Julie Peasgood is a travel expert, TV presenter and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

Aurora Borealis in Ersfjordbotn, Tromso Norway during the winter season

Q. We love the idea of a cold cruise. Which itineraries would you recommend?

Cold cruises are growing in popularity and can offer spectacular scenery as well as exhilarating experiences like spotting bears, penguins and narwhals (the unicorns of the sea), watching a glacier calve, or witnessing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. In fact, Hurtigruten is so confident that the Northern Lights will make an appearance during their coastal Norwegian cruises that they guarantee sightings, offering a free cruise holiday if they don’t show up. Viking, Saga, Fred. Olsen and P&O Cruises all offer well priced Arctic Circle cruises, with a variety of ports of call including Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, far eastern Russia and the Canadian Arctic. Here you can enjoy the midnight sun and dog sledding, or even stand at the top of the world, glass of Champagne in hand, on a North Pole adventure.

I marvelled at humpback whales on a Silversea cruise to Alaska last year, with other notable highlights being Skagway and the Hubbard Glacier. Celebrity Cruises also have a variety of exciting Alaskan itineraries.

Or visit the other end of the earth on a life-changing cruise to Antartica with Silversea, Scenic or Ponant, visiting the remote Falkland Islands en route.

Closer to home, many cruise lines offer cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, and Baltic cruises with destinations including St Petersburg and Tallinn in Estonia. Emerald Waterways, Viking, Scenic, Avalon Waterways and Uniworld also offer festive Christmas market cruises in Europe.