Choosing the right Arctic ship for you

Our team at Swoop Arctic have over 50 years 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 good choice of cabins.
  3. Smaller ships (for less than 80 people) offer a more intimate experience. It’s easier to board and disembark, and everyone can land at once.
  4. For stability, larger ships are the best bet as they perform better in rough seas.
  5. Comfort levels on all Arctic ships have improved over the last decade; you can now enjoy an adventure without the hardship. Selected cruises come with spa facilities, balcony suites, gourmet dining, and even butler service.
  6. Many expeditions offer adventure activities including diving, snorkeling, kayaking and photography. Let us know your interests and we’ll find the cruise that incorporates those activities.

Choosing the right Arctic cruise ship for you

Swoop Says

Authentic expedition ships

These ships are workhorses, often ex-research vessels and capable of getting almost anywhere. Functional and practical onboard, their 'rough around the edges' feel often adds to their heaps of character. The landings, though, are really what trips on these ships are all about.

M/S Quest - Arctic Ship


Purpose built to navigate ice-choked waters of Greenland this brilliant little ship makes and incredible platform for her 53 passengers to explore the Arctic from.

Ocean Nova - Arctic Ship

Ocean Nova - Arctic Ship

Built to navigate Greenland’s ice-choked waters the very popular Ocean Nova is very capable and comfortable ship carrying just 68 passengers.

Ortelius - Arctic Ship

Ortelius - Arctic Ship

An outstanding expedition ship with a hard won reputation for navigating some of the Polar region's most challenging waters carrying just 116 guests.

RV Kinfish - Arctic Ship


A tiny, yet incredibly strong ship for just 12 passengers and a surprising level of comfort on board. An intimate way to explore the Arctic.

Akademik Shokalskiy - Arctic Ship

Akademik Shokalskiy - Arctic Ship

One of the original expeditionary ship, her small size belies with just 48 passenger berths hides immense strength to combat the ice.

Spirit of Enderby - Arctic Ship

Spirit of Enderby - Arctic Ship

This plucky little 50 passenger ship spends much of her time in the Russian Arctic where she is very much at home.

50 Years of Victory - Arctic Ship

50 Years of Victory - Arctic Ship

Capable of 12 knotts through 8 feet of ice this nuclear-powered ship easily carries 128 passengers to the North Pole.

M/S Malmo - Arctic Ship


A classic vessel built in 1943, heritage listed since 2004 and fully refitted as a comfortable and ice-strengthened expedition vessel in 2014. 

MV Freya - Arctic Ship


The MV Freya is a robust and strong ship, very well suited to cruising the Arctic waters. With large deckspace and comfortable spacious accommodation.

M/S Stockholm - Arctic Ship


With cabins for just 12 passengers this incredibly tough little ship was built for navigating Svalbard's icy waters and has spent over 20 years doing just that. 

M/S Sjøveien - Arctic Ship


Wooden decks, spacious cabins, a wood fired hot tub and amazing food, this 12 passenger ship has everything you could need during an expedition through the ice.

John says

Comfort and adventure ships

These expedition vessels are spacious and boast a range of options - top cabins often have balconies and there will be more of a focus on hotel style service onboard. You can still expect daily landings and adventure options during your expedition.

World Explorer - Arctic Ship

World Explorer - Arctic Ship

World Explorer is one of a new generation of ice strengthened ships, setting the bar high with sleek design, fast average cruising speed and a unique glass-domed Observation …

MS Expedition - Arctic Ship

MS Expedition - Arctic Ship

Blessed with a huge amount of deck space this is a great ship for the 136 passengers. A well-established team makes it a great atmosphere on board.

Greg Mortimer - Arctic Ship


With a futuristic design set to redefine expedition cruising, the Greg Mortimer is purpose built for 120 guests to travel through the ice in comfort.

Ocean Endeavour - Arctic Ship

Ocean Endeavour - Arctic Ship

Most often found in the Canadian Arctic and West Greenland she offers a spacious and comfortable platform for her 198 passengers.

Hondius - Arctic Ship

Hondius - Arctic Ship

A purpose built expedition vessel for 174 passengers. The addition of stabilisers and state-of-the-art technology will make her a comfortable and safe option.

Ocean Adventurer - Arctic Ship

Ocean Adventurer - Arctic Ship

Refurbished for her 128 guests in 2017 and with a stunning history of polar exploration this is one of the Grand Dames of the Arctic.

Plancius - Arctic Ship

Plancius - Arctic Ship

A former Dutch Navy research ship, the Plancius is a practical and highly capable expedition ship with a recent full re-fit to take 116 guests.

Ocean Atlantic - Arctic Ship

Ocean Atlantic - Arctic Ship

This sturdy and recently renovated ship, carrying 214 passengers, offers some of the best value trips in Greenland and Svalbard. Life on board is comfortable and for anyone …

Sea Spirit - Arctic Ship


A purpose built expedition ship with elegant style and spacious cabins for her 114 guests to travel in style.

RCGS Resolute - Arctic Ship


Spacious cabins, panoramic public areas, high ice-rating and oustanding expedition staff make this 146 guest ship a fabulous base for exploration.

National Geographic Explorer - Arctic Ship

National Geographic Explorer - Arctic Ship

A class act from the pioneers of polar travel the Explorer carries 148 guests in great comfort to some of the most incredible spots in the Arctic.

Sailing ships

Sailing through Arctic waters in near silence is an astounding experience that few people encounter. These two schooners offer you that opportunity.

Luxury ships

At the very top of the luxury scale with impeccable service on board and all the facilities you would expect from any super-yacht cruise ship. Alongside the grandeur, you can expect to be pulling on your boots and coats for daily excursions as you sail the frozen north.

Jon says

Our top trips to the Arctic

Adventure into the frozen north on one of our favourite Arctic cruises.

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?


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Swoop Arctic Expert John
Swoop Arctic Expert Loli
Swoop Arctic Expert Tennessee
Swoop Arctic Expert Jon
Swoop Arctic Expert Cassia
Swoop Arctic Expert Ben

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.