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Norway North Spitsbergen Polar Bears & Pack Ice Adventure Cruising

Wildlife & Glaciers of the Svalbard Archipelago

 

Discover the realm of the polar bear, a savagely beautiful land of ice and snow, glassy fjords, and expansive tundra on this exciting Arctic adventure. Cruising the Svalbard Archipelago aboard a comfortable, ice-strengthened vessel, you'll discover Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard - known to Vikings, traders and early explorers. Enjoy prime viewing as you explore cliffs by ship and Zodiac and watch for polar bears, walruses, or beluga whales breaching in the icy water. No two trips are alike, but each one offers rare opportunities to experience the wild and wonderful Arctic.

  • Sail in comfort on an expedition in search of the majestic, awe-inspiring polar bear in a fantastically beautiful world of sea and ice landscapes surrounded by flocks of seabirds, singing whales, elusive narwhale, and massive walruses

  • Walk in one of the last true wilderness areas on earth on shore excursions varying from leisurely strolls to strenuous hikes

  • Enjoy zodiac cruises to best take advantage of wildlife viewing opportunities, getting up close and personal to ice and sea creatures

Contact an Expert

Arrive:

Longyearbyen, Norway

Depart:

Longyearbyen, Norway

Price: from $5,500

Duration:

8 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

Up to 170 passengers

Min Age:

15 yrs

Activity:

Level 1

You can expect 1 or 2 half-day shore excursions for each day depending on weather conditions. The guided excursions will vary from 1-3 hours walking, snowshoeing or zodiac. No previous experience is necessary for any of the offered activities.
Learn more here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

  • Arrive Longyearbyen

    Day 1

    Touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plants have been recorded in it. In the early evening, the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Dinner

  • Sail to Raudfjorden

    Day 2

    Embark for Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen. Take in the spectacular expanse of the fjord, bordered with glaciers and frequented by ringed and bearded seals. Hike the cliffs and shoreline, home to thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and polar bears.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Discover the Monaco Glacier

    Day 3

    Weather permitting, sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier, a favorite feeding spot for kittiwakes, and hunting ground for polar bears. If weather is uncooperative, sail along the west coast of Spitsbergen as an alternate route.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Cruise the Hinlopen Strait

    Day 4

    Enter the Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, polar bears and blue whales. Cruise among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, and view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich's guillemots. If conditions permit, make a landing on Nordaustlanden on the east side of the Strait, to look for reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Stop at the Seven Islands

    Day 5

    Get close to the North Pole at Nordaustlandet in the Seven Islands. Reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Park for several hours among the pack ice, watching for polar bears, before turning west again.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Sail on the Continental Shelf

    Day 6

    Retrace the route west, keeping watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland bowhead whales. Sail the edge of the continental shelf about 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, where fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones that run along the Spitsbergen banks. Scan the waters at the mouth of Kongsfjorden, for sightings of playful minke whales.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Voyage Back to Longyearbyen

    Day 7

    Watch for walruses in the approach to Forlandsundet, or sail into St. Johns Fjord or the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at the cliffs of Alkhornet, home of nesting seabirds. Enjoy views of Arctic foxes, searching for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer, grazing on the sparse vegetation. Arrive in Longyearbyen by evening.

    Accommodation: m/v Plancius

    m/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a comfortable passenger vessel in 2009. m/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and spacious observation lounge with large windows, offering a full panoramic view. Its large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 4), provide excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    Accommodation: m/v Hondius

    m/v Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, meeting the latest and highest Lloyd's Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. The vessel offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers with one deck consisting of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room. Though elegantly designed in stylish décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide's distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere. The vessel employs a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that enable efficient access to shore and near-shore activities. Kayaks are also available.

    Accommodation: m/v Janssonius


    Janssonius is the sister vessel of Hondius, world's first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, making her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers and carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also boasts an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart Longyearbyen

    Day 8

    The trip comes to and end upon disembarkation in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

    Meals: Breakfast

Norway North Spitsbergen Polar Bears & Pack Ice Adventure Cruising

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek's Polar Value Promise means that we offer in-house services to help plan and execute you polar adventure for no added cost.

Reason #02

Over 30 years offering polar voyages we have built strong relationships with polar service providers and ships that cruise the High Arctic.

Reason #03

We choose ships and operators that maintain a high level of commitment to safety, people, value, quality, environment, well-being, and customer service.

Meet your guides

Rinie van Meurs

Rinie van Meurs

After a formal education in Forestry and Nature Conservation, Rinie started to travel around the world in search of wildlife and birds. Early on in his career, he became hooked on the Arctic when managed to find a job on board of the "old" Plancius as a potato peeler for his first season in Spitsbergen. Rinie has since become leading guide in the Polar region, logging more than 300 expedition cruises, including; the Canadian high Arctic, Geographical North Pole, Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, and many islands along the Atlantic Ridge. Having spent so much time exploring the Arctic, he has encountered many Polar Bears and has published four books to share his passion about them. Give him a ship with the right ice class and Rinie will take you to Polar Bears!

Birgit Lutz

Birgit Lutz

Birgit changed her life from award-winning journalist to Arctic addicted adventurer in 2007, after a first voyage to the North Pole aboard the Russian icebreaker Yamal. She took up 'Circumpolar Studies' at the Canadian University of the Arctic and since then combines arctic voyages with writing. She has skied to the North Pole, across Greenland and spent several months living in the region of Ammassalik to learn from natives. These experiences inspired Birgit to initiate a project for the German Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, for which she collects data about marine anthropogenic pollution. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for the Arctic and is currently writing her fourth book on the region.rn

Laurence Dyke

Laurence Dyke

Laurence grew up on the coast in Cornwall, UK, and was never far from the water and boats. His background is in geographer with a special focus in glaciology, a choice inspired by seeing a glacier up close for the first time in the Austrian Alps. For the last 7 years he has worked in science, both in the UK and Denmark, working to understand how and why huge glacier systems have changed in the past. Laurence first visited the Arctic in 2010 whilst undertaking research for his Ph.D. and was immediately captivated by the wild landscapes of the high latitudes. His subsequent research has taken him on numerous expeditions to remote areas of Greenland, Svalbard, and Arctic Canada.

Activities

Expert polar interpretation and presentations, professional navigation through Arctic waters, wildlife experiences, hiking, and Zodiac cruising.

Lodging

Ice-strengthened and well-appointed polar expedition ships offer a comfortable and safe way to explore the Arctic. Enjoy healthy cuisine and wellness services onboard.

Climate

The air is very dry. Expect a mix of sun, clouds, wind, rain, and possible snow. Daytime temperatures are usually 38°- 50°F.

FAQ

Will there be any adjustments to the itinerary?

Programs may vary depending on weather conditions and opportunities to see wildlife so flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. We recommend packing your spirit of adventure!

Where do polar bears live?

Polar bears will wander all over the Arctic to find food but it's believed that they have feeding areas called, "home ranges" that they prefer. Any changes in the home range will compel polar bears to travel hundreds of miles in search of better fare, a journey that they are not accustomed to handle. Though polar bears are elusive, Spitsbergen offers the highest probability of sightings.

What other animals will we see?

The Arctic, although a very inhospitable environment, is home to many amazing creatures including the arctic fox, reindeer, walrus, seals, whales, and birds.

Are transfers and pre-/post- arrangements included?

Transfers to/from the airport and vessel are available only for select flights. Please contact the Adventure Coordinator for more details and/or for instructions on how to reach the ship.

Pre-/post- arrangements are not included with the trip.


What cabin types are available?

This itinerary is offered on three different ships, depending on the departure date. Each ship has a variety of cabin types, all at varying price points. Cabins range from Triple and Quadruple Portholes all the way to Grand suites with private balconies. Contact our Regional Specialist team to inquire after availability.

2022

Scheduled Dates

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage
  • Pricing based on double occupancy in Twin Porthole suite

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

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