Reasons to take an Arctic voyage
- The Arctic has few hotels. For a vast area largely devoid of infrastructure, traveling by ship - which acts as your floating hotel - is ideal
- The antithesis of a traditional cruise, these small ship expedition voyages are active, adventurous and fully immersive
- Traveling by ice-strengthened ship under a flexible itinerary affords both the ability to access remote regions and to make the most of the wildlife and weather opportunities
- Daily off ship excursions on foot and by zodiac allows you to experience the Arctic environment up close and personal
- Accompanying you is a team of Polar experts who provide a strong educational dimension and are a source of great stories!
What is expedition cruising?
Expedition cruising is about as far from a traditional cruise as possible. These trips are educational and active, with daily landings to get off the ship and explore. Itineraries are adaptable, so if humpbacks suddenly make an appearance, you might stick around to watch them, and if the ice conditions change, you'll just try a new landing site. This flexibility is all part of the adventure!
Ships vary from fairly basic to verging on opulent, but every single one that we partner with has a strong expedition focus. These are ship-based expeditions designed to allow you to delve into the heart of the Arctic.
What will I do on an Arctic expeditionary cruise?
Choosing your Arctic expedition cruise
Due to all the variables it is crucial that you chose the right ship and itinerary. Things to consider include:
- Size of the vessel, not just how many people it carries but its physical size too.
- ice-class rating, a higher class will allow for more exploration.
- The number of specialists on board.
- The style of trip: relaxing or adventurous, basic or luxurious.
- To see polar bears, Svalbard often tops the list, but recently the Russian Far East has seen some of the most spectacular sightings.
- Wildlife abounds in the Arctic - keep an eye out for whales, seals, and birds.
- Each destination has its own individual history and culture including ancient sod houses in the Northwest Passage, colourful Greenlandic towns, and research stations in Svalbard.
- As the geology of each region varies, so does the way you interact with the ice, crashing through it to the North Pole or following the edge of it in Svalbard.
We hope that there is plenty of information on these pages to inform your plans but that you will also get in touch to ask us more questions. Between our team, we have over 50 years experience of polar expedition cruising to help you choose the very best trip and ship for you.
Our best Arctic cruises
This 11-day Svalbard voyage is a ‘classic’ providing ample time for near guaranteed polar bear sightings, alongside encounters with the region’s other plentiful wildlife and exploring its dramatic scenery. Phippsoya, 14th of July glacier and Hinlopen Strait are all popular…
Discover Svalbard on this extraordinary journey onboard a 12 passenger vessel. Ideally suited to photographers these late season voyages experience amazing light. Your expedition guides plan to take you to Ny Ålesund, the Hinlopen Strait, Bird Mountain and Edgeøya capturing…
What our customers think
We were delighted with the recommendation made by Swoop regarding the trip we eventually booked. We'd been overwhelmed with the amount of information and choice of trips available when we looked on the internet so being able to explain what we were looking for and for them to come back with a limited choice, any of which would have hit the mark, was very helpful.
Kay & Richard Howells (Baker) United Kingdom January 1970
Zodiac cruises were great fun. Some amazing wildlife sights with the seabird colonies probably the most dramatic. Getting up close to the glaciers was another highlight. Landings for shore excursions gave us a close-up view of the bleak tundra and the plant life.
Steve & Tina O'Shea United Kingdom July 2018
The trip was good, the light gorgeous, the icebergs fantastical, and the wildlife wonderful with more polar bears than expected. The traditional villages made us think about their future, and we met new friends.
Carol & Gerard Yorke United States Of America August 2018
We didn't expect to have such experienced and professional guides. Their knowledge of the fauna, flora and environment was outstanding, as well as their communication skills.
Aurelio & Maria Jose Hernandez Spain July 2018
The expedition staff were second to none. Could not fault them, so informative and experienced in their fields.
Dianne & Jim Spry United Kingdom July 2018
Swoop recommended a great voyage, their staff are so knowledgeable about the differences in the ships and the voyages.
Natalie & Michael Whitehouse United Kingdom July 2018
Swoop did a fantastic job helping us select a voyage. The ship and our cabin selection were perfect for us and more than met our expectations. Our pre-departure information arrived in a timely manner.
Elaine Green United States Of America September 2018
Choose your cruise region in the Arctic
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