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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 2022/ 2023/ 2024

Finding Cruises
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  • Emblematic Antarctica

    Ponant Luxury and Expedition
    Choice of Ships
    Chinstrap Penguins 11 Nights Cruise Only from £6248pp Free Flights to Buenos Aires! Buenos Aires (Argentina) - Ushuaia, Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula (Antarctica), Drake Passage, Ushuaia (Argentina) - Buenos Aires
  • Kangerlussuaq to Kangerlussuaq

    Silver Wind
    Nuuk, Greenland 7 Nights Cruise Only from £6650pp Kangerlussuaq Havn, Kangaamiut, Cruising by Evighedsfjord, Nuuk (Godthaab), Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg), Ilulissat (Jakobshavn), Uummannaq, Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn), Kangerlussuaq Havn
  • Lisbon to Reykjavik

    Silver Wind
    Reykjavík, Iceland 17 Nights Cruise Only from £6900pp Lisbon, Porto, La Coruña, Saint-Malo, Honfleur, London Tower Bridge, Saint Peter Port, Penzance, Pembroke, Isle of Iona, Fort William, St. Kilda Archipelago, Westman Islands, Surtsey Island, Reykjavík
  • Northwest Passage to Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands

    Quark Expeditions
    Arctic Fox 10 Nights Cruise Only from £7470pp Flexible booking policy - Ask for details! Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada’s High Arctic, Resolute Bay, Nunavut
  • Longyearbyen to Tromsø

    Silver Cloud
    Tromsø 9 Nights Cruise Only from £7500pp Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, Bear Island, Skarsvåg, Cruising Along North Cape, Gjesværstappan Island, Tromsø
  • Svalbard Odyssey

    Aurora Expeditions
    Greg Mortimer
    Glacier, Svalbard 10 Nights Cruise Only from £7516pp Longyearbyen (Spitbsergen), Svalbard Archipelago, Longyearbyen
  • Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition

    Quark Expeditions
    Choice of Ships
    Antarctica 13 Nights Cruise Only from £7650pp Flexible booking policy - Ask for details! Ushuaia (Argentina), Cruising Drake Passage, South Shetland Islands, Crossing the Antarctic Circle, Antarctic Peninsula, Cruising Drake Passage, Ushuaia (Argentina)
  • Ushuaia to Ushuaia

    Choice of Ships
    Ushuaia 10 Nights Cruise Only from £7750pp Ushuaia, Cruising Drake Passage, Antarctic Sound, Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Cruising Drake Passage, Ushuaia
  • The Three Arctic Islands

    Quark Expeditions
    Ocean Adventurer
    Iceberg, Greenland 13 Nights Cruise Only from £7830pp Flexible booking policy - Ask for details! Longyearbyen (Svalbard), Spitsbergen, Greenland's East Coast Fjords, Reykjavík (Iceland)
  • Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears

    Quark Expeditions
    Polar bears 12 Nights Cruise Only from £7830pp Flexible booking policy - Ask for details! Longyearbyen, 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!