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 liked the fact we were met at the airport and helped thru customs and getting a visa and then upon leaving taken to where we needed to go. Its always tough to figure out where everything is in a foreign airport when you do not travel much
We had a wonderful time and great memories. We felt safe the whole time and would recommend this trip to anyone of any age as long as you can walk a lot. They are with you from arrival to departure and any problems that arose the guides would try their best to solve. They also showed remarkable patience for other people in other groups we saw that were acting like idiots.
Everything about the trip was thought through, fine-tuned , and marvelous. From Ant Horribin helping us arrange the trip, to rep Waled Ali, and our guide Big Mo, we could not have asked for a better team. Our sincere thanks to them.
My experience with Encounters was excellent from start to finish. The Tour Guide, Sheriff, was the most passionate, enthusiastic and professional guide I have ever had on a tour and his love for Egypt really made me enjoy my time so much more.
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.
Ant provided excellent service. He always responded as quickly as he could, attending to the questions I had for him. He was also very patient and pleasant. I depended on his knowledge and service to make the trip.
I liked the service and the tour guide & driver on the tour. They were professional and provided very good service. I thought 1-2 hotels on the trip were not quite 4-star. It also happened that this group of people was always late for schedule and our walk pace was too slow. It really needs the guide to make people on schedule and be punctual for the activity. Overall I think the time management of this tour needs improvement.
Dial Code: The area code for the three Territories of Canada in the Arctic far north is +867.
Area: 13,985,000 km²
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 Gunnbjørn 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.
Our tailor-made tours seek to create a personalised experience – one that is completely exclusive to you. By taking all your interests and requests into consideration, we design an itinerary that ticks off your specific boxes. If you are after adventurous exploration, cultural immersion, a relaxing escape or a balanced blend of everything, we can make it happen.
A highlight of our tailor-made tours is that the itinerary is flexible and incorporates plenty of free time – so you can do some exploring on your own. Our local, friendly guides, experts in their country’s history and culture, will be happy to adjust the activities or your schedule as you travel.
If you are a group of friends, a large family or a company, our tailor-made tours are an ideal, stress-free option. You can even select your own hotels or make use of our recommended accommodation. We have a varied selection of sample holiday itineraries to choose from, either as they stand or as a base for inspiration.
Our video features aim to bring our adventure tours to life in a way that no photo can, giving you a great taste of the destination.
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