Arctic Wonders — Discover the Uncharted

Arctic Cruises

The vast expanse of the Arctic spans the planet’s northernmost latitudes, encompassing a range of breathtaking landscapes. From the awe-inspiring glaciers of Greenland to the captivating geology of Svalbard and the endlessly intriguing volcanic beauty of Iceland, the Arctic promises extraordinary encounters with untamed nature.

Our purpose-built expedition vessels venture deep into the heart of the Arctic, where wildlife thrives in the abundant waters and expansive tundra. Glide through drifting pack ice aboard a Zodiac, keeping an eye out for curious seals and leaping whales. Witness the grandeur and chorus of dramatic bird cliffs or seek out the enigmatic polar bear and elusive walrus on sea ice. Immerse yourself in this mesmerizing realm steeped in a rich history, captivating traditional cultures, and wildlife that both captivates and enchants.

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 destination infographic
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 cabins 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 cabin 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 cabin 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 Aurora 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, and purchases from the onboard shop 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 cabin.

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.