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

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Swoop says

Look beyond the style of the ships and consider some of the hidden qualities. Are the engines quiet enough to get you closer to the wildlife? How strong is the hull? Is it stable if the seas get rough? All are important aspects that can make a good trip a great one.

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.

Ultramarine - Arctic Ship

Ultramarine, Arctic vessel

Elegant lines, contemporary styling, onboard helicopters, spacious balconied cabins and a wide range of adventure activities; this ship is Ultra by name and ultra by nature. …

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Hondius - Arctic Ship


​Hondius​ is custom-made for Polar exploration and carries up to 170 guests in a range of cabins. Large deck space for viewing and comfortable observation loungers plus the …

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Janssonius - Arctic Ship


Expect a first class Arctic cruise on this vessel which tackles the most challenging of polar voyages with flexibility, elegance and comfort. A purpose buiilt expedition vessel …

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Sylvia Earle - Arctic Ship

Sylvia Earle, Arctic vessel

This state-of-the-art ship honours the highly accomplished marine biologist and oceanographer, Sylvia Earle. Sister ship to the Greg Mortimer, she similarly boasts stylish lines …

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Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen

Potential could be this ship's middle name. Few can compete with it's ability to traverse the full Northwest Passage and carry out landings with specialist guides.

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MS Fram

MS Fram

Fully refurbished for the 2020 season, the MS Fram combines advanced technology with a wide choice of cabins, green credentials, and a new Science Centre.

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Alex says

Its a simple equation for me: if you're on a decent ship with a highly experienced crew your chances of seeing wildlife increase significantly.

Alex Mudd Head of Swoop Antarctica

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.

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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.

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What our customers think of Arctic Cruise Ships

We saw so many insane things! Six polar bears, adult and baby foxes and reindeer, blue whales, walruses up close, curious seals. It was perfect. We even started to get into the birding aspect of the trip (we saw 28 species). Read the full review

Travelled: June 2022

Angela Wyse - USA

The quietness of the Arctic is amazing. The vastness is hard to capture in words or photos. We loved having the opportunity to hike up to a vantage point vista and sit and enjoy the quietness of the world. Read the full review

Travelled: June 2022

Carol Copeland - USA


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Cassia says

We've all got our favourite style of ship and for me it is all about being out on the deck so that is what I prioritise. Although a little bit of luxury never goes amiss!

Cassia Jackson Polar Specialist

Our top trips to the Arctic

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

Svalbard Polar Bear Safari

This early season 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…

  • 11 Days
  • $9,495
Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland

Traversing west to east this voyage takes you to iconic sites such as Cambridge Bay, Lancaster and Smith Sounds and Ellesmere Island, before exploring the fjords and towns of West Greenland. Bears, narwhal, musk ox, beluga and northern lights are…

  • 17 Days
  • $11,995
Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

Maximise wildlife sightings with the chance to circumnavigate Spitsbergen island. Search for walrus, arctic fox, whales and of course the ‘King of The Arctic'. Sail through the Hinlopen Strait and visit abandoned trapping stations and experience glaciers up close all…

  • 11 or 13 Days
  • $10,319
Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland Polar Quest

Introductions to the High Arctic don’t come much better. Traverse the High Arctic between wildlife-rich Svalbard, via East Greenland’s towering icebergs and autumnal tundra then onto Iceland. Aurora sightings are possible at any point. The longer trip also includes Jan…

  • 15 - 18 Days
  • $10,495
East Greenland Express

Saving three days at sea by flying both ways, East Greenland’s towering icebergs, vivid displays of the Aurora Borealis and autumn tinged landscapes have never been more accessible. Highlights include exploring Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord system, and the…

  • 10 Days
  • $6,695
Into the Wild: Baffin & West Greenland

Visits to Canadian and Greenlandic communities Inuit history and culture are at the core of this journey, among those stops both Kinngait, the centre of Inuit Art and Nuuk, Greenland's capital are included. There's plenty of wildlife opportunities too with…

  • 13 Days
  • $4,995
Svalbard - A Small Ship Expedition

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…

  • 10 Days
  • $8,918

Arctic Guide

The Arctic is so vast and diverse that one of the biggest challenges is knowing where to begin. Our exclusive guide will help you get started with your travel plans.

Download Guide

Ready to Book Your Arctic Adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

Our team of experts are ready to help you with any questions about a trip to the Arctic.