Of Penguins And Polar Bears

A History of Cold Water Cruising - a book by Christopher Wright 

Of Penguins and Polar Bears

A History of Cold Water Cruising
a book by Christopher Wright

This book is about Polar cruising in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, how and where it developed, and what has attracted people to these remote parts of the world.

It starts with William Bradford’s cruise to Greenland in the Newfoundland sealer Panther in 1869 and traces Polar cruise activity from the first North Cape cruise by Thomas Cook in the President Christie in 1875 through the Interwar period to the present day, and with a chapter on where expedition cruising is going in the future While Polar cruising was sustained by large vessels up until the 1990’s, largely on a sightseeing basis, the availability of Russian research ships as expedition cruise ships enabled this sector of the industry to offer a wide range of experiential cruises. In terms of destinations and activities North of 60oN and South of 60oS are considered as being of a Polar nature. The history of each destination is reviewed and up to date and comprehensive statistics are provided for each region.

In the News

Filming a Mission Impossible movie in Norway

Explorer Lounge on Roald Amundsen (sister ship to Fridtjof Nansen) Courtesy Hurtigruten Filming of a new Mission Impossible movie, was under way in a remote area of Northern Norway earlier this year, but had to be suspended due to the pandemic. The production company has reportedly chartered two of Hurtigruten’s laid up expedition ships (Fridtjof Nansen and Vesteralen) to house cast and production crew. However, there could be a problem as Norwegian unions claim that[…]

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Cruise and Maritime Voyages

Covid 19 is a major problem for cruise companies, and even the best financed are having problems staying afloat. Some of the smaller ones are starting to fall by the way side. The most recent company to enter bankruptcy administration is Cruise and Maritime Voyages in the UK, and their sister company TransOcean Tours in Germany. The company had been trying to obtain funding to see it through the pandemic, but this did not work[…]

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OneOcean Expeditions: The Road to Bankruptcy

A news report on 30 April 2020 advised that OneOcean Expeditions had filed for bankruptcy. While it is always upsetting when an expedition cruise operator is unable to continue, in this case it was not unexpected. It also seems particularly unfortunate, as Penguins and Polar Bearshad a strong connection to the company; they very kindly gave the author access to their photography bank, and the book benefited enormously from the many quality images provided. A brief[…]

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About the Author Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright started out as a chemical engineer in England, but fortuitously took a position as a junior analyst at a shipping consultancy in London in the early 1960’s. Shipping analytics proved to be an area that really appealed, and fifty years later he is the retired Principal of The Mariport Group Ltd. a consulting company, that for nearly 40 years, specialized in economics and operational issues for ports and the shipping industry.

His first involvement with Arctic shipping was while with another marine consulting company in Nassau Bahamas where, in 1973, he helped negotiate an Arctic shipping contract to move industrial minerals from Deception Bay to a processing plant in Germany. He has had a wide-ranging career involving many different aspects of international and regional shipping. From 1996 he worked to successfully re-establish overnight cruising on the Great Lakes of North America through a sister company: Cruising the Great Lakes. During the most recent twenty-five years his work focused on Arctic and Northern issues, and he is still working with a major Canadian engineering company on their Northern projects.

Concerned at the lack of historical reference material about the Arctic, he wrote Arctic Cargo: A History of Marine Transportation in Canada’s North, (published in 2016) to provide an essential reference work about the region.

However, Arctic Cargo did not address cruise activity in the North, and in March 2020 he published Of Penguins and Polar Bears: A History of Cold Water Cruising. This broad analysis of the development of cruise activity in Polar regions built on a short paper on Canadian Arctic cruising posted on the Arctic Cargo website. Because the expedition cruise industry is so dynamic, he maintains a web site to provide regular updates on the fleet and destinations.

Christopher Wright


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