Cruises to the Polar Regions include both cruises around Antarctica, also known as the South Pole, and the Arctic, also known as the North Pole. Iceland and Greenland often feature on Polar cruises too. The ships that cruise around the Polar Regions are usually small expedition ships, with different experiences to be enjoyed depending on the ship and cruise line that you choose.
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Imagine watching polar bears crossing the ice on the stark, silent isle of Svalbard, far to the north of Norway or embarking on a dog sledding excursion through vast mountain landscapes on a tour of Greenland, beyond secluded port towns like Nuuk and Nanortalik. Your voyage might begin in the UK and sail north to the epic landscapes of Iceland and the Faroe Islands, or you could even sail from Miami and head north to the Arctic Circle via New England and Canada. Cruises which visit the Baltic capitals and the Norwegian fjords can also take you on to tour Iceland and Greenland, where your cruise will gradually take you further and further into the wild. But if you want to kick off your polar expedition in true adventurer style, we’d highly recommend beginning your cruise in a remote, icy destination like Longyearbyen on Svalbard or Kangerlussuaq in Greenland – right in the wild heart of the Arctic.
Where Arctic cruises offer you clusters of towns, rich wildlife and volcanic landscapes, cruises to Antarctica create the ultimate secluded escape. Most of the wildlife here keeps to the icy deep; this is the place to see species like emperor penguins, leopard seals and humpback whales, both on special expeditions and during days at sea. Cruises to Antarctica tend to start out from South America, giving you the chance to enjoy bustling Buenos Aires or secluded Ushuaia before you reach open waters past Cape Horn. You could even see the vast Chilean fjords during your cruise, before you experience some of Antarctica’s stunning destinations – such as the dry, rocky shores of Neko, the remote outpost and penguin colonies to be found at Port Lockroy, or the bizarre, white-blue ice structures which surround the frozen silence of Pleneau Island. Some cruise lines operate ships specially designed to push through the icy waters, complete with Zodiac landing craft that will take you on exciting shore expeditions – giving you the chance to set foot on the ice and snow among seal and penguin colonies, in the far, frozen reaches of the world.
One of the main benefits of embarking a cruise to the polar regions is for the abundance of wildlife. Cruising the polar regions is perfect for any animal lover. A cruise to the Arctic will offer you a chance to see the region´s incredbile range of species, including grizzly bears - and if you´re very lucky, polar bears - as well as wolves, peregrine falcons, seals, arctic foxes, wolverines, orcas and beluga whales. An Arctic cruise offers you a real discovery of nature. The Antarctic, on the other hand, is the coldest place on Earth and it is difficult for mammals to survive here. However, the wildlife that can be found her is absolutely incredible, which includes such species as the antarctic seal, leopard seal, elephant seal, crabeater seal, minkie whale, adelie penguin, emperor penguin, chinstrap penguin, orcas, and even more.
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