Naughty or nice is beside the point when you can skip the letter to Santa and go straight to the source instead. For those short on time, there’s a three-day helicopter flyover(from $20,995); for those long on insanity, the North Pole Marathon will take place on April 9, 2018 (entry fee: 16,000 pounds). For everyone else, Quark Expeditions offers two-week, all-inclusive trips aboard a Russian, nuclear-powered icebreaker to the geographic North Pole. (True magnetic north is a different point that constantly wanders and is best left for the on-board scientists to explain.)
What to expect? Blissful days unplugged from the internet, 24-hour sunshine, the surreal seascapes of Franz Josef Land, an occasional, helicopter-borne scouting mission, and the chance to spot polar bears, walruses, seals, and whales. Daily lectures by marine biologists, climatologists, and glaciologists will address the region’s essence. Once at 90°N—there’s no land here, just forever shifting, meters-thick sea ice—Quark will arrange a barbeque, Champagne toast, and (weather permitting) a hot-air balloon ride. The truly brave can even dunk in the frigid water. Sure, accommodations aren’t luxe (book the Arktika Suite), but that’s kind of the point: to walk away feeling less like a tourist and more like an accomplished adventurer.