Arctic Cruise Cost: A Detailed Guide

Arctic cruise cost

Planning your expedition cruise to the Arctic is an exciting and incredibly rewarding venture. However, because of the remoteness and high operating expenses, Arctic cruise costs are not cheap.

Sadly, the cruise itself is not the only cost and there are often little (and big) costs associated with an Arctic cruise that people forget to factor in to their budget.

So, in an attempt to be as transparent as possible, we have listed all the financial aspects of an Arctic cruise that you need to take into consideration before booking. We have broken down each cost into separate sections and give a total at the bottom.

We understand that there are numerous itineraries and destinations out there and budgets can vary considerably. However, we have done our best below to budget for research, expedition and luxury budgets.

We would also recommend not basing your itinerary choice purely on budget as spending a little extra will often get you a lot more in terms of activities and wildlife encounters.

Get a Cruise Quote!

Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

​Arctic Cruise Cost

The main consideration when budgeting for your Arctic cruise costs is, of course, the cruise itself. As mentioned above, Arctic cruises don't come cheap and this will certainly be the major cost of your trip.

There are literally hundreds of Arctic cruise itineraries and deciding upon the right one can seem a little daunting. The best advise we can give is to decide what you want to get out of your cruise and go from there. Do you want landscape photography, nature, history, adventure?

Deciding this will narrow your search considerable. We have put together a comprehensive guide on choosing the right Arctic cruise just for this purpose.

One thing to bear in mind though is that all food, accommodation and non-achoholic drinks are covered once you board your ship. This does reduce your costs significantly compared to a standard holiday.

Another element to consider is what level of cruise you want. There are essentially three types; research, expedition and luxury. Many operators do the same itineraries in varying vessels which has a major impact on price. Below we discuss each.

Research vessels

At the lower end of the arctic cruise market are the research vessels. These vessels are no longer used as research boats and have been converted into cruise ships. The interiors are basic, but they get the job done. Because they're generally quite small, research vessels actually make more shore landings on average and can sail into smaller harbours. you also get a real sense of being on an expedition onboard these rugged vessels.

Prices start around $2,000 and go upwards to about $7,000 depending upon itinerary and region. The average price is around $4,000.

Expedition ships

Expedition ships are exceptionally popular as they provide you with comfortable and well appointed living quarters whilst also giving you that sense of adventure. Often quite small ships, expedition cruises make almost as many shore landings as research vessels and offer a wide array of activities.

Prices start around $3,000 and go upwards to about $10,000 depending upon itinerary and region. The average price is around $6,000.

Luxury cruis​​​​e

​Luxury Arctic cruises are the pinnacle and offer exemplary service and comfort at all times. Expect to find numerous restaurants, jacuzzis, steam rooms, gyms and well appointed lounge rooms and libraries. This luxury does not come cheap though and luxury cruises are often far bigger, meaning longer waiting times for shore landings and fewer stops.

Prices start around $7,000 and go upwards to about $30,000 depending upon itinerary and region. The average price is around $10,000.

arctic cruise cost

​Flight Costs

Because the vast majority of Arctic cruises visit remote locations, getting flights to the embarkation port can often be expensive. This of course varies considerably depending where you're coming from and what itinerary you have chosen.

For example, if you're planning on taking a cruise around Svalbard then you will need to land in Longyearbyen. From the UK you will need to budget around $500, whereas from the US you will need to budget around $1,500.

Many cruises, such as Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard depart from Iceland's capital Reykjavik which is far more accessible and will cost UK travellers less than $200 and US travellers less than $600.

Some, more expensive cruises, such as the North Pole expedition requires you to reach Helsinki, but then also book your chapter flight to Murmansk in Russia. This is similar to the Northwest Passage cruise that requires you to book a charter flight from Ottawa or Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq. Whilst not super expensive, charter flights are certainly another budget factor if required.

In general, we recommend budgeting at least a $1,000 for flights per person. Especially as you will have no leeway regarding flight dates - you will have to simply book your flights in conjunction with the cruise dates.

Remember, the cruise operator or specialist you book with should be able to provide you with detailed instructions on the flights and best route available for reaching your embarkation point. 

arctic cruise cost

​Gear and Clothing

Having the right gear and clothing in the Arctic is super important as the weather is often freezing, windy and drizzly. Therefore, having the right gear will make a huge difference to your enjoyment of the trip.

Layering up is the key to success. This way you can add or remove layers depending on whether your in the ship, on deck or on land. We recommend taking at least 4 layers; base layer, shirt, fleece and waterproof jacket. You'll also want some good waterproof boots, thermal socks, gloves and a beanie.

Whilst not a requirement, bringing a camera, head torch and a good pair of binoculars will add extra value and enjoyment to your Arctic cruise.

Budgeting for clothing and gear can vary significantly depending on what equipment you already own and the quality of clothing you buy. Whilst you can save money by purchasing cheap clothing, it won't last as long. We suggest budgeting around $500 for clothing.

Please click here for detailed information on Arctic clothing and a full packing list. Or, if you would prefer, we have provide a specific packing list within each of our region guides.

Extra Activities

All expedition Arctic cruises offer some exceptional added activities when onboard. These activities are always amazingly fun and rewarding experiences. If anyone is unsure whether to book an extra activity, our advise is always yes!

Optional activities include adventures such as sea kayaking (offered on most expedition cruises), dog sledding, camping, scuba diving and many more. You can even book a hot air ballon ride over the North Pole! Hiking and shore landings are almost always included in the cruise price.

Optional activities range in price. Kayaking is generally around $600 extra, whilst paddle boarding is considerably cheaper. We advise to set aside around $750 per person for an optional activity.

Get a Cruise Quote!

Expedition Cruise do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.


Travel insurance is mandatory on all Arctic cruises and you won't be allowed onboard without proof of cover. Whilst this may sound like an annoyance, your safety should be the highest priority, particularly when travelling to remote regions.

Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per paying passenger is included in the most Arctic cruises. However, this does not cover trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. You are also not covered for anything before embarkation and after disembarkation.

Travel insurance is therefor another budget consideration that cannot be ignored. You should expect to pay in the region of $250 per person. Once again, this depends on where you sail and for how long.

We also recommend following the AECO guidelines and your guides when ashore. 

Please see our detailed page on Arctic cruise travel insurance here.

arctic cruise cost 4

​Miscellaneous costs

With all cruises there are a number of miscellaneous expenses to consider prior to booking. Whilst cruise companies try to be as transparent as possible, these little expenses can often upset travellers who weren't expecting them. Below we have budgeted each cost per person.

Passport and visa expenses: Government arrival and departure taxes are rarely expensive, but can sometimes be surprising. Budget $50.

Transportation: Cost to and from the airport are generally not covered in your cruise price. Budget $50.

Hotel costs: If you arrive earlier or later than your scheduled departure dates, you may have to pay for an extra night hotel stay. Budget $100

Drinks: Water, tea, coffee are always included as standard. However, if you want any soft drinks or alcoholic drinks then you will need to pay for them. Some luxury cruises include everything. Budget $200.

Laundry: Laundry costs are very rarely included and you should expect to do at least one wash. Budget $10.

Tips: It is customary to tip the cruise staff after the trip. The general rule is around $20 per day. This gets dispersed between all the staff. For a standard 12 day trip budget $250.

​​Total Budget

The below budgets are an average only and include 1 activity.

Remember, the earlier you book, the cheaper your flights will be and the more time you will have to search for good-priced clothing, travel insurance and extras.

Lowest Possible Budget


Research Ship Budget


Expedition Ship Budget


​Luxury Cruise Budget



If you have any queries or questions regarding Arctic cruise costs, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.

Thank you and happy travels!

Expedition Cruise Team

Tags: Arctic cruise cost, cruise cost Arctic, how much does an Arctic cruise cost, is an Arctic cruise expensive

About the Author Burnham Arlidge

Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has cruised to some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet.

Leave a Comment: