Cruise excursions are a great way to get a bit of something extra on an amazing trip. A cruise company is now offering a special excursion--- a hot air balloon ride over the North Pole.
As part of their new North Pole Cruise: The Ultimate Arctic Adventure, Quark Expeditions is giving travelers the option of flying above the North Pole in a hot air balloon. For $295 per person, travelers can try out this epic excursion as a passenger on board a 128-person icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory.
The first balloon ride was offered for the first time this month and it will continue to be offered on future North Pole trips. On July 2, the passenger hot air balloon made its first flight near the North pole for the first time. So far over 50 people have taken the excursion, Quark Expeditions said, according to USA Today.
Due to harsh weather conditions of wind and ice, the balloon experience took place just south of the North Pole at coordinates 86° 48' N 47° 21' E. The weather made it impossible to be done right over the pole. It took an hour to set up the balloon which was tethered to the ship. Four people are able to ride the balloon at a time.
Quark Expeditions is a leader of polar expeditions, but the trips are rare and super expensive. The balloon trip is being offered on icebreaker voyages in the North Pole. Two North Pole trips will be offered in 2013 (departing June 20 and July 1). The trips start at $23,995 per person. The 14-day cruise also includes a helicopter ride, nature exploration and seeing some of the Arctic's wildlife like polar bears and seals in their natural habitat.
More trips are scheduled for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
For more information, check out Quark Expeditions' website.