Silver Explorer in Northeast Passage, with walrus in the foreground

(11:38 a.m. EDT) -- Silver Explorer will become the most luxurious cruise ship to sail the Northeast Passage through the Arctic when it sets sail from Nome, Alaska, to Tromso, Norway, on August 10, 2019.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Silversea's expedition arm, the line is offering a rare cruise ship itinerary to the far northern reaches of the globe. The 25-night cruise will take in destinations in Alaska, Russia and Norway, including Wrangel Island, a UNESCO site where polar bears and walruses live; the otherworldly Champ Island with its mysterious stone spheres; Murmansk, a Russian city that dates to the early 20th century; and coastal villages like Chukotka's Uelen, where passengers can interact with and learn about the native Chukchi and Yupik people who live there.

Polar bear

A highlight will be the day Silver Explorer spends sailing as far north as it can toward the edge of the polar ice cap. The expedition team will be in search of seals, walruses and polar bears hanging out on the ice floes.

Its onboard expedition leaders will offer lectures and workshops, and lead Zodiac trips and other shore excursions to educate passengers on the itinerary's remote destinations. The ship carries a mere 144 passengers, and pampers them, even in rugged climates, with suite accommodations, butler service and all-inclusive fares that cover all drinks, gratuities and unlimited Wi-Fi.

Fares for this sailing start at $37,260 per person, based on double occupancy. Note that all suite categories but the lowest three are currently showing waitlist status.

Learn more about Arctic cruises, and how to prepare for them.

--By Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor