The U.S. Navy is expanding and setting up resources to be able to respond to situations and emergencies that may arise with the increasing ice melt that is projected to occur between now and 2030. This is hotly debated, but among the numerous statistics of melting ice, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that average Arctic temperatures are rising almost twice as quickly as the global average rate. Regardless of future predictions, the current state of the Arctic is undeniably in decline: Coastal erosion, ice cap retreat, and permafrost melt are all well documented.
Where to Stay: The luxury French cruise line Ponant is an expert in polar expeditions, and its 132-room ship Le Boréal features an internationally recognized Clean Ship label. A navigational positioning system eliminates the need to drop anchor—protecting the seabed from any contact and potential damage—and an optical and submarine-detection system prevents collisions with orcas and other cetaceans. Arctic itineraries range from seven nights in Norway to 14 nights in Alaska and Canada, and include exceptional naturalist guides, Zodiac trips to spot polar bears or explore breathtaking fjords, and—depending on specific itinerary—immersive encounters with local communities. (us.ponant.com)