Many of us will have been on a Med cruise before, but have you ever thought about an adventure cruise? The thought might seem daunting – but they’re much more accessible than you think!
They are different to what you’d usually expect a cruise to be; you’ll find no casinos or nightclubs on board, instead the focus is on what you can see or do outside the ship, so they’re perfect for those seeking more land based adventures in lands like the Arctic.
Another benefit is that the ships are much smaller, which means they’re now able to explore new areas that larger ships have previously been unable to visit, giving you a personal glimpse into the best places the Arctic has to offer.
With that in mind, here’s how to cruise the Arctic in style and what you can expect from the adventure you’ll never forget…
What You’ll See:
One of the main reasons people choose adventure cruises are the breath-taking views. Whether you’re on the deck of the ship looking out at the vast ocean, or hiking through snow covered mountains, you’ll see why this type of cruise is favoured by photographers.
Not to mention you’ll also get to see the most incredible wildlife, including polar bears, walruses and if you’re lucky you may be able to glimpse the humpback whales breaching and slapping their huge tails against the water.
Top tip: We’d recommend you don’t get too close to those polar bears. We hear their teeth are pretty sharp!
Things You Can Do:
Cross Country Skiing
If you’re a fan of skiing, then try doing it cross country through the crisp Arctic snow. This is no easy ski down the slopes of the alps, as there are no ski lifts to get to the top of those steep slopes! The roots of this type of skiing go as far back as 600 BCE and is still used as a form of transportation by some of the locals today, so you can get a taste for native life as you whizz around!
Snow shoeing is another early form of transportation which has now evolved into a recreational activity. It has proved quite popular due to how easy it is to pick up, simply slip on your snow shoes and away you go (pretty much)! It’s much easier than hiking, due to the fact your feet won’t slip all the way into the snow.
If you prefer something a little more old school then go for a walk or hike. You’ll have the chance to visit the most stunning lookout peaks which are easily accessible on foot, so it doesn’t require you to overly exert yourself. After all, how often do you have the chance to walk in snow that hasn’t been trodden on by another soul?
If you’re feeling brave then we recommend this option. Due to the ever changing and treacherous terrain, mountaineering is not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth it if you can stomach it. Experience hidden caves and valleys, climb to the very top of one of the numerous mountains, and you may even get the opportunity to climb a mountain no human has ever before, making this an opportunity not to be missed!
For those wanting to experience something completely different, give paddle boarding a go. The activity is a combination of surfing and kayaking, giving you a completely unique view of the bays and harbours around the area.
It should come as no surprise that adventure cruises are a hit with budding and established photographers. With the beautiful wildlife and breath-taking vistas you’ll find yourself unable to help yourself snapping a photo to take home to show all your friends.
It’s Not All About Size:
A big difference to adventure cruises is the size of the ships themselves, due to their small size they’re able to get into more remote locations, which means no more busy ports!
The ships only allow for around 200 passengers or less on board, which offers a more personal cruise experience. This also enables you to have more one on one time with the staff and experts aboard, which makes an adventure cruise a valuable learning experience.
Did you know? Adventure cruising is almost like river cruising in terms of atmosphere… You just don’t find many walruses on the Danube!
Another plus point is that they’re much more flexible on the whole. There are no scheduled docking ports, so the routes have the ability to change if something more exciting pops up last minute. Less people also means that the programs are looser structured and you can tailor your own Arctic experience to suit you.
You Get to Meet Fascinating People:
Amongst your fellow passengers there will be a whole variety of different people, from Doctors and Scientists to photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, you’ll never run out of interesting people to talk to! The small group sizes mean that you have more of an opportunity to mingle and make new friends. You’ll have memories about the time you all climbed a glacier together for years to come…
They’re More Comfortable Than You’d Think:
Despite what you may believe, an Arctic cruise doesn’t compromise on comfort. It’s no lie that adventure cruises have a much more ‘no frills’ attitude, but the ships still boast warm comfortable cabins for you to relax in at the end of a long day adventuring. The overall atmosphere is also a lot more easy going, and they tend to take more of a ‘go with the flow’ approach. So if you’re one of those that gets stressed by the strict itineraries and large amount of people then an adventure cruise could be for you!
What to Wear:
Our top tip would be to pack for comfort and warmth which means LAYERS. Lots and lots of layers. The weather can range from freezing to temperate, so don’t forget your long sleeve tops and jumpers to put underneath your winter coat!
Which leads us to the next item, you will definitely need a warm coat to combat the cold Arctic temperatures, a simple raincoat will not do.
An essential item for your suitcase is a pair of waterproof over trousers, pop them on over your normal trousers to remain warm and dry throughout all your activities.
Don’t forget your accessories, and we’re not talking about earrings or necklaces for the nights at the casino. Adventure cruises requires a much more practical style such as: hats, gloves, scarves and socks to combat the icy chill!
You won’t be needing to pack your cosy slippers for this trip, which are deemed unsafe on the Arctic adventure. Instead you’ll need a good pair of shoes for walking around on deck.
The main thing we advise is to not underestimate the weather, pack the warmest clothes you can and loads of layers – as said by mothers around the globe ‘you can take it off but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it!’
There’s one thing we can guarantee with an adventure cruise and it’s that each one will be different. Whether it’s the weather, the people, or the general experience, the flexibility will ensure that no adventure is the same. We believe it’s a once in a lifetime trip and it’s definitely not to be missed!
Would you like to go adventure cruising? Have you ever been on one before? Let us know in the comments below!