If you’ve ever fantasized about what it would be like to visit the North Pole — home to Santa’s (mythical) workshop and lots of (very real) polar bears — you don’t have to wonder anymore.
Abercrombie & Kent is launching a new cruise for adventurous travelers who’ve always wanted to stand on top of the world. Aptly named “The Ultimate Frontier” itinerary, the company’s North Pole expedition cruise will set sail on July 10, 2024.
Why July? For the Northern Hemisphere, that’s the middle of the summer, which means the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean should be slightly easier for the ship, the Le Commandant Charcot, to break through on its quest to reach 90 degrees North, the North Pole’s latitude. (Fun fact: Also during this time, the sun never sets in the Arctic, meaning you’ll get to experience what’s known as “the midnight sun,” or 24 hours of daylight!)
Travelers will meet in Oslo, the capital of Norway, before boarding a charter flight across the Norwegian Sea to Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world. Longyearbyen is situated on a Norwegian-governed archipelago known as Svalbard, which is famous for having more polar bears than people. Here, you’ll board the Le Commandant Charcot and set sail, charting a northward course through the archipelago’s islands.
For the next five days, the vessel will meander its way through the Arctic sea ice, using sophisticated onboard technology to find the path of least resistance (though the vessel is technically an “icebreaker,” it’s better if it can instead find natural channels or very thin layers of ice, when possible).
Though the timing depends on the weather and other factors, cruises can expect to reach the geographic North Pole by around July 18 or July 19. The captain will undertake the very challenging task of positioning the ship at exactly 90 degrees North latitude — which is no easy feat. But when the ship inevitably does reach the North Pole, you can bet there’ll be a champagne toast. And, the next day, crew members will set up a safe landing zone for guests to walk out onto the ice, post for a picture and, if they’re feeling courageous, even do a polar plunge.
Then, the ship will turn around and make the return voyage back to Longyearbyen. All told, the cruise lasts 18 days.
You might be wondering: What will everyone be doing while the ship is painstakingly making its way north over the course of nearly a week? Plenty, actually. Onboard the luxury ship, experts will give lectures and presentations on everything from sea ice to polar survival tactics. Guests will also have plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind in the spa, take a dip in one of the pools and indulge in decadent cuisine.
There will also be cooking classes, guided stargazing activities, photo competitions and other engaging past times.
Of course, many travelers will find themselves glued to the scenery passing by outside the ship, keeping their eyes peeled for seals, polar bears, whales and tons of birds.
Journeying all the way to the North Pole isn’t easy, especially doing so in such luxury. As such, this cruise comes with a hefty price tag: $47,995. But can you really put a price tag on the trip of a lifetime? And, since there are no shopping malls at the North Pole, at least you won’t be tempted to spend any more money while you’re there.
Would you ever consider going to the North Pole?