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 Articles from the Polar Regions

Like the idea of travelling to the polar regions but not sure where to start? Take a look at our selection of articles below to give you inspiration and to help you decide where to start your adventure.

The Arctic vs Antarctica

Floating along glistening icebergs, humpback whales peeking through the frozen waters, experiencing the magic of the Arctic tundra is a dream for many. Only a short flight from the UK, the Arctic is surprisingly accessible. Focusing on the Arctic Circle, the expedition cruises countries including Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, and Norway. Ships vary by expedition type, but you can view the ships and see what options are available.


One of the biggest reasons to visit the Arctic is undoubtedly the wildlife. The polar bear is the main attraction, and spotting one of these beautiful creatures is a highlight of any cruise holiday. Whales, walruses, and seals are also in abundance >>>


My Perfect Antarctic Morning

Jay in Antarctica

I awake gently to the sound of an acoustic guitar melodically chiming from the cabin speaker.  This is the best wake-up call of my life; “Good morning…. good morning…” the instantly recognisable, softly paced voice of our Expedition Leader, Solen Jensen, announces through the PA system.  “The time is 7 a.m. on November 17th, 2018. The Ocean Adventurer has sailed through the night across the Bransfield Strait and arrived at our first destination on the Antarctic Peninsula, Charlotte Bay.  We have beautiful bluebird skies; the wind is just 5 knots and the team are currently out in the Zodiacs scouting for our first landing location”.  He pauses in reflection, before announcing, “These are simply the days we dream of, ladies and gentlemen.  This morning we will set foot on the continent >>>


6 Types of Antarctic Penguin

Antarctic Penguin Types

Let’s be honest. A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica isn’t about the bragging rights or quenching the thirst of your inner explorer - it’s all about the penguins. Whether or not these amazing two-legged, flightless creatures are the only reason you want to visit the frozen continent, we have no doubt you’ll be excited when you spot one for the first time. These are the six types of penguins in Antarctica that you should watch out for.

Adélie penguin

You’ll only find the Adélie penguin down South, as the Antarctic coast is their primary (and only) residence. Almost four million Adélie penguins live in Antarctica >>>


Solo Travel to Antarctica

If you’ve been dreaming of taking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica, but worry that travelling to Antarctica as a single traveller will be prohibitively expensive - we’ve got great news. Although many companies charge a single supplement to solo travellers to make up for a loss on double-occupancy cabins - several of our ships don’t charge single supplements if you’re prepared to share your room with another passenger.

In fact, we even offer expeditions which have dedicated single cabins with no single supplement on select inside cabin rooms. Read on to find out how you can make the most of a solo trip to Antarctica and avoid paying 50 percent more with additional single supplement charges >>>


Northern Lights Photography Tips

Northern Lights Photography

That moment when you see the Northern Lights in the Arctic for the first time is one you never forget. The swirling, dancing, racing colours paint the night sky in reds, blues, yellows, and greens - a phenomenal show courtesy of Mother Nature herself. The chance to see this spectacle is almost never guaranteed, but if you’re lucky enough to spend an evening gazing at the Northern Lights, you’ll want to capture the moment. You’ve probably seen some of the amazing photographs that are possible (like the ones in this article), but taking photos of the Northern Lights is an art - not a point-and-shoot exercise. We’ve put together five tips for photographing the Northern Lights that should get you one step closer to capturing the magic on film >>>


The 9 Greatest Polar Explorers

While the polar regions of the planet are more accessible than ever, the harsh landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctica still have many secrets to divulge. Countless brave men and women led the way, forging a path of discovery amidst danger, that has made it possible for average adventurous travellers to follow in their footsteps today. From the trailblazers who made their way to the poles a century ago to the modern-day explorers who still prove the planet has much to discover, these are the nine greatest polar explorers in history >>>


Everything You Need to Know About Antarctica Before Travelling There

Congratulations! If you are reading this, it's because you are about to make a great decision: travelling to Antarctica! We can guarantee that you will enjoy your time in this land of desolate beauty. The landscape of the Antarctic is extreme, and most cruises visit the Antarctic Peninsula where the landscape is made up of white icy peaks and crisp blue glaciers. The clear waters are inhabited by heart-warming penguins, ferocious leopard seals and magnificent whales. This vast freezing desert is the coldest, driest and wildest place on earth, making a trip here, so much more exciting than any other travel adventure >>>


Everything You Need to Know About The Arctic Before Travelling There

‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word for bear; 'Arktos' and it is believed that the name refers to two constellations that can be seen in the northern sky - ‘Ursa Minor’ (Little Bear) and ‘Ursa Major’ (Great Bear). 

This beautiful ice-cold region is the northernmost part of our planet; a remote corner of the world inhabited by indigenous arctic people called 'Inuits' and admired by visitors for its incredible otherworldly landscapes and extraordinary wildlife. A place so special that it contains around 10% of the world’s fresh water. Inside the Arctic, there is at least one day a year of entire darkness, and one day a year of entire sunshine. Another particularity of the Arctic is that the sea ice that keeps the polar regions cool also helps to moderate the global climate >>>


An Arctic Encounter

Whatever else one might come to Spitzbergen for, one reason must surely be to see the mighty polar bear or hopefully even two or three! So, from the moment we were on board our ship for our Svalbard cruise we were constantly on the lookout for one of these incredible animals. With their vast stature and amazing pearly white coat, designed by nature to keep out the very worst of the freezing temperatures of the Arctic, and waterproof too, for when a dive upon some unsuspecting prey was made to ensure something for dinner, or indeed the odd swim when a change of scene might be considered an advantage.

There was a certain rivalry between the watchers as to who might spot a bear first, forgetting that it was far more likely that an experienced member of the crew >>>


Top 5 Reasons to Visit Svalbard

If you haven’t been to the Polar regions, Svalbard is the perfect place to start, it offers everything from incredible wildlifefascinating human history and some of the most spectacular glaciers and Arctic landscape on the planet.

It is often known as Spitsbergen, the name of the archipelago's largest and only permanently populated island, Svalbard is an archipelago that could easily be described as an Arctic fairy-tale of a destination. It’s a dramatic wilderness of glaciers and mountainsice fields and barren tundra’s, extremities of light and dark, and is 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 >>>


5 Reasons to Visit Iceland by Cruise


With a reputation as the ‘Land of Fire & Ice', it is unsurprising that Iceland conjures up an array of images in the minds of the intrepid: crashing waterfallserupting volcanoes, and expansive ice sheets. But those who have been fortunate enough to visit this land, know that as well as having all the above, it is one of incomparable beauty with an almost mystical allure that will have you returning time-after-time to explore more of this awe-inspiring country.

Whilst there is plenty of fantastic attractions to be found near the country’s capital, Reykjavik, such as the Blue Lagoon and the famous Golden Circle, to truly experience Iceland’s wilderness and bleak beauty, there is no better way than exploring this diverse island by cruise ship.  Below are just some of the reasons you should consider a cruise for your next trip to Iceland >>>


5 Reasons to Travel to Antarctica with Aurora

Aurora Zodiac

Take a journey like no other on an expedition delving deep into the wilderness of the Antarctic. Explore the surreal remoteness and battle the elemental forces on a true adventure. We explore the benefits of travelling with our partners Aurora Expeditions...

Travel in Style on the Brand-New Sylvia Earle

If you have never travelled to Antarctica before then you could easily be forgiven for wondering above else about the type of ships and equipment that are used to navigate through the challenges of the world’s last great wilderness. There is a surprisingly high variety on offer so it is essential that you consider this aspect when planning your adventure of a lifetime.>>


Q&A with Quark Expeditions


We sat down with Quark Expeditions' Business Development Manager Andrew Schweitzer to discover more about their brand new ship the Ultramarine and to learn what sets them apart from their competitors...

Quark’s brand new ship is launching later this year, what are the features of Ultramarine that set her apart from other expedition ships in the market?

Ultramarine’s design embodies our 30+ years of expertise operating exclusively in the Polar regions. It’s our first purpose-built expedition vessel, designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places and immerse our guests in the best the polar regions have to offer. Carrying just 199 passengers...>>


Q&A With Alastair Newton

Alastair Newton

Alastair Newton brings years of polar exploration experience and expertise to his role as Ponant's Expedition Leader and director of their partnership with the prestigious National Geographic. We wanted to find out more about Alastair's extraordinary life exploring Antarctica...

What is the role of an expedition leader and what do they do?

An Expedition Leader is responsible for creating the remarkable and memorable experiences of the Expedition. It is a huge responsibility as it is these moments that the guests will treasure. These can include; adapting to a sudden opportunity, such as turning the ship around to watch whales bubble-net feeding in Alaska, or helping the guests leave their preconceptions behind so they can experience...>>


Arctic Safari on Wrangel Island

Walrus Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island, to give it some perspective, is roughly the same size as Northern Ireland and is located in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and the East Siberian Sea. High in the Russian Far East, this fascinating isle offers a harsh and remote landscape, its closest neighbour the tiny Herald Island, around 60km away. Wrangel Island is the last known survival place of the wooly mammoth, which 4,000 years ago, could well have made our Arctic safari! Although amazingly, you can still see intact mammoth tusks here, a fascinating relic from a sanctuary of old, lying on the riverbeds or washed ashore, often still intact...>>


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About Us
  • 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 Marine Conservation Society, booking with us helps support the protection of our oceans.

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


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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 Marine Conservation Society, booking with us helps support the protection of our oceans.