A trip to the Arctic or Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Polar Routes can help you discover all that the polar regions have to offer. From spotting polar bears in the frozen north to walking amongst penguin colonies in the southern ice lands, we have gone to the ends of the earth and back again to bring you the very best polar expedition cruises around.
Find out more about some of the operators we work with:
Aurora Expeditions, a small company from Australia, has made some big waves in the expedition cruise market. Their brand-new ship the Greg Mortimer has raised the bar in expedition cruising with some fantastic features for the small number of passengers it carries. Focused on making the most of the expedition, Aurora aims to get you up close to the action, inspire you with the incredible landscapes you are travelling through and be sensitised to the environmental issues they face. The expeditions are led by remote area specialists, that provide entertaining lectures and expand your knowledge along the way.
Quark Expeditions have developed into one of the expedition cruise market leaders. Created in 1991, they have over 30 years of experience pioneering cruises to the polar regions, achieving an unprecedented series of firsts, including the World’s first North Pole voyage and have been making the Arctic and Antarctica accessible to travellers from more than 50 countries around the world.
When you travel to the polar regions with Hurtigruten, you realise they are not your usual cruise operator. You won’t find waterslides or casinos on their ships, instead, you place yourself on an expedition with like-minded adventurers whose focus is on personal growth rather than luxury amenities. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and casual, with great food, camaraderie and an array of quality equipment which you need when exploring remote destinations.
Silversea offers the ultimate 5* expedition experience. They combine a superlative expedition experience with a luxury onboard lifestyle. Their close partnership with the Royal Geographical Society - the venerable British institution that supported expeditions by history’s famous polar explorers including Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and John Franklin- allows guests to really appreciate the true depth of the experience in these remote regions. Their team of onboard experts bringing all aspects of the landscape, its wildlife and history to life.
G Adventures is well known as a small group tour specialist and the company believes that adventure travel is more than a holiday. Their ambitions led them to the Polar regions and they have been operating small ship, expedition cruises for a number of years. Expect an adventurous spirit and laid-back atmosphere, with a good focus on experiencing the destination. There is also a great ethos of supporting local communities and the environment with a number of projects they are involved in around the world.
Polar Latitudes offers a wide range of trips to Antarctica and has a highly experienced and passionate team. The comfortable ships offer a touch of luxury and fantastic food with a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The company is the first polar operator to adopt the Polar Tourism Guides Association (PTGA) and support different communities such as UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and South Georgia Heritage Trust.
Oceanwide are one of the pioneers of ship-based expeditions to the polar regions. Their fleet of ice-strengthened vessels are designed to take you in deeper and offer a more adventurous experience in a relaxed environment. With the focus on the expedition, their cruises tend to offer more time on land and the maximum number of possibilities throughout your cruise. They are members of AECO and IAATO, and promote environmentally friendly travel.
Poseidon Expeditions is one of the leading expedition cruise providers, founded in 1999, the company operates icebreaker cruises to the North Pole, Arctic and Antarctica. With the 114 passenger ship MV Sea Spirit, Poseidon Expeditions offers expedition cruises to Antarctica, the Arctic destinations of Svalbard, Greenland, Franz Josef Land and Iceland. The company also provides guests with the unique opportunity to travel to the geographic North Pole aboard the 50 Years of Victory, the largest and most modern nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world.
Ponant was established in 1988 by Philippe Videau, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvé, and other officers of the French Merchant Navy, and has since become a leader in a new style of luxury cruising promoting the art of sea travel around the world.
It operates all around the world and offers itineraries rich in encounters and discovery. Their fleet has 12 ships, each of them has its own personality in line with the company philosophy. Their team offers exceptional expeditions into the most remote places on Earth in a five-star environment. The travel experience will be as authentic as sophisticated.
Every one of Hapag Lloyds expeditions is designed to enrich your mind and soul. Because they have decades of expedition cruise expertise Hapag Lloyd know exactly how to negotiate sensitive nature safely and with complete respect. There are hundreds of destinations to choose from including a huge programme in the Arctic and Antarctica.
From humble beginnings offering coach tours throughout Australia, Scenic is renowned today for its world-class luxury touring and cruising itineraries. Scenic travellers want the most wondrous of experiences and exceptional 5-star service.
The company’s cruise ships are akin to luxury floating hotels, their unique approach is soon to be brought to expedition cruising with the much-awaited launch of the Scenic Eclipse – The World’s First Discovery Yacht. From the Arctic to Antarctica and everywhere in between, ocean cruising has never felt like this.
Seabourn has more than 30 years of experience sailing around the world in refined luxury, supported by an award-winning crew. Seabourn's purpose-built luxury expedition ships are built with advanced manoeuvring technology for superior stability, safety and comfort, and offer a wealth of amenities both in the ships common areas and in the 132 oceanfront guest suites, all with private, furnished verandas. The overall design of the ships is serene, tactile and timelessly stylish, with luxe textures, bold hues and artful details.
Australis specialise in cruises to Cape Horn and Patagonia. Sailing between Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina is the perfect way to explore the end of the world and pass between these two vibrant South American countries. The areas Australis cruise through include some of the most beautiful fjords in the world, completely inaccessible by land. As part of the cruise, you will make landings at various locations with the ship’s expert team of expedition staff. Landings include walking up to amazing glaciers, visiting fascinating penguin colonies and even the chance to stand on Cape Horn - the most southerly point of land in the world!
Antarctica 21 pioneered the innovative Antarctic Air-Cruise model in 2003 by a group of friends in Punta Arenas in Chile. While some travellers include the Drake Passage as part of their voyages, Antarctica 21 combines air-cruise itineraries to avoid the uncomfortable navigation across it, reducing the total duration of the trip and focusing on the unique experience of Antarctica’s pristine wilderness.
Polar Quest is a small Swedish company established in 1999, it is the world-leading operator in expedition cruises to Svalbard. While many others chose to invest in bigger ships, this company promotes cruises in a more intimate environment. Their fleet can take between 12 and 53 passengers. Therefore, the experience becomes more personal and you can reach the most remote areas and venture into narrow fjords, where more imposing ships will have difficulties to navigate through or simply couldn’t explore.
In the summer of 1988, Adventure Canada ran its very first Arctic expedition—a camping trip to Baffin Island, Nunavut. These days the company brings travellers to the Earth’s great wild spaces, including the high Arctic, the Northwest Passage and Newfoundland & Labrador. They also travel to places such as South and Central America, Europe and the Pacific Northwest.
Adventure Canada specialise in expedition travel. Guests will voyage in a comfortable environment aboard small ships equipped with Zodiacs to bring you to communities, wildlife habitats, and natural wonders in safety and comfort.
With UnCruise Adventures you’ll have the opportunity to really get to the heart of a destination, exploring formidable landscapes, navigating through narrow rivers, meeting local communities and learning all about a region’s history. With over 20 years of exploring Alaska, the company is the trusted expert for travelling this part of the world.
Since 2014 Iceland ProCruises has offered extraordinary cruises onboard the Ocean Diamond in Iceland and Greenland. The partly Icelandic expedition team onboard Ocean Diamond give you the unique opportunity to get to know Iceland and the surrounding area from a different perspective. The ships crew members have many years of experience as tour guides and/or lecturers and know the country and its people like the back of their hand. Experience the team’s passion for the land of ice and fire, onboard or on our diverse shore excursions.
Albatros Expeditions is a Scandinavian company offering outstanding expedition cruises to the polar regions, with the aim of providing superior quality voyages combined with active exploration and great adventure. Their team has decades of experience in expedition cruising to destinations worldwide, especially the Arctic and Antarctica and, of course, the Nordic countries. During their expedition cruises, the crew plans daily shore landings – made possible thanks to the ship's 20 Zodiacs, enabling travellers to disembark faster so that they don’t miss any exciting sighting opportunities.
For more than 35 years, Heritage Expeditions has pioneered conservation-driven small ship expedition cruises to some of the wildest, least-explored and biologically rich regions on the planet including Antarctica, Russia's Far East and Australia & New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands. Whether you're a twitcher, photographer, wildlife enthusiast, conservationist, or simply an adventurous spirit, Heritage Expeditions offer an unparalleled travel experience.
For over 30 years, Intrepid have been taking travellers around the globe on adventures to visit new places and old friends and make countless, unforgettable moments. That's more than 30 years of changing the way people see the world, on small group tours with like-minded Intrepid people. As a responsible business, they have always been committed to being there for its travellers and the communities that you visit. So, you can trust that when you travel with Intrepid to the Polar Regions, they will be there for you every step of the journey.
70 years after its first pioneering cruise, Swan Hellenic is proud to return to the polar regions with two brand new expedition ships. The fleet will be cutting edge but the core values that underpinned the brand and served its guests so well from its inception remain in place. As does the passion for exploratory travel to the planets furthest far-flung places.
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!
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