While the future of the cruise ship industry remains in flux due to the coronavirus crisis, deep-pocketed travelers seeking a far more exclusive getaway can charter a private expedition yacht to explore the Arctic Circle.
Luxury tour company Ariodante is hosting the Arctic journey of a lifetime aboard a 232-foot icebreaker yacht equipped with both a helicopter and submarine for the ultimate in icy exploration.
The adventurous package offers supervised swimming with orcas; polar bear, seal, walrus, humpback whale and penguin sightings; viewing majestic glaciers, tundras and mountain peaks; seeing the Northern Lights; and eating a locally-sourced, seven-course feast prepared by a private chef on Svalbard Island.
Tours on the icebreaking megayacht, dubbed Legend, will be accompanied by two expert Arctic Circle guides and a full crew with experience sailing the Arctic. Guests can use the yacht's private submarine and helicopter to explore rugged, ice-choked areas that commercial cruises simply can't reach.
Tours will start in Svalbard and can travel to virtually anywhere in the Arctic Circle, a breathtakingly beautiful region that covers the North Pole and several large islands, including Greenland and the Svalbard archipelago.
Private charters are available from July 2020 to February 2021 and the Legend can sleep up to 22 guests. The tours are aimed at wealthy travelers who want to explore the Arctic Circle and groups looking for an isolated getaway in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (Prices start at $23,450 per person per week, based on a group of 12).
'Legend' Icebreaker Yacht
An Ariodante spokesperson says all passengers and crew will be tested for COVID-19 before each trip. There will also be a dedicated “Health Manager” on every tour who will oversee extensive daily cleaning on the vessel, take everyone's temperatures daily, and is responsible for maintaining appropriate social distancing and masking standards.
A sample seven-night itinerary includes:
• Exploring Svalbard, Greenland, and the North Pole
• Opportunities to spot polar bears, walruses, seals, humpback whales, moose, musk ox, caribou, Arctic fox, wolves and Arctic seabirds
• Submarine and helicopter exploration
• Skiing and snowmobile expeditions
• Opportunity to swim with plankton-eating orcas in the Arctic waters under the supervision of whale experts (November and December only)
• Tour Arctic glaciers, including a gastronomic experience on a glacier
• View the Northern Lights (during November and December)
• A locally-sourced, seven-course dinner and spirits tasting on Svalbard Island
Onboard the 232-foot Legend, guests have access to luxe amenities including massive bedroom suites, a Balinese spa with sauna, jacuzzi, beauty salon, gym, movie theater, medical suite, and swimming pool.
Guests can also book a smaller, 143-foot Hanse Explorer icebreaker yacht that sleeps up to 12 people. For more information about booking either vessel, visit www.ariodantetravel.com.