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The great sweep of the Arctic encompasses the northernmost latitudes on earth. From the incomparable glaciers of Greenland to the captivating geology of Svalbard and the endlessly beguiling volcanic island of Iceland, the Arctic offers unparalleled encounters with the natural world at its most rugged and wild.

Our purpose-built expedition ships take you into the heart of the Arctic, where wildlife thrives in abundant waters and vast tundra. Zodiac cruise through drifting pack ice, watching for inquisitive seals and breaching whales. Experience the immensity and cacophony of dramatic bird cliffs in Iceland. Search for the elusive polar bear and walrus on sea ice near Svalbard.

Immerse yourself in this mesmerising world steeped in rich history, fascinating traditional culture and wildlife that entrances and delights. We offer a range of itineraries of varying dates, durations, optional activities and destinations. Browse through the itineraries below to find out which is right for you and explore the real world.

The Arctic

The great sweep of the Arctic encompasses the northernmost latitudes on earth. From the incomparable glaciers of Greenland to the captivating geology of Svalbard and the endlessly beguiling volcanic island of Iceland, the Arctic offers unparalleled encounters with the natural world at its most rugged and wild.

Our purpose-built expedition ships take you into the heart of the Arctic, where wildlife thrives in abundant waters and vast tundra. Zodiac cruise through drifting pack ice, watching for inquisitive seals and breaching whales. Experience the immensity and cacophony of dramatic bird cliffs or search for the elusive polar bear and walrus on sea ice. Immerse yourself in this mesmerising world steeped in rich history, fascinating traditional culture and wildlife that entrances and delights.

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Arctic Map

Explore the Arctic

We offer a range of itineraries of varying dates, durations, optional activities and destinations. Explore our map to discover which Arctic destination is right for you.

Discovery Voyages

Our Discovery Voyages take you to the heart of nature and are full of excursions, hikes and activities, offering the true spirit of adventure as well as history and cultural experiences.

On Discovery Voyages we visit a combination of less discovered and more populated destinations, and sometimes go off the beaten path entirely. When you disembark, we want you to be richer in your knowledge and understanding of our planet than you were when you stepped aboard.

Expedition Voyages

For more than 30 years Aurora’s expert Expedition Teams have been sharing their knowledge and understanding of some of the most remote and unspoiled destinations in the polar regions.

On our Expedition Voyages you will sail in a small, purpose-built ship through some of the most amazing seascapes on earth. Our expedition team is by your side the whole time, enriching your experience with fascinating presentations and insights into remarkable places.

Our Expedition Voyages bring together those with a curiosity about the world around them, a keen sense of adventure, and a desire to immerse themselves in the natural environment.

An expedition cruise is never predictable. Every voyage is different, guided by the ever-changing weather, tides, ice conditions and our team’s local knowledge. We choose the best plan for each day, pushing for the ultimate experience for everyone on board. Being flexible yields incredible rewards. When we can share a spontaneous wildlife display, watch a breathtaking glacier calving or allow you a moment of true solitude, we know it’s worth it.

On an expedition cruise, we encourage you to make the most of every opportunity to nurture your inner adventurer. You can choose from a range of add-on activities to make the most of your time in these beautiful places. We have pioneered many adventure options to help you explore in your own way.

The Arctic and all you need to know about its land, animals and night skies are found in the information gathered over decades of research and exploration to the ‘desert of the north’. What we’ve learned about the Arctic is that this region is a magical place filled with dazzling sights and wildlife that has adapted to survive in this particular part of the world.

The word ‘Arctic’ comes from the Greek word for bear, ‘arktos’, which refers to two celestial bodies visible in the Arctic sky year-round. The constellations in question are Ursa Major meaning ‘Great Bear’ and Ursa Minor, ‘Little Bear’, which contains Polaris, the North Star.

The wilderness of the Arctic region is substantial and crucial for the migration and breeding of whale and bird populations from around the world. It remains one of the wilderness areas most critical for global diversity.

Find out more below:

Make sure you’re ready for your Arctic expedition with our essential tips. Whether you are travelling to Svalbard, Greenland, Canada’s High Arctic, Iceland or Norway, below you’ll find all the information you need to start planning and preparing for your upcoming expedition to the Arctic.

From what clothes to pack to how to get there, we have have collated the most important information to help you prepare for your trip to the Arctic. 

If you have any further questions or queries about your Arctic expedition, feel free to contact us.

Find out more below:

Will I see a polar bear?

As with all wild animals, we cannot guarantee you will see polar bears. However, the time of year we visit is when bear numbers are at their peak, and our experienced team and crew are aware of their habitats and are well trained to spot these marvellous creatures in the wild.

Do you provide polar expedition jackets?

Yes. Each passenger travelling on our Arctic voyages will receive a complimentary polar expedition jacket to wear during your expedition and take home after your trip.

What clothes should I take to the Arctic?

Your expedition jacket is provided, however you’ll need to ensure you pack the correct wet weather gear for your landings.

Shipboard clothing is informal and casual; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in the polar regions. However, be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings!

Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary.

How many pairs of gloves will I need?

We recommend you take two pairs of gloves.

What kind of footwear do I need for our shore visits?

It is important that you bring a comfortable pair of enclosed walking shoes to wear on board the ship. Muck boots are provided on board and are required to be worn on all landings. If you have concerns regarding extra small or large sizing or hard-to-fit feet, we recommend you bring your own pair.

How do we dry wet clothing?

Onboard, you can store your wet weather gear and muck boots in your locker, found in the mudroom.

How often do we get off the ship?

We aim to get off the ship as much as possible to experience the destinations up close. Twice per day is common but more if weather, daylight hours and the itinerary allow. Duration of the landings vary from site to site but at the height of the peak season, cruise operators must stick to timings allocated by authorities.

Should I bring along my own walking poles?

Yes, it’s a good idea to bring your own, especially if you have trouble walking over uneven ground. Some of our landings can be on slippery rocks or deep snow, and we may go for extended walks to see different parts of our landing point. We recommend the telescopic poles with the optional snow-basket tips. You can purchase these poles in most outdoor stores.

Can I swim, snorkel or scuba dive in the Arctic?

Although you cannot swim or participate in our snorkelling program in the Arctic, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where all willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Arctic Ocean. Experienced scuba divers have the option to dive on selected voyages.

What if I need to go to the toilet when ashore?

Generally we ask you to relieve yourself on board before going on a landing and if the necessity arises ashore, you will be driven back to the ship. Your expedition team will instruct you more on this when you are on board. 

Can I do more than one activity?

We advise against selecting multiple activities as each is a dedicated activity for those with the relevant experience. To make the most of your time and money, we recommend selecting only one activity.

How fit do I need to be to travel on an Arctic expedition?

To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you from participating.

How many people will be on the ship?

Our ships carry an average of 132 passengers.

Where do passengers come from?

The majority of our clients come from Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, however we do often have a mix of other nationalities on board, including our Expedition Team.

How much room is there for luggage?

There is ample storage space in all staterooms on our ships. Your empty baggage can be stored safely elsewhere on the ship if need be.

Do you have facilities on board so I can download digital images from my camera?

There will be computers in the library and media room for your use.

Is the ship air-conditioned?

All our ships are air-conditioned, with the onboard temperature ranging from 15°C to 25°C. You can control the temperature of your stateroom by adjusting the airflow through the roof vent and turning your heater on or off.

Does the crew speak English?

While the crew onboard is international, however everyone speaks English.

What is the electrical supply on board?

The electrical supply on board is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Please bring a converter if your devices use 110 volts. International electrical sockets are available in your stateroom and throughout the ship. If you have many devices, it is advised you bring a multi power board.

Is there Internet, email or telephone access on board?

WiFi is included onboard, but please appreciate that when travelling in remote areas connection can be unreliable. Telephone access for personal use is not available on board. In case of an emergency, our Expedition Team can facilitate communication with your family members.

What is not included in the price of the voyage?

In general, items that are not included in the cost of your voyage are: flights to and from your voyage, pre- and post-accommodation, transfers, gratuities, items purchased from the onboard shop, laundry costs and other items of a personal nature (unless stated in your voyage inclusions). Some voyages do include certain pre- and post-cruise travel arrangements, so please check your specific voyage inclusions on the website or contact us.

Are drinks included?

House wine, beer and soft drink are included at dinner. All other drinks can be purchased from the bar when desired. Coffee, tea and drinking water are available for free throughout the day. 

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance, including medical evacuation cover, is mandatory for all AE Expeditions voyages. We advise you have insurance for voyage cancellation to ensure you will be covered financially if you are forced to cancel your voyage due to circumstances beyond your control. It is in your best interest to read carefully the General Terms & Conditions on your booking form.

How much should I tip? Are tips included, if not how much per person per day?

Gratuities/tips for crew are included in your voyage fare, to the value of USD$15 per person per day. It is at your discretion if you would like to tip outside of this. It is not necessary to tip the Expedition Team members.

Do you cater for special meal requests?

Yes. Our talented chefs will take your requirements into their meal planning and ensure you receive tasty, healthy meals. Please ensure you list any dietary requirements on your personal details form.

What sort of money do I take and how much?

Australian dollars are difficult to exchange in Scandinavia. We recommend that you take US dollars for exchanging in Norway and Iceland. It is better to carry US dollars for tipping and payment of bar bills on board the ship. You can also pay with all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

What currency do you accept on board?

The onboard currency is US dollars. All your onboard purchases including bar, laundry, purchases from the onboard shop and massages are charged to your shipboard account and settled by credit card or cash (US dollars only) at the end of the voyage.

Can I smoke on board?

There is a ‘No Smoking’ policy throughout the interior of our ships.

Are there hairdryers on board?

Hairdryers are provided in each stateroom.

Will I get seasick?

Many people ask us if they will get seasick. It is a very difficult question to answer because it depends so much on the individual. Our experience is that a small percentage of people are seasick on any trip but most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. We advise you to come armed with motion sickness tablets, and there will be a doctor on board to assist with any bouts of seasickness.


Arctic Cruises FAQs

The cost of an Arctic cruise with AE Expeditions varies depending on factors such as the duration, stateroom type and specific itinerary. Prices typically start from US $10,800 per person. These expeditions offer an extraordinary journey into the pristine Arctic landscapes, showcasing icebergs, wildlife and unique cultures. See our Arctic expeditions here for more information on the experiences that await you

The duration of an Arctic cruise with AE Expeditions varies based on the specific itinerary chosen. Arctic cruises typically range from 8 to 30 days, allowing travellers to explore the mesmerizing landscapes, wildlife and unique cultures of the region. The itineraries are thoughtfully crafted to include highlights such as glaciers, fjords and Arctic wildlife encounters. For precise information on the duration of a specific cruise, it is recommended to refer to the detailed itineraries of each Arctic expedition that you can find here.

For an Arctic cruise with AE Expeditions, pack essentials such as warm, layered clothing, including waterproof outerwear for varying weather conditions. When onboard, dress is informal usually consisting of jeans or casual trousers, and light long-sleeve T-shirts or jumpers.

Each passenger aboard our Antarctic expeditions will receive an expedition jacket when they board the ship. However, you’ll need to ensure you pack the correct cold and wet weather gear for your landings, including gloves, a hat and thermal undergarments for added warmth. A good quality pair of binoculars, a camera and extra batteries are essential for capturing Arctic wildlife and landscapes. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a reusable water bottle are practical for sunnier days. Check out our polar expedition packing list for more information.

Undoubtedly, an Arctic cruise with AE Expeditions is an extraordinary and highly worthwhile adventure. Exploring the pristine landscapes, glaciers and wildlife of the Arctic offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These expeditions provide opportunities for close encounters with polar bears, seals and awe-inspiring scenery.

Our expert guides will enhance the journey with their knowledge of the region’s unique ecosystems and cultures. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or cultural explorer, an Arctic cruise promises unforgettable moments. AE Expeditions ensures a sustainable and enriching experience, making it an exceptional choice for those seeking the extraordinary in one of the world’s most remote and captivating destinations.

We have 3 different ports that we use for our expeditions in the European Arctic: Longyearbyen, Reykjavik & Aberdeen. Find out how to get to each of the ports here.

The best time for an Arctic cruise or expedition is during the Arctic summer, typically from May to September. This period offers milder temperatures, longer daylight hours and optimal conditions for exploring the region’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. The sea ice begins to break up to allow for greater access to remote locations. AE Expeditions carefully schedules their Arctic expeditions during this season, aligning with the northern hemisphere’s summer, to provide travellers with an unforgettable and comfortable experience amidst the unique beauty of the Arctic. It’s the ideal time for wildlife observation, glacier exploration and cultural encounters.

AE Expeditions voyages attract a wide range of travellers and age groups. While you don’t need to be able to run a marathon, our expeditions to the Arctic do offer lots of great landings and walking opportunities.

Each passenger must return a signed medical form from their general practitioner no later than three months, and no earlier than six months, before your voyage departure date.

Travelers journeying to the Arctic with AE Expeditions must secure travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation coverage. This is essential for safeguarding against unforeseen circumstances such as illness, accidents, loss of luggage and personal items, unexpected changes in travel plans, and travel disruptions.

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