We've put together 10 weird and wonderful facts we bet you didn’t know about The Arctic Circle.
The Arctic is home to a dizzying variety of wildlife, have a read to see some of its more unusual residents.
Packing for The Arctic can seem daunting so we here's a list of what we consider essentials.
M/V Hondius - Arctic Cruise
Best for: Cruise, Highlights, Off the beaten track
M/V Hondius is the world's first registered Polar Class 6 civilian vessel, setting the standard in advanced polar expedition. With its ice-strengthened hull & comfortable interiors, this innovative & luxurious ship offers a polar experience like no other.
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In a class of its own, the new M/V Hondius has been designed as the ultimate polar expedition vessel. Rigorously constructed to meet the unpredictable challenges posed by the polar regions, this exceptional ship meets the latest requirements set by the Lloyds Register for ice-strengthened civilian cruise vessels. Strong, technologically advanced and cutting edge, M/V Hondius has been designed to leave a minimal impact on the pristine wilderness regions of the polar landscape, exceeding the requirements set by the International Maritime Organisation for ecological impact. From bio-degradable paint, LED lighting and controlled fuel and CO² emissions, you can rest assured that your expedition in to the polar landscape is leaving as minimal impact as possible.
Accommodating up to 174 passengers, the M/V Hondius is home to a variety of cabins, ranging from the Quadruple Porthole Cabins, perfect for groups or families travelling together, to the opulent Hondius Suite with its four windows maximising views of the icy world around you. Cabins are spacious and comfortable, with mid-century modern décor, each featuring an en-suite bathroom equipped with a shower and toilet. Flat screen televisions, desk space, comfortable sofas and coffee and tea making facilities come as standard, whilst the larger cabins and suites offer additional living space and larger windows from which to soak up the awe-inspiring views.
On board, M/V Hondius is comfortable and luxurious, offering a wealth of opportunities to relax, learn and enjoy your icy surroundings. The observation lounge and bar is the perfect place to soak up the wild landscapes, whilst the lecture room plays host to a variety of interactive workshops and presentations lead by on-board naturalists and polar specialists. After a day exploring the icy seas and rugged landscapes, retire to the dining room for a hearty feast, prepared by the executive chef team who pride themselves on creating a diverse and delicious menu, even amongst some of the harshest environments on earth.
Whilst the onboard experience is luxurious and comfortable, an expedition to the polar regions is all about immersive experiences amongst the unique landscapes and wildlife. Time spent at sea is kept to a minimum, with the vessel’s design enabling near-shore activities and proximity to the ice to remain at the forefront of any expedition. A fleet of rigid-hull inflatable zodiacs, launched from a sheltered indoor embarkation platform, provide maximum contact with the nature and wildlife that has drawn you to the most remote corners of the earth. Other activities include kayaking, snow-shoeing, hiking and polar diving, should you be feeling particularly adventurous.
When to go
Cruises depart for Svalbard, Greenland and the Russian High Arctic during the northern hemisphere's summer, when explorers enjoy 24 hour days and favourable conditions. Travel in June and July and you'll admire spectacular frozen sculptures and seas of pack ice. From late July to August, the wildlife is most active and whale watching trips to the west coast of Greenland and voyages to the Russian High Arctic begin. In late August and September, sail through magnificent fjord scenery and catch the aurora borealis as the nights descend. Whether you travel early on in mid June or in September as the season draws to a close, you have good chances of spotting the iconic polar bear.
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Things to do
Save up to £700
Book by 28th February 2020 and receive up to 700 pounds off selected Antarctica and Arctic Voyages. Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. Please speak to one of our specialists for more information.
*All offers are subject to availability and terms and conditions. Please contact our team for more information.
Disembark & return to Reykjavik
Today your Arctic adventure ends back in Akureyri, on Iceland’s northern coast, where your transfer will be waiting to drive you back to the capital city of Reykjavik.
Sail the continental shelf
Having explored the ice edge in the northern reaches of Svalbard, your captain will make a turn west, bound for the continental shelf that lies approximately 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen. Keep your eyes on the water - this is a mecca for whales.
Scoresbysund & Danmark Island
Day 3: Today you’ll cross the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst bound for Danmark Island, home to the remains of an ancient Inuit settlement. Get up close to the vast glacier face on a Zodiac trip on the icy waters of Scoresbysund.
Disembark at Longyearbyen
Arriving back in Longyearbyen, farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you disembark and begin your onward journey.
Turner Sound and Rømer Fjord
Day 7: Unobstructed by glaciers, today you’ll sail through the calm waters of Turner Sound and Rømer Fjord, spotting pods of narwhals and polar bears stalking the scree-laden slopes and edges of the ice floe.
Forlandsundet or Isfjord
As your Arctic adventure comes to a close, you’ll head for the walrus haul-out at Forlandsundet or perhaps anchor at the mouth of Isfjord, characterised by the mighty peak of Alkehornet. Take your final tundra walks, looking out for native wildlife.
Liefdefjorden & Monaco Glacier
If weather conditions allow, today you’ll sail into Liefdefjorden, ‘The Love Fjord’, in search of the mighty Monaco Glacier with its sheer ice faces and turquoise caves and seracs.
Head south through the wild seas of the Hinlopen Strait, home to a myriad of nesting seabirds, before cruising past the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya, and making a shore landing on Nordaustlandet in search of wildlife.
Set sail from Longyearbyen
Today you will meet your crew and fellow passengers in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in the Svalbard Archipelago, ready to board your expedition ship for your incredible journey into the Arctic.
Røde Ø or 'Red Island'
Day 4: Icebergs are the focus of today’s zodiac expedition to Røde Ø, a stunning red sandstone island that is often described as resembling mars. The red slopes provide a stark contrast to the white and blue ice monoliths that float past the island.
Day 5: With your cameras at the ready, today you’ll get up close to some of the Arctic’s most colossal icebergs. Many of these ice giants are stationary, anchored to the floor of Scoresbysund that only reaches 400 metres in depth.
Cross the Arctic Circle
Day 2: Bound for East Greenland, you’ll spend today at sea. From the ship’s observation deck, keep your eyes on the sea, looking for the whales that frequent these chilly Arctic waters as you cross the Arctic Circle.
Reykjavik to Akureyri & set sail
Day 1: Departing Reykjavik, you’ll travel by road through northern Iceland to Akureyri, the embarkation point for your expedition ship.
Hurry Inlet & Ittoqqortoormiit
Day 6: Board zodiacs for a tundra landing at Hurry Inlet, before visiting Ittoqqortoormiit, Scoresbysund’s largest inhabited settlement, with a population of 500. The people of this remote outpost rely on the bounty of the Arctic to sustain themselves.
Sail the Denmark Strait back to Iceland
Day 8: Leaving the spectacular landscapes of east Greenland behind, the ship will chart a course bound for Iceland once more. Spend your day at sea reflecting on the incredible adventures you’ve had inside the magical Arctic Circle.
Today you’ll make for the northernmost corner of Svalbard, the Seven Islands, crossing the 80° north parallel. This frigid landscape is almost permanently frozen, due to its proximity to the North Pole, and is prime polar bear country.
Bound for Raudfjorden, or ‘red fjord’, so named for its russet-tinged slopes and beaches, you’ll sail through a vast ford rimmed with might glaciers, looking out for the resident ringed and bearded seals that haul themselves out on the ice.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Iceland & Scoresby Sund, East Greenland
Set sail to see the beautiful aurora borealis, a magical sight that many claim the full vibrancy of which a camera simply can't capture. This 9-day trip takes you from the north of Iceland up to Greenland's east coast and the incredible icebergs, mountains, fjords and settlements that characterise Scoresby Sund.