The tranquil natural beauty and unique wildlife of the Arctic make it an irresistible draw for anyone looking to get close to nature and experience an adventure of a lifetime. The frigid land and ice covered seas are home to polar bear, caribou, musk oxen, arctic fox, whale and numerous species of bird and all set to the stunning backdrop of snow and ice, and there is always the chance to catch a glimpse of the hauntingly beautiful northern lights.
The northern polar region is a place of unparalleled beauty. Its ice-filled seas, glacier streaked mountains and vast polar deserts make it a truly memorable place to visit. A cruise in Canada's Northwest Passage is a popular option, and highlights include Prince Leopold Island, where spectacular sandstone cliffs are the nesting home to thousands of thick-billed murres, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes; the iceberg filled Bellot Strait; and Cambridge Bay, muskox capital of the world. A cruise around Norway's Svalbard Archipelago, Iceland and Greenland offers a great opportunity to view polar bear, walrus and caribou. Sightings of Arctic Terns, Arctic Skuas, Long- tailed Ducks, Kittiwakes and Glaucous Gulls are possible in and around the many glacier-fed fjords. For those seeking the ultimate adventure it is possible to reach the Noth Pole on board a specially designed ice-breaker ship, but spaces are very limited.
The best way to experience the wonderful variety of scenery and wildlife of the Arctic is on board one of the many specially converted expedition cruise boats, although land only option are possible. There are plenty of cruise ships to choose from and the lengths of itineraries vary depending on which area of the Arctic you are interested in visiting and, of course, your budget. The expedition vessels range in size from 50 to 130 passenger and levels of comfort vary accordingly. Typical embarkation ports include Resolute Bay in Canada, Juneau in Alaska and Spitsbergen in Norway.
Our suggested Arctic holiday itineraries are a good starting point and will give you an idea of what's available. They are based on specific cruise ships which we prefer to use, however if you have a preferred ship, we can normally provide a quote including all air and ground arrangements pre and post cruise. It is also possible to include some extra time either before or after your cruise, to explore your country of embarkation, just ask us about this when you make your enquiry.
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Yes, it is safe to visit the Arctic, but you can also expect unpredictable weather and rough seas.
There is no Arctic currency, but US dollars will be accepted on most cruises.
The best time to see the ice and snow is from June to mid-July, as the sun has not melted the snow yet, and polar bears and walruses will be out hunting. From mid-July to mid-August, the ice is less likely to block the channels in Spitsbergen, and the Tundra flowers are blooming.
As the temperatures in the Arctic can be freezing, you should wear a thermal layer, a waterproof jacket, rubber boots and two sets of gloves.
You do not need to be in excellent fitness, but you do need to be in good overall health. The cruise will be visiting remote areas, and you will not have easy access to modern medical facilities. The cruise or tour does not need to be physically demanding, and you can always opt out of onshore activities.
I purchased my rid tour as part of a group coupon. Is obituary hesitant but my tour was great. The staff at Encounters were professional and helpful. I had a lot of questions but no one made me feel like a pest. Good experience.
I always wanted to go to Morocco and I finally got to go last September. I'm glad I chose this tour group. They were professional and attentive. Good times!
I have dealt with Anthony Horrobin on a number of occasions and it is like talking to an old friend on the phone. Anthony is super-efficient and will always go the extra mile to create the perfect trip.
There was a lot of communication from the beginning. The encounters staff was very responsive and the tour guide was great and very accommodating. Encounters was also able to help me with last minute changes to my itinerary while I was on the trip.
Trip booked through Groupon at a Great offer price - Encounters was nothing but professional from the start. I even purchased insurance - extra days and got the best flights from my local airport- Great experience
Anthony has been amazing throughout my planning of my tour. He has been very quick in replying to my emails and always answering with everything I wanted to know.
I look forward to hopefully planning my next trip through him next year!
Dial Code: The area code for the three Territories of Canada in the Arctic far north is +867.
Area: 13,985,000 kmÂ²
Elevation: The lowest point in the Arctic is the Litke Deep in the Eurasian Basin, at 5,450m (17,880 ft.) | The highest point in the Arctic is the GunnbjÃ¸rn Fjeld, Sermersooq, Island of Greenland, Greenland summit at 3694m (12,119 ft.)
Population: About 4 million people live in the Arctic
Governemnt: The eight Arctic nations make up the Arctic Council
The Arctic is a polar region situated at the northernmost part of the Earth. The Arctic encompasses the Arctic Ocean, nearby seas and parts of Alaska (United States), Northern Canada, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
The landscape of the Arctic is characterised by seasonally varying snow and ice cover, as well as treeless permafrost (permanently frozen underground ice) containing tundra. Depending on the season, parts of the Arctic seas feature blocks of ice. The Arctic land is bordered by the subarctic.
The climate in the Arctic consists of cold winters and cool summers. The precipitation is usually in the form of snow. The coastal climate is influenced by the ocean with warmer temperatures and heavier rainfalls. Global warming is currently affecting the Arctic, resulting in sea ice shrinkage and diminished ice in the Greenland ice sheet.
The indigenous people of the Arctic and the cultures in the region have adapted to the cold conditions over the years. Herbivores living in the tundra include the caribou, the lemming, the Arctic hare and the muskox. There is also a vast collection of birds and marine species that reside in the colder regions.
The Arctic has sizeable natural resources, such as gas, minerals, fish and fresh water. The region encompasses some of the last continuous wilderness areas in the world. The Arctic holds one-fifth of the Earth's water supply. The Arctic's tourism industry is on the rise.
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