When you’re traveling just 600 miles south of the North Pole, you can’t take an ordinary cruise ship. That’s why tour groups exploring the waters of the high Arctic need to sail on ice-class vessels—with reinforced hulls to let it break through sea ice (in terms of strength, sea-class vessels are just one step below ice-breakers). Expedition ships in these waters should also be outfitted with special radar, sonar, and searchlights, all of which help the crew identify obstacles ahead and chart the safest sea routes.
Traveling with a small group can heighten the experience of exploring the Arctic. On Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Arctic itineraries, ships carry no more than 148 passengers each.