Contact & Common Questions
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We are so happy that you are interested in traveling with us and we are excited to get to know you better. If you are interested in one of our journeys, please fill out the form below and one of our sales team will reach out to give you more information about OceanSky Cruises and start the reservation process.
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North Pole Expedition
Will I see the Aurora Borealis?
If you haven’t seen the Aurora Borealis yet, it will be an awe-inspiring experience. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to promise that you will see them, but we can give some suggestions that will raise the chances.
The Aurora Borealis is a year-round phenomenon, however, the lights only become visible against a dark sky, so it is important that you travel when there is darkness, as well. Our season is mostly aligned with the summer months when the sun doesn’t set at all, so we suggest planning for the very first or very last weeks of our season.
Where is Svalbard? How do I get there?
Svalbard is an archipelago in the middle of the Arctic Ocean located approximately 700km from mainland Norway. It is known originally as a place for mining settlements but has since become a popular destination for its unique wildlife.
Getting to Svalbard is simple with daily flights arriving at the Svalbard Airport in Longyearbyen from Oslo and/or Tromsø through SAS and Norwegian airlines. If you find that you need assistance with your flight booking, reach out to us and we will be happy to assist.
Could the flight be delayed? Why?
Yes, it is possible that our flight could be delayed due to weather conditions including storms, wind, and ice. The weather in the Arctic can be unpredictable and the safety of our passengers is more important than an on-time departure.
However, with that being said, we do not expect more deviations than one would experience on a regular flight within Europe. Our airships are sturdy vehicles that can withstand heavy winds both on the ground and airborne.
How cold is it at the North Pole?
The North Pole is understandably very cold, but surprisingly not as frigid as it can be in other interior Arctic regions. During our flight season in the summer, one can expect the temperature will hover around 0°C (32°F). The temperature sinks in the winter to about -40°C (-40°F), but the North Pole is a very dark and lonely place then. We don’t recommend a trip at that time.
If you want to keep up to date with the weather, we recommend this source: YR.no
How long is the flight?
We will be in the air for approximately 15 hours for each leg of the journey. The overall itinerary is planned for 38 hours, including an hour-long briefing and debriefing sandwiching the flight.
When is the first flight?
According to the airship industry and our manufacturing partners, the first large-scale airships for commercial operations are estimated to be flown between 2024 and 2026.
How do I sign up to the North Pole Expedition?
We’re very excited that you want to join us on board! To start the process, fill out the form on the contact page and someone from our sales team will reach out to you with information about the booking process.
Have you been directed to us through an agency? You can also work with them to secure your cabin on board.
What level of accommodation and service can I expect on board?
You can expect a similar level of space, comfort, and service as you would have on a luxury yacht. You will have a private cabin with a suited bathroom, ample common areas, large panoramic windows, and an exquisite dining experience on board.
How long will I be at North Pole?
Our time at the destination will be about six hours. We will land on the North Pole at approximately 9:00 in the morning and we will depart again at 15:00.
How many crew members are on board?
We always fly with a double pilot crew in addition to attending staff, a chef, and an expedition leader. A total of 7 members, 4 of which are pilots.
How many cabins does the airship have?
There are 8 double cabins on board, fully equipped with large panoramic windows, a private bathroom, and a small wardrobe. All cabins are 10 sqm and similarly equipped.
Travelling by airship
Is it safe?
OceanSky Cruises is subject to the same regulations that all the operating commercial airlines are, and the aviation industry is the safest and most regulated in the world.
Perhaps a few facts to ease the wary mind:
We will take off and land at approximately 20kts/37kph/23mph. This is comparable to the speed that most bicyclers travel.
The coating is constructed from a double layer of Kevlar, the same material bulletproof vests are made of.
The lifting gas used is helium, which is not flammable.
Our ships have engines but dissimilar airplanes, in the unlikely case of total engine failure, we will still float.
What is the speed and altitude?
We will be cruising at airspeeds between 20kts (37km/h) and 60kts (110km/h), but the average cruise speed is calculated to be around 50kts (91km/h). We will take it slow and easy, for a soft, quiet, and smooth flight with the opportunity to take in the scenic views.
We will be flying at a lower altitude than a typical commercial plane, around 6.000ft (1.830m). We are able to climb up to 10,000ft (3.048m), but the experience will be better as we cruise low and slow. The lower the better, perhaps even as low as 300 feet! You will have a view over the terrain as if you are on the 25th floor of a high-rise building.
What happens when there is cloudy weather?
Airships can easily change altitudes during flight to find more favorable winds and visibility for a positive and safe flight experience. If the cloud base is low, we will decide to either go beneath it or above. The pilot’s decision will be according to terrain, winds, and, passenger visibility.
We can also fly through the clouds, but that would impede passengers’ visibility so we’d likely choose to avoid that of course. On a safety note, airships fly (as airplanes) with the latest state-of-the-art technology, weather radars, and pilot flight control systems to manoeuvre through the skies in the safest way.
What is the difference between Pioneers and Adventurers?
How do payments work?
We have a multi-step payment process that will be outlined in more detail when you begin your reservation process. In short, we require an upfront deposit, with two more payments scheduled before departure.
Can I travel solo? Do you have single supplements?
Yes, you can travel alone in the cabin, however, the price is fixed per cabin.
Can we fit more than 2 people in a cabin?
No, unfortunately, 2 people is the maximum capacity.
Am I insured?
OceanSky Cruises, like all other commercial aviation operators, has insurance for passengers while flying. Though, while we are exploring the remote and wild terrain of our destinations, we require our travelers to secure their own emergency medical evacuation insurance.
This insurance should include at least US$150.000 in medical evacuation coverage and proof of insurance will be required before departure.
Thank you for understanding that our policy exists solely in the interest of our travelers’ safety.
We also strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance, though it is not required. These plans may cover everything from medical treatment to trip cancellations as well as delays and lost luggage.
Are there any age requirements?
The minimum age for booking is 18.
Generally, our expeditions are geared toward adults, though there will be a few selected family-friendly departures that allow children, 11 years or older, to join. Our sales team will send more information on those departures upon request.
What is included and excluded from the price?
Sustainability and Technology
Are airships more ecologically sustainable than conventional airplanes?
Ecological sustainability by definition means you can keep doing what you are doing in perpetuity, without depleting any natural resources. At OceanSky Cruises we believe that lighter-than-air technology holds that potential.
A hybrid aircraft uses a fraction of the energy of an airplane. Let’s make a real-life comparison, say the historical airship, Macon, and a Boeing 747 Jumbojet, which are similar in payload size. The Macon required about 17% of what the Boeing needs to cover a similar distance. That means an 83% reduction in carbon emissions with modern fuels. We easily see a near future where we can move completely away from fossil fuels with such a manageable energy requirement.
In addition to the reduction in emissions, airships have minimal infrastructure requirements and therefore less environmental impact as far as landmass.
Going to the North Pole with the largest flying vehicle ever built in modern times is a quest that will show the world what lighter-than-air technology can do for humanity and our transport needs. Showing we can land without a footprint and fly with a minimal amount of energy consumption is the mission of the North Pole Expedition.
What about electric airplanes?
OceanSky Cruises supports all initiatives driving positive impact including innovation in electrical flight as well as expanding the use of biofuels.
Electrical flight does have many challenges to face in order to meet today’s aviation demands. Batteries are capacity-limited and very heavy. Even with the most positive outlook on battery development, it may require years for electric planes to serve short- and mid-range routes. However as short-distance taxis, battery-driven flying vehicles can be a feasible solution.
Why not fly normally using biofuel (SAF)?
The technical answer is yes, but the true answer is no. Jet engines can run on biofuel, there are no big issues regarding the technical aspects.
The challenge with biofuel is volume. Biofuel needs to be fabricated and the current manufacturing capacity can only fulfill a fraction of the current consumption needs. We simply need to look for ways to reduce our oil requirements in addition to seeking energy alternatives.
Isn't there a helium shortage?
According to the US Geological Survey, there are at least 50 years of known helium reserves based on current consumption. One of our Airlander aircraft would account for just 0.0001% of the available resources. Once the Airlander is filled it does not consume helium.
What is Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) technology? How does it work?
Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) is a technology that uses lifting gas, such as helium, to displace weight (the force of gravity pulling an object towards the ground). This means that the object encompassing a lifting gas becomes more or less weightless, or even positively buoyant, depending on the design.
An object that is neutrally buoyant in air does not have to produce lift to keep flying. This is what makes airships so efficient. This is similar to how a boat floats in the water and is explained by the principles of Archimedes.
Can airships fly on fossil-fuel alternatives?
Yes, and they will. This is one of the reasons why OceanSky sees airships as a solution to bring sustainable mobility and transport. Using hyper-efficient lighter-than-air technology aviation equipment is the first step to move away from fossil fuel dependency because a lower overall energy consumption means less fossil fuel being consumed on a global basis. It’s actually the energy efficiency that is the most interesting in lighter-than-air technology, even if zero-emission is of importance as well. It is the low power requirement combined with the abundant space available that makes airships proficient in terms of choosing an energy carrier that is non-fossil, i.e. batteries (although not so interesting due to low energy density), liquid hydrogen, biofuel, and even solar cells looking further ahead.
Airplanes (mid- and long-range), on the contrary, are stuck on fossil fuels for a long time ahead, because diesel oil is one of few energy carriers that can suffice a jet engine’s power requirement and at the same time be reasonably chemically stable (non-explosive) in relation to its high energy density in both mass and volume.
What is the difference between hybrid- and buoyancy-controlled airships?
Modern airship design resolves these issues of not being able to land without infrastructure or ground crew and ground handling issues.
This is made possible through two main design directions, namely Hybrid or Buoyancy-controlled airships.
Hybrid airships are heavier than air. This means they need to create a little bit of lift in order to remain airborne. They are designed with a shape of an aerofoil to create the lift. The efficiency comes from only being slightly heavier than air, in comparison to an aircraft that are almost twice as heavy as the payload it carries.
The benefit from being slightly heavier than air is that pilots are in control of the manoeuvring of the airship without the need of ground equipment. Another benefit is that a hybrid airship sits still on the ground after landing, even if offloading passengers.
Buoyancy-controlled airships are a different story. They can control the buoyancy depending on which phase of flight it is – climb, cruise or descent. By controlling the buoyancy they can optimize efficiency as well as improve ground handling when on and offloading.
The way to control the buoyancy can be achieved by different technologies, for example:
- compression of the lifting gas
- temperature control
- ballast control
Both hybrid airships and buoyancy-controlled airships are by design given the revolutionary characteristic of reaching any part of the world that has a reasonable flat surface to land. This means that humanity will have access to not only the civilized part of the world but to any corner of the world within a few days reach.
OceanSky believes that this new ability comes with significant responsibilities for humanity, and we hope to foster a new era of conscious and responsible travel in order to preserve the untouched parts of our world. Our motto is to leave without a footprint.
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We’re happy to answer your questions.
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