The Arctic is the northernmost part of Earth. This region is an ocean sheltered by a layer of perpetual sea ice, surrounded by parts of the United States (Alaska), Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Northern Canada, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. Water enters the Arctic Circle from both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
We offer Arctic expeditions to Greenland, Northern Norway, Svalbard, Iceland, North Pole, Russian Arctic, and Canadian Arctic!
Around 14.5 million square km (5.5 million square miles) in size. Remarkably similar in size to Antarctica.
Note: the Arctic is a body of water surrounded by land, while Antarctica is a continent surrounded by water.
The climate in the Arctic region consists of long, cold winters and short, cool summers. During the Arctic travel season, June to September, our cruises take advantage of the longer, sunlit summer days. Daylight can last over 18 hours a day, with an average high of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) and an average low of 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer.
In the winter, the average Arctic temperature is -34 degrees Celsius (-30 degrees Fahrenheit). Unsurprisingly, far below zero. During their winters, November to February, the sun lays low in the sky, or does not rise at all (0 hours of daylight).
Polar Bears –
One of the most well-known animals in the Arctic region is the polar bear. Their thick coat and black skin allow polar bears to survive the Arctic’s cold, and extreme conditions. They rely heavily on sea ice to hunt, rest, and breed. Their primary source of food are seals.
You will have a good chance of encountering a seal on your cruise, however, their ability to stay under water for prolonged periods of time can make them difficult to spot.
Another common animal in this region is the whale. Belugas, Bowheads, and narwhals are the only whales to inhabit Arctic waters year-round. Other species of whale do migrate to cool these waters during the summer (cruise season) to give birth and look for food sources.
Other Animals –
Wolves, foxes, walruses, hares, and over 100 bird species.
Around 90 flowering plants.
Antarctica is 1 of the 7 continents, found on the southernmost part of Earth, making it, geographically, the polar opposite of the Arctic. Antarctica is centered disproportionately around the South Pole and is surrounded by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These 3 oceans are often collectively referred to as the Southern Ocean.
Polar Holidays offers Antarctic expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands, the South Pole, and others!
We also offer both Flying & Cruising options!
Antarctica is around 14 million square km (5.4 million square miles) in size. Remarkably similar in size to the Arctic.
Note: Antarctica is land surrounded by water, while the Arctic is a body of water surrounded by land.
Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth and is extremely dry, averaging 166mm (6.5in) of precipitation per year. During Antarctic summers, January to February, the temperature can reach upwards 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) with almost 24 hours of daylight.
During Antarctic winters, March to October, the temperature can get as low as -80 degrees Celsius (-112 degrees Fahrenheit). The lowest natural temperature ever recorded on earth was -89.2 degrees Celsius (-128.6 degrees Fahrenheit) at the Soviet Votsok Station in Antarctica in July (mid-winter) of 1983.
Antarctica is generally colder than the Arctic.
The world is home to 17 species of penguins, but the 8 most admired reside in Antarctica (Emperor, Adelie, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Macaroni, Rockhopper, Magellanic, and King penguins). The Emperor and Adelie penguins are exclusively found on this Continent.
Antarctica is home to around 8 species of whales (Baleen, Blue, Toothed, Fin, Minke, Orca, Humpback, and Sei Whales). February to March are the best months for whale watching as they are most active in Antarctic waters during these late summer months.
You will find 6 of the 35 Seal species flourishing in Antarctica (Antarctic Fur, Leopard, Ross, Crabeater, and Weddell Seals). Majority of all seals on Earth are made up of the 6 species found in Antarctica.
Other Animals –
Less than 20 bird species, no terrestrial mammals.
Only 2 species of flowering plants: Antarctic hair grass & Antarctic pearlwort.
Ready to find your dream cruise? Have questions? Contact Polar Holidays to schedule a free consultation with one of our booking specialists today!