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Cruise Lines International Association

Explore polar opposites aboard ship: Cruise vessels take travelers to the ends of the earth

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) ships transport travelers across the seven seas…

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) ships transport travelers across the seven seas to every continent – including the North and South poles. While not ideal destinations for sunbathing on deck, the Arctic region, north of the Arctic Circle, and the Antarctic Peninsula, due south, are perfect for adventurous souls who yearn to see and experience the beauty and spectacle of the world`s most remote and unspoiled destinations.

Most cruise ships cross the Arctic Circle during the summer months, sailing from Scandinavian and Northern European ports to the region`s vast forests, dramatic fjords, and crashing waterfalls, bathed in the eerie light of the Midnight Sun. Just up the coast is the North Cape, Europe`s northernmost point, with breathtaking views towards the Barents Sea and the polar north.

Antarctic cruises are offered from December through March. Sailing from South America`s southernmost ports, these cruises showcase the Antarctic Peninsula`s awe-inspiring icescapes and abundant wildlife. Depending on the cruise line, passengers can make landings via inflatable expedition boats, purchase optional flight-seeing tours and enjoy scenic cruising.

One of the many attributes of a cruise vacation is the chance to visit destinations that are inaccessible by any other means of transportation. Itineraries that visit Antarctica and cross the Arctic Circle enable guests to see parts of the world to which few have ever ventured, said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA – the cruise industry`s chief marketing organization and North America`s largest travel industry association based on agency membership.

The following is a listing of Antarctica and the Arctic itineraries offered by CLIA-member cruise lines in 2005 and 2006:


Queen Elizabeth 2 passengers cross the Arctic Circle when she sails from Reykjavic to Akureyri on her 14-night Northern Lights cruise to Norway and Iceland, departing July 30, 2005, from Southampton. Meanwhile, her big sister – Queen Mary 2 – will be the largest liner in the world to cruise around South America when she visits on two 12-day Cape Horn & Chilean Fjords voyages – departing January 27 and March 22, 2006. Passengers can appreciate Antarctica`s scenic wonders on optional flightseeing excursions.


Crystal Symphony sails from Copenhagen on a 12-day North Cape & Norwegian Fjords cruise that crosses the Arctic Circle in late June to call at Honningsvag, the gateway to the North Cape plateau, Europe`s northernmost promontory. Five 11-day summer Baltic itineraries offer the option of private jet excursions into Finland`s legendary Lapland to tread upon the Arctic Circle. In 2006, Crystal Serenity will mark some of summer`s longest days with a new Arctic cruise that travels as far north as Spitsbergen.


In 2005 and 2006, the line`s Rotterdam and Prinsendam offer passengers the opportunity to view Antarctica`s magnificent icescapes via scenic cruising of Elephant, Deception and Anvers (Palmer Station) islands, Hope Bay (Esperanza Station) and Lemaire and Neumayer channels. However, there will be no landings on the Antarctic Peninsula. Meanwhile, both ships also cross the Arctic Circle, Rotterdam on her 12-day cruise June 20, 2005 and Prinsendam on a 21-day voyage May 21, 2006. Voyages feature renowned geologists, naturalists and biologists.


Norwegian Coast Voyage offers both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. From June through August 2005, passengers cruise under the Midnight Sun exploring Spitsbergen`s Arctic landscapes and abundant wildlife on eight-day cruises aboard MS Nordstjernen or 11 days on MS Polar Star. All the company`s Arctic programs feature naturalist guides and Zodiac landings. From November 2005 through March 2006, MS Nordnorge and MS Nordkapp showcase the magnificent glaciers, icescapes and abundant wildlife of Antarctica on expeditions, with lecturers and PolarCirkel boat landings.


Marco Polo crosses the Arctic Circle and winds its way to the North Cape on 17-day North Cape & Fjords CruiseTours, departing July 12 and August 14. For the 2005/2006 Austral summer Orient Lines` flagship will return to Antarctica for her 11th consecutive season with six voyages. Marco Polo uniquely combines the comforts and amenities of a midsize liner with an ice-strengthen hull, an outstanding team of naturalist guides and shore landings on the Antarctic Peninsula via Zodiac expedition boats.


Sea Princess offers scenic cruising of Magdalena Fjord and Spitsbergen on a 14-day North Cape voyage, departing June 18, 2005. In the Southern Hemisphere, a 21-day itinerary from Rio to Santiago, Chile, aboard Regal Princess, departing Jan. 8, 2006, combines South American cities with seaside resorts, the Falkland Islands and Chilean fjords. However, the highlight of the itinerary is four days of scenic cruising around Antarctic landmarks, including Esperanza Station, Antarctic Sound, Gerlache Strait, and Elephant, Sigma and Deception islands.


The 490-guest, all-suite Seven Seas Navigator will sail the Arctic Circle in June and July with a series of four Top of the World voyages. In January 2006, the Explorer II will offer two 11-night expeditions to Antarctica, roundtrip from Ushuaia. Highlights of the voyages include glacier landings via inflatable Zodiac boats, lead by a distinguished expedition team. The world`s top-rated expedition ship features an ice-strengthened hull and a casually intimate ambiance with its number of guests limited to 198.


In December 2005, passengers aboard Silver Cloud will have the opportunity to experience the majesty of Antarctica on two 16-day voyages between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, Chile. An optional overland excursion from the port of Punta Arenas, Chile, will transport travelers by air to the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Station – a Chilean meteorological center – where they will trek to a lookout for a chance to get up-close and personal with three species of penguins, plus elephant, Weddell and Antarctic fur seals.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.