News and Polar Info

COVID-19 Update

We hope everyone is healthy and practicing “social distancing” or better yet “distance socializing” - keeping in touch with family, friends and neighbors via social media, text, email, and telephone. No one should be completely isolated during these difficult times.

Since each ship operator has different terms & conditions for their voyages we are not able to post current policies for cancellations and/or transferring bookings to future dates. Those of you who booked your trip through Polar Cruises we will notify you via email about your specific trip as we receive updates.

Many of the Arctic 2020 voyages are still scheduled to operate, but should that change we will update the trips on our website and notify our clients directly.

For those booked on trips from Oct 2020 and beyond please be patient as it is too far out to know the status of those trips.

Our office remains open, but will be on shorter hours. Please see our Contact Us page for more information.

Stay healthy and safe as we navigate through this pandemic.

All the best,
The Polar Cruises Team

 

Differences between Antarctica and the Arctic Regions

Antarctica is the southern polar region, and the Arctic is the northern polar region. Polar regions have extremely cold, harsh climates that require plants and animals to adapt in interesting ways.

What’s the key difference between the regions? Antarctica is a continent surrounded by ocean, while the Arctic is an ocean almost completely surrounded by land. 

Arctic ice is typically thicker than Antarctica ice (6 - 10 ft and in some places 12-15 ft). However, with water under it, some of the water’s heat escapes through the ice. Even in winter, some of the ice breaks up and releases ocean heat to warm the air. The Arctic receives relatively warm water from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

Most of Antarctica is covered by a few thousand feet of ice – though there is some geothermal heat beneath the ice, that heat can’t escape. The Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica, and winds from its strong storms help create an ocean current that circles the continent. This reduces the amount of warm water that reaches the land. The result? The Antarctic region is colder than the Arctic.

Antarctica Arctic
Continent surrounded by water Ocean surrounded by continents & Greenland
2% ice free Limited land ice
Sea ice mainly annual, salty, and less than 2 meters thick (6 ½ ft.) Sea ice mainly multi-year, low in salinity and more than 2 meters thick (6 ½ ft.)
Marine mammals (whale and seal); no terrestrial mammals Terrestrial mammals (reindeer, wolf, musk ox, hare, lemming, fox); marine mammals (whale, seal, polar bear, walrus)
Penguins & less than 20 bird species More than 100 bird species
Lichens About 90 flowering plant species