A trip on the ice breaker ship makes for an exciting (if not unusual) addition to any Lapland holiday. This ice breaker leaves from Kemi, a city at the most southern point of the Northern Lights Route, meaning you will need to cross through the Arctic Circle as you journey from Lapland. Reaching Kemi from Karesuando can be a four-hour drive and requires a very early morning start. We therefore suggest that this excursion is added onto the seven-night Aurora Hunter tour, as there may not be time to complete other activities on tours of a shorter duration.
Cruising on the icebreaker ship from Kemi is an unforgettable experience. Leaving the port, you begin a short cruise around the Bay of Bothnia, lasting around four hours. Since so many rivers from Sweden and Finland flow into the Bay, the sea is predominantly freshwater, meaning it freezes during the winter months (as an interesting aside, Finland is the only country in the world where all the ports are frozen during the winter). It is through this ice that the icebreaker crunches its way. The ship now used at Kemi was constructed in 1960 and used as a way of transporting industrial goods. Nowadays it is used solely for leisure cruises and hosts 8,000 tourists each year from 50 different countries. Even when used for industry, however, the ship was no stranger to playing host to tourists. In 1963, part of the Interpol conference was held on board, and in 1969 the ship hosted the president of Senegal during a state visit to Finland.
The icebreaker cruises around the Bay of Bothnia in a circle, stopping halfway around to give you the chance to disembark and walk around on the sea. The surface is entirely frozen and perfectly flat, stretching out to the horizon. How many people can say that they have walked on the sea?! There is also the opportunity to do a little swimming (well, ‘floating’ at least). The seawater appears where the icebreaker has cut its path behind it, and you will be able to don a dry-suit (pictured above) and float around amongst the ice whilst remaining completely dry.
This icebreaker experience is best added to the seven-night Aurora Hunter package, so you have enough time to enjoy the rest of your holiday. The cruise last approximately four hours and includes a soup lunch. Prices start from £345 per person, including an overnight stay in Kemi.
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