Clothing & Equipment
The dress code on board the ship is strictly casual, in the expedition spirit. There is no need to dress formally for meals. The weather in the north is more temperate than you may expect; however for shore excursions and cool evenings, we endorse the “Principle of Layering” (P of L), which is based on the fact that air is a very good insulator when trapped between layers of clothing. You therefore stand a better chance of staying warm by wearing several thin layers rather than one or two heavy items. You will also be able to add or shed layers more easily as the temperature changes.
A small water-repellent back pack is best for carrying any absolute necessities on shore excursions. “Bum bags”, however, are preferable, as they will not interfere with your life vests.
We recommend 7X35 or 8X40 for general wildlife viewing. The first number is the magnification and the second number is the width of the lens at the larger end. We don’t recommend compact binoculars because they don’t gather enough light and are difficult to locate objects with. 10 power binoculars are too difficult to hold steady on a ship. A wide neck strap with some flex helps avoid neck strain. Avoid “bells and whistles” such as zoom lenses, binoculars with built-in cameras, etc.
Pull-on waterproof KNEE-HIGH boots are a must. Rubber boots 36 – 40 cm/14 – 16 inches high with a strong, heavily ridged non-slip sole are best. There will be some wet landings on rocky shores and beaches. Unlined boots have the advantage of drying more quickly, as well as being lighter to pack. Boots with removable felt liners are also excellent.
See “Notes on Photography.” A “bum bag” for carrying large cameras, if your jacket doesn’t have big pockets. A sealable plastic bag to guard against splashing water on the Zodiacs and to avoid condensation problems.
For wearing on board ship, we recommend sneakers or jogging shoes with rubber soles (for grip on the ship’s decks).
In the Arctic summer months bugs can be a nuisance.
Waterproof and/or woolen gloves. A rubberized grip will hold surfaces more effectively.
GORE-TEX OR WATERPROOF SHELL
A reliable wind- and water-repellent expedition shell. This needn’t be thick, especially if you wear a sweater or layers underneath. The pros favor a medium-weight jacket or a lightweight shell, since these are less bulky.
HAT AND SCARF
For face protection.
Pull-on waterproof trousers, such as Rain or K-Way-type pants. These will keep you dry during Zodiac landings.
Warm woolen or polypropylene. The P of L suggests that you try wearing two thinner pairs rather than one thick one. Knee socks will keep you warmer.
A good quality pair. The bright Arctic sun reflecting off ice and water can strain the eyes.
During the summer months this is a necessity.
Wool is warmest. The P of L suggests two lightweight sweaters are better than one thick one (this also gives you a little variety in your wardrobe!).
The North can be a windy place, especially on deck while the ship is moving. Cotton or silk turtlenecks are excellent insulators.
A light pair of thermal long underwear will serve you well.
We provide all passengers with Cruise North Expeditions water bottles to use on the ship and take home.