Circumnavigating Spitsbergen - In the Realm of the Polar Bear - Small Ship Expedition

    Circumnavigating Spitsbergen - In the Realm of the Polar Bear - Small Ship Expedition

    Håkon Grimstad on Unsplash

    A unique expedition cruise to some of the most remote and pristine waters of the world. As with all expeditions; nature prevails. Weather, and ice and sea conditions, sets the final framework for operations. Safety and unparalleled guest experiences are at all times top priorities. All indicative itineraries are continuously evaluated for adaptions, whether this is due to constraints the elements unexpectedly presents – or exciting possibilities nature and wildlife offer. That is why we call it an expedition.


    • Comfortable and intimate expedition experience aboard refurbished MS Spitsbergen

    • Attempt to sail above 80°N and fully circumnavigate the island of Spitsbergen

    • Summertime offers good chances of sighting polar bears hunting on the sea ice

    • See beautiful fjords, glaciers, and icebergs in the pristine Arctic wilderness

    Day 1 – From 59 N to 78 N – Oslo / Longyearbyen

    Your trip starts with a flight from Oslo in the evening. Before your flight, enjoy the museums, parks and cafés of the Norwegian capital. On arrival in Longyearbyen, you will set foot in an entirely different world: a tiny town perched on the edge of the Arctic wilderness. Transfer to your hotel and overnight.

    Day 2 – The Norwegian Stronghold in the High Arctic - Longyearbyen

    After an overnight stay, join an excursion to get to know this unique town after lunch. The mighty Arctic wilderness dominates life here, but Longyearbyen maintains a lively cultural life and serves as a prime destination for adventure travellers. Enjoy the atmosphere of this colorful frontier outpost before boarding your ship in the afternoon.

    Day 3-4 – Exploring Amazing Fjords with Fascinating History – North West Spitsbergen National Park

    The North West Corner is scattered with lovely islands, fjords and beaches, but such majestic sights can be blocked by heavy sea ice. We use all our expertise and 120 years of experience in these waters to try and navigate the ice in order to access areas for you to explore. One such site is Kongsfjorden, one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by stunning mountain formations. We also plan to call on the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international centre for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings. There will likely be many other exciting landings and scenic kayaking opportunities if we are able to move past the ice and go further north.

    Day 5 – 7 – Enjoy Expedition Days in the Arctic – Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve

    Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago. You will also be exploring the area in summertime, which is when polar bears and their cubs will be out hunting for seals on the ice floes. We therefore have high hopes that you’ll spot one or more during this journey. The Arctic Ocean in this part of Svalbard is also full of drifting ice and its frozen seascape changes constantly. Being modern-day explorers, the captain and the Expedition Team will be carefully analysing the density and movements of the sea ice using advanced sonar and live satellite imagery. They will then discuss together and decide where we can safely sail or land. This is what makes this cruise an expedition; it is a true, suspense-filled adventure into the Arctic’s great wilderness, negotiating and adapting to whatever elements nature challenges us with. Ultimately, it is the sea ice that will determine whether we can cross the 80th parallel and head further north to Sjuøyane (Seven Islands) at the extreme of the Svalbard archipelago. Again, depending on sea and weather conditions at the time, we will sail through the Hinlopen Strait, before continuing towards Edgeøya, the third largest island in the archipelago.

    Day 8 – The Expedition Continues – South Spitsbergen National Park and the area of Bellsund

    Our aim for these days is to navigate any sea ice and reach the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. The varied geology here at Hornsund has created a dramatic and photogenic landscape. Ice pushed into the fjord early in the season also attracts polar bears that hunt on the floes, so with a bit of luck, we may spot this magnificent predator.

    Day 9 – Fjord, Wilderness – The Isfjord

    We will spend the day exploring the Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. In the inner parts of Isfjorden, the landscape changes constantly. The immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of the Svalbard reindeer.

    Day 10 – End of the Expedition – Longyearbyen / Oslo

    Our return to the colourful town of Longyearbyen marks the end of a remarkable voyage that brought us just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.

    Included in Your Expedition


    • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice

    • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune

    • Complimentary tea and coffee

    • Complimentary Wi-Fi onboard. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with very limited connection. Streaming is not supported.

    • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations onboard

    • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and accompany activities onboard and ashore

    • Range of included activities


    • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics

    • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes

    • Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research

    • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos

    • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor gym

    • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come


    • Escorted landings with small expedition boats

    • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities

    • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket

    • Expedition photographers help with your camera settings before landings

    Not Included in Your Expedition

     • International flights

    • Travel protection plan

    • Luggage handling

    • Optional shore excursions with our local partners

    • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team


    • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions

    • Excursions and activities are subject to change

    • No gratuities expected