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.
- Make a list of what matters most to you - is it size of ship, passenger capacity, stability, comfort level or activities on offer?
- 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.
- 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.
- For stability, larger ships are the best bet as they perform better in rough seas.
- 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.
- 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
Also 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.
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.
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.
Akademik Vavilov - Arctic Ship
Hugely adaptable the 92 passenger Vavilov played an instrumental part in the discovery of the long lost HMS Erebus, Franklin’s expedition ship.
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
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
This plucky little 50 passenger ship spends much of her time in the Russian Arctic where she is very much at home.
Akademik Ioffe - Arctic Ship
Originally built for Russian Polar research, this 96 guest workhorse is now the ideal ‘basecamp’ for those travelers looking for a real Arctic adventure.
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.
Polar Pioneer - Arctic Ship
Small, nimble and on the basic side this former research ship carries just 56 guests into some of the most remote corners of the Arctic.
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.
A classic vessel built in 1943, heritage listed since 2004 and fully refitted as a comfortable and ice-strengthened expedition vessel in 2014.
The MV Freya is a robust and strong ship, very well suited to cruising the Arctic waters. With large deckspace and comfortable spacious accommodation.
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.
John Newby Polar Specialist
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.
Sea Spirit - Arctic Ship
A purpose built expedition ship with elegant style and spacious cabins for her 114 guests to travel in style.
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.
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 Adventurer - Arctic Ship
Refurbished for her 136 guests in 2017 and with a stunning history of polar exploration this is one of the Grand Dames of the Arctic.
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.
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
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.
Hondius - Arctic Ship
A purpose built expedition vessel for 176 passengers. The addition of stabilisers and state-of-the-art technology will make her a comfortable and safe option.
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.
Sailing through Arctic waters in near silence is an astounding experience that few people encounter. These two schooners offer you that opportunity.
Noorderlicht - Arctic Ship
A three-masted schooner built in 1910 and re-purposed to carry just 20 adventurers in simple berths through the frozen north.
Rembrandt van Rijn - Arctic Ship
A beautiful three-masted schooner evoking a bygone era when sail power ruled the waves, with comfortable cabins for 33.
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 bit of luxury never goes amiss!
Jon Goldsmith Head of Arctic
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.
Recently refurbished to a very high standard the 12 passengers will find a hot tub and sauna to enhance their Arctic experience.
Silver Explorer - Arctic Ship
Intimate luxury at the highest of standards on this 132 passenger super-yacht. 5* service with all the excursions of an expedition ship.
Le Boreal, Le Soleal and L'Austral - Arctic Ships
Purpose built expedition ships with state of the art luxury and 5* service for their 264 guests traveling in serious comfort.
Silver Cloud - Arctic Ship
After a multi-million dollar refit in 2017 this luxury vessel has become the last word in luxury for 296 adventurers, with fine dining and butler service to boot.
Our top trips to the Arctic
Adventure into the frozen north on one of our favourite 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.