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Reviews for Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth - Expedition

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Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth - M/S Expedition reviews verified by reevooReevoo

23 reviews

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Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth - M/S ExpeditionScores 9.5 out of 10 based on 23 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Julie

London
Ms expedition very comfortable and just the right size for this trip, allows everyone to get off ship into zodiacs for landings or cruises. Itinerary not fixed and is organised with weather etc in mind, to avoid the worst of any swell or fog, to maximise wildlife/landscape viewing and off ship activities. Interesting on board lectures. excellent food - maybe this should be a negative though due to lack of will power causing weight gain! We saw everything I was hoping to see and more - Narwhal included! Best thing has to be the steady approach of a polar bear that spent time near the ship stalking seals. Blue whale and a pod of about 20 Beluga whales pretty impressive too. First experience of sailing through drift ice is unforgettable as it clangs and bumps against the ship as it pushes its way through. Midnight sun...take a good eyeshade. Earplugs would probably be useful if you have a cabin near the engines too.
Confirmed traveller: 26 July 2017
Published on: 28 July 2017
(10 out of 10)

Laura

Edinburgh
We were exceptionally fortunate on our expedition with the wildlife we saw and the weather we had which meant we had an amazing trip. The expedition crew were very knowledgeable and engaging and the boat crew looked after us superbly. The communication and information supplied by Explore was very comprehensive.
Confirmed traveller: 26 July 2017
Published on: 28 July 2017
(10 out of 10)

AJB

UK
I hate giving maximum scores fore all aspects but can honestly say this was a perfect trip of a lifetime.

The expedition team were knowledgeable, attentive and keen to ensure everything was as it should be - there is nothing I could suggest they may be able to do better. The itinerary was obviously 'fluid' in that until weather conditions were known nothing could be finalised - we did not waste a minute and if we didn't need sleep could have done far more than we did. For us the primary focus was to see the wildlife and landscape but we heard the evening entertainment was also brilliant.

If you wish to see the Arctic wildlife in it's natural environment you cannot do better than this trip - approximately 120 passengers in a sturdy vessel with very comfortable cabins and amazing staff. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Confirmed traveller: 25 July 2017
Published on: 09 August 2017
(10 out of 10)

Baxter

Edinburgh
This was an amazing adventure, which exceeded all my expectations. We were extremely fortunate with the weather, maximising the number of zodiac trips and our wildlife viewing - even so, I couldn't believe that we managed 7 separate sightings of polar bears, several groups of walrus, a blue whale as we headed towards the sea ice, a fin whale, 2 pods of beluga whales, narwhal, arctic foxes scavenging for fallen and eggs under immense sea cliffs teeming with birds, and several rare species of gull (including the ivory gull and Sabine's gull). The scenery and flora around Svalbard were also absolutely stunning, and sunglasses were indeed needed for that midnight sun! The ship felt like a home from home, with a very welcoming atmosphere and excellent staff - I didn't want to leave. Would highly recommend this trip.
Confirmed traveller: 25 July 2017
Published on: 01 August 2017
(10 out of 10)

Christine

Warrington
The whole trip was amazing. The staff were fun, but at the same time professional. We got married during the trip and were really impressed with the amount of effort everyone went to to make our big day very special.
Confirmed traveller: 09 July 2017
Published on: 16 July 2017
(10 out of 10)

Richard

Brighton
This was a great trip. We had hoped to see polar bears and were lucky enough to achieve this on four occasions, but we saw and learnt much more. The arctic sea and landscapes were breathtaking, the wildlife extraordinary. We saw blue whales, fin whales, a minke whale and a very rare bowhead whale; walrus, four types of seal, reindeer, arctic foxes and great views of the birds: fulmar, guillemots, little auk, kittiwake, puffin, skuas, glaucous and ivory gulls, snow bunting. Virtually the full range of artic plants, including the saxifrages, mini willows, compass plant and the flowering Jacobs ladder! We also got a great insight to the history of the area.

We were well looked after by the crew and expedition staff who were all G Adventures staff, with Explore being the booking agent. Safety was taken extremely seriously which was reassuring and though we were concerned beforehand about getting on and off the zodiacs this was simple with the help of the experienced crew. The knack is to follow all instructions to the letter both on and off the ship and in the zodiacs and you can't go wrong.

The expedition staff were knowledgable, passionate very helpful and lectures were extremely informative and relevant but kept light and humorous and my eyes closing on occasion were no reflection on the lectures but due to my own aging body. The tour leader was excellent with great enthusiasm and kept us fully informed of any changes, developments, in the itinerary (which of necessity is fluid) as well of any sightings. His understanding of safety risk assessment was refreshing and in my experience rare. All this with the added pressure of finding polar bears, which is by no means certain due to their nomadic nature, but is expected by the guests.

We paid the extra for a twin cabin with large window which was on floor 4. This was great. It had all you could want but no frills, and was positioned near the reception, the lounge and dining area.


Meals were single sitting but informal with help yourself buffets at breakfast and lunch and occasionally evening meals. You could sit on larger tables of around ten to twelve down to tables for four though there were enough of these to allow you to dine as a couple most of the time should you want to. The food was very good with a wide choice. There was a happy hour every night with a different cocktail at good prices plus local (Spitsbergen) beers. Normal drink prices were less than Scandinavian prices - not bad. Evening entertainment included a resident singer in the pub , quizzes, a couple of films, eand finally a fancy dress (for those so inclined - no pressure) and a conga around the deck on the second last night.

The service crew were friendly, helpful and attentive without over doing it. As for the captain - he managed the first circumnavigation of Spitsbergen of the year, spotted two of the polar bears and could manoeuvre the ship like it was dinghy - astonishing.

Altogether a fantastic way to experience the Arctic. Tips: binoculars a must as some of the wildlife especially bears are spotted from a distance so as to view them acting naturally and not disturbing them; take the recommended layers for the cold weather, I was especially glad of neck and face protection when the wind got up; don't expect to see polar bears all day every day. It is not what the trip is about and a sighting is a bonus. They are difficult to locate but with this trip you stand a good chance, and everyone does their utmost to locate them; do all the zodiac trips and landings as you are likely to only be there once and might easily miss something.
Confirmed traveller: 09 July 2017
Published on: 15 July 2017
(10 out of 10)

Beverley

West Yorkshire
An amazing experience including incredible scenery, wildlife encounters and off the ship explorations twice a day on most days, into the Arctic wilderness. A good balance of activities and excellent leadership from the G Adventures leader and staff.
Ship staff friendly and attentive and excellent meals and lectures on board.
Longyearbyen a good source for holiday supplies!
Waterproof gloves and trousers essential!
Confirmed traveller: 09 July 2017
Published on: 12 July 2017
(9 out of 10)

Rolf

Rio de Janeiro
Highlights: perfect light and a bear with a kill on the ice, chasing away the birds…
Zodiacs in the pack ice…

We were very lucky with wildlife and wheather overall!
Confirmed traveller: 20 August 2016
Published on: 13 September 2016
(10 out of 10)

Roger

Dover
What a fantastic trip. Good weather, lots of polar bears and other Arctic animals and birds.
Very difficult to find anything that wasn't well organised, crew excellent, expedition staff very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. Safety was paramount on all landings and boat trips.
Confirmed traveller: 20 August 2016
Published on: 01 September 2016
(10 out of 10)

Elaine

Reading
Brilliant trip that exceeded expectations. It was a very varied itinerary and we enjoyed the mix of wildlife, plants and ice. The team of staff were fantastic - enthusiastic and very knowledgable. I would recommend it to any one.
Confirmed traveller: 11 August 2016
Published on: 21 August 2016