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, yet still on board a ship. These trips are educational and active, they are about experiencing the environment as you pass through it and being flexible to the conditions and opportunities that present themselves.
There will be daily landings to get off the ship and explore wherever the opportunity presents itself. The itineraries are also flexible to allow for changeable ice conditions and wildlife opportunities that come up along the way.
Ships themselves vary from fairly basic to verging on opulent but one thing runs through the DNA of all those that we partner with and that is a strong expedition focus. If you have never done a cruise and are put off by the word then it is best to discount it.
These are ship-based expeditions designed to show you the best of the Arctic.
What will I do on an Arctic expeditionary cruise?
Choosing your Arctic expedition cruise
For many people, the driving force behind wanting to visit the Arctic is to see polar bears. Svalbard often tops the list, but recently the Russian Far East has seen some of the most spectacular sightings. the Northwest Passage is home to bears but also narwhal. With a multitude of whales, seals, and countless birds to be seen you are never short of something new to spot.
Each destination also 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.
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 rating, a higher class will allow for more exploration; the number of specialists on board; and the style of trip: relaxing or adventurous, basic or luxurious
We hope that there is plenty of information on these pages to help you choose but that you will also get in touch to ask us questions. Between us we have over 50 years experience of polar expedition cruising and we can use that to ensure you are on the best trip and ship for you.
In a vast, largely roadless region dominated by water, there's simply no better way to travel than by ice strengthened expedition ship.
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…
This trip is ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves in Inuit history and culture as part of their Arctic adventure. Numerous community visits are planned, alongside daily excursions by zodiac and on foot. West Greenland’s spectacular whales and glaciers…
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. https://www.swoop-arctic.com
Kay & Richard Howells (Baker) United Kingdom July 2018
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 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 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
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
Choose your cruise region in the Arctic
North of the Arctic Circle and halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard’s dramatic coastline and fjords are largely ice-free during high summer providing incredible …
Northwest Passage Cruises
Long sought by early adventurers as a sea route linking the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, this labyrinthine waterway through Canada’s Arctic archipelago is no stranger to…
Greenland assaults your senses with pure air, crystal waters, blue ice, staggering fjords, a fascinating past and a welcoming present. Whether you are whale watching in Disko …
Visiting The North Pole
Whether it’s travelling due north by icebreaker or flying in by helicopter on an express trip, to reach 90 degrees north is a dream shared by many, but achieved by very few. …
Russian Arctic Cruises
For seasoned travellers in search of a truly remote destination, they don’t come much wilder than the Russian Arctic. A vast, largely ignored region on the roof of the world …
Cruises to the Canadian Arctic
The Canadian Arctic is well known for its diverse wildlife, rich native culture and spectacular scenery. For those seeking the truly remote, an expedition deep within the Arctic …