Step onto a cruise destined for the Arctic, and you're in for an adventure unlike any other. The Arctic region, a realm of ice and snow, invites travelers into its untouched wilderness. Far from the hustle of city life, it offers a serene yet thrilling escape into nature's dramatic display.
The beauty of an Arctic cruise lies in its unique offerings. Imagine gliding past towering icebergs, each a majestic structure carved by nature over centuries. The pristine beaches here may not be for sunbathing, but they host a variety of wildlife, like seals basking on the shores and birds circling the clear, cool skies.
A journey through the Arctic waters also unfolds a rich cultural narrative. Indigenous communities here have thrived amidst the icy landscapes for ages, and their fascinating traditions are a window into human resilience and creativity. The region's past is not just confined to ancient cultures but also includes significant historical expeditions that chart the unknown. It's a place where every sight, from the dancing Northern Lights to quaint, isolated villages, tells a tale of endurance, exploration, and enchantment.
So, as you glide through the icy waters, every day brings forth a new scene of awe and wonder, making an Arctic cruise a voyage of endless discovery. With cruise line volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 80% versus the brochure price! Book your Arctic cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted cruise headquarters.
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Arctic Travel Guide
Arctic Cruises Highlights
- Tromsø, Norway: Tromsø, often referred to as the gateway to the Arctic, is a bustling city with modern amenities, making it a comfortable starting or ending point for your cruise. Nearby, the Arctic Cathedral stands as an architectural marvel, while the Polaria Museum offers insights into Arctic marine life. The surrounding fjords and mountains also beckon for exploration.
- Murmansk, Russia: Murmansk, one of the largest cities within the Arctic Circle, offers a blend of Soviet history and natural splendor. The Alyosha Monument, commemorating the defenders of the Soviet Arctic, towers over the landscape. The city also serves as a threshold to the mesmerizing Kola Peninsula, known for its rugged terrain and indigenous Sami culture.
- Churchill, Canada: Churchill, the Polar Bear Capital of the World, offers a front-row seat to wildlife encounters. Beyond polar bear sightings, you can also spot beluga whales and numerous bird species. The town holds a rich military history, with remnants like the Churchill Rocket Research Range telling tales of its past.
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway: Longyearbyen, a small coal-mining town turned polar tourism hub, is steeped in a blend of mining history and polar exploration. The Svalbard Museum unveils the region's past, and the nearby wilderness calls for dog-sledding adventures and wildlife watching.
- Northern Lights: Witnessing the aurora borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The natural light display paints the sky with eerie greens, pinks, and purples, making for an ethereal spectacle.
- Midnight Sun: The phenomenon of the sun never setting is mesmerizing and occurs in the summer months, offering endless days and unique photo opportunities.
- Icebergs and Glaciers: The colossal ice formations of the Arctic are a testament to nature's grandeur. Each iceberg and glacier carries with it the ancient history of the Earth's climate.
- Wildlife Encounters: From polar bears and walruses to whales and seabirds, the Arctic is a haven for unique wildlife. Organized tours offer safe and respectful wildlife viewing experiences.
- Indigenous Culture: Engage with the rich traditions of the Inuit and Sami people. Their way of life, art, and stories provide a deep understanding of human adaptation and resilience.
- Historic Expedition Sites: Explore the sites of legendary Arctic expeditions. Places like Beechey Island in Canada hold remnants of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition.
- National Parks: Venture into protected lands like Svalbard's Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park, where stunning landscapes, ice caves, and abundant wildlife await.
- Arctic Museums: Museums like the Fram Museum in Oslo or the Arctic Umiaq Line Museum in Greenland provide fascinating insights into polar exploration and the region's maritime heritage
Arctic Cruises Travel Tips
- Ensure you have the correct currency for onshore purchases in ports of call. Norwegian Krone, Canadian Dollar, and Russian Ruble are some of the currencies you might need.
- Pack layers of clothing, including thermal wear, waterproof jackets, and insulated boots to stay warm and dry.
- Visit top-rated tourist attractions as early in the day as possible. Seriously, the second you get off your cruise in the morning when it docks, head straight to the most popular places! This way, you can avoid the long lines that come later in the day.
- Don't be scared to take public transportation in this area of Europe. It's extremely trustworthy and is known for being on time a lot, so it's a great way to quickly get around cities.
- Wear a strong pair of walking shoes, or at least make sure that you pack a pair. Your feet and ankles will thank you while you're adventuring through these European cities that are known for having smaller cobblestone lanes in some areas.
- The sun's reflection on snow and ice can be intense, so don't forget sunglasses, sunblock, and a wide-brimmed hat.
- While English is widely spoken, learning a few phrases in the local languages of the areas you'll visit can be appreciated.
- Adhering to safety guidelines provided by your cruise operators, especially during onshore excursions, is paramount, given the wild and sometimes unpredictable nature of the Arctic.
Arctic Cruises Things To Do
- See the view from Brandsoyasen Viewpoint
The Brandsoyasen Viewpoint is a beautiful spot located in Floro, Norway, looking into this area's scenic nature. You truly will be in awe if you take the time to visit here as you look out and see the nearby mountains, forests, and lakes that you wouldn't see from above elsewhere. To get to the top, you do have to hike. There are a few different trails to get to the top, luckily, so you can choose whichever one you think you can most successfully do. They usually take around 2 hours to get to the top.
You Should KnowMake sure you stop by the tourist information office in the area so that you can grab a map to help you with your hike to the top.
- Walk through the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden
The Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden is a beautiful botanic garden located in Tromso. It's most well-known for being the most northern botanic garden in the world. It's run by the local university in the area and has been opened since 1994. Inside the garden, you can find many plants that showcase what flora and fauna are like in the area. It's incredibly beautiful no matter what time of year that you visit. There are also a few stone walking trails throughout the Arctic-Alpine Botanic Garden, which provide you a sort of self-guided walking tour of the attraction.
You Should KnowThe garden is quite large, so plan on spending at least a few hours in this garden.
- Explore Bryggen
Bryggen is a gorgeous wharf area located in Bergen right along the water on the Vagen Harbour. It was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979 and is filled with some of the most beautiful historical buildings that you honestly won't want to miss. They are quintessentially what you'd expect to see in Norway! All of the buildings here are commercial, so they are filled with different shops that you can go through and browse around. You might even find a souvenir or two to remember your trip here! There are also a few different restaurants and cafes in the area in case you get hungry.
Best Time To VisitAs mentioned earlier in the tips, be sure to visit as early as possible to avoid crowds since this is a top attraction!
- Stroll across the Old City Bridge
The Old City Bridge is a gorgeous bridge located in Trondheim, Norway. It crosses right across the Nidelva River and was designed by the architect Carl Adolf Dahl. You can get some of the town's best views from the bridge, especially at sunrise or sunset. The bridge was built in 1681 and is one of the most historical attractions in the whole town. It officially connects Kjopmannsgata to Bakklandet. While it was initially constructed entirely out of wood, it was reconstructed in 1861, giving it the same look today.
You Should KnowLocals also refer to the Old City Bridge as Bybroa or Gamle Bybro in Norwegian.
- Visit Polaria
Polaria is the northernmost aquarium in the entire world. It's located right on the coast in Tromso, Norway, the northern part of the country. It opened in 1998 and is particularly well-known for its outstanding exhibits and experiences for families and young children visiting the area. This aquarium and educational experience are also extremely unique because of its architecture. It appears to look like a bunch of dominoes that have been knocked down by someone from the outside. It doesn't even look like a building from the outside, so you might just miss it!
You Should KnowBook your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you can enter Polaria when you visit Tromso.
- Ride the Floibanen
The Floibanen is a scenic cable car right up a mountain in Bergen, Norway. It connects the downtown part of Bergen to Floyen. At the top, there are viewpoints and different tiny trails that you can explore to have some of the city's best views. The mountain cable car funicular railway first opened in 1918 and stops at five different stations along the way. No matter what one you hop on at, you'll still get to the same endpoint and will enjoy the same views. This is a great affordable attraction for all ages visiting Bergen, Norway!
You Should KnowThe cable car is only a short walk away from the cruise ship dock in Bergen.
- Learn at the Polar Museum
The Polar Museum is located in Tromso, Norway, and is filled with exhibits and artifacts showcasing the Arctic's history. It's one of the best ways to learn more about the area you'll be touring on your Arctic cruise! It opened in 1978 and is run by the local university. A considerable part of the museum also focuses on Tromso's local heritage, history, and culture. The museum is located inside a historically-important building since it's a warehouse dating back to the 19th century.
You Should KnowBe sure to set aside a few hours to explore the Polar Museum to make sure that you learn as much as you can about the area.
- Explore Andersgrotta
Andersgrotta is a unique historic landmark located in Kirkenes, Norway. It's a bomb shelter from World War II, which was used as a spot for safety by many locals and residents in the area. It's sort of a combination of a shelter and an underground cave bunker. When you first get to Andersgrotta, you'll be shown a short film that shows archived recordings that you can only see at this attraction. Keep in mind that the film is only offered in a limited number of languages, including German, Norwegian, and English.
You Should KnowBook your tickets at least 24 hours ahead of time if you plan on visiting Andersgrotta because it's a popular attraction.
- Marvel at the Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most unique Parish Churches in the world. It's located right in the center of Tromso, Norway, and doesn't even look like a church from the outside. Architecturally, it honestly just looks like a futuristic triangle building that is utterly unassuming. The cathedral was built by Jan Inge Hovig and only holds around 600 people at a time. It's completely free to go inside and walk around the cathedral, but you might be able to also hop onto a quick tour of it as well if you're interested in learning more about it.
You Should KnowThe church was built back in 1965 and is a popular spot for weddings in the area!
Arctic Cruise Packages
This area of Europe is a great time to visit year-round, though keep in mind that the winters can be quite harsh, especially in Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Of course, you can plan your trip to have the best weather possible, but most people visit here when it's warmer. Embarking on an Arctic cruise introduces travelers to a variety of ports, each with its unique flavor of Arctic culture, history, and natural beauty. These ports serve as gateways to explore the icy wilderness and the rich traditions of the polar regions.
- Experience the Flavors of the Arctic
The Arctic region presents a unique culinary scene shaped by the harsh climate and the ingenuity of the local communities. Traditional foods are hearty and heavily based on the resources available, like fish, seafood, game meat, and berries.
For an authentic taste, local eateries and markets in port towns are the places to go. Some cruises also offer onboard dining experiences that showcase the local cuisine. And, when in Greenland, don't miss the chance to enjoy a traditional kaffemik, a social gathering over coffee and homemade treats. Your Arctic cruise is not just a feast for the eyes but also a journey of culinary discovery, offering a taste of the Arctic's resilient and resourceful culture.
- Immerse Yourself in Arctic Culture
The Arctic region is a rich reservoir of ancient cultures and traditions, primarily showcased by indigenous communities like the Sami, Inuit, and Nenets, among others. Their lifestyles, art, and folklore have been seamlessly entwined with the natural surroundings, bearing testimony to human adaptability.
These cultural experiences provide a rich texture to the Arctic adventure, allowing travelers to delve beyond the surface and truly appreciate the enduring spirit and heritage of the Arctic's indigenous communities. Through respectful engagement with the local culture, visitors can enrich their Arctic voyage with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this unique part of the world.
- Ready to Book Your Arctic Cruise?
The Arctic awaits to unveil its raw beauty and rich cultural tapestry to the curious traveler. With its pristine icy landscapes, vibrant wildlife, and a heritage rooted in age-old traditions, the Arctic offers a voyage of discovery and wonder. An Arctic cruise simplifies your venture into this remote region, providing a comfortable base from which to explore the myriad wonders awaiting ashore and on the icy waters.
Whether it's the allure of witnessing the ethereal Northern Lights, engaging with the enduring indigenous cultures, or the call of wild, untouched nature, the Arctic has something to enthrall every traveler. Now's the time to seize the opportunity and book your Arctic cruise.
Step aboard and set sail towards the horizon where adventure, insight, and the untouched beauty of the polar world beckon. Your journey of a lifetime to explore the untouched splendors of the Arctic is just a booking away!
- Getting There
The Arctic, encompassing the Earth's northernmost region, is accessible via a few key ports situated in countries like Norway, Canada, and Russia. A popular gateway is the city of Tromsø, Norway, known as the gateway to the Arctic. Here, cruise ships set sail, venturing into the chilly Arctic waters. Other ports like Murmansk in Russia and Churchill in Canada also serve as starting points for these icy adventures.
Getting to these ports is the first step in your Arctic journey. International flights land in nearby major cities, from where regional flights or other local transportation take you to the cruise departure point. Once aboard, your voyage into the ice-laden expanses begins, with each day presenting a fresh, invigorating glimpse into the wild, frosty landscapes of the Arctic.
- The Perfect Time for an Arctic Cruise
Cruising to the Arctic is a unique and awe-inspiring experience, heavily influenced by the region's dramatic seasonal changes. Understanding the best time to embark on an Arctic cruise is crucial for tailoring your adventure to the experiences you seek.
During the Arctic's winter months, from November to March, the region plunges into a profound chill with long, dark nights. While this period offers a certain stark beauty, it can be quite harsh and sees fewer cruises operating, making winter cruising in the Arctic a less common choice for travelers.
Summer cruising in the Arctic, from June to August, presents a strikingly different experience. As the ice retreats, it unveils accessible waterways, allowing cruise ships to navigate the region more freely. The temperatures during this period are milder, typically hovering around 30 to 45°F, and the long days under the Midnight Sun provide ample daylight for onshore excursions and wildlife spotting. This peak tourist season attracts nature enthusiasts eager to witness the Arctic's blooming flora and active fauna, including polar bears and whales, making it a bustling and exciting time for cruising.
The shoulder season, particularly in May and September, offers a balanced cruising experience in the Arctic. The crowds thin, yet the region's natural attractions remain vibrant and captivating. September cruising, in particular, may offer the magical opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, adding an extra layer of enchantment to your journey. When planning your Arctic cruise, consider the climate, wildlife spotting opportunities, and your preference for crowd sizes to determine the perfect time for your Arctic adventure.
Each season in the Arctic brings its unique qualities, ensuring that your cruise, whether in the tranquil shoulder months or the vibrant summer, will be an unforgettable experience.
- Why Book an Arctic Cruise?
Booking an Arctic cruise offers a blend of convenience, unique experiences, and a vantage point to witness the icy wilderness that few other types of travel can match. The inclusive nature of a cruise often presents value for money, covering accommodation, meals, and numerous excursions under one price. The journey along the Arctic coasts unveils a spectacle of ever-changing landscapes right from the deck, showcasing an exclusive panorama of glaciers, icebergs, and remote islands.
Furthermore, cruising allows for a hassle-free exploration of distant and sometimes inaccessible areas, with the cruise line handling the logistics and permits. Some regions in the Arctic are indeed more accessible or exclusively accessible to cruise passengers, opening up a world of adventure and discovery. Additionally, cruises often come with guided tours and experts on board, enhancing the understanding and appreciation of this pristine and historically significant part of the world.
The ease, unique perspectives, and enriched experiences provided by an Arctic cruise make it a great choice for those looking to delve into the mysteries of the North in comfort.
Arctic Cruises Frequently Asked Questions
- What are Arctic Cruises?
Arctic cruises are the best way to get introduced to the Arctic region of Europe. You can have your accommodation come with you the whole time on the cruise ship, and you'll have access to fantastic food and entertainment every day. Then, you'll be able to hop off the cruise and explore wherever your ship is docked on some days as well. What's great is that you have the freedom to choose where you want to explore, as long as you're back on the ship by the end of the day when it leaves.
- What’s included on an Arctic Cruise?
The main draw for Arctic cruises is that they include accommodation. They also include meals, and you'll have tons of different restaurants, buffets, and cafes on board that you can also grab a bite to eat at. You will have your own private room and bathroom with amenities, including hairdryers, televisions, and more. It depends on the type of room that you book!
- What’s the best Arctic Cruise?
Each Arctic cruise is so different, so it's hard to say! What destinations do you need to visit during your cruise? How long of a vacation can you have? What's your ideal budget? These questions are vital to ensure that you can find the best Arctic cruise for you and your needs.
- How much do Arctic Cruises cost?
Arctic cruises vary in pricing. Some cost around $100 a day while others cost more than twice that per day. It depends on the cruise line, the cruise's length, the time of year, and the stops throughout the cruise. Luckily, you can rest assured that by booking through Affordable Tours, you can save up to 75% off the brochure price versus if you were to book the same cruise elsewhere.
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