Monday 22 February 2016

Polar Bears and Northern Lights Are Tip of Iceberg on Arctic Circle Cruises


The Arctic is on many bucket lists thanks to polar bears and Northern Lights. But what else may travelers anticipate on a cruise in the Arctic Circle? And what questions should they ask when booking a cruise on the Arctic Ocean, the world’s smallest and shallowest ocean that is fringed by eight countries?

Todd Smith, small ship cruise expert and founder of AdventureSmith Explorations, ( discusses the variables of itineraries and small ships plying this region, home to four million people living in the shadow of Viking conquests and explorers. His sage advice, “How to Choose Your Arctic Cruise”, shares what he calls “an incredible range of conditions” in the May through September Arctic summer. These conditions help to determine itineraries and therefore passenger experiences.

For example, early season (late May through early July) polar bears on ice floes are prevalent. In July and August ice is more disbursed, allowing land access and explorations of nutrient-rich waters favored by whales. September nights bring the magnificent aurora borealis.

The experiences guests seek may also determine the ship they choose. AdventureSmith Explorations' fleet of expedition ships cruising to the Arctic carry 78 to 148 guests and are specially outfitted to travel in polar waters. They are all fairly similar in terms of ice class and amenities. For more intimate explorations, this company also recommends a fleet of vessels carrying just 16 to 20 guests that offer the same close-up exploration as larger expedition ships but also provide access to shallow harbors and small islands.

The length of a cruise and the price also come into play, said Smith. Following is a handful of specials for 2016 Arctic cruises.

The 11-day Home of Vikings cruise is aboard the 116-guest Sea Spirit. The per person double rate is from $4,995; however for bookings on a May 20, 2016, departure two guests sharing the same cabin may travel for the price of one. This specific tour through fjords in the High Arctic begins in Iceland and explores South and West Greenland in search of whales and other arctic wildlife. Guests explore the town of Nanortalik at the mouth of beautiful Tasermiut Fjord surrounded by steep mountains that flank an intricate fjord system. They soak in geothermal waters watching the icebergs pass by in Uunartoq. And they visit the enchanting West Greenlandic tiny settlements of Qaqortoq, Hvalsey Qassiarsuk. Paamiut, Nuuk, Itteliq and Sisimiut to discover Viking history and witness urban arctic living amongst the colorful homes. Sea kayaking along this rugged coastline is a favorite pastime on this adventure. See:

Polar guests will save up to 25 percent with an Early Booking Discount for designated Arctic cruises in 2016; up to 25 percent on premium cabins and 15 percent on non-premium cabins aboard select Sea Adventurer and Ocean Nova2016 departures booked by April 15, 2016. Triple and Quad cabins are excluded. This discount cannot be combined with other offers and is subject to availability. Excluded are the following departures: June 12 Spitsbergen Explorer, July 4 Spitsbergen Circumnavigation and August 15 Three Arctic Islands. See:

Guests save 15 percent on AdventureSmith’s Realm of the Polar Bear on departures between June 13 and Aug. 10, 2016 if booked by March 1, 2016. See:

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2016-2017 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

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