Sailing beyond the Arctic Circle is one of the few fast-growing sectors of the cruise industry. More ships are based at UK ports for the summer than ever, with many venturing to Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and beyond. A voyage to the far north is immensely appealing. In one sense an Arctic adventure is the ultimate day trip, because the summer sun will not fall beneath the horizon all summer. And a thousand miles beyond the tree line, tourists can confront some of the world's rawest edges from the comfort of a cruise-ship cocoon. Mountains that no human has ever climbed soar from the ocean. Thick veins of snow trickle from the peaks and fuel the glaciers that gouge through the rock in geology's perpetual power struggle.
Shore excursions take visitors to spectacular landscapes rich with wildlife, and to the frail remains of shelters where brave souls sat out vicious winters.
In the extreme, precarious circumstances of the Arctic Ocean, any maritime misadventure bears exceptional risks. That is why all the operators are at pains to ensure safety. While the Foreign Office is right to point out the special dangers, advice would be better aimed at alcohol-fuelled recklessness in the Med rather than wide-eyed amazement in the Arctic.