and is one of many things named after Scottish explorer James Weddell. Others include a seal that is populous in this region and an ice shelf.

X – X-Treme Activities

Apart from helicopters and hot air balloons, some of the other extreme activities that you can take part in include rafting, polar camping, fishing, ATV riding and diving.

Y – You

Everything is in place for our polar expeditions; all we need is you. And sometimes it need only be you. Many people who travel with us choose to enjoy the freedom and excitement of doing so alone. If this is something you would like to do, check out our solo cruising options.

Z – Zodiacs


Zodiacs will provide your main way of getting from the ship to shore. These versatile rafts are lightweight but extremely durable and will help you explore the areas that your expedition vessel cannot reach.

If you think you are ready to head out into the wilderness of the polar regions, call us today or submit your enquiry via the website.

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