The Polar Regions are, literally, the ends of the Earth. The Arctic definitely feels like a different world – one that’s carved out of solid ice. Intriguing then, that you can travel there in a few hours.
Expedition cruises to the Arctic operate between June and September (the Arctic summer) when enough sea ice has melted to allow access to vessels. The later in the season you travel the further north you will be able to explore, as larger icebergs continue to melt and break up. In late June and early July (high summer) you can expect 24 hours of sunshine and temperatures that aren’t quite as cold as you might expect. Although wind chill may make it feel cooler, temperatures rarely fall before 5°C and highs of up to 16°C can be experienced.
With pack ice often affecting cruise itineraries in early June, the months of July and August are, for many travellers, the best time for an Arctic cruise. Marking the opening of the Northwest Passage, the melted sea ice will have left large open spaces allowing for smoother and more remote sailing. During this period you have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife including countless seabirds, seals, polar bears and walruses. Migrating whales – including minke, fin, humpback and blue – can also be spotted breaking the surface of the water. By September, many vessels will make their way to East Greenland where you have the chance to witness the incredible aurora borealis.