Voyage ever northward across the Arctic Circle and into the polar desert on one of our High Arctic small ship cruises.
Up here in the High Arctic are the unspoilt wilderness of Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s Baffin Island and the fabled Northwest Passage.
The scenery is breathtaking, with towering mountains, huge icebergs, dramatic fjords, shimmering glaciers and massive ice caps. Encounter the living icons of the Arctic including the polar bear, walrus, muskox, narwhal and Arctic fox. Visit remote Inuit settlements and uncover a colourful history of whalers and explorers, who for more than 200 years searched unsuccessfully for a shorter route across the north to the riches of the Orient.
A small ship cruise is one of the best ways to experience this untouched region. Another is a land-based small-group expedition.
Cruise Amongst Icebergs & Glaciers
The landscapes of the High Arctic are characterised by steep-sided fjords, soaring ice-capped mountains, towering glaciers and icebergs the size of small buildings. If you’re lucky, you might come across a calving glacier – be awed by the dramatic sights and sounds as chunks of ice crash into the sea.
View Diverse Arctic Wildlife
Voyages north of the Arctic Circle offer many opportunities for wildlife encounters. Spot marine mammals such as seals, walruses and whales in bays and inlets, see polar bears hunting at the edge of the ice floe and pass soaring cliffs filled with millions of nesting seabirds such as puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes.
Observe Thousands Of Seabirds
Travel by Zodiac along the base of massive, inaccessible sea cliffs crowded with all manner of nesting seabirds from auks and gulls to guillemots and puffins. The High Arctic is a birder’s paradise.
This Norwegian island lies just 600 nautical miles from the North Pole, and offers the classic Arctic landscapes you’ve always dreamed of.
Sail Around Greenland
Greenland is nothing like its name suggests. It is an icy and very often white land of cliffs, fjords, glaciers, icebergs and rolling tundra, carpeted with wildflowers in summer. It also offers some of the best Aurora displays on earth.
The “land of fire and ice” has active volcanoes, lava fields and steaming geysers set amongst snow-capped mountains, ice sheets and icy seas filled with marine life.
Explore by Zodiac
Expect regular shore landings and sightseeing excursions around icebergs and sea cliffs in Zodiac inflatable boats.
We have a unique selection of High Arctic cruise options carefully chosen for their itineraries, as well as the vessels used. Our selection of ice-strengthened ships are all small to medium in size, carrying a maximum of 50-199 passengers, to ensure an authentic, intimate experience of the untrammeled wilderness. All of our cruises and tours are completely tailor made to suit our clients interests, budget, and timeframe. To find out more about the type of High Arctic cruise program we can put together for you, please download the pages below.
Franz Josef Land
In the Russian High Arctic, 900 kilometres from the North Pole, sits the world’s northernmost archipelago – Franz Joseph Land consisting of 192 islands. Explore this breathtakingly beautiful landscape home to an abundance of wildlife including polar bears, walruses and a number of rare whale species.
High Arctic Overview
Why the High Arctic: Voyages to the High Arctic offer the classic Arctic experience. Explore dramatic landscapes of high mountains, huge fjords, massive glaciers and soaring sea cliffs covered in nesting birds. The wildlife is exceptional with the chance to see large mammals like polar bear, walrus and many species of whale.
Climate: The Arctic is warmer than Antarctica due to most of the surrounding area being ocean rather than land. Temperatures vary depending on altitude and the amount of ice around (by late summer, much of the ice has retreated). Sunny summer days can be surprisingly warm but you should also be prepared for cold windy days and snow squalls. Spitsbergen is warmer on the west coast due to the warm Gulf Stream, whereas a cold current cools the east coast.
Combine With: Journeys to the Canadian High Arctic depart from Canada and can easily be combined with a holiday on the mainland. See grizzly bears or cruise Alaska’s famous Inside Passage (see our Canada & Alaska program for details). Voyages to Greenland and Spitsbergen depart from European cities.
Getting There: Many itineraries start and/or end in a major city such as Oslo or Toronto, and involve a group charter flight to an Arctic port for embarkation. Some voyages start at an Arctic port such as Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen.