“To me, God is cold,” says Wim Hof, the Dutch “iceman” who is making headlines preaching the health benefits of exposure to extreme cold (better focus, sleep, metabolism). He is not alone. Elite athletes regularly take post-exertion ice baths; in spas, cryotherapy is all the rage. Well, planet earth has two real world cryotherapy chambers: the Arctic and Antarctic. More ships than Shackleton could ever have imagined are now taking passengers to both, and not just to ogle glaciers and penguins through binoculars. The new vessels are enabling polar athleticism (or at least plenty of healthful physical activity).
River cruise expert Viking’s first maritime expedition ship, Viking Octantis, lets you explore Antarctica and the Arctic with skis, snowshoes, and trekking poles.
When Seabourn Venture sets sail in the Arctic this July, excursions around the Svalbard Archipelago, the world’s northernmost bit of inhabited land, will take place above water (sea kayaks, Zodiacs) and below (scuba diving and even a sub-marine”).
Aurora Expeditions’ Sylvia Earle will have you ski-touring alpine bowls, ice-climbing glaciers, and snorkeling Antarctica’s frigid waters. (Shackleton would surely have abstained.)
Late last year, Ponant launched the first passenger ship able to reach the true geographic North Pole, a luxury hybrid electric vessel called Le Commandant Charcot, tricked out with Bond-style toys including a hovercraft for spying on polar bears and breaching minke whales. (Plus: two Ducasse restaurants, an indoor saltwater pool with a current for swimming laps in place, and a snow room with fresh powder—to get colder still.)
The new National Geographic Resolution, from Lindblad, and its sister ship, Endurance, offer plant-based menus, ocean-view yoga studios, and on-board glass-domed igloos for sleeping under the polar stars.
If all this makes you feel the call of the cold, but you’d rather not endure the Drake Passage crossing to Antarctica, Silversea’s Silver Explorer has a fly/cruise program— just fly over it. In business class. And board the ship in Antarctica.
T&C Tip: For unbiased advice on the best expedition boat for you, and to book your polar cruise, contact Ashton Palmer of Expedition Trips, Ashton@ExpeditionTrips.com.
This story appears in the April 2022 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
You Might Also Like