Summer is here, which has us thinking about fun ways to escape the heat. Except, we’re not thinking about a quick weekend get away to the beach to escape the hot city. Oh, no. We’re thinking about an epic adventure to try to see polar bears in their natural habitat!
We’ve got five incredible itineraries that come to mind immediately—all of them offered by one of our preferred providers. Are you ready for a polar bear adventure? Well, let’s go!
Greenland via The Maritimes
Let’s start with the one that’s most exciting to us—because we’re taking a group there! We’ve got preferred pricing and loads of extra amenities on an epic journey to Greenland via the Canadian maritime provinces. It makes not one, not two, but three ports-of-call in Greenland, including Nanortalik, which means "place of bears" in Greenlandic. On our cruise, there’s a real possibility of spotting polar bears on the offshore flow ice. Those offshore waters also teem with seals and Minke, humpback and fin whales. Ashore, brightly painted wooden houses cluster to a rocky peninsula in the harbor. Dramatic boulders dot the landscape, and mountains surround the port. (Nanortalik is well known to the world's elite rock climbers.) Ruined Viking farmsteads and ancient Inuit sites dot the surrounding countryside The port was founded 1797 as a Danish whaling station, but today, Nanortalik is a fishing port, and many people are traditional seal hunters.
We’ll be sailing with Princess Cruise Lines out of New York City, and even though our journey is a little more than two weeks, it also includes Labor Day Weekend 2020. As with all of our escorted journeys, we’ll be assembling a really fun group to travel together, on a phenomenal destination-focused itinerary, with great pricing and exclusive amenities that you’ll only be able to find by booking with Huckleberry Travel. It’s never too early to reserve space on this trip, so if you think you might be ready to put a balcony stateroom on deposit, call us now, so that we can lock it in for you.
Canadian Polar Bear Experience
Imagine watching polar bears in the wild alongside a naturalist expert from Polar Bears International, one of the world's leading organizations dedicated to protecting these amazing animals. The opportunity is yours on this six-day adventure in the vast wilderness of the Canadian Arctic. Hop in a tundra buggy and go out in search of magnificent polar bears and arctic foxes. Sit down to a picnic on the tundra. Opt to go dogsledding through the region's breathtaking landscapes on a one-of-a-kind wildlife adventure. Take a fantastic helicopter ride over the Canadian Arctic. And enjoy a historical tour including Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, Manitoba Conservation’s Polar Bear Holding Facility and the renowned Itsanitaq Inuit Museum. Weather permitting, you might even be able to see the northern lights!
Realm of the Polar Bear Expedition
Also from our preferred provider, G Adventures, we’ve got a spectactular marine journey to Svalbard—the archipelago that’s between Norway and the North Pole. For either 8 or 11 days, you could join a small-ship (no more than 134 passengers) expedition in search of polar bears. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. During these nine days, you’ll visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery, and glaciers flowing into the sea. You can spend time moving through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals. If you’re into birding, ivory gulls will be a highlight for sure. Keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches. Ice permitting, you might visit spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Shore stops will be highlighted with tiny tundra flowers. And, because you’ve got a team of naturalists on board, you’ll really have an incredible experience.
Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian Coast Adventure
Why not book an excursion on Hurtigruten—our preferred expedition cruising partner—along the Norwegian Coast. This journey heads north along the stunning fjords of the Norwegian coast, all the way around to the border of Russia. Along the way, it stops at the northernmost city in the world, Hammerfest, Norway. Hammerfest’s latitude is comparable to the northernmost parts of Siberia and Alaska. This historic town has many gravesites dating back to the Stone Age and was an important fishing and Arctic hunting settlement for a long time before it was incorporated in 1789.
It was here that the popular myth began of polar bears roaming the streets of Norway. There is usually an enormous stuffed example of this great mammal outside one of the shops, which creates a great photo opportunity. Hammerfest is also home to one chain of the UNESCO-listed Struve Geodetic Arc – a chain of survey triangulations stretching to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 1,752 miles! So, if you want to see for yourself whether polar bears actually roam the streets of Hammerfest, call us, and we’ll book this for you!
The Northwest Passage
In 2017 and 2018, luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises, one of our luxury cruise line partners, made an extraordinary arctic voyage from Alaska to the East Coast, via the Northwest Passage. The sad fact is that climate change has opened that passage to more traffic than ever before. The (slight) silver lining is that it now affords more people the opportunity to see the actual real-time effects of climate change while also exploring the stunning landscapes of the Canadian arctic, as well as Inuit culture.
Crystal didn’t make that sailing this year, but according to our sources, they’re planning to return. And another of our ultra luxury cruise partners, Seabourn, is building a special purpose-built expedition vessels to do Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and a Northwest Passage journey is on tap. These ships will set sail in 2021 and 2022, and both expedition vessels will feature an onboard crew with outstanding and well-traveled expedition teams comprised of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. During each sailing, team members will regularly interact with guests, providing keen insight to deliver a rich holistic travel experience. These fascinating, accomplished experts are also part of a program that providing in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit. Their valuable insights are offered both in formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations over meals or at leisure.
And, the ships are being build as among the most environmentally responsible crafts anywhere, using clean fuel, and the most sophisticated technology available to protect the places they visit. If you don’t already know about Seabourn, give us a call so that we can talk to you about the extraordinary value of an ultra-luxury expedition sailing.
So, there you have it. Five extraordinary destination-focused journeys where you can learn more about these magnificent animals, and the stunning landscapes they inhabit. If you’re interested in an exploration of the polar regions, let us know and we’ll hook you up!