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INTRODUCING THE ARCTIC
Other Name(s): North Pole
Although there's more than one definition of "the North Pole", the most popularly accepted one is geographic: a fixed location in the northern hemisphere at the Earth's axis of rotation, latitude 90°N (longitude not applicable). Unlike the South Pole, which is located on the continent of Antarctica, the geographic North Pole is covered by nothing but a sheet of shifting ice on the surface of the Arctic Ocean. There is thus no permanent habitation nor even an official marker for the position, as the ice moves from year to year. Although it was once an elusive goal that took the lives of many explorers, thanks to modern aviation and other technology, it is now the destination of commercial travel expeditions.

"The North Pole" is also defined magnetically. One definition is the point on the surface that magnetic compasses point to, following the Earth's geomagnetic field. Another uses the Earth's more broad magnetosphere (which affects the Aurora Borealis) as a reference. These positions drift, and are currently off Ellef Ringnes Island (one of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in Nunavut, Canada), and off Qaanaaq, Greenland, respectively.

The North Pole can only be reached on expeditions specifically mounted for the purpose. Most travel primarily by air, sometimes with a component traversing the last leg of the journey on the ice. The other alternative is traveling by boat, on an ice-breaker cutting through the Arctic Ocean.

There are two commercial sea vessels making regular trips to the North Pole, the nuclear-powered Russian ice-breaker Yamal, and 50 Years of Victory, operated by the Murmansk Shipping Company. They depart from Murmansk (tour packages beginning in Helsinki and in Moscow), making several two-week journeys in the Summer (when the ice is easier to get through). Yamal is equipped with 50 cabins and suites with private bathrooms and exterior windows, fine dining, heated indoor pool, gym, library, etc.