Cruise Search
Polar Expedition Cruises

Polar Expedition Cruises

Explore the exceptional natural beauty of some of the world’s remotest regions with our exciting collection of polar expedition cruises. Voyage to the Antarctic or Arctic and experience dramatic icy scenery, and meet fascinating wildlife.

Join motorised Zodiac boats and expert guides for unforgettable excursions. Land in a frozen wilderness, touch an iceberg with your bare hands, experience husky dog sledging or spend a night in a unique snow hotel.

More about Antarctic Expedition Cruises
More about Arctic Expedition Cruises

Cruise Collection 2024/ 2025/ 2026

Finding Cruises
Page: 1 of 10
  • Antarctic Explorer Fly and Cruise

    AE Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Antarctica 10 Nights Punta Arenas, Chile, Chilean Fjords, Drake Passage - Antarctic Peninsula, King George Island to Punta Arenas
  • Antarctic Explorer Express

    AE Expeditions
    Greg Mortimer
    Icebergs And Mountain In Antarctica 6 Nights Ushuaia, Drake Passage Seas, Antarctic Peninsula, King George Island, South Shetland Islands
  • Across the Antarctic Circle

    AE Expeditions
    Sylvia Earle
    Adelie Penguin And Antarctic Shags At Petermann Island 12 Nights King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, Crossing the Antarctic Circle, Drake Passage Seas, Ushuaia
  • Falklands, South Georgia & Peninsula

    AE Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Grytviken Station South Georgia 19 Nights Ushuaia, Drake Passage Seas, Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia Island, Falkland Islands, Ushuaia
  • Spitsbergen in Brief

    Quark Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Spitbergen 5 Nights Cruise Only from £2850pp Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen
  • Circumnavigating Iceland

    Hurtigruten Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik 10 Nights Cruise Only from £3206pp Reykjavik (Iceland), Stykkisholmur, Patreksfjordur, Northwest Iceland, Djupavik, Akureyri, Grimsey Island - Husavik, Husavik - Langanes Peninsula, Bakkagerði, Heimaey, Reykjavik
  • Arctic Express Canada: The Heart of the Northwest Passage

    Quark Expeditions
    Arctic Canada 7 Nights Cruise Only from £4778pp Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada’s High Arctic, Resolute Bay, Nunavut
  • Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic

    Quark Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Svalbard 10 Nights Cruise Only from £4850pp Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen
  • The Three Arctic Islands

    Quark Expeditions
    Ocean Adventurer
    Iceberg, Greenland 13 Nights Cruise Only from £5000pp Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Spitsbergen, Greenland's East Coast Fjords, Reykjavík (Iceland)
  • Intro to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard

    Quark Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Longyearbyen 8 Nights Cruise Only from £5000pp Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen

About Polar Expedition Cruises

On your polar exploration you will discover vast glaciers, breathtaking scenery and fascinating wildlife. Cross the Arctic Circle to follow in the wake of the Vikings or learn about the Inuit’s extraordinary culture whilst visiting remote communities. Revel in the beauty and overwhelming power of nature in the white wonderland of Antarctica.

The incredible diversity of wildlife in the polar regions will astound you. Polar bears roam amongst giant blue-tinted icebergs, penguins nest on the ice and whales breach before your eyes. On-board experts often include naturalists and scientists who share their knowledge on the history, geology, ecology and wildlife of the polar regions.

Polar sceneryPolar scenery

Polar Expedition Cruise Destinations


Antarctic expedition cruises allow you to discover worlds that remain hidden from most other travellers. Cruise across seas of glass, passing bizarre formations of white snow and glowing blue ice. Look out for penguins, whales, elephant seals, fur seals and a variety of sea birds. Zodiac landings in the eternal ice of Antarctica will leave memories that last forever. Expedition teams offer kayaking past glaciers, hiking along the icy coastline and perhaps even camping on the snow.

Antarctic expedition ships promote environmentally-friendly cruising. Luxury expedition ships designed for polar conditions offer world-class facilities including helicopters and submarines for exclusive access to parts of Antarctica that are usually unreachable. It is now also possible to start your cruise right in the heart of the Antarctic by flying across the Drake Passage direct to Antarctica.

Chilean Fjords

An Antarctic expedition cruise can be combined with a voyage through the enchanting beauty of the Chilean Fjords. In this remote area barely touched by humans snow-capped peaks contrast with ancient glaciers and stunning coastline. Seals and dolphins patrol these uninhabited fjords whilst further inland the granite towers of the Torres del Paine dominate the landscape.

Falkland Islands

Some Antarctica expedition cruises also call at the Falkland Islands, a remote British territory with a rich military and maritime history. Penguins, seals and albatrosses can be seen on the islands, and the fantastic scenery ranges from flower-dotted hillsides to aquamarine seascapes and pristine white beaches. The islands’ British heritage is most apparent in the capital, Port Stanley, where traditional pubs, bright red mailboxes and even British telephone boxes can all be seen.

South Georgia

Rarely-visited South Georgia can be explored on an Antarctica expedition cruise. The island is an important breeding ground for king penguins. Learn more about the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton whose grave is situated on South Georgia and perhaps see the whaling stations at Grytviken, Stronsnes or Fortuna Bay.


Arctic expedition cruises explore Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. The majestic mountains, spectacular cliffs and scenic fjords of Svalbard are home to migratory birds, reindeer, seals, arctic foxes and polar bears. Svalbard expedition cruises may call at the remote Norwegian island of Jan Mayen which is known for its prolific birdlife and immense volcano.


Greenland expedition cruises explore the largest island in the world. Discover the ice-covered extremities of the north or the fertile green expanses of the south. Cruise deep into the heart of Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system, admire majestic icebergs and spot unforgettable wildlife including musk oxen, polar bears and whales.

Russian Arctic

Sail the legendary Bering Strait on a Russian Arctic expedition cruise and discover pristine coastlines rich with Arctic wildlife. Enjoy tundra walks on remote Franz Josef Land, get up close with marine wildlife on kayaking trips and Zodiac cruise along the face of a glacier to see the wonders of calving ice.

Canadian Arctic

A polar expedition cruise to the High Arctic reveals glacier-topped mountains, glistening icebergs and traditional Inuit settlements. On-board experts will connect you with the Canadian Arctic’s unique history and geography. Retrace the steps of the intrepid Franklin expedition on a cruise through the challenging Northwest Passage.

North Pole

The ultimate polar expedition is a trip to the North Pole on an icebreaker ship that crushes through pack ice that is metres thick, ensuring a rewarding and rare expedition.

Penguins in AntarcticaPenguins in Antarctica Whale watchingWhale watching Chilean FjordsChilean Fjords Whalers' Church in South GeorgiaWhalers' Church in South Georgia Polar bearsPolar bears GreenlandGreenland Viking settlementViking settlement

What to pack for an expedition cruise to the Antarctic or Arctic

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Ranulph Fiennes

Heading on a polar expedition cruise? The key to packing for an Arctic or Antarctic cruise is to keep it simple – and light! This packing list includes all the essentials you will need to stay warm and dry on your expedition cruise.

  1. Think layers!
    Make sure you pack long-sleeved, warm base layers (wool is best) and a mid-weight fleece. Thermal leggings are ideal for wearing under waterproof trousers.
  2. Thermal socks
    These are perfect to layer over thinner socks for extra insulation.
  3. Waterproof trousers and boots
    You may be exposed to spray on Zodiac trips, or want to sit on the ice while taking photos.
  4. Expedition jacket
    Most cruise lines provide you with an expedition jacket which you can take home after your cruise.
  5. Windproof hat, waterproof gloves and neck gaiter or buff
    Take a thin pair of glove liners so you can do things like change your camera lens more easily.
  6. Comfortable, everyday clothes to wear on board
    You can leave your black tie at home! (Although you may wish to pack a nice outfit for the Captain’s Dinner.) Take a pair of slip-on shoes in case you need to rush out on deck to watch a breaching whale. Don’t forget some more summery clothing if you’re spending time in Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile before or after your Antarctica cruise.
  7. Camera
    Take the best camera you can, after all you are going to one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world! Don’t forget a waterproof bag, spare batteries (batteries die much faster in cold weather) and extra SD cards.
  8. High SPF sunscreen and UV sunglasses
    There is significant glare from the snow and ice. Consider ski goggles if you wear contact lenses to prevent them drying out.
  9. Moisturiser, hand cream and lip balm
    Cold, windy conditions can dry skin out quickly. Take oil-based products, rather than water-based, to avoid them freezing.
  10. Re-usable water bottle
    If you haven’t got an insulated bottle, try putting your water bottle in a spare thermal sock to stop it freezing.
  11. Small waterproof backpack for shore excursions
    Take a lightweight waterproof backpack to store your camera and binoculars for shore excursion, leaving your hands free for embarking/disembarking the Zodiacs
  12. Binoculars
    These are useful for spotting sea birds, whales and other marine mammals from the ship.
  13. A swimming costume
    Yes really! Your ship may have a hot tub, plunge pool or sauna, or you may get to do a polar plunge!