Things to do on an Arctic Cruise


Our top activities in The Arctic

Star in your own wildlife documentary

Step into the set of the BBC's Frozen Planet during an Arctic wildlife cruise. You won’t be sure if you’re the hunter or the hunted, as whales bob beneath your ship, surprisingly large walruses wield their tusks beside your kayak – and the threat of a polar bear encounter looms around every icy corner. Onboard experts can help you spot – and photograph – the whitest of foxes against the whitest of backgrounds, and you’ll learn about Arctic ecosystems in the world’s largest classroom.

Top sights include polar bear cubs reaching the edge of the ice with their mothers; walruses hauling themselves onto the ice with their tusks; and shaggy musk oxen, like a creature from a strange fairytale, grazing their way across the tundra.

Disembark

Kayaking, snowshoeing and dog sledding are some of the optional daily activities; disembarking from your cruise ship each day reveals a side to the Arctic that is out of bounds to the boats. Visit polar research stations and meet scientists, chat to the inhabitants of the islands and inlets, and watch foxes hunting and fledglings leaving their nests. For a different perspective again you can scale an Arctic mountain, revealing one of the most surreal and lovely views of the roof of the world.
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Meet local communities – past and present

The Inuit have lived in some of the earth's most stunning locations and wild conditions for centuries. Yet not only do they manage to survive out here between ice and Arctic water, they have a warm, rich culture, with ancient folklore and a thriving art scene. Soapstone sculptures have today replaced the traditional bone and ivory, but the hand carving technique remains the same. Cruise to Canada's Baffin Island and the shores and islands of Greenland to meet the Inuit, see their finely woven textiles and hear their eerie throat singing. Be prepared for evidence of hunting, though – this is a subsistence culture and every part of the animal will be used. Nearby visitors' centres reveal more about the history of the Arctic peoples, and showcase their clothing and crafts.

Historically, the Thule people lived around the shores of Greenland and Arctic Canada – the remains of some of their settlements give fascinating insights into their lost culture. Eastern Siberia’s Wrangel Island reveals older culture still – with a 3,400 year old Paleo Eskimo camp.

Lecture programme

When you sign up for an outdoor adventure in a wild landscape, lecture programmes may sound rather dull. But the ships’ biologists, geographers, photographers, historians and geologists share fascinating insights about the land and creatures around you. You’ll learn to identify species, the best angle to photograph a polar bear and a little knowledge means you’ll be even more amazed by the world around you.
Photo credits: [Wildlifedoc: Polar Cruises] [lectures: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre] [disembark: Polar cruises] [whale: sugared glass]
Written by Vicki Brown
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