Spotting a seal hunting for its prey or a whale breaching for the first time is incredible – an experience that is amplified tenfold when you’re at eye level kayaking through polar waters. Carve your way past gleaming ice and get up close to marine life following the lead of an experienced guide.

How it works

After being organised into small groups, climb aboard a Zodiac boat and set off from the ship towards calm waters within close range (with kayaks in tow). Each kayaking expedition generally runs between two and four hours. The weather plays a role in the number of excursions we operate but, when the weather is right, kayaking will be offered. The number of opportunities to kayak also depends on your itinerary and trip duration.

All equipment is provided on this adventure activity. Having some kayaking experience is essential.

How to book

Kayaking can be booked at any time prior to disembarkation but we recommend booking earlier to avoid disappointment. Simply ask our team at the time of booking and they’ll be able to assist.

Kayaking is offered on most Arctic and Antarctic voyages, spaces are limited and participants require some kayaking experience including the ability to do a wet exit. All equipment, guides and instruction is provided. The minimum age for participants is 16 years. 

Group capacity and kayak information

Each group excursion involves up to 16 participants. The kayaks are chosen for their stability and the brands we use vary depending on which vessel you are travelling on.

Clothing and equipment

A dry suit is provided for every participant. If you bring your own suit, it must be checked by the kayaking guide before the activity begins to ensure it is safe. You will be briefed as to what layers to wear under your dry suit before undertaking the excursion.

Safety precautions

All participants must carefully follow the guide’s instructions. Detailed information will be provided before the excursion and all participants are required to sign a waiver. You will need to verify that your travel and medical insurance covers kayaking. You will be under the trustworthy supervision of a minimum of one cold-water kayak instructor and a safety Zodiac will always be close by.

Day paddle excursions

If you are unsure about committing to the full kayaking programme, some voyages also offer the opportunity to take part in a single kayaking excursion. These excursions use inflatable ‘sit on top’ kayaks. No previous kayaking experience is necessary to participate in a day paddle excursion.

Participants will be provided with a dry suit and floatation device, and will be accompanied by an experienced guide and safety Zodiac. These excursions can be pre-booked, but there may be the opportunity to book onboard if weather conditions allow for additional kayak opportunities. Unfortunately these spots cannot be guaranteed.


Led by expert guides aboard purpose-built ships, our Polar adventures take you from the ‘everyday’ to the ends of the Earth. Browse our Polar itineraries here.