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The Best Time To Take A Polar Cruise

There are many fascinating experiences that can be had on our polar cruises, as you might expect when travelling to both extremes of the planet. However, a lot of these are seasonal occurrences and therefore don’t happen all year round.

If you are embarking on an Arctic or Antarctic expedition for a specific reason, there will always be a best time to travel. We take a look at some of the most spectacular sights and reveal the optimum time of year to witness them.

Best Time To See the Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that has left people in awe for hundreds of years. The fact that the sun never drops below the horizon for an extended period of time means that an eerie light is left over everything it touches; a light which some artists have called magical.

It occurs throughout the whole of the Arctic Circle for a varying length of time depending how far north you go. It even reaches places such as Iceland which are situated outside of the circle itself. If you are travelling to somewhere like Svalbard then the Midnight Sun lasts for just over four months, from around the 20th of April to the 22nd of August. However, if you are only travelling as far north as Ísafjörður in Iceland, 24 hour daylight can only be fully experienced throughout June and July. You can also experience this phenomenon in Antarctica from October until mid-March.

The cruise below will be perfect for experiencing the Midnight Sun.


Best Time To See Polar Bears Hunting

Polar Bear Roaming

There’s one thing that we can say for certain about our Arctic cruises; if you see a polar bear it is sure to make your trip. Even a glimpse of one of these majestic creatures is enough to render the price you paid for your expedition as money well spent. And if you are going to witness a bear in the wild then the occasion will be even more special if you catch it mid-hunt.

The chances of spotting polar bears during these cruises are quite high. They can be found in many different areas within the Arctic, with some places having a higher concentration than others. You can read our blog post ‘Where Can I See Polar Bears In The Wild’ for more information. As the ice begins to break up, around June and July, the bears will actively be searching for seals. You may be lucky enough to witness one in stealth mode as it waits for its prey to make an appearance from its icy home.

The cruise below will be perfect for catching polar bears on the hunt.

Best Time To See The Northern Lights

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a natural occurrence which baffled humankind for many years and a sight which is sure to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It is very rare to see the lights during the period of the Midnight Sun and so you are going to need to travel at the opposite time of year to experience them.

The Aurora Borealis can be seen in many different Arctic countries such as Norway, Iceland and Greenland. There are even sightings as far south as Scotland. The best time of year is throughout September, October and November, and optimum conditions include a dark, still night and very little light pollution in the sky. It is worth being patient if you are determined to catch a glimpse, as many sightings occur in the early hours of the morning.

The cruise below will be perfect for spotting the Northern Lights.

Best Time To See Calving Glaciers

Glacier may be interesting to look at but when sections of them separate from the mainland and fall into the sea, in a process known as calving, it can be very dramatic indeed. Our cruises visit some of the best places in the world to see glaciers, including Greenland, Alaska and Antarctica.

The best time to witness the roar of a glacier as it calves part of itself into the sea is during the summer months. So that’s predominantly December and January in Antarctica and June and July in the northern hemisphere. The pack ice will start to melt from around September onwards but it’s best to go when temperatures are at their highest.

The cruise below will be perfect for seeing calving glaciers.

Best Time To See Penguin Chicks Hatching

Penguin and Chick

Penguins are definitely one of the main attractions on our Antarctic cruises. Their cute look and mischievous personality means that they are always putting on a show for tourists. There are eight different species of penguin that can be seen on and around the Antarctic Peninsula, but perhaps the best time to go is when the newest additions to the colony are just emerging from their shells.

The best time of year to see penguin chicks hatching is the middle of the southern hemisphere’s summer; December and January. At this time wildlife on the whole is more abundant and so you may also get to see seal pups and wales. If you would rather see these chicks as they begin to fledge from the nest then February and March are the best months to travel in.

The cruise below will be perfect for seeing penguin chicks hatch.

If you would like to witness any of these amazing sights, then Fred Expeditions can make it happen. Call our dedicated team today on the number at the top of your page, or simply submit an online enquiry.