Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500

Arctic Expeditions - Land of the Polar Bear

Cruise to some of the most exciting areas in the world - the home of the polar bear, glaciers, icebergs and fascinating flora and fauna

We offer a fine collection of adventure and expedition cruises to the Arctic with excursions ashore to view the sights - even to the North Pole itself! This is the land of the Midnight Sun, where the sun barely sets throughout the summer.

  • Polar Bears
  • Polar Cirkel Excursion
  • Svalbard Mountains and Aurora Borealis

About Arctic Adventure Cruises

Spitsbergen is the largest island in the starkly beautiful Svalbard Archipelago, 400 miles north of mainland Norway and just 600 miles from the North Pole itself. Spectacular cliffs dominate the coastline with deep hidden fjords and colourful villages. Plants and migratory birds flourish in this national park, alongside reindeer, seals, arctic foxes and polar bears.

Still within the Arctic Circle, Greenland adventure cruises take you to the heart of the largest island in the world. Explore the ice covered extremities of northern Greenland and the staggeringly fertile green expanses of southern Greenland.

Go to the North Pole on our Icebreaker Cruise from Murmansk to the Pole itself, with included helicopter and Zodiac excursions.

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Cruise Collection

Arctic Adventure

All of our Arctic cruises are shown below. Tick the boxes to filter by date, type and duration.

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Cruising Areas:
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  • Alaska
  • Arctic
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  • Greenland
  • Iceland
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  • Spitsbergen
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  • 4 - 6 Nights
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  • Mythical Iceland

    11 Nights - Reykjavik and back

    Hurtigruten Ship - Fram Fram

    This 11-night circumnavigation of magical Iceland on board Fram explores stunning landscapes, fascinating cultures and charming towns and villages, with onboard lectures from the experienced Expedition Team 2018 - May, Jun
    Save £500pp PLUS exclusive £100pp discount!

    Mythical Iceland Cruise Only
    From £4179pp
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  • Geysers and Glaciers

    7 Nights - Reykjavik and back

    Ponant Luxury Expeditions Ship - Le Champlain Le Champlain

    Explore Iceland, the "Land of Ice and Fire", with its breathtaking fjords and spectacular glaciers on this superb 7-night luxury cruise from Reykjavik 2019 - May
    Save up to 5%!

    Geysers and Glaciers Cruise Only
    From £4189pp
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  • Three Arctic Islands

    13 Nights - Oslo to Reykjavik

    Hurtigruten Ship - Roald Amundsen Roald Amundsen

    Explore three Arctic islands and North East Greenland National Park, the least-visited national park in the world, on this 11-night expedition, with included Polarcirkel shore landings and lectures from the experienced Expedition Team 2019 - Jul
    Exclusive £100pp discount!

    Three Arctic Islands Cruise Only
    From £4468pp
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  • Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

    9 Nights - Oslo and back

    Hurtigruten Ship - Fram Choice of Ships

    Explore remote Spitsbergen, Land of the Polar Bear, on this unique 9-night expedition, with included Polarcirkel shore landings and lectures from the experienced Expedition Team 2018 - Jun
    Save £500pp PLUS exclusive £100pp discount!

    Circumnavigating Spitsbergen Cruise Only
    From £5059pp
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  • Grand Arctic Circumnavigation

    11 Nights - Oslo and back

    Hurtigruten Ship - Spitsbergen Spitsbergen

    Sail to the ice edge of the Arctic Ocean while circumnavigating Spitsbergen on this unique 11-night expedition, including Polarcirkel shore landings and lectures from the expert Expedition Team 2019 - Jul, Aug
    Exclusive £100pp discount!

    Grand Arctic Circumnavigation Cruise Only
    From £5270pp
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  • Thule and Beyond

    15 Nights - Kangerlussuaq and back

    Hurtigruten Ship - Fram Fram

    Fram cruises along the edge of the breathtaking Greenland Ice Sheet on this unique expedition which includes daily landings and fascinating onboard lectures from the experienced Expedition Team 2019 - Aug
    Exclusive £100pp discount!

    Thule and Beyond Cruise Only
    From £6085pp
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  • Svalbard Expedition Land of the Polar bear

    10 Nights - Longyearbyen to Tromso

    Silversea Ship - Silver Cloud Silver Cloud

    A 10-night luxury Silversea Expedition around the Svalbard Peninsula and Arctic Spitsbergen aboard superb expedition vessel Silver Cloud, bringing first-class service and accommodation to expedition cruising 2019 - Jul
    Pay in full by 28 Feb 2018 and save 10%!

    Svalbard Expedition - Land of the Polar Bear Cruise Only
    From £6210pp
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  • Coasts of Greenland Expedition

    12 Nights - Reykjavik to Kangerlussuaq

    Silversea Ship - Silver Cloud Silver Cloud

    Cross the Denmark Strait from Reykjavik to the rugged coast of Greenland where Zodiac excursions with the expedition team give you an up-close view of the spectacular ice landscapes, and discover traditions of the ancient Inuit culture 2019 - Aug
    Pay in full by 28 Feb 2018 and save 10%!

    Coasts of Greenland Expedition Cruise Only
    From £6930pp
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  • Svalbard Greenland and Iceland Expedition

    15 Nights - Tromso to Reykjavik

    Silversea Ship - Silver Explorer Silver Explorer

    A fascinating expedition to the remote Svalbard Archipelago, rarely-visited Scoresby Sund in Greenland and the dramatic Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland on board luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer 2019 - Sep
    Pay in full by 28 Feb 2018 and save 10%!

    Svalbard Greenland and Iceland Expedition Cruise Only
    From £7470pp
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  • Expedition towards the North Pole

    18 Nights - Kangerlussuaq and back

    Hapag Lloyd Ship - Hanseatic Hanseatic

    This once-in-a-lifetime expedition towards the North Pole showcases the awe-inspiring scenery and abundant wildlife of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, with Zodiac landings and charter flights between Dusseldorf and Kangerlussuaq 2018 - Aug

    Expedition towards the North Pole Cruise Only
    From £10420pp
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  • Luxury Northwest Passage Expedition

    22 Nights - Kangerlussuaq to Nome

    Ponant Luxury Expeditions Ship - Le Soleal Le Soleal

    This once-in-a-lifetime luxury expedition voyage on mega-yacht Le Soleal follows in the footsteps of famous Arctic explorers through the legendary Northwest Passage. Includes charter flight from Paris to Kangerlussuaq, and return flight from Nome to Seattle 2018 - Aug

    Luxury Northwest Passage Expedition Cruise Only
    From £11235pp
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  • Northeast Passage Expedition

    28 Nights - Tromso to Nome

    Hapag Lloyd Ship - Bremen Bremen

    Luxurious expedition ship, Bremen, navigates the legendary Northeast Passage, which connects Europe to Asia and takes in the vast wilderness of the Russian Arctic, on this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime expedition. Includes thrilling Zodiac rides and charter flight from Nome to Vancouver 2018 - Aug
    Save 5%!

    Northeast Passage Expedition Cruise Only
    From £16129pp
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  • Icebreaker Trip to the North Pole

    12 Nights - Helsinki and back

    Exodus Ship - Icebreaker '50 Years of Victory' Icebreaker '50 Years of Victory'

    Cruise to the 'top of the world' on this once in a lifetime Polar voyage on board 50 Years of Victory, the only ship capable of offering this spectacular itinerary 2018 - Jun

    Icebreaker Cruise to the North Pole Cruise Only
    From £22900pp
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  • Northwest Passage Explorer

    32 Nights - Anchorage to New York

    Crystal Cruises Ship - Crystal Serenity Crystal Serenity

    Follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers on this once-in-a-lifetime luxury expedition through the unparalleled landscapes of the legendary Northwest Passage, with included Zodiac excursions, enriching lectures and overnight stop in lively New York City
    Book now to save £640pp!

    Northwest Passage Explorer View Full Details

Arctic Adventure Highlights


The small town of Akureyri sits at the end of Eyjafjordur below a landscape of volcanic mountains. The town has a lively atmosphere with art galleries and coffee houses, a folklore museum of local life and a heated outdoor pool with geo-thermal hot pots. Visits to Akureyri may include tours to the thermal Lake Myvatn and the waterfalls of Godafoss.

Akureyri (Iceland)


Alesund is built across three islands and uniquely for Norway, is an Art Nouveau town, rebuilt in this style after a devastating fire in 1904. The KUBE Art Museum is housed in the former premises of the Norwegian Bank, and upmarket shops line Apotekergata. For good views of the islands, hills and coast, take the steps from Alesund's park up to Mount Aksla. Worthy of a visit is the magnificent 12th-century Borgund Stave Church in Laerdal.

Alesund (Norway)


The old Hanseatic port of Bergen is within walking distance of the city centre and the famous Bryggen, the World Heritage listed waterfront area of gabled traditional buildings which dates back 900 years. The outdoor fish market is one of Bergen's popular tourist attractions, along with the Floibanen, the funicular which travels up Mount Floyen close to Skomadkerdiket Lake for views of the city and the sea.

Bergen (Norway)


Longyearbyen is the capital of the remote and beautiful Svalbard Archipelago, situated on its largest island, Spitsbergen and the gateway to the High Arctic. The town nestles between two glacier tongues on Advent Fjord and has a modern feel to it, with brightly-painted buildings, good facilities and the interesting Svalbard Museum. Longyearbyen has several research stations and the Global Seed Vault, which was dug into the permafrost and preserves seeds to ensure the future of plant diversity and food crops.

Longyearbyen (Norway)


Nuuk is the capital of Greenland, founded in 1728 and situated at the head of a large network of fjords. It is a blend of modern architecture and the older buildings of Kolonihaven. The Greenland National Museum houses the famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq Mummies, discovered beneath a hillside underhang in 1972 in a remarkable state of preservation. In the harbour is the beautiful statue of the 'Mother of the Sea' which is covered by the waves at high tide.

Nuuk (Greenland)


Reykjavik is the most northerly capital in the world. The wooden buildings of the old town sit beside lively, modern Reykjavik which has excellent museums, galleries and contemporary outdoor geo-thermal pools. There are superb viewing decks in the lovely church of Hallgr'mskirkja, built to resemble lava flow. The Imagine Peace Tower opposite the harbour was built by Yoko Ono as a memorial to John Lennon and emits a tower of light during the last three months of the year.

Reykjavik (Iceland)


Spitsbergen is the largest island in the remote Svalbard archipelago and the only one with a permanent population. For travellers continuing north, it is the gateway to the High Arctic and the last stop before the North Pole. This harsh habitat supports polar bears, reindeer and hardy flora, and is home to international research stations and the Global Seed Vault. Its dramatic scenery includes Advent Fjord, the Monaco Glacier and jagged granite mountains.

Spitsbergen (Norway)


Svolvaer is the main port and capital of the Lofoten Islands, and its harbour is idyllically set below a ring of mountains. It's renowned for the special qualities of its natural light which attracts painters and sculptors to the town, built across small islets connected by bridges. For such a small town, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and good public transport links to smaller towns nearby.

Svolvaer (Lofoten Islands, Norway)

The Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands

These beautiful, mountainous island chains, rising to 1,000 metres in places, are some of the oldest in the world, fjorded during the Ice Age. Many of the fishermen's cabins are built on stilts along the waterfront in the small settlements here. Tiny islands like Rost are home to nesting seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, eider ducks, cormorants and sea eagles. See the Legends of the Lofoten Islands Tour, which spends more time here.

The Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands (Norway)


Tromso is the capital of the Arctic, and has been the starting point for many Polar expeditions. In the waterfront Polar Museum there are exhibits related to these and the history of hunting and trapping in the Polar region. There are shops, cafes, the stunning stained glass Arctic Cathedral and the world's most northerly botanic garden in the town, which benefits from the Gulf Stream.

Tromso (Norway)


Trondheim is an attractive city partly encircled by the River Nid and was once the capital of Norway. Its waterfront is bordered by brightly-painted wharves and the old town bridge leads to the lively Bakklandet neighbourhood where there are numerous wooden houses, shops and cafes. The town's chief sight is the ancient cathedral of Nidaros which was built in the 11th century over the burial site of St Olav.

Trondheim (Norway)

Customer Reviews

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    Tundra on Edinburgh Island
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    Icebergs at Disko Bay
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    Dundas Harbour
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    Glacier at Crocker Bay
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    Polar Bear
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    Prince of Wales Island - Smoking Hills, Mainland Canada
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    Walrus, Chukchi Sea

The North West Passage trip on L'Austral, Ponant, was a fabulous experience. There was a very special mix of wildlife, landscape, Inuit culture, and history.

Compared to the Antartic penninsular, where the wildlife is easy to find, in the NW Passage it has to be sought out and cannot be guaranteed. However, the Captain made great efforts to ensure we saw as much as possible and what we did see was extraordinary. From polar bears swimming near the ship, to dozens of narwhals, belugas and walrus, with a couple of grey whales and musk ox, and some bearded seals, the photographers on board were going crazy.

The landscape is spectacular,so being able to land and walk on the tundra, and islands where Franklin and others landed, is a great experience. Icebergs and ice flows were also seen, though with global climate change the ice flows are much reduced.

Intuit culture and life style were highlights and vists to two villages, one in Greenland and one on Canada, gave a glimpse into the challenges they face and how the climate has dictated their way of life. In fact this trip really makes you appreciate the impact of climate change and the adverse effect on Inuit life and the pressure on wildlife with reduced numbers of polar bears and other species that rely on ice. We, and our governments, urgently need to look at how we reduce our carbon output significantly.

Finally, the history of early explorers, particularly Frankin's ill fated voyage and the many attempts to find him, was fascinating.

All this was enhanced by the excellent talks given by the expedition team members who were also on hand to help at the landings and on the walks.

The luxury on board L'Austral with first class food and service was as you would expect.

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Just a note to thank you and your team for organising a holiday that turned out to be a trip of a lifetime. 

We saw 15 polar bears, with really good views of many of them, The pictures of the polar bear was taken from the beautiful observation lounge of the Fram. We also saw reindeer, walrus and thousands of birds. The scenery was magnificent and Ann even went swimming in the waters by the Magdalene glacier. Perhaps the most unexpected and magical part of the holiday was that we were able to reach the Ice Edge, which is the pack ice that surrounds the North Pole (80 degrees 25 North). We were taken on a trip around the ice in the small polar circle motor boats. Although it was freezing cold (we were kitted out with thermal suits) the experience was out of this world The shapes and colours of the ice was spectacular. We were told that it was likely that we were nearest people to the North Pole at that time. As you can see, we really had an unforgettable time.

Once again, many thanks for arranging our second trip on the MV Fram and, hopefully, it will not be the last.

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We had a wonderful holiday to Spitsbergen on MV Fram. It was a holiday of a lifetime.  We not only saw a polar bear, but also 2 Blue Whales which we watched for almost two hours under the midnight sun. This was the highlight of the holiday, together with swimming in arctic waters at almost 80 degrees N, just 600 nautical miles south of the North Pole.

Our travel arrangments went without a hitch as did the whole holiday.

MV Fram is a super ship, good food, comfortable cabins and with super views of the scenery from every lounge on board especially the superb observation lounge.  The service was faultless and the Expedition Leaders were excellent.  All in all, this was not just a holiday but an adventure of a lifetime.
The service from Blue Water Holidays was excellent with all our queries and information being dealt with promptly and in a very friendly manner, allowing us to have a hastle free holiday.
We would certainly consider booking another holiday through Blue Water Holidays in the future.

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    I am the walrus...
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    Pip and Polar Star
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    Iced in...
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    Really iced in...
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    'Our' polar bear

"Spitsbergen? Is that Austria or Switzerland?" Maybe I should say I'm going to Florida, I thought, as for the tenth time I heard myself saying "Go from the north coast of Norway and head for the North Pole - half way there, you'll reach Spitsbergen." "That'll be cold!What on earth are you going there for?" Well, this is why...

Over the last few years, my girlfriend, Pip and I have become regular visitors to the Arctic. We've travelled twice on the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage - once in summer, once in winter and in 2007, we went to Greenland. There were two things we still wanted to see up there however - the Northern Lights and polar bears. The Northern Lights will have to wait for a winter trip, but we thought a trip to Spitsbergen might enable us to see bears. As ever with the Arctic, there was so much more to it than that...

We travelled in late June, flying via Oslo to Longyearbyen (Population 2500), the capital of the archipelago known as Svalbard, of which Spitsbergen is the largest island. We arrived at nearly midnight to be greeted by sunshine and the Midnight Sun, which would play havoc with our body clocks for the next few days!We stayed that night at the Spitsbergen Hotel and spent the next day exploring Longyearbyen, until late afternoon when we boarded our home for the next week, the 5000 ton ice breaker. 'Polar Star'.

We had booked a standard cabin, but this was surprisingly spacious, with 2 comfortable beds, a desk, an en suite shower room/loo and storage space everywhere! It was even handily positioned right opposite the ship's well equipped gym - a facility that somehow, we never got round to using...

Within the first 24 hours we had visited the 2 other setllements on Spitsbergen - Barentsburg, which is a mining town with a population of about 500 Russians and Ny Alesund, a research centre with a few hundred mostly scientists living and working there.

Barentsburg has a feel of the 50's and 60's about it and as we were shown around by a local guide, I can probably best descibe it as thought provoking... We ended up at the hotel however, where it would have been rude not to join the locals in trying out the Russian vodka... In hindsight, probably a mistake...

Ny Alesund is the most northerly human settlement in the world, and it is from here that many of the expeditions of Amundsen and Nobile started. We spent an interesting morning here and then sailed north - and didn't see another human being for the next 5 days... What we did see however was pods of walrus, seals, polar foxes, reindeer and millions of birds - I can now identify guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, eider ducks, little auks and skuas - and you can't trust a skua...!

To see many of these things, we travelled in the Polar Star's fleet of Zodiac boats which enabled us to get ashore on beaches, some of which had not been stepped on for several years... On one such trip, we were approaching a glacier when we saw a polar bear on the shore, about 100 metres away. He was a young male and we watched this magnificent creature for about half an hour as he patrolled his empire... Pip has a thing about polar bears and she cried as she watched him... quite a lot... It was that sort of day...

The other big highlight of our trip was watching the Polar Star show what an ice breaker can do. We sailed to the east coast of Spitsbergen, but as we could not circumnavigate the island due to ice further south, we headed north to a group of 7 small islands in the north of the archipelago. We were soon in the sea ice and I spent most of one day hanging over the bow watching the ship break through ice which was several feet thick, sending cracks in all directions. When we got to 80.34 degrees North, the Captain decided that the ice was too thick for us to go any further north, but just thick enough for him to 'park' the ship in the ice so that we could all disembark and spend the best part of an hour walking on the ice! This was an incredible experience and standing there alongside the ship brought to mind all sorts of stories of adventurers of the past who have been iced in for the winter on their polar expeditions...

There were 90 passengers on the ship from about a dozen different countries, but our common experiences made it very easy to form friendships. We were very lucky to have Anya from Spitsbergen Travel as our head guide for the expedition - the course of our journey was dictated by weather and ice conditions, but wherever we ended up, she and her team had an adventure waiting for us...

This is not a cheap holiday, but for the memories it has given us - several of which were 'things to do before we died' - it was worth every penny.

Hurtigruten are a great company and the ship is wonderful. My second trip with them (first was to Antarctica) and the service and professionalism of the crew and expedition team is always top notch.