About the Ships

Exploring the polar regions is easier than ever with a choice of extraordinary ships built to glide through the frozen continents with ease. We like to think of them as more than just ships; they are your home away from home whilst transporting you to some of most remote locations on Earth. They are your expedition basecamp.

Some ships are larger or more luxurious than others, but all offer a similar experience, designed to get you up-close and personal with the wildlife and landscapes that make the polar regions so spectacular. See the tabs to see what you can expect from a typical expedition ship.

A Typical Day On A Polar Ship


Your day will normally begin early to make the most of the long days. After enjoying a hearty buffet breakfast, you’ll prepare to disembark for your first excursion. Excursions are organised by zodiac (a motorised dinghy-style boat to get you safely to the shore), and once you’re on board you’ll whiz to your first destination.

You’ll be organised into small groups and the morning’s excursion may be walking along a nature trail or finding a great vantage point to enjoy the ice-studded landscape. Each excursion will be different and offer something unique.


Depending on your chosen cruise, lunch will be either buffet or a la carte style. Then there may be a lecture from one of the expedition team, who are often specialists in one particular aspect of the Arctic or Antarctic. Alternatively, why not head out on deck to enjoy the spectacular landscapes?


The afternoon’s excursion may be spotting wildlife on the ice floes while cruising around on the zodiac boats. Or perhaps this time you will be visiting an historic research station to learn a little more about the fascinating history of polar exploration.

Many of the operators also offer specialist activities such as kayaking in electric blue waters, snowshoeing across the pristine white landscape or even a night camping on the ice! 


Most days will finish with a recap of the day’s events and also a thorough briefing of tomorrow’s schedule. Dinner is normally a relaxed affair, served a la carte with table service. Once you’ve finished eating you may wish to head to the on-board bar to relax and reflect on your incredible day, or get a good night’s sleep ahead of a busy day tomorrow. 

Comfortable Accommodation

Whether you choose to share a four-bed cabin with other travellers or upgrade to a luxurious suite just for you, there is a wealth of accommodation options available to suit your tastes and budget. Most cabins have en-suite facilities for maximum comfort.

Dining Options

Depending on your chosen ship, you could be eating buffet style or in world-class international a la carte restaurants on board, but there’s one thing that all of our recommended ships provide and that’s a great culinary experience for all guests.

On-board Specialists

On all polar expeditions you’ll be accompanied by an expedition leader and a team of specialists who will help you get the most from your holiday. Attend lectures on the local geology and wildlife and learn all about your chosen location on your small group excursions. Depending on your chosen ship you may have more staff per guest than others.

Expedition Equipment

Each ship is well-stocked with everything you’ll need to enjoy your polar experience including a fleet of zodiacs to get you ashore and mudrooms to keep your personal items safe whilst you’re exploring. Some ships also have specialist kayaking, camping or scientific research equipment.

Included & Optional Activities

On all ships there is a choice of daily excursions including hiking, wildlife excursions, zodiac tours and geological tours. Some ships offer kayaking tours, overnight ice camping excursions and other specialist optional activities at an additional cost. 

Expedition Rating

To make it simple to choose your perfect ship, we have given each of our ships an Expedition Rating from 1-5. 

Expedition Ratings 1 & 2 are 

Expedition Ratings 3 & 4 are

Expedition Rating 5 is

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About Us
  • Prices the same or better than the operators direct, with full package protection as standard.

  • Specialists in polar expedition cruises to the Arctic, Antarctic and Norway

  • Impartial - we will match you with your ideal cruise based on your requirements

  • ATOL Protected

  • No Credit Card Fees

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Why book with Polar Routes?

  • We have access to a wide selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators.
  • From simple & great value to 5* luxury, choose the style of expedition cruise to suit you.
  • Our Travel Specialists will help you choose the perfect expedition cruise for your budget.
  • We only cover the Arctic & Antarctica, which ensures we know our destinations inside out.
  • Our team of Travel Specialists has extensive knowledge of all the expedition ships & operators.
  • Our team has personally seen most of the ships in our core programme.
  • Prices the same or better than the operators direct, with full package protection as standard.
  • Our holidays are protected by ATOL, for your complete peace of mind.
  • As a team of passionate travellers, we really do care about you and your holiday.