On board the M/S Expedition twin-share cabins, triple cabins or suites (all with ensuite bathrooms and with either porthole or window). Twin cabins consist of two beds and are outside facing. Suites have a queen size bed.
Polar ship M/S Expedition, plus Zodiacs for shore excursions.
Approx 0 -
Ship crew plus specialist expedition staff (ratio approx 1 expedition staff per 10 passengers).
Classic Arctic Spitsbergen Cruise
Details may vary depending on departure date. Please choose
Classic Arctic Spitsbergen cruise
Arctic Wilderness Starting in Longyearbyen, we head north first visiting Barentsburg, then Ny-Ålesund and leave civilisation behind. Our aim is to sail to the remote Polar Regions in order to experience the Arctic wilderness, drift ice, flora and fauna. Our final itinerary is dependant on weather and ice conditions, which have to be assessed during the voyage. The Gulf Stream has allowed the island's 400 km long western coastline to become incredibly rich in animal and plant life, while the remote east is forever under the grips of the arctic winter environment. Some years it is possible to sail through the Hinlopen Strait to attempt a circumnavigation of the archipelago, while other years there is a great deal of ice, which makes it harder to navigate around. There are departures in July, August and September. We recommend the early tours for those who are keen to see large ice floes and the richest bird life. For those who would rather travel further east with the chance to sail around Spitsbergen, we recommend a tour later in the season. Our specialist guides will ensure we get the most out of the experience, as well as recounting tales of Svalbard's cultural and exciting polar explorative heritage - traces of this rich history can be found on several of excursions when we go ashore.
The Realm of the Polar Bear The further north that we sail, the more ice we will meet, and this ice will gradually build up into large ice floes with seals resting on them. This is polar bear country, where the bears hunt for food, here is your best chance of seeing the 'King of the Arctic' in his natural habitat. In Spring there are large ice floes and the richest bird life.
MS Expedition At a nimble 105 metres (345 ft) in length, with a capacity to hold 132 guests, the M/S Expedition is an ideal vessel to ply polar waters. The M/S Expedition is large enough to provide stability, speed, spacious cabins and ample public space. Yet she is small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas and get you close to the action. Ship stabilizers ensure a smooth ride in rough waters, such as the infamous Drake Passage, allowing you to enjoy more of your time at sea. A fleet of ten zodiacs allows passengers to get out and actively explore the remote shores of our destinations. The M/S Expedition is a speedy vessel. A top speed of 16 knots means you'll spend less time getting from A to B, and more time to explore your surroundings.
Cabins Prices are based on the use of outward facing, category one cabins on the lower deck. Category one cabins are triple or quad share. They are comfortable with a private toilet and shower, and porthole. The MS Expedition has a number of different cabin categories, all outside facing and with two beds (apart from suites which have queen size beds). Some have larger windows. We can also offer single occupancy, subject to availability. Call us for details on the cabin choice to fit your requirements.
Search for polar bears - the King of the Arctic is often seen patrolling the ice in search of food
See an intoxicating mix of wildlife - walruses, Arctic foxes, seals and sea birds
Discover deep fjords, ice-blue glaciers & sculpted icebergs
Travel with expert naturalist guides, who will explain all about the wonders of the Arctic
Regular Zodiac landings to explore the rugged shorelines
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on archipelago of Svalbard with a population of about 2,060 people and about as many snowmobiles. Most of the inhabitants are Norwegians, and some are Russians. Located in the Advent Fjord at the entrance of the Advent Valley, this community has an infrastructure fit for a much larger city. Within the islands, there are four inhabited settlements and some scientific stations. All settlements are found on the west coast, the part of Spitsbergen with the mildest climate due to the warm Gulf Current.
Longyearbyen is located at 78°13′N 15°33′E. The Governor of Svalbard resides there. Due to its location far north of the polar circle, it is polar night from mid-October to mid-February and polar day from mid-April to mid-August. Longyearbyen has an arctic tundra climate.
The settlement was founded in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear, main owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston. "Byen" is Norwegian for "the city". Longyearbyen was destroyed by the Germans in 1943 and rebuilt after World War II, with the old foundations still visible in some places. Until the early 1990s the coal mining industry was the major employer in Longyearbyen. The daily life revolved only around the mining business. Today, the community offers a wide range of activities and facilities. There is a bank, post office, hospital, public library, cafes/restaurants, tourist information, a swimming hall, a climbing wall, a big sports hall, a grocery store, three pubs, three hotels, one church, several tourists shops, there are various forms of lodging, from hostels to modern full-service hotels, a cinema (Sundays) and one night club. During summer, most of the people you meet here will be tourists or young people working to accommodate the visitors. A very friendly and international atmosphere reigns. And, of course, Longyearbyen has its own international airport.
Each day will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Distances are relatively short in the archipelago and as there are no ocean crossings, the seas are normally calm. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. During these six days we will visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea around us. We will spend time steaming through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals. Ivory gulls will be a highlight for the birders, while we keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches. We will visit, ice permitting, spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. A little auk colony will also be on our agenda. Our shore stops will be highlighted with flowers nearing, or at the peak of, their bloom. We will have the opportunity to observe and discuss some of their adaptations to what we consider a harsh environment. At one or more of our stops, we hope to see Svalbard’s unique subspecies of reindeer. They are much smaller than their southern relatives, but still carry impressive antlers. We also have the possibility of seeing arctic foxes. This is also a land of history: from whaling to reaching for the pole, to trapping, coal mining and war. We will visit some of these historic sites. We may cruise in zodiacs along the ice edge viewing seals, walrus or polar bears, in fjords with glaciers spilling down to the sea or in front of spectacular seabird cliffs. We will have opportunities to walk on shore, observe and photograph the arctic flora and fauna. As we are in the land of the polar bear, your expedition staff will carry rifles and flare guns on shore for your protection. Krossfjord, Konigsfjord, Monaco Glacier, Hinlopen Strait, Northeast Land, Edgeoya, Hornsund and Bellsund are just a few of the places that we may visit. By not having a set itinerary, we take on an expedition spirit and are free to take advantage of the best that Svalbard has to offer. The evening of our last full day of adventure will find the expedition ship anchored off Longyearbyen.
We arrive in Longyearbyen in the early morning for disembarkation.
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
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