Best Polar Trips for Families

August 20, 2019 - 5 minutes read

Sophie Richterova

Polar expedition cruises are commonly taken by couples and a growing number of solo travelers, but that doesn’t mean the buck stops there. And if you have bucks enough for the whole family, there’s a variety of polar trips that’ll get your loved ones equally ice-happy.

That said, Oceanwide Expeditions doesn’t recommend polar expedition cruises for children younger than 10. However, teenagers, twenty-somethings (or the exceptional mature and nature loving younger kids) tend to enjoy these cruises even more than many adults.

Oceanwide’s family-friendly voyages are available in both the Arctic and Antarctic. None of them are very long, taking into account the shorter attention spans of many younger folk. As with all our expeditions, these are safe, comfortable, and most of all, fun.

Capt. Ernesto Barria

Arctic Expeditions

1. North Spitsbergen in Search of Polar Bears and Pack Ice

With a focus on spotting polar bears, this cruise sails along the coast of Spitsbergen Island in the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in northern Norway.

The voyage lasts seven nights and hits the principal spots around Spitsbergen including scenic fjords and bays with prime hiking opportunities. Among the Arctic animals that call the big island home are reindeer, Arctic foxes, walruses, seals (ringed and bearded), whales (minke, fin, blue, bowhead), and seabirds (kittiwake, little auk, guillemot, and many more).

See the details of an upcoming North Spitsbergen voyage.

2. Around Spitsbergen: The Realm of Polar Bears and Ice

For those who have a few days more to spare, this nine-night voyage sets out to find polar bears but also surveys the fantastic Arctic landscapes offered by this island chain.

Additional landings are made around southern Spitsbergen and the southeastern islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya. Both of these islands offer great wildlife and hiking opportunities to a kittiwake bird colony, walrus haul-out, old trapper’s hut, and tundra trail. The ship might also sail along the three-mile-long Monaco Glacier and Bellsund in search of beluga whales.

See the details of an upcoming North Spitsbergen voyage.

Anne Haraldsted

Antarctica Expeditions

The one caveat to keep in mind for Antarctic cruises is that it requires crossing the Drake Passage, which on occasion can have very rough seas. Still, seasickness medication is usually quite effective. And even if you forget to pack some, Oceanwide offers onboard medication at a reasonable price. And a visit to Antarctica is more than worth it!

Hans Murre

1. Weddell Sea in Search of the Emperor Penguin (with Helicopters)

This voyage emphasizes one of the most beloved Antarctic seabirds — the emperor penguin. Only found at a few locations, the emperor is probably the world’s most recognizable penguin species. But the Weddell Sea boasts many other Antarctic species to discover during the voyage.

Visits are planned (if weather permits) at Antarctic Sound, Devil Island, Brown Bluff and volcanic Deception Island. Mountain hiking and visits to a research base and penguin rookeries are all possibilities on this trip.

But most thrilling are helicopter flights that whisk passengers to locations inaccessible by other means, in particular the rarely seen emperor penguin rookery at Snow Hill Island.

See an example of a future Weddell Sea cruise.

Paul Tuttle

2. Antarctica Whale Watching Discovery and Learning Voyage

The Antarctic Peninsula is among region’s most biodiverse areas. Spanning 13 nights, this expedition cruise takes in as much of these features as possible, visiting iconic spots along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula like Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay and Crystal Sound, as well as Petermann and Pléneau islands — all great locations to spot gentoo and Adélie penguins, seals and sea lions, and a variety of whales (minkes, fins, and humpbacks).

Here’s an itinerary example for this Antarctica trip.

Kai Chu Li


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