Things to do on an Arctic Cruise

Our top activities in The Arctic

Star in your own wildlife documentary

Step into the set of the Frozen Planet during an Arctic wildlife cruise. You won’t be sure if you’re the hunter or the hunted, as whales bob beneath your ship, surprisingly large walruses wield their tusks beside your kayak – and the threat of a polar bear encounter looms around every icy corner. Onboard experts can help you spot – and photograph – the whitest of foxes against the whitest of backgrounds, and you’ll learn about Arctic ecosystems in the world’s largest classroom.

Top sights include polar bear cubs reaching the edge of the ice with their mothers; walruses hauling themselves onto the ice with their tusks; caribou traveling south as the autumn blizzard begin; and the shaggy musk oxen, like a creature from a strange fairytale, grazing their way across the tundra.

Take a look at our Arctic wildlife page for more information about what you’ll see up here – and browse our Arctic wildlife cruises to find out how.


Kayaking, snowshoeing and dog sledding are some of the optional daily activities; disembarking in this way reveals the hidden Arctic – out of bound to the boats. Visit polar research stations and meet scientists, chat to the native people of the islands and inlets, and watch foxes hunting and fledglings leaving their nests. For a different perspective again you can scale an Arctic mountain – for one of the most surreal and lovely views of the roof of the world.

Meet local communities – past and present

The Inuit have lived in some of the earth’s most stunning locations and wild conditions for centuries. Yet not only do they manage to survive out here between ice and Arctic water, they have a warm, rich culture, with ancient folklore and a thriving art scene. Soapstone sculptures have today replaced the traditional bone and ivory, but the hand carving technique remains the same. Cruise to Baffin Island, Hudson Bay or the shores and islands of Greenland to meet the Inuit, see their finely woven textiles and hear their eerie throat singing – you might even get taught some of the unusual Inuit games. Be prepared for evidence of hunting, though – this is a subsistence culture and every part of the animal will be used.
Historically, the Thule people lived around the shores of Greenland and Arctic Canada – the remains of some of their settlements give fascinating insights into their lost culture. Eastern Siberia’s Wrangel Island reveals older culture still – with a 3,400 year old Paleo Eskimo camp.

Lecture programme

When you sign up for an outdoor adventure in a wild landscape, lecture programmes may sound rather dull. But the ships’ biologists, geographers, photographers, historians and geologists share fascinating insights about the land and creatures around you. You’ll learn to identify species, the best angle to photograph a polar bear and a little knowledge means you’ll be even more amazed by the world around you.
Photo credits: [Wildlifedoc: Polar Cruises] [lectures: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre] [disembark: Polar cruises] [whale: sugared glass]
Written by Vicki Brown
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Photo credits: [Page banner: steve estvanik]
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