The best time to explore the Arctic is between May and August when the wildlife springs back into action, while October to April are when the rains and winds set in. Some cruises also visit the Arctic in winter to see the Northern Lights at their most vibrant.
The northernmost part of the globe, the Arctic consists mostly of the Arctic Ocean – the world’s smallest and shallowest – and also encompasses parts of Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. Russian and Canadian lands make up around 80 per cent of the Arctic region.
There are many indigenous groups in the Arctic area who have resided here for thousands of years. These include the Greenlandic Inuit, Canadian Inuit, Scandinavian Saami, the Nenets of Russia and Yakuts from Russian federation of Sakha.
Due to its harsh climate and permafrost, the Arctic is not favourable for agriculture, meaning early inhabitants had to survive by hunting and gathering. Even so, the Arctic region remains important to the rest of the world for its natural resources, fishing, minerals, tourism and scientific exploration.
Did you know..?
The North Pole is usually not the coldest location in the Arctic! The Greenland Ice Sheet takes that particular honour.
Who goes there?
There are a number of big-ship cruise lines that venture into Arctic, including Cunard Cruise Line, P&O International, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Holland America Line.
With smaller sized ships, luxury and expedition cruise operators are able to explore further north than big-ship lines. Small-ship lines that cruise the Arctic include Fred Olsen, Seabourn, Oceania, Hurtigruten, Silverseas, Compagnie Du Ponant, G Adventures, Quark Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions.
A voyage to the Arctic will reward you with countless highlights.
- Known as ‘the capital of the Arctic’, picturesque Tromso in Norway is a pretty city surrounded by splendid scenery and bursting with a vibrant small-town culture
- Longyearbyen in Norway is a former mining town that will delight with its colourful houses, which stand out magnificently against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains
- The Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland is a spectacular natural beauty that has in recent years become a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and is one of the so-called 'Big Arctic Five' experiences on offer in Greenland.