Top Arctic Ocean Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews &...

Arctic Ocean Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

6 Arctic Ocean trips. Compare tour itineraries from 6 tour companies. 44 reviews. 5/5 avg rating.

Small Group Arctic Ocean Tours

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Top Arctic Ocean Attractions & Experiences

Top Arctic Ocean Experiences

  • Taking a small-ship expedition cruise through Canada’s  fabled Northwest Passage
  • Exploring Svalbard (Spitsbergen), Norway’s far northern island outpost
  • Spotting whales, walruses and polar bears
  • Soaking in hot springs in volcanic Iceland
  • Sailing up close to the icebergs floating in Greenland’s scenic bays
  • Journeying to the northernmost stretch of Alaska to visit the Arctic Ocean communities of Barrow and Prudhoe Bay
  • Cruising into sparkling blue fjords
  • Visiting  Europe’s northernmost points in Norway
  • Being awestruck by the Northern Lights filling the skies with brilliant swirls of red and green

Arctic Ocean Tours & Travel Guide

Arctic Ocean Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Often called the Arctic Sea, the Arctic Ocean -- though ranking as the smallest of the world’s five oceans -- covers much of the north polar regions of the earth. Most travelers will encounter it on small-ship expeditions to Greenland, Iceland, or northern Norway, including the islands of Svalbard; on polar bear watching tours to Churchill, Canada; or perhaps on trips to Barrow, Alaska. Parts of Russia also border on the Arctic Ocean.

With much of it covered by ice throughout the year, the Arctic Ocean has traditionally proved challenging for explorers and travelers. That’s changing, as the sea ice begins to melt more rapidly each year. Ironically, the region has become more hospitable to travelers even as it faces an uncertain environmental future.

While it’s now generally recognized as one of the earth’s five oceans, the Arctic Ocean – the smallest and shallowest of the five -- was once classified as a sea, and is still regarded as such by some geographers.

Labels aside, the Arctic Ocean has long been a lure to some of the world’s great explorers, who yearned to journey to the North Pole as well as navigate the elusive “Northwest Passage” that would enable ships to sail from Europe to China atop northern Canada.

In the late 19th century, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen pioneered sea routes across the Arctic Ocean from Siberia to Svalbard aboard the Fram. In the early 20th century, another Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, was the first to sail through the Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific. And in 1969 the British explorer Wally Herbert first crossed the Arctic Ocean via surface ice, leading a dogsled expedition from Alaska to Svalbard.

It was also in the mid-20th century that submarines and icebreakers finally reached the North Pole via ocean-going vessel, first underwater and later crunching through surface ice. That ice cover, though, is seriously endangered by climate change, which is warming the Arctic at an alarming rate.

Cruising the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean borders or surrounds six countries: the United States (Alaska), Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Russia. Some of the bays and seas that help make up the Arctic Ocean are familiar names: Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, the Barents Sea, the White Sea. Others are less so, and in any event much of the land area is cold, remote, and sparsely populated.

But there is also poetic beauty in encountering deep blue icebergs floating through the ocean waters… excitement in spotting a pod of whales as they cruise through the icy seas…awe in viewing rugged landscapes shaped by millennia of harsh storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions…and a sense of traveler’s pride for journeying to foreboding remote Arctic islands and shores that few others will ever witness.

Here are some of the prime travel opportunities available via Arctic Ocean cruises and tours:

Cruise from Svalbard to Greenland via Iceland

Sailing this route through polar islands is one of the ultimate Arctic Ocean travel experiences. Figure 10 days to two weeks for the trip, but there are plenty of shorter variations that eliminate one or two of the destinations. For example, you could sail from mainland Norway to Svalbard and back, or from Denmark to Greenland, or from Iceland to Greenland, all taking you across the Arctic Ocean.   

Svalbard, a sparsely populated group of Norwegian islands situated 800 miles north of the Arctic circle and Europe’s northernmost point, is a mostly unspoiled area of glaciers, fjords, mountains, and wildlife: whales, polar bears, reindeer, walruses and many bird species.  

Iceland is known for its volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, lava fields, and glaciers, and the modern capital of Reykjavik. One of the most literate and cultured countries on earth, it manages to transform polar conditions into a kind of offbeat travelers’ wonderland.

Greenland, by far the largest of the three, has huge glaciers, picturesque fishing communities, waves of icebergs floating offshore, and is ground zero in the battle against global warming. Nuuk is the main port.

Cruise season is mostly the summer months – May to September -- when the sun shines for most or all of the 24 hour day. Cruises in May generally can’t travel as far north due to ice, but are good for wildlife viewing on ice floes (polar bears, walruses) and in the air (massive bird life).

However, due to ever-increased interest in Northern Lights viewing and extreme adventure as well, you can also find cruises that sail the Arctic in fall and winter, when you’ll encounter mostly darkness and very cold temperatures.

Of course, any of the three major Arctic Ocean destinations can be reached by plane and toured by land only.

Cruise the Northwest Passage from Atlantic to Pacific

Partially due to warming conditions in the Arctic, Northwest Passage cruises are becoming more common among expedition-style and luxury small-ship vessels as well.

These cruises sail above northern Canada and stop at ports such as Churchill in Manitoba province, known for its polar bear viewing, as well as lesser known ports, islands and bays in remote Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Shorter cruises tend to both embark and disembark in Canada, while some longer cruises leave from Greenland and go all the way to Nome, Alaska, with a stop toward the end in Point Barrow, Alaska – the northernmost spot in the U.S.

Peak season for Northwest Passage (as for all Arctic cruises) is July and August.

Arctic Ocean Reviews & Ratings

5/5  Excellent
44  Reviews
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Dec 2020

Written on

you have us one of the best memories of our lives.

"We were under Nico, and our driver Kaitsu. our trip to Lapland was truly an adventure to remember. Accommodation was fantastic, it was Panimo cottage house, comfort...



Dec 2020

Written on

one of the best experiences of my life!

I just finished my trip to Lapland and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. Our guide Pepe was great and made every experience fun as well as...



Nov 2020

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Thumbs up!

Lapland - Saariselkä was calling! Timetravels gave us a wonderful time by planning everything perfectly. All the additional activities we had booked were perfectly t...



Oct 2020

Written on

I would definitely recommend

"I just came back from the trip to Lapland and it was amazing. Both our tour guide and our bus driver were very nice and humorous. I really enjoyed all the activitie...



Jul 2020

Written on

One of the best trips I did yet!

"One of the best trips I did yet! I've seen so many great places in Lapland and did so many great things, like the Huskysledride, which was awsome, and Skiing Saaris...

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