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.
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.
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.
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.
For a great introduction to the High Arctic, Svalbard’s dramatic scenery, calving glaciers and wildlife-rich tundra is a great place.
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.
This voyage maximises wildlife sightings with the chance to circumnavigate Svalbard. Search for walrus, arctic fox, whales and of course the ‘King of The Arctic’, alongside visiting abandoned trapping stations and experiencing glaciers up close. Only 54 people onboard allows…
Designed with photographers in mind, this extended 13 day voyage maximises photo opportunities. Travelling in early summer when ice is still prevalent, a fully flexible itinerary provides the best possible chances of capturing the white bear and other arctic wildlife…
This 11-day Svalbard voyage is a ‘classic’ providing ample time for near guaranteed polar bear sightings, alongside encounters with the region’s other plentiful wildlife and exploring its dramatic scenery. Phippsoya, 14th of July glacier and Hinlopen Strait are all popular…
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.
Introductions to the High Arctic don’t come much better. Over 13 days traverse the High Arctic from wildlife-rich Svalbard, via East Greenland’s towering icebergs and autumnal tundra, finishing in Iceland. This well balanced itinerary provides abundant wildlife, startling scenery and…
Beginning in Svalbard before arcing westwards across the Greenland Sea and then down East Greenland’s long coastline to finish in Iceland, this is an audacious Arctic journey of startling diversity and contrast. Spectacular landscapes, towering glaciers and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters…
This comprehensive Arctic triumvirate encompassing Svalbard, East Greenland and Iceland offers the best of both worlds: some of The Arctic's best wildlife viewing with spectacular scenery, unspoiled fjords and gigantic icebergs. Plus, you may be lucky enough to see both…
For the ultimate Arctic experience this unparalleled 24-day voyage is hard to beat. Created by splicing together two popular voyages, it delivers extended time circumnavigating Svalbard while maximising wildlife sightings, with exploration of East Greenland’s deep fjords and towering…
Beginning deep inside the High Arctic and finishing in subarctic Iceland, we like this voyage for its diversity, sense of journey and extended time exploring East Greenland. Zodiac cruising amongst towering icebergs, glimpsing the Northern Light and tracking musk oxen…
Setting sail from Iceland’s capital, journey northwards across the Arctic Circle via little visited Jan Mayen before arriving in Svalbard where you’ll spend 6 full days exploring. Experience three very distinct islands in a single voyage with optional kayaking for…
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
Plan your trip
Getting to Svalbard
One of the world's most northerly inhabited places, geographically closer to the North Pole than to Norway its nearest neighbour 1,000 km away, getting to Svalbard …
When to Visit Svalbard
While Svalbard may be an almost year round destination, the changing weather, number of daylight hours, amount of ice and snow conditions through the year all have a marked …
Spitsbergen & Longyearbyen
The largest and only permanently populated of Svalbard’s islands, Spitsbergen is where all the activity and life happens. The beating heart of Spitsbergen itself is the town …
Help Me Choose
We're all clear on where the Arctic is located and why we want to visit, but its vastness and the sheer variety of experiences on offer can be a real challenge when deciding …
FAQs about Svalbard Cruises
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.
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.
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.