Fancy seeing bears, elephants and more in their natural habitat? A cruise can get you closer to some of the world’s rarest species. Sara Macefield selects the best wildlife cruises for the year ahead

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Ice Breaker

The remote Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, of which Spitsbergen is the main island, is the perfect setting to view polar bears in their natural habitat. As this region is only accessible by ship during summer, it is an ideal time to spot the so-called Kings of the Arctic as they roam the beautiful dramatic landscape hunting for food. Visitors may also glimpse Arctic foxes and hares, along with sea life that includes whales and walruses, plus a rich variety of birdlife.

Quark Expeditions offers a nine-day Polar Bear Safari sailing from £4,200pp, excluding flights. The round-trip sailing from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen, departs on 15 June 2017 (quarkexpeditions.com).