Choosing the right Arctic ship for you

Swoop have over a decade of experience in polar cruises and can guide you towards the ship that’ll suit you best. Get started with our quick tips then give us a call for expert advice.

  1. Make a list of what matters most to you - Is it size of ship, passenger capacity, stability, comfort level or activities on offer?
  2. Medium sized ships (for 80 to 116 passengers) are popular and there’s a wide range to choose from. These don’t feel too big but have generous public areas and a decent choice of cabins.
  3. For stability, larger ships are a good bet as they perform better in rough seas.
  4. Smaller ships (for less than 100 people) offer a more intimate experience. It’s easier to get on and off and everyone can land at once.
  5. Comfort levels on all Arctic ships have improved over the last decade. Now you can have an adventure without the hardship. Selected cruises come with Nespresso machines, balcony suites, gourmet dining and even butler service.
  6. Several cruises offer adventure activities including diving, snorkelling, kayaking and photography. Let us know your interests and we’ll find the cruise that incorporates those activities.

Swoop Says

John says

Choosing an Arctic Ship - what should I consider?

Arctic Ship Comparison

Arctic Ship Comparison

Arctic Cruise Ships

Polar Pioneer

Small, nimble and totally at home in Arctic waters, this former research ship embodies the true spirit of expedition cruising. What she may lack in amenities she more than makes up for in character

M/S Expedition

Head deep into the Arctic ice onboard this fantastic expedition vessel, one of the best ways to see the Arctic. The public spaces are all very spacious, with enough outside deck area for a decent game of hide and seek.

Akademik Vavilov

One of the most capable ships currently operating in The Arctic, The Vavilov is legendary and played an instrumental part in the discovery of the long lost HMS Erebus, Franklin’s expedition ship.

Akademik Ioffe

Originally built for Polar research, this highly capable workhorse is now the ideal ‘basecamp’ for those travellers looking for a real Arctic adventure.

Ocean Nova

Originally built to navigate Greenland’s ice-choked waters, hidden behind Ocean Nova’s simple lines there’s a very capable and comfortable ship. One of The Arctic’s most popular vessels.


Currently under construction, Croatian-built ' Hondius ' is being custom-made for Polar exploration and will carry up to 176 guests. The addition of stabilisers and other state-of-the-art technology will make her a comfortable and safe option.


Greg Mortimer

Fusing the latest developments in naval design and technology with the intimacy and exclusivity of travelling as part of a small group, the Greg Mortimer is set to redefine the future shape of Arctic expedition cruising. Launching in 2019.



Beginning life in the Dutch Navy as a research ship, following a full re-fit The Plancius metamorphosed into the highly capable expedition ship she is today.

RCGS Resolute

Purpose built in Finland in 1993 for polar expedition, the Resolute is a safe, ice strengthened vessel which also delivers on comfort and space. This ship provides the perfect setting for an Arctic experience with spacious cabins and panoramic public areas, and an outstanding expedition staff.



Named after the Dutch cartographer Abraham Ortelius, she’s an outstanding expedition ship with a hard won reputation for navigating some of the Polar region's most challenging waters.

Spirit of Enderby

Named after The Enderby Brothers who were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration in the early 1800’s, this plucky ship has inherited their pioneering spirit.

Akademik Shokalskiy

One of the pioneers of polar cruising, her small size belies an expeditionary spirit which does credit to the cartographer Yuly Shokalsky, after whom she was named.

Comfort & Adventure

Ocean Endeavour

A familiar summer visitor to the Canadian Arctic & West Greenland, this generously proportioned expedition ship combines comfort and High Arctic adventure.

Ocean Adventurer

Benefitting from a multi million dollar refurbishment in Spring 2017, Ocean Adventurer is arguably the most comfortable and capable polar ship in her class. Spacious proportions, good stability and elegant lines are complemented by an enthusiastic staff and a very skilled captain.


50 Years of Victory

A beast of a ship in a class of her own, she provides exceptional manoeuvrability with unparalleled icebreaking capabilities due to her revolutionary spoon-shaped bow.

Sea Spirit

Custom built in Italy for expedition cruising, Sea Spirit’s elegant lines and spacious cabins really set her apart. She combines off ship adventure and onboard comfort.



Beginning life as a three-masted schooner, she spent much of her life plying The Baltic before heading for Arctic waters. Travelling on this ship is a real adventure.

Rembrandt Van Rijn

A beautiful three-masted schooner evoking a bygone era when sail power ruled the waves, exploring The Arctic aboard The Rembrandt is a very special experience.


Le Boreal, Le Soleal and L'Austral

These state-of-the-art , luxury vessels introduced a whole new level of comfort and size to expedition ships in The Arctic. Combining real comfort, a 5* all-inclusive price and modern safety technology, they've proved a popular formula.


Newly refurbished in 2018, the Polarfront is a luxurious small vessel, allowing guests to get closer to all the action, and experience a more intimate Arctic adventure.


National Geographic Explorer

A class act from the pioneers of polar travel. For safety, comfort and calibre of staff  there are very few Arctic ships which can get even close to The Explorer.

Swoop Says

How We Can Help You

We'll guide you throughout your Arctic journey - from making the right choices when booking, to packing the correct clothing and equipment - offering sound, impartial advice and support at every stage.

  1. Find Your Perfect Expedition

    We work with all the main Arctic small ship operators, offering 15 different vessels and over 40 Arctic voyages and land-based expeditions.

  2. Help you decide when to take your trip of a lifetime

    We can help you decide which month will suit you best and advise when to start planning ahead for the best choice of trips and voyages.

  3. Arrange your pre and post-Arctic travel

    We can help you book your flights, so you’re entire adventure is taken care of and runs seamlessly.

Ready to Book Your Arctic Adventure?

  • Swoop Arctic Expert John
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Our team of experts are ready to help you with any questions about a trip to the Arctic. Call us now to start your journey.