February 15, 2017
A polar expedition is arguably the ultimate in adventure travel. Travelling to a final frontier like the Arctic or Antarctic is more accessible than ever nowadays, thanks to polar expedition cruise specialists such as Expeditions Online. Here are just some of the big highlights of taking part in a polar expedition:
1. The thrill of adventure
One of the top ten reasons to go on a polar expedition is undoubtedly the sheer thrill of it. Traveling on a polar expedition is still a real adventure. Even nowadays with modern technology the polar regions are formidable and remote places, with sometimes unforgiving weather systems and terrains. So, just like the very first explorers, you will also feel the thrill of adventure. There are new sights and experiences you will never forget. Feel small amidst the expanse of the vast landscapes, icescapes and waterways.
2. Unique scenery and landscapes
On an Arctic or Antarctic expedition you’ll have the chance to see ice sheets, formidable mountain ranges, beautiful icebergs and ice-filled waterways and plenty of pristine white backdrops. You might feel small and insignificant next to their beauty and magnitude, but you will definitely feel inspired! The two most-visited regions of Antarctica, the Peninsula and the Ross Sea are both dominated by the majestic trans-Antarctic mountains – and there are equally impressive peaks in several Arctic regions such as Svalbard and Greenland.
3. ‘Ice Mountains’ - icebergs.
When it comes to the polar landscapes and scenery, icebergs are always particularly memorable. Like clouds, every iceberg is unique! Head out on a polar expedition and you’ll have the chance to observe amazing iceberg formations aboard your Zodiac craft. They are definitely more than just white… you will be incredulous at the shifting hues of electric blues, even greens and purples! They are beautiful, pristine, natural marvels – even more amazing when you consider that only 10% of the overall mass is visible above water.
4. The wildlife
The Polar Regions are home to unique wildlife. Here you will experience whales, leopard seals, polar bears, and penguins of all varieties – to mention but a few. What’s more, you will see them in their own environments at critical times for them and their families. Despite being cold, due to rich waters and the long sunshine hours in the summer, the polar regions are actually home to greater concentrations of wildlife than any other area of the planet. Many animals are also completely unafraid of people, which allows astonishingly close views. We are sure that close to the top of most people’s reasons to ‘go polar’ is to see and get close to the wildlife.
5. Superb photographic opportunities
Polar scenery and wildlife provide breath-taking photographic opportunities like no other holiday! The Polar Regions offer a visual treat like no other and on board a polar cruise; you can capture your photographic memories as you travel. Imagine being on a beach surrounded by fifty thousand penguins – or on the bow of the ship as a whale surfaces, with a backdrop of a towering iceberg. Taking photographs of birdlife, polar bears, or spectacular sunsets at midnight reflecting on icy waters and glaciers… these are daily occurrences on a polar cruise and it is often literally impossible to put your camera down!
6. The opportunity to test yourself
A polar journey is a holiday like no other. Sail to the ends of the earth and you’ll experience extremes of weather, temperature and conditions. You’ll have the opportunity to explore on foot via Zodiac landings on remote beaches. There can be other challenges too… Go for a polar plunge! Adventure options abound - many expeditions nowadays feature the chance for you to go kayaking amongst the ice floes, snow-camping under the stars, skiing, overland trekking, climbing, snorkelling, diving or even paddle-boarding! By undertaking a polar expedition, you can push your own boundaries and come back with memories of a lifetime!
7. Brag-worthy achievements and goals
Simply setting foot on your seventh continent in Antarctica is a big goal of many a polar tourist. On some polar expeditions, you may have the opportunity to stand at the ‘Top of the World’ (or Bottom) at the Geographic North or South Pole. In doing this, you join a small club of people. Perhaps you can try swimming in Antarctica, or trekking in across South Georgia in the footsteps of Shackleton, skiing the last degree to 90 degrees South – or camping with emperor penguins. Since these are places that not that many people have been to, you will forever have a great topic of conversation at dinner with friends, at your next interview, or indeed with your family!
8. The people!
The fellow travellers you can meet on a polar expedition are fascinating bunch from all walks of life. Mix both with the on-board experts and guides as well as with highly-travelled fellow passengers. You’ll be constantly learning as you travel to the world’s most fascinating and beautiful places. And then there are the folks who you might encounter at these destinations. In Antarctica, it may be the scientists and research teams who man the research stations and bases. In the Arctic, depending on your itinerary you may encounter some of the indigenous people who call the Far North home. They are a unique and fascinating group whose survival depends on their intrinsic understanding of the world around them.
9. Follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers
Not that long ago, mounting a polar expedition was virtually impossible. As the human race’s understanding of the world developed, along with our technical and scientific capabilities – polar exploration became feasible. From the 19th to early 20th Century a succession of notable names made it their mission to conquer these wildernesses. From Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott in Antarctica to Robert E Peary in the Arctic – the history books are full of their valiant, and sometimes dramatic efforts. It is a humbling and amazing experience follow in the footsteps of these brave and intrepid explorers. Epic tales come to life and you may have the chance to step ashore at the very same places or even ‘walk back in time’ into historic expedition huts from a hundred years ago.
10. Change the way you see the world.
Finally, and perhaps the most important of our top ten reasons to go on a polar expedition, is the sense of perspective the experience will give you about the world we live in. On a polar expedition, you will see something that will take your breath away every single day. It is this experience that makes first-time polar travellers even more aware of the fragility of the environment and the power of Mother Nature. You will feel tiny and the world will feel huge. It does change the way most of our travellers see the world they live in – and indeed their role in protecting it.
Each polar expedition or voyage is different! Talk to the experts about how you want to experience your Arctic or Antarctic expedition - visit expeditionsonline.com for much more information on traveling to the polar regions. We specialise only in small-ship cruises and expeditions led by polar specialists and we’ve visited all of the destinations we offer. Get in touch to see if we can help you find the adventure trip of your dreams!