Ocean Nova's small size -- just 78 passengers -- makes for a cozy, familial atmosphere onboard. Passengers eat together in a single open-seating dining room and gather each evening in the auditorium for lectures by the expedition staff. Other public spaces include an observation lounge, library and bar, as well as a shop where you can pick up souvenirs or expedition gear. There's a small gym on the Bridge Deck, but you won't find a spa or a passenger elevator.
Staterooms are located on the Upper and Bridge decks. There are a few triple cabins, as well as two cabins that are sometimes sold as singles. All others are twins, most with two lower berths; some have one lower twin bed and another that folds down above it.
All cabins have flat-screen TVs, DVD players and 200-volt outlets. There are no suites or balcony cabins, and none of the staterooms offers double/queen/king bed options.
Ocean Nova sails around the Arctic throughout the summer season, visiting destinations like Greenland, Svalbard and Iceland. All journeys are certified carbon neutral. Avid paddlers can book a special kayaking package, available for an additional cost on most voyages. Otherwise, cruisers explore the Arctic environment via Zodiac landing boats and on hiking and snowshoeing excursions led by the knowledgeable expedition staff.
A former Russian scientific vessel, 50 Years of Victory affords the ultimate North Pole adventure with Zodiac boats, a helicopter and hot air balloon for sightseeing.
Quark's largest ship, carrying 199 passengers, Ocean Endeavour is the only vessel in Antarctica with a health and wellness focus.