Polar Regions

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Top of the ‘ice’ bucket list

Antarctica is expedition cruising at its very best. The serene, almost motionless water, snow-dusted peaks and wildlife are what make these lands so very special. It’s simple, but it’s unequivocally magical.

The Arctic is a frozen sea mass surrounded by land while in the Antarctic thickly packed ice covers a vast continent surrounded by oceans. In winter the expanse of Antarctica almost doubles as sea ice forms around the rocky coast. The Arctic’s proximity to the northern extremes of the American, European and Asian continents means that it is easier to access than the Antarctic and mankind has found a way to exist here. The Antarctic however remains uninhabited apart from scientific and industrial outposts

At opposite times of year, each endures a winter of almost permanent darkness followed by a summer of near 24-hour daylight. The optimum time to visit on a cruise adventure is in their respective summers. For an exhilarating Arctic daylight experience visit between June and September when the pack ice recedes; however, the cruising season extends into deep winter for those wishing to experience the Aurora Borealis, the magical Northern Lights that flicker and flounce across a back-drop of white snow below, and black sky above. Antarctic cruise adventuring is at its most rewarding from November through to March.

On the subject of adventure, there’s kayaking, whale-watching, zodiac tours, hiking or even ‘polar plunging’ for adrenalin junkies; just some of the alternative ways to augment your experience in this fascinating region.

Polar wildlife has evolved from species equipped to deal with the harsh conditions. In the Arctic the seas are heavily populated with seals and walruses while many species live on the land including hardy plants and mammals – polar bears, wolves and reindeer to name a few. The Antarctic has no significant plant life or land mammals; however, the coastal fringes are teeming with penguins, seals and whales.

A fascinating voyage of discovery to each of the Poles will never be forgotten.

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