This All-inclusive Cruise Will Take You to the Actual Top of the World

Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent will take you to the actual North Pole in 2024 — here are the deets.

The exterior of the Nordpol Ponant North Pole Expedition Cruise

Steffen Graupner

Iconic luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent (or A&K) is gearing up for an incredible adventure next year: it will take a maximum of 199 guests to the top of the world next July, aboard an ice-breaking expedition ship heading to the geographic North Pole.

The Nordpol Ponant North Pole Expedition Cruise sailing through icy water

Steffen Graupner

Though A&K has hinted about the trip, the company has now unveiled all the details on its North Pole Expedition Cruise, an 18-day odyssey that starts in Oslo, Norway, on July 10, 2024. From the jumping off point, guests will fly north to Longyearbyen, in Svalbard, Norway, to board Le Commandant Charcot, a luxury expedition vessel operated by Ponant and accompanied, on this sailing, by A&K’s own expedition team. 

From there, passengers and crew will “continue north toward the marginal ice zone, or MIZ, a far-flung Arctic realm of elusive blue, rorqual, and beluga whale,” according to a statement A&K released to Travel + Leisure. Over the next few days, the expedition ship will churn through the waves and ice, keeping watch for polar bears and other wildlife.

“We have taken what not too long ago was a long, arduous expedition, and transformed it into a luxury adventure,” says Stefanie Schmudde, A&K’s vice president of product development and operations, in the statement.

Passengers can spend the sea days engaged with “hands-on scientific research projects, visits to the ship’s lab and bridge, stargazing sessions, seamanship and polar survival workshops, cooking demonstrations, and photo contests,” according to A&K.

Not that the ship lacks creature comforts. T+L contributor Stanley Stewart was aboard Commandant Charcot recently, on a trip to Antarctica, and described life aboard:

“Between shore landings, there were fine meals at the ship’s two restaurants, one an expansive buffet, the other à la carte, overseen by the French chef Alain Ducasse. There were concerts and spa appointments, films and yoga classes and talks in the theater given by the specialists who led our shore excursions — naturalists, marine biologists, photographers, historians, ornithologists, hiking guides. In the spa there was a sauna; on the ninth deck were two swimming pools — one indoor, one outdoor — and heated seats for sitting out in the sun. In the evenings, cocktails and Champagne were served in the two lounges, where a pianist played Chopin before dinner and jazz afterward.”

Not a bad way to spend five days at sea. Still, the prize of reaching 90-degrees north is the goal for the expedition. Once there, guests on the A&K trip will have the chance to step off the ship and onto rarified territory. 

“After overnighting at the top of the world, and finding a nearby floe suitable for a gangway landing onto the ice’s surface, guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime photo op and perhaps — if willing — a polar plunge,” according to A&K.

The pool and lounge areas on board the Nordpol Ponant North Pole Expedition Cruise

Olivier Blaud/Courtesy of Ponant

The return trip to the island of Spitsbergen, in Svalbard, affords more opportunity for relaxation — or hands-on citizen science with the expedition team. As Stewart experienced on his journey aboard the Commandant Charcot, there’s always something on: “In the two onboard labs, a team of scientists gather real-time data about the polar regions to relay to research centers like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the French National Center for Scientific Research," he reports. "Guest scientists are also invited on cruises: during our trip, a group from the University of Toronto was monitoring microplastics, sweeping the ocean for samples on each of our shore excursions.”

Newly announced, all-inclusive rates for the 2024 expedition start at $47,995 per person.

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