This is was what I have been waiting for this entire voyage. As the wind became crisper and suddenly had a bite that cut right through you, I knew we were entering the Arctic on our luxury cruise ship, Oceania Cruise Line's Insignia.
The first day in The Arctic started out with early morning cruising in Magdalena Bay. Entering this bay through a landscape that can only be described as desert like, this almost seemed otherworldly. The mountains are stark and bare with glaciers sliding down – no plants, just snow and rock. From here we continued north, crossing the 80-degree parallel to the Arctic ice barrier, as far north in the world as a ship can sail without being an icebreaker. Talk about exotic cruises, this takes the cake.
It’s a special feeling being in a location like this. You feel totally isolated from the rest of civilization. Anywhere you look, nothing but small bits of ice in the distance, maybe 200 meters away and then I saw it – a giant wall of bluish-white, the ice pack itself, imposing like a skyscraper in the midst of a town of two-story buildings. The phrase “sitting on top of the world” was meant for moments like this. From here we sailed out and continued towards our port for tomorrow, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway.