Why cold-weather cruises are getting more popular


When you think of cruise vacations, you most likely imagine pulling into balmy ports, piña colada in hand, right?

But, a new cruise travel trend is emerging — and it requires packing a puffy jacket and paying a higher premium than you would if you were sailing away to the Caribbean. As it turns out, the cruise industry is investing in smaller, high-end ships that are equipped to take passengers into wild and extreme arctic climates rather than tropical islands, according to Bloomberg.

Today’s most elite passengers are snubbing the tropics and instead opting to see Antarctica, the Arctic and anywhere there are glaciers and beluga whales.


But seeing penguins and polar bears from the cozy confines of a cruise ship cabin costs a pretty penny.

For example, a 19-day cruise on Australian line Scenic that ventures to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands to watch whales and see king penguin colonies starts at about $19,295. The 228-passenger luxury cruise ship, which limits its Arctic trips to 200 passengers, has a six-seat submarine and two helicopters, plus an indoor pool and meditation room.

Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury adventure travel company, offers an “Arctic Cruise Adventure: In Search of the Polar Bear.” The 15-day cruise starts at $15,995 and passengers are on board with an expedition team that includes a dedicated photo coach, historian, geologist, ornithologist, botanist, marine biologist and other experts.

arctic tourist photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

While Alaskan cruises have long been on the bucket lists of many (and are relatively more affordable than these Arctic expeditions), the trend of sailing to remote, far-off lands seems to be driven by the sense of exclusivity.

“Experience, that’s become the currency,” Rick Meadows, president of the cruise line Seabourn, told Bloomberg. “People want stories to tell their friends and family — to say, ‘We went to Greenland and saw all these things’ to a room full of people who have not had that experience.”

Which vacation would you prefer, a cold-water adventure cruise or a warm-weather escape?

Science & Nature, Travel

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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more.

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