Reasons to cruise to Svalbard

By zodiac, on foot, or from the bows of your ship; you’ll experience all the emotions inspired by a magical landscape of calving glaciers, towering mountains, rolling tundra and deep fjords.

  • Venture into the lair of the polar bear – they outnumber humans up here
  • Hold your breath as you get thrillingly close to walrus, reindeer, arctic fox, seals and whales
  • Gaze up in amazement at soaring cliffs teeming with millions of nesting birds 
  • Experience the wonders of the midnight sun as day blends into night

Plus daily scheduled flights via Oslo make Svalbard easier and cheaper to reach than almost any other Arctic region.

Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago

Head due north from Norway and equidistant between there and the North Pole itself you’ll reach this ice girdled collection of islands. Composed of four main islands, of which Spitsbergen is far and away the largest, there are few more northerly habitable places on each. With its easy access, rich history and plentiful wildlife, it’s a perfect introduction to the Arctic.

Monaco Glacier

Svalbard Wildlife

Few other parts of the Arctic offer such good chances of experiencing the Arctic’s wildlife as Svalbard. Walrus, arctic fox, polar bear, beluga whales and reindeer are all commonly sighted on Svalbard cruises. While the archipelago’s vertiginous cliffs teeming with literally millions of nesting birds is paradise for any birder.

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Svalbard Ships

Nowhere else in the polar regions offers such a broad spectrum of expedition ships - from a two-masted schooner carrying just 20 people to ice-strengthened ships with space for well over 100 passengers. Size of ship, ice class rating, calibre of guides and comfort level should all help inform the decision making process.

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Svalbard Landing Sites

Getting off your ship and exploring key places of interest - called ‘Landing sites’ - on foot and by zodiac are the real highlights of any Svalbard cruise. You can typically expect two landings per day, always accompanied by your onboard expedition team. Landings come in many forms, from cruising the snout of a glacier, walking the tundra and visiting historic sites, to searching for wildlife.

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Introductory Svalbard trips

As the name suggests these shorter trips (6-10 days) offer an excellent introduction to Svalbard, with daily off-ship excursions and good opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Svalbard in depth

These longer trips (11-13 days) not only improve your chances of wildlife sightings, but the later departures also offer the opportunity to do a full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen.

Trips to Svalbard & other Regions

While Svalbard has more than enough appeal to hold most people's attention, there are also some spectacular longer trips (13-24 days) which combine Svalbard with its near neighbours.

How much does a Svalbard cruise cost?

Svalbard cruises vary in duration from 6 - 13 days which is reflected in the individual voyage cost. The most common trips are 8 - 11 days in length. The following prices are merely just guidelines as there is variation between ships:

  • 6 - 8 days trip approx. USD $3,500 per person
  • 8 - 11 days trip approx. USD $4,600 - $5,600 per person
  • 13 days trip approx. USD $7,500 per person
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Plan your trip

FAQs about Svalbard Cruises

  • Will I see a polar bear?

    It’s the question which everyone asks. With more polar bears than humans, Svalbard is prime bear country and offers good chances of sightings. We’ve had lucky past customers who have seen 18 in the course of a week’s cruise. However, as ever with wildlife, sharp eyes and an element of luck are required.

  • Will there be guides on board?

    Yes, each vessel has an experienced team of polar experts on board who will act as your guides during daily landings and lectures while on board ship. All these expedition cruises - regardless of which ship you choose - have a strong educational dimension.

  • Are there regular excursions?

    Absolutely, this is a key part of an expedition cruise. Expect daily excursions of 2 - 4 hours duration accompanied by the onboard guides, exploring either by rubber zodiac or walking the tundra.

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