about the arctic
Expect the unexpected!
Prepare to be amazed by rolling scenery and charmed by the antics of the Arctic wildlife. Any Arctic cruise promises to be a unique experience in many ways, whether it is enjoying the company of new friends and sharing a ‘once in a lifetime Arctic cruise experience’ or savouring the gentle unfolding of each day’s activities as they offer you a wealth of choice.
At the very top of the world, a cruise through the Arctic regions including Northern Norway and Svalbard, Greenland, Northern Canada, Alaska and Russian Arctic including Franz Joseph Land & Wrangle Island is now accessible through Wildfoot Travel. Let's not forget the exciting Russian Far East where we also combine Arctic cruise vessel-based expeditions with the Russian Arctic.
Arctic InformationThe Arctic, the land of the midnight sun, of snow and ice, offers some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. Visitors to the region can witness enormous colonies of seabirds thronging the cliffs and shores, and enjoy the thrilling antics of whales at sea, and seals and walruses hauled out on rocks and ice-floes. The proximity of the pack-ice offers spectacular cruising between ice-floes. The lucky may even encounter the very symbol of the Arctic – the polar bear.
The High Arctic is best explored on an arctic cruise vessel from June to September, as the pack ice recedes. From the decks of huge ice breakers to luxury cruise ships to converted research ships, there’s a lot to explore in the waters of the high Arctic. The Arctic is a region of wild beauty and frozen landscapes inhabited not only by unique Arctic wildlife, but also, in Greenland, by hardy native people, who maintain traditional cultures at the same time as embracing modern enhancements in lifestyle and communication.See offers View Trips
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The region’s main areas are:
Spitsbergen (Svalbard)The most accessible part of the Arctic region and the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, a world of dazzling glaciers, ice-plateaux and snow-capped peaks. With its deep fjords, sweeping tundra and summer alpine meadows of wildflowers, the archipelago has a population of just 3,500 people in five settlements. Enjoy an Arctic cruise amongst the islands and discover huge Arctic seabird colonies. Little auks and Brunnich’s guillemot along with more familiar species such as puffins. Long-tailed and other skuas patrol the tundra and fjords looking for chicks and lemmings whilst the pure white ivory gull nests in small colonies. Animal life abounds too including eindeer, Arctic fox, walrus, seals, whales and polar bears and delicate flowers carpet the land in spring.
Spitsbergen is arguably the finest region in the Arctic to observe Polar Bears, whales plus other rich birdlife and wildlife at close quarters – a must for wildlife photographers! For keen birders early season is more favourable.
Greenland is the largest island in the world. It stretches from 60º to 83º north latitude and Kap Farvel, its southern tip, is located at almost the same latitude as the Shetland Islands. The extreme north of Greenland is the northernmost point of land on Earth. Greenland is also dominated by the second largest ice-sheet in the world, covering more than 80% of its surface area. Although huge in size, it is inhabited by less than 60,000 people.The coastline of Greenland is varied and spectacular. Heavily indented with numerous fjords, it consists of high mountains, 2000 metre (6500 feet) high cliffs and innumerable glaciers. The large glaciers produce the huge, cathedral-like icebergs that are abundant in Greenland's Arctic waters. The largest fjord is Scoresby Sund at more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) long.The Inuit are the indigenous people of Greenland and are traditionally subsistence hunters, living primarily from whales, walrus, reindeer, musk oxen, Arctic foxes, polar bears and seals.
Russian Far East
If you want to experience the Arctic further from the beaten track, especially if you are in search of rare birds and other spectacular wildlife, Wildfoot Travel offers you unrivalled opportunities with a Russian Far East cruise, on small ship cruise expeditions in the Kuril Islands, around the Sea of Okhotsk, Kamchatka including the Commander Islands, Chukotka and through the Bering Straits into the Arctic.
Russia is a huge country, covering nine time zones and in the north-east, they have a saying “God is a long way up there, but Moscow is even further away” that is true in so many respects. The Russian Far East is unique, the culture, the climate, the history, the wildlife; it is a world away from the Russia of the West, the Urals or the Steppes.
The realm of the polar bear, the ultimate Arctic predator. Gyrfalcons and snowy owls hunt whilst the seas contain the Arctic whales – narwhals, belugas, and the endangered northern right whale (bowhead). Geese and ducks nest across these chilly lands; reindeer graze on the sparse vegetation and the other Arctic gulls, the exquisite Sabine’s and the diminutive Ross’s, can also be seen.
Arctic Cruises and ExpeditionsPlay
The following are just a few of the animals and birds that can be seen in the Arctic:
- Bears. Polar bears in Svalbard and Canada, Grizzly or Brown in Canada and Alaska
- Whales. Northern Right (Bowhead), Humpback, Beluga, Orca, Narwhal
- Arctic Fox
- Musk Ox
- Caribou (Reindeer)
- Birds. Many species can be seen including rare birds such as Sabine’s Gull, Ross’s Gull, Gyrfalcon, Peregrine Falcon, Puffin, Auklet, Snowy Owl.
Activities, Adventure & Excursions
Although an arctic cruise is an exhilarated experience in itself, the more adventurous of you may want to enjoy the Arctic in a more personal and 'up-close' manner. If you fall into this category, then we offer the following Arctic excursions:
- Kayaking in the Arctic
- Scuba Diving in the Arctic
- Arctic Shore Excursions
- Arctic Photography Excursions
- Arctic Group Excursions
- Arctic land Based Activities
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We had the time of our lives on board ship...if anybody wants to go to Antarctica, we will certainly advise to go with you.
The best way to describe the entire experience. 1. Top rate service...we would not hesitate to recommend you to others and use you again.
Thank you and your team for arranging what was a fantastic holiday in Argentina...Iguazu falls was exceptional with our guide knowing an awful lot about the falls and the wildlife. Could go on forever, but had better stop.
I’m sure you get plenty of compliments, but I just wanted to follow up by telling you what a great time we had...If we are planning on one of the other regions you serve, we’ll definitely be in touch!
I wanted to drop you a note to say a big “THANK YOU” for all your organizing of my travel arrangements and the holiday itself. Everything flowed perfectly. The holiday was breath-taking and is hard to express in words...
It was even better than I expected, so I am grateful that you made the call (back). I will certainly recommend your services
Thanks again for helping me select the best trip and for all your help with the admin and my questions along the way, it all made for an even better experience.
Thank you for all your help. Great service, very efficient, flexible...We feel looked after when setting off into the unknown. I feel it is my duty to tell fellow travellers and birders/photographers how good you are!
As on of the UK's foremost Arctic cruise specialists, our vast experience in the cruise and expedition market enables us to provide you with the information you require before you set off on your Arctic adventure. Read our 'Essential Information' section which offers a complete guide to create the perfect Arctic cruise. If you want to know about what you can expect during A 'Typical' Day On Board And Arctic Cruise', please read our 'Life on Board' section.
Essential Info Life on board Luxury
Choose your Expedition
From the UK, most Arctic expeditions are to and around Svalbard. Earlier in the season, trips are limited to specific areas of the coast due to the density of the ice pack. However, by mid season, it is usually possible to circumnavigate Spitsbergen on longer itineraries.
Greenland is the next most popular destination and here the emphasis is on native culture, as well as scenery and wildlife.
The High Arctic is best explored from June to September, as the pack ice recedes. From the decks of huge ice breakers to luxury cruise ships to converted research ships, there’s a lot to explore. The Arctic is a region of wild beauty and frozen landscapes inhabited not only by unique wildlife, but also, in Greenland, by hardy native peoples, who maintain traditional cultures at the same time as embracing modern enhancements in lifestyle and communication.See offers View Trips
Quick Facts & Arctic Information
- The Arctic contains all of the area of Earth located above latitude 66º 33 North.
- The Arctic is primarily a thick flow of ice over the Arctic Ocean.
- The Arctic includes Greenland, which is largely covered by a 1 mile thick slab of ice.
- Greenland received its name from the Vikings who were trying to attract settlers. Most of the Viking settlers died.
- More fish live along the edges of the Arctic Ocean than anywhere else on Earth.
- The average winter temperature in the Arctic is minus 34ºC.
- During summer, the temperature can climb to over 20ºC.
- The Arctic is the only place polar bears live.
- Unlike Antarctica, people live in the Arctic Circle.
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