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What to Wear on an Arctic Cruise

The Arctic, the frozen environment at the bottom of the world, beckons adventurous travelers with its otherworldly landscapes, incredible wildlife, and the promise of unforgettable experiences. However, visiting this icy wonderland comes with a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to clothing. The extreme and ever-changing weather conditions in the Arctic demand careful consideration of your wardrobe. In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down what to wear on Arctic cruises to ensure you stay warm, dry, and comfortable throughout your journey.

Understanding the Climate 

Before we delve into the specifics of clothing, it's crucial to understand the climate of the Arctic. This is not your typical vacation destination; it's a place of extremes. The Arctic is characterized by frigid temperatures, howling winds, and unpredictable weather patterns. Furthermore, the climate can vary significantly between the Arctic summer and winter seasons. Layering is the key to staying warm and comfortable in such harsh conditions on cruises around British Isles.

Essential Clothing Items 

When packing for your first Arctic cruise, you should think in terms of three main layers: base layers, insulating layers, and outerwear. Here's what you need for each category: 

A. Base Layers 

Thermal Underwear: Start with high-quality thermal underwear made of moisture-wicking materials. This layer will help regulate your body temperature and keep sweat away from your skin. 

Long-Sleeved Tops and Leggings: Opt for full-coverage base layers to minimize exposed skin. 

B. Insulating Layers 

Fleece Jackets or Sweaters: These provide insulation and trap warm air close to your body. They are lightweight and help maintain your core temperature. 

Insulated Pants: Insulated pants are essential to keep your lower body warm. Make sure they are both warm and comfortable. 

C. Outerwear 

Waterproof and Windproof Jacket: A high-quality jacket is your first line of defence against the elements. Look for options that are both waterproof and windproof to stay dry and protected. 

Waterproof Pants: These are crucial to ensure you stay dry during wet landings and inclement weather. 

Down or Synthetic Insulated Parka: Your outermost layer should be a warm, protective coat. Look for one that provides excellent insulation. 

D. Accessories 

Insulated Gloves and Mittens: Protect your hands from extreme cold and wind with insulated gloves and mittens. 

Insulated, Waterproof Boots: Appropriate footwear is a must. Insulated and waterproof boots are essential to keep your feet warm and dry. 

Warm Hat and Neck Gaiter: Don't forget to protect your head and neck from the cold. A warm hat and neck gaiter are crucial.


Choosing the proper footwear is essential for an Arctic cruise. Insulated and waterproof boots are the best choice. Ensure that they are a size that allows you to wear thick socks comfortably, as layering is key to warmth. Here are some essential tips: 

Insulated and Waterproof: Opt for boots that are both insulated and waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry. 

Proper Sizing: Choose boots that allow you to wear thick socks comfortably, as layering is essential for warmth. 

Prioritize Functionality: Functionality should be your primary concern over style. High-quality, expedition-grade boots are designed for the harsh conditions in the Arctic. 

Traction and Grip: Ensure your boots have excellent traction and grip for stability on icy and slippery terrain. 

Break Them In: Break in your boots before your trip to ensure comfort and prevent blisters. 

Gear and Equipment 

In addition to clothing, there are a few pieces of gear and equipment that will enhance your comfort during your cold Arctic cruise: 

A. Sunglasses and Goggles 

Protect your eyes from the harsh Arctic sun and blowing snow. UV protection is essential. Goggles can provide extra protection during windy conditions. 

B. Backpacks and Daypacks 

You'll want to carry essentials with you during excursions. Choose a comfortable backpack or daypack with enough room for your gear. 

C. Waterproof Bags 

Invest in dry bags or waterproof pouches to keep your gear dry during wet landings and boat excursions.

Packing Tips 

Efficient packing is vital for an Arctic cruise. While you need to bring a variety of clothing items, try to keep your luggage light. Most cruise ships offer laundry facilities for longer trips, so you can rewear items. Roll your clothes to save space and use packing cubes to stay organized. 

Additional Considerations 

A. Health and Safety 

Ensure your health and safety by taking the necessary precautions: 

Sunscreen and Lip Balm: Protect your skin and lips with high SPF products. The Arctic sun can be deceptively strong. 

Vaccinations and Medical Preparations: Consult with your healthcare provider about necessary vaccinations and medications before your trip. 

B. Cruise-Specific Requirements 

Check with your cruise provider for any unique clothing recommendations they may have. They may have specific guidelines for clothing on board, especially for formal dinners and other activities. 


Embarking on an Arctic cruise with Poseidon Excursions is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and being well-prepared will make it even more enjoyable. By understanding the harsh climate, choosing the right clothing, footwear, and gear, and following these packing and health tips, you can fully embrace the beauty and wonder of the Arctic while staying warm and comfortable. Get ready for the Northern adventure of a lifetime, and explore this icy paradise with confidence. Now, you're ready to embark on your unforgettable journey to the Arctic. Stay warm and enjoy every moment of this remarkable voyage!

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