Arctic travel is a big undertaking, and no doubt you have a few questions about your voyage. For anything not covered by these frequently asked questions, do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff.
Each of our Arctic trips includes the following:
- Comprehensive pre-departure preparation and information to ensure embarkation is effortless, such as preparing your luggage in your room before arrival.
- Comfortable accommodation, including turndown service twice a day.
- Onboard chefs who provide three meals each day, with tea and coffee available around the clock.
- On departure you will be loaned rubber boots, ensuring you are ready to explore.
- Zodiac excursions providing the opportunity to step off the ship and explore on land.
- Each of our groups is hosted by world-renowned naturalists and ornithologists, giving you insights to the Arctic environment and its wildlife.
When booking your voyage, please enquire about international and domestic flights and transfers to and from your destination. We can also arrange pre and post tour accommodation in Longyearbyen, Reykjavik, Ottawa, Yellowknife and Helsinki. Optional activities such as sea kayaking and snowshoeing need to be booked prior to your journey.
For our Norway (Spitsbergen) cruises, you need to fly via Oslo or Tromso to Longyearbyen. For cruises that start or end in Iceland there are direct flights to Reykjavik from London and other European capitals, including low cost carriers.
Most cruises that include East Greenland will usually start or end in either Longyearbyen or Reykjavik. For Canada and West Greenland, you will need to fly in and out of Ottawa. North Pole cruising expeditions begin and end in Helsinki.
Check the Essential Trip Information of your chosen trip itinerary for more specific details and please contact us for more information about flights and transfers
Each trip includes daily excursions, which vary depending on the weather and sea conditions. It might be a Zodiac excursion to explore the sea ice, a hike through the tundra to find wildlife or a visit to a former outpost to see how trappers once lived. Each excursion is led by an experienced guide. Onboard you can expect educational seminars from your guides.
Each trip also includes a variety of additional activities, which must be booked in advance and incur additional costs. These include:
- Kayaking (note that some kayaking experience is essential).
- Hot air ballooning (on North Pole trips only).
Spaces are limited so please enquire at the time of booking.
The Arctic cruising season runs from May to September. This is the perfect time to explore, as the days are long and there is up to 24 hours of daylight. The Northern Lights can only be seen when there is darkness, making September the best time to witness this extraordinary phenomenon.
Arctic trips are seasonal and tend to book out quickly. Our advice is to book as soon as you've made the decision to travel – check the availability of your chosen itinerary on the trip page. Please contact us to discuss booking options.
All our Arctic trips are rated as a low physical rating. Activities onshore and excursions involve a bit of walking involved, but all are optional. You’ll be visiting sites where at times you may have to cross uneven ground and take on challenging conditions underfoot. You will have support stepping on and off the Zodiac boats. If you have any concerns, please speak to your group leader before taking part. Please read the ‘Is this trip right for you?’ section on the trip page.
An Arctic voyage can be as active or as low key as you want it to be. While a trip to the Arctic gives many opportunities to get off the ship, it’s up to you whether you want to venture further afield on a Zodiac boat or explore onshore. Some optional activities need to be booked before departing.
All voyages host educational seminars to prepare you for shore landings and give you further insights to the environment, from experts in the field. Activities range from birdwatching and whale watching to evening film viewings. There’s an extensive library where you can do your own polar research, board games can be found in the lounge, and there’s a bar area to mingle and chat with friends. Plus, you can always take in the views from the open deck.
Once you've confirmed your booking we will send out a detailed pre-departure Essential Trip Information pack covering practical information, including a general packing list and any specific items you may need to bring. This is particularly important for polar trips. Your consultant will be happy to assist you with any further questions.
There is no specific upper age limit on our tours; most of our Peregrine travellers are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Check the Essential Trip Information for physical rating and activities involved to see if a trip is right for you.
While most Peregrine travellers are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, you will likely find a diverse group of ages and nationalities on board. All programs are delivered in English.
Due to the nature of polar expeditions, the minimum age for children to take part is 8 years. In addition, there is a minimum height and weight restriction to be able to ride in a Zodiac boat. Age limits also apply to optional activities. Children are not commonly travelling on these trips but it is still possible. We can help to discuss your options.
If you’re travelling alone, on most trips we pair you up to share a cabin with someone of the same gender but not all trips offer this option. You may need to pay a single supplement depending on availability. We can help you to discuss options.
If you'd like to have your own room, ask your consultant if the trip offers a single supplement (subject to availability and additional charge). If you are travelling with someone, please let us know what room setup you would prefer (twin, double or in some cases triple rooms may be available).
Group sizes for Arctic voyages range from 83 to 200 people, depending on which ship you choose. Depending on the group size, the number of passengers may be split so half venture out in Zodiacs on the water and the other half explore onshore. All passengers take part in planned activities. Optional activities such as snowshoeing and kayaking need to be booked prior to departure and have limited availability per group.
Yes. Travel insurance is necessary on all Peregrine tours, and a condition of travel. When selecting your policy, it should be comprehensive and cover for medical expenses, including emergency repatriation. We strongly suggest the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. We can organise travel insurance for you at any stage prior to travel.
We also recommend you take out cancellation insurance. This may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you need to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, cancellation insurance will not cover you if you change your mind.
Activities: It is important to ensure that your policy covers you for any additional activities you may take part in, such as kayaking, snowshoeing and mountaineering. This is one of the most important aspects of your travel insurance policy, so you need to make sure you know exactly what you are covered for and ensure that your policy covers you even when you have disembarked your expedition cruise ship.
Vaccinations vary from country to country. We strongly recommend you visit your travel doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure, so allow plenty of time.
The waters of the Arctic Ocean can be rough. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, it is a good idea to see your doctor before departing. It's also recommended that passengers come equipped with motion sickness tablets or patches, and avoid eating greasy foods or consuming alcohol. There is a doctor on board to assist in severe cases.
Gratuities are generally not included in your voyage and are at your discretion. We recommend you allow US$15 per day for the hotel and ships’ crew and an additional amount if you wish to tip the expedition team. Please see the pre-departure information under the 'Money Matters' section of your Essential Trip Notes to see if your voyage includes gratuities or not.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a rule of thumb, most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the visa information in our Essential Trip Information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change – it's important that you check for yourself.
Weather, sea and ice conditions may require changes to our itinerary and shore excursions. When travelling in remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel and means that every voyage is unique. Please be aware that while we will endeavour to make the best arrangements for each trip, no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
Cancellation conditions are laid out in the 'Important Information' section of your Essential Trip Information. We will endeavour to allow changes to your booking, but please note that fees will apply, up to 100% penalty, depending on when the changes are made.
Generally it’s not possible to join a tour after it has departed. As our destinations are extremely remote and itineraries can vary to suit the conditions, there are minimal opportunities to meet the ship at another point.
The food served on our cruise ships is excellent. Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet style, with dinners generally served to your table and usually featuring three courses. A vegetarian choice is always offered. The range of food is diverse, with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of gourmet dishes.
If you have any dietary requirements or food allergies please let us know before the trip starts. If you have a more restrictive dietary requirement (such as vegan, gluten intolerance or fructose intolerance) it is likely you can be catered for. Unfortunately we are unable to cater for a kosher diet.
Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is provided every day.
Tourism and cruise activities in the Arctic operate within a comprehensive framework of international and national laws and regulations to ensure safety and preservation of the environment.
You will be briefed during each trip on how to be respectful, environmentally friendly and safe during the expedition.
Top responsible travel tips for The Arctic:
• Don’t use aircrafts, vessels, small boats or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
• Don’t feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, and don’t approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behaviour. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or moulting.
• Don’t damage plants – for example, by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
• Don’t take ‘souvenirs’ of rocks or flora off the island.
• Don’t use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
• You can do your part by ensuring that all back packs and clothing that will be worn on shore are free of seeds and other foreign matter before going ashore.
• Know the location of areas that have been afforded special protection and observe any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near those areas.
• Don’t damage, remove, or destroy historic sites or monuments, or any artefacts associated with them.
• Don’t interfere with scientific research facilities or equipment.
• Refrain from smoking in wilderness areas, and ensure that you leave no rubbish.
Peregrine’s partners, Chimu Adventures and Quark Expeditions, are dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe cruise operations in the Arctic.
Our partners operate in accordance with national and international laws and regulations and in addition follow an extensive set of guidelines, both general operational guidelines as well as site specific guidelines.
Geography & wildlife
The Arctic refers to the region located within the northernmost part of the world, the Arctic Circle, where you will find the Arctic Ocean and an area covering northern parts of Europe, Russia, United States and Canada.
The Arctic Circle covers parts of eight countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland (Kingdom of Denmark), Russia, Canada and the United States. Greenland has the most land mass within the Arctic Circle and Iceland has the least, with only a small portion of tiny islets falling within the line.
June to mid-July: This is the best time to see ice and snow. Polar bears and walrus are likely to be hunting on the ice edge. Birds are returning to breed.
Mid-July to mid-August: Tundra flowers are blooming. Wildlife is abundant.
Mid-August to September: The days are shortening; birds begin to migrate south; and skies are darker.
Summer runs from June to September and this is when you will likely experience temperatures between 3 and 12°C (37–54°F). During winter, the temperature plummets to between 0 and –34°C (–29 to +32 °F).
Each day in the Arctic brings the possibility of new wildlife sightings, including walrus, thousands of nesting birds, land-dwelling musk ox and caribou, humpback, minke, blue, beluga and one-horned narwhal wales, grey seals, harp seals, and of course the mighty polar bear.
Listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), polar bears face an uncertain future. Our expeditions operate within the natural environment and therefore a sighting of a polar bear cannot be guaranteed – a large part of the excitement of being on one of these trips. You are more likely to see a Polar bear in certain parts of the Arctic. Speak to your consultant for guidance on these areas.
If you see a polar bear, it will most likely be from a safe distance on the boat.
In areas with polar bears, the bears can be encountered anywhere, anytime. Although polar bears normally will try to avoid encounters with humans, they are potentially extremely dangerous to humans. But polar bears are also vulnerable. Your guide and support team will make every effort to ensure both you and the animal’s safety and therefore it’s imperative to follow safety rules:
- Never stray from your group and the leaders carrying equipment to protect you
- If you catch sight of polar bears, stay calm and immediately inform your guide
- Never approach a bear if you catch sight of
- Never leave food anywhere in an attempt to lure polar bears
- Follow your leader’s instruction.
Auroras occur throughout the year but the light summer months render them invisible to the eye so the best time to see the Northern Lights is during the winter months (September to April).
Peregrine works in partnership with Chimu Aventures and Quark Expeditions in providing polar trips with an experienced team on the ground, having led thousands of voyages.
All expedition vessels have ice-strengthened hulls so they are perfectly suited to travel in this icy environment. As well as being tough expedition vessels, they are built for passenger comfort. All cabins have an ensuite, majority of cabins are external with either a window or a porthole, and the ships’ restaurants, lecture theatres and lounges are warm and cosy.
All ships are accompanied by a sturdy, inflatable fleet of Zodiac boats. These small vessels fit 10–12 people and are used to transfer passengers from the ship to the shore. Essential to all polar voyages, they’re also used to navigate closer to the ice get up close to marine life.
These two types of ships serve different purposes. An ice-strengthened ship is made of and reinforced by steel and used to navigate waters dotted with ice. Most of the ships that cruise to Antarctica and the Arctic are ice-strengthened ships. Icebreakers are used if there is a reason to break ice free, such as for trade routes and patrols. They have heavier fuel consumption and run by gas turbines or a nuclear generator.
Basic toiletries are provided in the ensuite of your room such as soap, shower gel and shampoo.
Yes, hair dryers are available in all rooms on all polar trips.
Yes. A licensed doctor and emergency doctor is assigned to every ship.
Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access on all ships. Some ships have lifts but only gives access to some parts of the ship. There are often stairways and passengers need to be mobile enough to keep themselves steady and be able to get around reasonably without being assisted. We can help you to identify whether this trip is right for you.
There is a designated outdoor space for smoking on each ship.
Wi-Fi is available on most ships at a cost and is not as reliable as a land connection. There is often a communal laptop where you can log in, but coverage is intermittent and not to be relied on. This is all part of the adventure of venturing into such remote regions, of course. There is a satellite phone available in the case of an emergency.
Yes, all cabins have power outlets. Refer to your pre-departure information for what type of adaptor is needed. A good tip is to take a power board so you can plug in everything you need to.
Yes. There is a laundry service on every ship.
No, a satellite phone is available for emergencies only.
Yes. There is a number to call the ship and you can purchase data for the Wi-Fi onboard, although the connection is intermittent and not to be relied on.
The currency varies from US to EU, depending on the ship and destination. Major credit cards are accepted on all ships but it is recommended to take a small amount of cash. Refer to your pre-departure information for more detail.
No. You will need to come prepared with local currency for any purchases made off the ship. Refer to your pre-departure information for more detail.
Major credit cards are accepted on all ships. Refer to your pre-departure information for information on currencies accepted onboard.
Yes, all ships are equipped with life jackets. You will wear a life jacket every time you step off the ship and into a Zodiac boat or if you choose to go kayaking.
All announcements made onboard are in English. At times there may be large groups of non-English speakers travelling with a translator. Although the crew will be from various countries and speak multiple languages, there are no translation services for individual travellers. Quark expeditions all now have a Mandarin translator.
Our Arctic tours