Frequently Asked Questions - The Arctic

Will I see a polar bear?

As with all wild animals, we cannot guarantee you will see polar bears. However, the time of year we visit is when bear numbers are at their peak, and our experienced team and crew are aware of the bear’s habitats and are well trained to spot these marvellous creatures in the wild.

Do you provide polar expedition jackets?

Yes. Each passenger travelling on all our Arctic voyages will receive a complimentary polar expedition jacket to wear during your expedition and take home after your trip.

What clothes should I take to the Arctic?

Your expedition jacket is provided, however you’ll need to ensure you pack the correct wet weather gear for your landings. View our recommended packing list in our Planning Your Trip section.

Shipboard clothing is informal and casual; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in our polar regions. However, be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings!

Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary.

How many pairs of gloves do I need?

We recommend you take two pairs of gloves.

What kind of footwear do I need for our shore visits?

It is most important that you bring a comfortable pair of enclosed walking shoes to wear on board the ship. Muck boots are provided on board and are required to be worn on all landings. If you have concerns regarding extra small or large sizing, or hard-to-fit feet, we recommend you bring your own pair.

How do we dry wet clothing?

On board the Greg Mortimer, you can store your wet weather gear and muck boots in your locker, found in the mudroom.

How often do we get off the ship?

We aim to get off the ship as much as possible to experience the destinations up close. Twice per day is common but more if weather, daylight hours and itinerary allow. Duration of the landings vary from site to site but at the height of the peak season, cruise operators must stick to timings allocated by authorities.

Should I bring along my own walking poles?

Yes, it’s a good idea, especially if you have trouble walking over uneven ground. Some of our landings can be on slippery rocks or deep snow, and we may go for extended walks to see different parts of our landing point. We recommend the telescopic poles, with the optional snow-basket tips. You can purchase these poles in most outdoor stores.

Can I swim or snorkel in the Arctic?

Although you cannot swim in Arctic, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where all willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Arctic Ocean. You also have the option to take up our Polar Snorkeling activity, or experienced scuba divers have the option to dive, on selected voyages.

What if I need to go to the toilet when ashore?

Our expedition team will instruct you with these types of rules on board. Generally we ask you to relieve yourself on board before going on a landing and if the necessity arises ashore, you will be driven back to the ship.

Can I do more than one activity?

We strongly advise against selecting multiple activities as each is a dedicated activity for those with the relevant experience. To make the most of your time and money, we recommend selecting only one activity.

How fit do I need to be to travel on an Arctic expedition?

To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you participating.

How much time do we have in Longyearbyen?

The time available to you in Longyearbyen very much depends on your personal itinerary. Aurora Expeditions offers a pre- and post-package to connect with our voyage departure and arrival dates, which includes accommodation in Oslo and flights to Longyearbyen. Many people like to extend their stay in Europe and Aurora Expeditions can assist you with all your travel arrangements including flights, accommodation, travel insurance and transfers as well as a range of fascinating tours and activities. Contact our team on +61 2 9252 1033 for more information.

How many people on the ship?

The Greg Mortimer carries a maximum of 132 passengers in the Arctic. We also have approx 15-18 expedition specialists onboard, and 47-56 crew members

Where do passengers come from?

The majority of our clients come from Australia, the UK, Europe and the United States, however we do often have a mix of other nationalities on board, including our expedition team.

How much room is there for luggage?

There is ample storage space in your cabin on all our ships. Your empty baggage can be stored safely elsewhere on the ship if need be.

Do you have facilities on board to download digital images from my camera?

There will be computers on the Greg Mortimer in the library and media room for your use.

Is the ship air-conditioned?

All our ships are air-conditioned, with the on board temperature ranging from 15°C to 25°C. On the Greg Mortimer you can control the temperature of your cabin by adjusting the airflow through the roof vent and turning your heater on or off.

Does the crew speak English?

The crew aboard the Greg Mortimer will be international and all will speak English.

What is the electrical supply on board?

The electrical supply on board the Greg Mortimer is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Please bring a converter if your devices use 110 volts. International electrical sockets are available in your cabin and throughout the ship. If you have many devices, it is advised you bring a multi power board.

Is there Internet, email or telephone access on board?

Onboard WiFi internet packages are available for purchase during the voyage. Telephone access for personal use is not available on board. In case of an emergency, our expedition team can facilitate communication with your family members if necessary.

What is not included in the price of the voyage?

In general, items that are not included in the cost of your voyage are: flights to and from your voyage, pre and post accommodation, transfers, drinks from the bar (alcohol and soft drinks), gratuities, Ship Shop items, laundry costs and other items of a personal nature (unless stated in your voyage inclusions). Some voyages do include certain pre- and post-cruise travel arrangements, so please check your specific voyage inclusions in our brochure, website or call our Expedition Experts on + 61 2 9252 1033.

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance, including medical evacuation cover, is mandatory for all Aurora Expeditions’ voyages. We advise you have insurance for voyage cancellation to ensure you will be covered financially if you are forced to cancel your voyage due to circumstances beyond your control. It is in your best interest to read carefully the General Terms & Conditions on your booking form.

How much should I tip? Are tips included, if not how much per person per day?

A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to increase/decrease the amount or remove the tip when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

Do you cater for special meal requests?

Yes. Our talented chefs will take your requirements into their meal planning and ensure you receive tasty, healthy meals. Please ensure you list any dietary requirements on your personal details form.

What sort of money do I take and how much?

Australian dollars are difficult to exchange in Scandinavia. We recommend that you take US dollars for exchanging in Norway and Iceland. It is better to carry US dollars for tipping and payment of bar bills on board the ship. You can also pay with all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

What currency do you accept on board?

The onboard currency is US dollars. All your onboard purchases including bar, laundry, ship shop, internet, and massages are charged to your shipboard account and settled by credit card or cash (US dollars only) at the end of the voyage.

Can I smoke on board?

There is a ‘No Smoking’ policy throughout the interior of our ships.

Are there hairdryers on board?

Hairdryers are provided in each cabin on the Greg Mortimer.

Will I get seasick?

Many people ask us if they will get seasick. It is a very difficult question to answer because it depends so much on the individual. Our experience is that a small percentage of people are seasick on any trip and most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. We advise you come armed with motion sickness tablets, and there will be a doctor on board to assist with any bouts of seasickness.

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