Take a chill pill – cruise to the Arctic

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TV explorer Bruce Parry is bringing the Arctic into our living rooms this month with his BBC2 series, and many viewers will no doubt be thinking of taking a trip to the region.
But as Parry will demonstrate, it’s not only vast – stretching from Siberia, though Lapland, Greenland and Canada to Alaska – it’s also very inhospitable.
Visit by cruise ship or by expedition vessel, and you can see the spectacular sights and the stunning wildlife in comfort, with a warm bed (and a cold drink) ready for you after a day’s exploration.
Here are some suggestions:
Traditional cruise ship Marco Polo is sailing inside the Arctic Circle three times in February and March, in search of sightings of the Northern Lights. The 14-night voyages, which include visits to the Norwegian ports of Molde, Svolvaer, Narvik, Tromso, Alta, Alesund and Bergen, depart from Tilbury on February 21, March 7 and March 21. Sister ship Ocean Countess will be sailing a similar 13-night cruise departing from Hull on March 20. Fares start at £949 per person sharing an inside cabin and £1,234 for an ocean view.
Details at www.cruiseandmaritime.com or call 0845 833 9798.
The Ramblers’ Association is teaming up with Fred Olsen to organise walking excursions during Black Watch’s 14-night voyage to Arctic Russia and North Cape which sets out from Dover on July 9. Ports of call include Bergen, Tromso, Murmansk, Leknes, Honningsvag, Skolden and Stavanger. Fares from £1,499.
The same partnership is in operation for a 15-night cruise on Braemar sailing on July 15 from Dover to Bodo, Honningsvag, and then on to Bear Island, Magdalenefjord in the Spitsbergen archipelago, and a visit to Longyearbyen on Svalbard before returning via Tromso and Bergen. Fares from £1,569.
Details at www.fredolsencruises.com or call 01473 742424. Also at www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, 01707 331133
P&O’s Aurora heads to Greenland, Iceland and Norway in July – not quite beyond the 66° 33′ 44″ parallel of the Arctic Circle, but not far off. Departing from Southampton on July 6, the 18-night voyage visits Cobh in Ireland en route to the Greenland ports of Julianehab and Nuuk. Then it’s on to Reykjavik and Akureyri in Iceland, before Alesund, Geirangerfjord and Bergen in Norway. Fares from £1,959 per person sharing an inside cabin and £3,209 in a balcony suite.
Details at www.iglucruise.com or call 0208 544 6620.
Iceland, Spitsbergen and North Cape are all on the itinerary for Costa Pacifica’s 19-night voyage from Kiel on June 9. The cruise also visits Lerwick in the Shetlands and after three ports in Iceland heads for Ny Alesund and Longyearbyen. The midnight sun will be shining brightly when the ship reaches North Cape. The fare of £2,049 per person includes return flights but not gratuities, and I would not trust Iglu’s statement that these are “expected but can be deducted.” Costa’s terms and conditions say “The service charge is an integral part of the total price of the cruise and therefore the amount cannot be altered.”
Details at www.iglucruise.com or call 0208 544 6620.
Hurtigruten, whose ships ply the Norwegian coast year-round, has a special eight-day voyage themed on climate change, sailing from Iceland to Spitsbergen on July 21 and visiting Jan Mayen, one of the world’s most isolated islands. Fares from £2,603 including return flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.
Details at www.hurtigruten.co.uk or call 0844 448 7601.
A true Arctic adventure gets closer to the polar bears, walruses and whales, and can even include sea kayaking . But it comes at a price.
Until January 31 there’s a 25 per cent discount on bookings aboard MS Expedition, operated by Gap Adventures . The Realm of the Polar Bear cruise departing from Lonyearbyen includes seven nights on the ship which spends a week exploring the Spitsbergen archipelago and going ashore by Zodiac. Sample fares £2,339 for the July 10 departure.
Go to www.gapadventures.com or call 0844 272 0000.
An 11-night trip to the same region in June or July with Exodus, whose cruises are on board Russian ice-breakers, costs from £3,349. Itineraries are kept flexible to take best advantage of the weather, sea conditions, and wildlife sightings.
Go to www.exodus.co.uk or call 0845 287 7591.
One more option for today’s collection, this time on a ship operated by Inuit in the Canadian Arctic, travelling to some extremely remote destinations, including the North West Passage, and with opportunities to see musk ox and caribou. Cruise North charters the Lyubov Orlova, which carries 122 passengers and 63 crew.
Sample voyage: the Epic High Arctic, sailing from Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, via Ililissat and Uummannaq to Baffin Island and on to Cambridge Bay in the Nunavut territory of northern Canada. Fares from £6,550 plus £1,200 for air fares.
Details at www.cruisenorthexpeditions.com.
Wrap up warm !

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:13+00:00 8 January 2011|Cruise Deals, Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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