The ultimate polar wilderness adventure awaits. Discover the world’s last untamed wilderness, a frozen kingdom where pristine icebergs illuminate the ocean and orca, fogbound cliffs reveal Arctic fox and polar bears roam.

Small Ship Luxury Cruises helps to pair you with the perfect small ship or river cruise destination. With our extensive knowledge and experience traveling around the globe, we categorize the best in cruises by season as well as popularity. While we may recommend peak travel opportunities, our team can accommodate any request to travel abroad year-round.


Luxury Arctic Small Ship Cruises

The ultimate polar wilderness adventure awaits. Watch as majestic icebergs drift past, walruses and beluga whales play in the cold waters and polar bears hunt on uninhabited shores through the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and Iceland. Travel to remote UNESCO World Heritage sites, where time stands still among the midnight sun, glaciers, and wild tundra.

Recommended Luxury Artic Small Ships

We have hand-selected only the finest Arctic vessels with the highest standards of personalized service as the basis for crafting your custom-designed Arctic experience.

Luxury Arctic Adventures

Puffin ion an Arctic Cruise

Arctic Bucket-list adventures

Polar bears, walruses, narwhals, muskoxen, and beluga whales are the Arctic’s big five. Polar bears are the top predators of the Arctic seas, thriving in Greenland, Wrangle Island, and Franz Josef Land in Canada and Russia. Walruses move in herds along the Arctic coast to hunt clams and mussels. Narwhals are sometimes called unicorns because of their long tusks. Mammoths and Musk ox roamed together during the Ice Age on Wrangel Island in Russia’s far east.

The Northern Lights are the world’s biggest light show. The best possibilities are between September and April, around the “Aurora belt,” which is similar to the Arctic Circle. The belt spans Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland, and Norway. The lights are brightest and most regular along the Arctic’s edge, not further north. The Northern Lights are greatest in winter when the skies are dark enough to see the ethereal flashing.

90 degrees north of the equator is the North Pole, the most extreme point on our planet. It’s a place few have been able to visit but today it is more accessible than ever before with comfortable and expedient expeditions. Get up close and personal with the ice caps, polar bears, and other animals of the Arctic tundra, as well as experience the pristine beauty of an environment untouched by humans for millennia.

Discover the heart of Inuit culture by visiting Greenland, a country where less than half of its population speaks Danish as their first language. From the capital city of Nuuk to the developing town of Ittoqqortoormiit, this country offers a glimpse into a more traditional way of life. Take a dog-sledding tour in spring or summer and learn about traditional hunting techniques from local hunters, or stay overnight with locals in one of the many guesthouses along the shoreline, where you’ll still be able to see whales swimming off in the distance.

Best times to visit the Arctic

The best time to visit the Arctic is during the peak summer months, between June and September. Wildlife emerges from hibernation and gathers around their terrestrial feeding sites before migrating south. With less ice, Svalbard and Franz Josef Land are suitable destinations for individuals seeking adventure.


June and July are ideal months to see Arctic wildlife, especially the polar bear. Ice and snow are still there, but wildlife is becoming active again, with several whale species returning from warmer waters. Polar bears and walruses hunt on the ice edge. Birds return to nest on cliffs. The sun shines at midnight.

Experience the Arctic when it is most alive. A window of opportunity during its brief summer, it is a time of the year that makes travel in the Arctic an unparalleled adventure. The tundra flowers are in bloom, the ice has receded to reveal the islands of Svalbard, and the midnight sun glows. Reindeer move into prepared breeding grounds and fish become plentiful in the sheltered waters.

The brief summer season is drawing to a close, but it is still possible to visit the Arctic before the sun sets for the year. At the end of August, you’ll have your first chance to see the Northern Lights in Greenland and Spitsbergen. During this time, the sun will be lower but not completely set, resulting in spectacular Arctic sunsets. As birds begin their southward migration, bird watching can be spectacular.

Why cruise the Arctic with Small Ship Luxury Cruises?

We get to know you on a personal level so that we can accommodate your preferences, needs, and expectations before we begin planning your ideal Alaskan experience.

We work with only the finest Alaskan ships with the highest levels of personalized service. From there, we listen to what you desire and use our insider knowledge to make the best fit for you and your guests.

Our experienced travel concierges plan your Alaskan adventure from beginning to end, eliminating the time investment and stress so often associated with planning a vacation to a destination as complicated as Alaska.

Just tell our Alaskan concierges about your dream trip to Alaska and they will assist you with planning every detail of the process.

While Small Ship Luxury Cruises helps you discover the best cruise destinations, our team of travel concierges can coordinate a completely customized itinerary to the Arctic to accommodate any request. If you don’t see a particular destination or activity highlighted on our website, don’t worry! We would be happy to work with you in curating your one-of-a-kind travel experience.

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