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From the icy embrace of the Arctic Circle to the rugged beauty of its remote islands, every moment on an Arctic expedition cruise is an invitation to discover one of the most untamed and untouched corners of our planet.

In Svalbardthe rugged and fragile Arctic is a fairytale of a destination, and an expedition cruise here is the quintessential Arctic cruise to discover its many wonders. Also often known as Spitsbergen, the name of the archipelago's largest and only permanently populated island, it’s a dramatic wilderness of glaciers and mountainsice fields and barren tundrasextremities of light and dark, and home to more polar bears than people, yet people it has—making this a destination in which you can truly experience life in the high Arctic.

Greenland, the largest island on Earth, is a marvel to behold. Encrusted in a thick ice sheet with magnificently large glaciers flowing into the sea, the rugged landscape has been carved by one million years of glaciation, which has resulted in scenery that is, quite simply, astounding. But combine that with incredible history, a fascinating modern way of life, and charming colourful villages, and Greenland promises to be a destination unlike any other you'll have been to.

Through the Canadian Arctic and the Northwest Passage, with its endless expanses of ice floes, towering blue glaciers, jagged cliffs and imposing mountains is a marvel to behold, and thanks to being largely untouched, it is home to truly exceptional wildlife. In addition to thousands of bird species, this is a region in which you'll find the arctic fox, caribou, musk-ox, seals, walrus, narwhals, whales, and the mighty and majestic polar bear

The North Pole itself standing at the top of the world - the only place in the world in which every direction you face is south - is still the ultimate in Arctic expedition endeavours, and in the history of humankind, only very few have ever been lucky enough to do so. 

An Arctic expedition cruise is not just a voyage; it is a communion with the forces that shape this polar wilderness, allowing you to stand witness to the extraordinary wildlife that calls this icy expanse home.

Click on the destination boxes below to discover more about these special polar places.



 Note: This graph is intended as a guide only and provides no guarantees for wildlife sightings.

Our Top Arctic Polar Picks

Circumnavigating Svalbard - In the Realm of the Polar Bear by HX

Discover some of the most incredible sights in the Arctic, exploring the incredible national parks of the Svalbard archipelago, a magnificent wilderness where polar bears outnumber people. Marvel at the giant mountain peaks rising from the ocean in spectacular fjords, hike through arctic tundra keeping watch for reindeer and arctic fox, spot lazy walrus relaxing in hidden bays and Zodiac cruise around colossal ice-calving glaciers.

MS Spitsbergen, MS Fram
Departure Dates
June & July 2024

Svalbard Odyssey by AE Expeditions

Discover the secrets of magical Svalbard, deeply exploring magnificent fjords abundant with wildlife. Zodiac cruise past enormous glaciers, spot beluga whales surfacing in the crystalline waters and witness thousands of guillemots nesting in dramatic cliff faces. Enter the pack ice to spot seals and the iconic polar bear. Walk through the tundra’s beautiful microflora, keeping watch for reindeer and arctic fox, and discover long-lost exploration camps and old trapper huts.

Greg Mortimer
Departure Dates
19-Jun 2024, 11-Aug 2024, 02-Jul 2025, 07-Aug 2025

Fjords & Glaciers of Spitsbergen by PONANT

Embark on an exceptional 8-day expedition cruise to discover the far north with PONANT. You'll enjoy the immense open spaces of the polar Arctic and its ice floes that extend to the North Pole, as you board your ship in the heart of Spitsbergen, ready to explore the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago.

Le Boreal, Le Lyrial
Departure Dates
May, June & July 2024

Introduction to Spitsbergen by Quark

Nothing comes close to the thrill and excitement of seeing polar bears in their natural habitat. Expert expedition staff are on hand to help you get the most out of your experience in Svalbard. This expedition cruise will take you through the iconic sights of Spitsbergen the largest island in the archipelago.

Ocean Adventurer, Ultramarine
Departure Dates
May, June & July 2024

Ready to start planning your incredible expedition cruise to the Arctic? Simply complete our enquiry form to get in touch, or call our Polar Specialists directly on 0203 196 1000.

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From your first booking with us, you’ll become a member of My Routes Rewards and begin collecting points for every holiday you book!


We'll compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators to find your perfect cruise.

Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!

As supporters of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, booking with us helps support the work of the trust within Antarctica.

All our holidays are ATOL protected (11104), for your complete peace of mind.


Why book with Polar Routes?

  • We can compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators.
  • From former Russian research vessels to larger and luxurious ships - there is an expedition cruise to suit you. 
  • Our Polar Specialists will help you choose the perfect expedition cruise for your requirements.
  • We are the expedition cruise specialists and know all the polar destinations inside out.
  • Our expert team of Polar Specialists have extensive knowledge of all the expedition ships & operators.
  • All of our Polar Specialists have first-hand experience of expedition cruising to the polar regions.
  • Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!
  • All our holidays are ATOL protected (11104), for your complete peace of mind.
  • As supporters of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, booking with us helps support the work of the trust within Antarctica.