The Arctic is Waiting. Cruise to Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land or Canadian Arctic
The Arctic is vast, diverse and spectacular. For the very best experiences timing is everything with the seasons changing quickly and the wildlife concentrations moving just as fast. From voyages in search of polar bears on the ice of the Arctic Ocean to the welcoming Inuit communities, or the spectacular fall colours of autumn in the Arctic, there is something for everyone.
There are three main gateways for Arctic expeditions with access very much controlled by the summer ice-free periods. The summer voyages begin in Svalbard in early May as ice strengthened expedition vessels sail northwards into the ice to witness polar bears in their natural environment. Additionally, you will find many bird species at the height of their breeding season and a truly polar landscape of glaciers and fjords. In mid-July as the pack ice clears, ships are able to venture further afield circumnavigating Svalbard and also exploring the shores of Greenland and Canada. Finally in August the historical waters of the Northwest Passage become safe for navigation. Here you travel through the Canadian Archipelago in the footsteps of the early explorers exploring subtly beautiful landscapes and visiting isolated Inuit communities to learn about survival in an Arctic environment, as well as appreciate their renowned artistic talents. At the same time the waters of the Bering Strait clear, allowing access to the remote refuge of Wrangel Island with its abundant polar bears and walrus.
Canadian Arctic. The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is situated in the northernmost extremity of North America. The group of over 35,000 islands comprises much of the territory of Northern Canada—most of Nunavut and part of the Northwest Territories. Canada's claim to its north rests first on the charter granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company by King Charles II in 1670. Exploration of the Arctic has been a facet of Canadian history from the arrival of the first Europeans in North America until today. The ill-fated Franklin expedition of the Northwest Passage was one such exploration.
Greenland. As the best vantage point for incredible displays of Northern Lights, home of the world's most prolific glaciers and wondrous icebergs, welcoming Inuit elders and the birthplace of kayaking, Greenland is best explored via its coast, as no roads connect the towns.
Bear Island, Norway. The southernmost island in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, all 172 km2 of Bear Island (Bjørnøya) is a protected nature reserve. Uninhabited and undeveloped save for a manner weather station at the north end, the pristine island is home only to its unique collection of flora and fauna. Contrary to its name, you won't find bears here! At the southernmost tip of the island, near-vertical cliffs jet into blue sky; rugged rock columns jut from the sea. Bear Island's stunning cliffs are home to some of the largest seabird colonies in the North America, making it an ornithologist's dream.
Iceland. Located just below the Arctic Circle in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is Europe’s second largest island and owes its existence to numerous volcanoes which merged through various eruptions. Less than one-fifth of Iceland is covered in vegetation, and the majority is barren mountains, lava beds, glaciers and ice fields. Cruising coastal Iceland brings a unique perspective on this vibrant country and showcases the geological drama of the land.
North Pole (90° N). Few places have stirred the hearts and minds of explorers more than the North Pole. It wasn’t until 1948 that anyone actually stood there for the first time. Today, only a few operators give their lucky passengers the right to claim they stood at the top of the world.
Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, located halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Remote and untouched, it was the 16th century home to whaling stations and a staging point for many expeditions to the North Pole. It is a wildlife playground, with the majestic polar bear at the top of the food chain, along with thousands of migratory seabirds nesting on the coastal cliffs, as well as walrus, whales and many seals.
Northwest Passage. Travel the famed Europe-Asia sea route, where Franklin's Expedition remains lost to this day. Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Northwest Passage runs along Canada's far northern coast, through the Canadian Arctic archipelago and its 35,000 islands.
If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to the Arctic Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.