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Arctic cruise without going in the zodiacs staying onboard


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Hi,

I am planning an Arctic cruise for May 2022 most likely n Seabourn Venture. I’m a paraplegic and will most likely not be able to use the Zodiacs (unless we switch to Ponant and even then it might be to hard. From prior experience, do you think this will still be enjoyable and will I see some wildlife? We plan to go in May when there is a better chance of seeing Polar Bears still on the ice. Any thoughts on time of year also appreciated. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I suggest you check out the Natural habitat polar bear programs in Churchill in the October to December time frame.  Fantastic polar bear viewing and its all land.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/8/2021 at 12:09 PM, JSR said:

Hi,

I am planning an Arctic cruise for May 2022 most likely n Seabourn Venture. I’m a paraplegic and will most likely not be able to use the Zodiacs (unless we switch to Ponant and even then it might be to hard. From prior experience, do you think this will still be enjoyable and will I see some wildlife? We plan to go in May when there is a better chance of seeing Polar Bears still on the ice. Any thoughts on time of year also appreciated. 

@JSR I would not do a cruise if your primary interest is seeing polar bears.  Even on an expedition vessel, which is what we sailed on two separate occasions — once to Svalbard and once to Greenland, we only ever saw a couple of bears and our sailings were for two weeks and a month, respectively.  As for other wildlife, they can be distant or close, but you may or not be able to see them well over the rim of the deck from your wheelchair.  And your access may be limited to a specific deck or decks.  The scenery will be fantastic, however.  Keep in mind that in May there will be more ice and the vessel may not be able to go everywhere it plans to.

 

Just to give you an idea ... 

 

Photos of one of our bear encounters in Svalbard are in this post ... http://2totravel.blogspot.com/2011/07/woodfjorden-there-be-bears-on-ice.html.

 

Photos of the bear we saw in Greenland are in this post ... all taken with a long lens DSLR camera ... http://2totravel.blogspot.com/2014/02/sofia-sund-and-landing-scrapped-for-bear.html

 

As someone else suggested, look into Churchill for Polar Bears.  We went with Tundra Buggy and stayed on the tundra where a viewing buggy took us around to see bears daily without having to travel in and out of town every day ... I stopped counting after 50.  Tundra Buggy or the other company might be able to accommodate your wheelchair by removing one of the benches.

 

(Photos are in this gallery if you want to check them out: https://eenusa.smugmug.com/North-America-US-Canada-Mexico/Canada/Polar-Bears-of-Churchill-Nov/Favorites-the-Eismeisters-of/)

 

 

If you really want a cruise, however, I would also check into Silversea's expedition line (Silver Expeditions, I believe).  On our Svalbard sailing, we had a woman in a wheelchair and they had the means to hoist her down to a zodiac in the wheelchair and she got private zodiac cruises with her accompanying family members.

Edited by 2552phxcrzr
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you both for your replays. I have looked into Churchill and it is more complicated then a cruise. I have not ruled it out. Since I love scenery I think I will be fine if I can see one polar bear. It was suggested by several adventure travel agents that May is the best time to see polar bears because the ice will be closer to the ship. For now we are booked on Seabourn's new ship but will check out Silversea. Amazing photographs!

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@2552phxcrzr Your photos from Churchill are amazing and are inspiring me to revisit how to make a trip there work. I have also contacted Silversea to enquire about the zodiacs. 

 

Do the zodiac excursions enhance the experience?

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6 hours ago, JSR said:

@2552phxcrzr Your photos from Churchill are amazing and are inspiring me to revisit how to make a trip there work. I have also contacted Silversea to enquire about the zodiacs. 

 

Do the zodiac excursions enhance the experience?

Absolutely.  You can get a lot closer to a lot of things in the zodiacs and you're viewing many things at eye level, instead of looking down on them.  I hope it works out.

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6 hours ago, JSR said:

Thank you both for your replays. I have looked into Churchill and it is more complicated then a cruise. I have not ruled it out. Since I love scenery I think I will be fine if I can see one polar bear. It was suggested by several adventure travel agents that May is the best time to see polar bears because the ice will be closer to the ship. For now we are booked on Seabourn's new ship but will check out Silversea. Amazing photographs!

That early in the season, the ice may also mean that the ship may not be able to go where it intends to go.  Mother Nature can be very finicky from one year to the next ... so it's always a crap shoot.

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