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Journey to the Arctic Ice

Updated 10.01.2017

Boomer travel - bucket list trips - Stand on Arctic ice during a luxury expedition cruise with Silversea. It's a dream vacation to remember.

Standing on Arctic ice.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with cruising to the edge of the Arctic ice pack. Several years ago, Alan and I almost made it during a cruise to Norway and beyond. But 30 minutes away from the ice pack’s edge, our cruise ship had to turn around for a medical emergency that would save a passenger’s life.

Fast-forward to an Arctic cruise on a Silversea expedition where the itinerary includes one full day to prowl the edges of the Arctic ice. It’s a thrill to be checking this boomer adventure off my bucket list. But I’m looking for more than ice, there’s the possibility to see polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.

Boomer travel - bucket list trip - on an Arctic cruise, you'll see ice and maybe even a polar bear. It's a fun boomer travel adventure.

Arctic Ice and water for as far as you can see.

Walking out onto Silver Explorer’s bow, I’m surrounded by gray. The water’s a dull gray with the sky colored a slightly lighter shade of gray, accented by the white chunks of ice that I’ve come so far to see. It looks like a modernist painting or a gray and white puzzle that needs to be put back together. As the ship travels north, flat patches of ice become wider, with less gray water in between. Occasionally, a smaller piece glows a glacial blue from the ice that’s underneath the water.

Boomer travel - luxury cruise - on an Arctic expedition with Silversea, looking for polar bears is part of the boomer travel fun.

Looking for polar bears.

Turning my gaze away from the white ice and back toward the ship’s decks, a sea of red parkas stands out against Silver Explorer’s white exterior. Most of the ship’s guests have donned their red Silversea jackets to watch this journey to the Arctic ice. Gazing through binoculars, cameras draped around necks, they’re on the lookout for that special blur of white—polar bears.

Looking for polar bears on the Arctic ice

When Captain Alexander Golubev spots a lone bear, expedition staff move among the guests showing us which direction to look. No outside announcements are made when wildlife is present. Squinting my eyes, I see him or her, striding along a sheet of Arctic ice.

Boomer travel - wildlife - On an Arctic expedition cruise, boomer travelers go looking for polar bear.

A polar bear as seen through Alan’s long camera lens.

Silver Explorer lingers along the ice edge, motoring in the direction that the bear is moving. I zoom my camera lens as far out as it will go. The pictures probably won’t be that good but the camera also acts as my binoculars—there are only so many pieces of equipment I can safely hang around my neck. Hopefully Alan’s big lens will capture the photo that we want. However he’s hand holding that big lens because ships aren’t the best place for using a tripod, especially on a very crowded deck.

Eventually, I let the camera drop, accept a cup of hot chocolate that the staff is handing out and simply enjoy the experience. Breathing in a big gulp of cold air, I marvel that I’m at the edge of the Arctic ice cap on a ship that’s stalking a polar bear. There’s a quiet reverence among the Silver Explorer guests as we watch the bear, whispering among ourselves, if anything at all needs to be said.

The bear marches along, sits for a moment, before getting up to stroll the ice again. Even from a distance, his huge size is impressive. And the sight will have to be enough as this is only one of three polar bears that we see cruising the Arctic on Silver Explorer.

Fun on an Ice Floe

But the Arctic ice fun isn’t over. Late in the day, Captain Gloubev finds an ice flow safe enough to allow guests to explore. After gearing up, we travel in zodiacs to the ice for our small group’s allotted 20 minutes.

Boomer travel - luxury cruise - take photos in front of the ship on a luxury expedition cruise to the Arctic ice.

Alan photographs the Taiwanese contingent of cruise guests.

Reverence turns to a party atmosphere as guests pose on the ice in front of the ship. We snap photo after photo in the softening afternoon light before exploring the ice floe, following red flags that delineate the safe zone.

It’s one of those boomer travel adventures where I can’t stop smiling. I made it to the Arctic ice. And unlike explorers before me who traveled in cramped boats, feeling every inch of the journey as the cold settled into their bones, I arrive in Silversea-style, my favorite combination of luxury and adventure.

Boomer travel - bucket list trips - the beautiful Arctic ice on a dream vacation on Silver Explorer. What an amazing boomer travel experience.

A late afternoon view of the Arctic ice.

I turn to Alan.

“I’m walking on Arctic ice!”

Alan walks over, puts his arm around me, and we silently watch a cold looking sun reflected in the blue water of a glacial pond.

We’re making memories on a sheet of ice in the Arctic.

Curious about this adventure? Read more about our Arctic cruise on Silversea.

Have you cruised the Arctic ice? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

Disclosure: Affiliate links included for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet receives a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

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