Notes from the Poseidon Expeditions Team
As part of our ongoing interview series, “Best of the Polar Regions”, we asked our seasoned expedition team for their opinions on the best cruise destinations for polar adventure and history, as well as their thoughts on the best expedition cruise for first-timers to the Polar Regions.
What is the best polar cruise for adventure seekers?
A trip anywhere in the Polar Regions is sure to be a great adventure. But we think a cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula has the most to offer adventurous travelers. Hiking through the snow and ice-filled wilderness of Antarctica, surrounded by penguins, is an adventure in itself. Those who are looking for even more of an adventure should be sure to book the polar sea kayaking option on their Antarctic cruise. Kayaking in Antarctica is a real adventure in the sense that you are an active participant—not a passive observer along for a ride—on an unscripted foray into a spectacular but potentially hostile environment. Kayakers who are fit and experienced will find the rewards of kayaking far outweigh the effort and risks involved. Participants in our polar kayaking program overwhelmingly say it was the highlight of their trip. Another adventure activity—one that is unique to Antarctic Peninsula cruises—is camping in Antarctica. Be sure to book this option if you want to maximize your time in the Antarctic environment while testing your constitution against the polar elements. You won’t regret it!
What is the best polar destination for history buffs?
Almost any place in the Polar Regions has fascinating historical events associated with it. From legendary explorers seeking new lands to rapacious industrialists hoping for quick fortunes, courageous and/or foolhardy men and women have made their mark on maps and on the landscapes of these high-latitude regions. Some polar destinations, like Greenland, have a long and rich history of indigenous inhabitation as well. But we agree that Franz Josef Land is the place where polar history can be most easily observed and keenly felt. The Ice-Age landscapes of Franz Josef Land are littered with evidence of incredible feats of survival and heroism. So, when you come across a century-old roof beam above a pit in the frozen ground, you can vividly imagine the walrus skins stretched across it and the group of shipwrecked explorers huddled underneath it, waiting for their fate—to die in the grave they had dug for themselves or to be rescued in a miraculous encounter with another party. You’ll have to join us there to find out what happened!
What is the best expedition cruise for first-timers to the Polar Regions?
For someone who wants to make his or her first step into the frozen wilderness up North, the High Arctic, we suggest taking a cruise to Svalbard, otherwise known as Spitsbergen. This is a great place to start your lifelong love of the Polar Regions because you are sure to find something to ignite your polar passion. Svalbard has a lot of everything and something for everyone. Here you can easily encounter most of the iconic Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walrus, seals, reindeer, Arctic foxes, and huge colonies of Arctic seabirds. Photographers and sightseers will appreciate the wide range of classic polar landscapes such as flowering tundra, calving glaciers, snowcapped mountains, polar deserts, and the edge of the polar pack ice. The archipelago also contains a wealth of remains from historical periods ranging from the early whaling era to the Age of Discovery. Svalbard makes a great first impression of the Polar Regions and your experience there will inspire your next polar expedition based on what you find most enjoyable—wildlife, scenery or history. Take it from us: your first trip to the Polar Regions will most likely not be your last!
Poseidon Expeditions provides world-class expedition cruising in the