If you’re looking for a unique experience with the kids in Lapland, then take a Swedish Polar Explorer tourist Icebreaker with kids! This incredible tour will give your family a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the icy waters of the Swedish Polar Explorer.
This experience was high on my list of things to do in Lapland with kids. We took this tour on our 2022 White Christmas adventure to Lapland.
I booked it early (around 6 months in advance but I don’t think it is necessary to book so far in advance). We paid a deposit and the balance the month before the trip. One of the reasons I booked early was to split the costs apart as this was one of the most expensive experiences on the trip (together with the husky experience).
The Swedish Polar Explorer tourist Icebreaker with Kids offers a unique 3-hour cruise in the frozen waters of the Bothnian Sea in Lapland.
We left Rovaniemi before 7 am in the pitch black. To be honest this was the scariest drive we took while away. It was dark, single highway, high-speed limit, it was also snowing and big trucks were roaring past the other direction. Whenever they went past we had a cloud of snow in front of us and we were driving blind until it cleared. We were following the tail lights of the car in front of us. The website says the journey should be about 2 hours and 15 minutes. We left 2.5 hours and I thought we were not going to make it!
There is also the option of a bus pick up and drop off. This does add to the cost of the experience.
Here you can see the location of the icebreaker tour, just over the border into Sweden from Finland –
It was easy to navigate with google maps. We had no issues crossing the border into Sweden (just driving between) and free parking is available at the cruise terminal. No reservation is needed. Don’t be surprised as it definitely feels like you are driving into private property and definitely not a big ‘cruise terminal’.
Check-in was easy at the hut where we were given wristbands with our timings for our dip into the sea!
We were then free to explore the whole ship. Nowhere was off bounds and we had a good look around before basing ourselves at the front of the ship for the best view of the ice breaking.
On board, you are able to learn about the history and science behind the icebreaker and watch as the powerful ship breaks through the icy waters.
Before we arrived we downloaded the audio guide which is available in 16 languages. There was so much information available and we weren’t really sure if we should go in order, or only choose certain parts of the ships. I felt like the audio app was a little wasted on us.
When it was our time to swim (yikes!!) we headed to the back of the ship. This was a well-thought-out process and many staff were available to help those getting into suits and those taking the suits off!
We headed to the back of the ship and this is when Ned totally freaked out! Ross and Olive were already in the water and he refused to move. Thank goodness Ross was able to talk him around. I was super proud of Ned. He was really outside his comfort zone but he felt great afterwards!
There is no age limit for the tour. The survival suits for swimming are around 140cm so kids need to be around this height to be able to swim.
The survival suits are double layer which go over the top of your normal clothes so we definitely did not feel the cold.
Another activity on board the ship is to walk out on the ice. We were not able to walk on the ice during our trip. This was due to the ice being too thin in certain places (it was slightly too early in the season).
We enjoyed hot chocolates in the café and there was free hot berry juice towards the back of the ship which everyone loved.
On the return, we sat and ate lunch whilst watching the 11-minute movie in the icebreaker cinema which talked through the history of the icebreaker boats and other fascinating information. This was also where the noise from the ship breaking the ice was the loudest!
We spent some time with the captain and it was fascinating to chat with him about the ship, currents, wind, ice and safety; at the end the captain presented a Cruise & Swim Certificate to everyone as a memorable gift.
Our drive back from Sweden into Finland may have been slightly shorter as the weather wasn’t quite as horrible. We had to make the stop at Ikea just to say we had been into Ikea in Sweden!! It was a particularly long day though, especially for Ross having to drive 2.5 hours in each direction in the dark, snowy conditions.
Visiting Lapland with kids is sure to be an unforgettable experience and we would definitely recommend adding in a Swedish Polar Explorer tourist Icebreaker with kids. Such amazing memories.
I wished you could have joined us as we broke the ice and explored the Swedish Polar Explorer with kids!
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