Half off two small ship explorations to Arctic waters

At a nimble 345 feet in length, with a capacity to carry 120 passengers, the M/S Expedition is an ideal vessel for plying arctic waters and finding polar bears and other wildlife activity among the ice floes.

This summer, The Great Canadian Travel Company is offering the ship’s 9-day “Realm of the Polar Bear” cruise around Spitsbergen at half-price, as well as a half-price 14-day “Arctic Highlights” cruise that will take you from Spitsbergen to Greenland and Iceland.

Large outside decks offer panoramic views; new cabins are among some of the largest in the industry—all boasting an ocean-facing window or porthole and private en-suite facilities. With a focus on top-of-the-line safety, comfort and the unique demands of polar travel, the M/S Expedition is one of the world’s leading polar expedition cruise ships.

Current half-price programs (with departure dates extending into September) include “Realm of the Polar Bear,” a 9-day cruise around the far northern archipelago of Svalbard which provides close-up encounters with massive icebergs, glaciers and fjords. The archipelago is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a fine bounty of natural and historical sites. Roaming polar bears, lounging seals, grazing reindeer and colonies of birds all coexist in this harsh land. Much of this cruise will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions.

A late-season, 14-day “Arctic Highlights” cruise has scheduled stops at Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland. Sailing at the edge of the ice, the ship constantly is on the lookout for wildlife. You’ll explore this remote land and seascape not only by ship but also on foot and by Zodiac. The journey highlights the contrast and change in the Arctic environment as you travel from Spitsbergen to the east coast of Greenland and then south to Iceland, dubbed the “land of fire and ice.”

As you travel the Greenland Sea, keep an eye out for whales—orca, humpback and minke, as well as for white-beaked dolphins. As you move slowly south, direct your attention to the eastern coast of Greenland. This remote and virtually untouched landscape is home to walruses, seals, narwhals, polar bears, muskoxen, wolves, foxes, ermine, Arctic hares, lemmings and a variety of birds.

Enriching your trip are daily lectures by expedition experts. Zodiac boats get you a closer look at birdlife; guides will recommend bird-watching walks along the tundra.

“Realm of the Polar Bear” offers departure dates of July 22, 30 and August 7, 15, 23 and 31. It is priced from US$1850 per person (based on double occupancy). Included are 8 nights aboard the M/S Expedition, all meals on board ship, zodiac excursions, lecture and educational programs, and a visit to a local community or research station.

“Arctic Highlights” offers a single departure date of September 8. It is priced from US$2049 per person (based on double occupancy). Included are 13 nights aboard the M/S Expedition, all meals on board ship, zodiac excursions, a visit to a native community, and on-board naturalists.

Reservations and additional information available from The Great Canadian Travel Company, 800-661-3830, www.greatcanadiantravel.com. The URL for the Realm of the Polar Bear program is http://www.greatcanadiantravel.com/spitsbergen-polar-bear-expedition-cruise; for the Arctic Highlights cruise it is http://www.greatcanadiantravel.com/spitsbergen-greenland-iceland-expedition-cruise.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for AllThingsCruise.com. She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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