The Land of Ice & Bears

This well balanced and well priced expedition is a fantastic introduction to the Arctic. You will take in many of the major sites of Spitsbergen Island, in a recently refurbished vessel, with huge amounts of deck space from where you can keep your eyes peeled for polar bears.
8 Days

The Land of Ice & Bears - 8 Days - $4,290

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1 – Longyearbyen:

Upon arriving to Longyearbyen, a short city tour will introduce you to the fascinating history and contemporary society of the Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.

Our vessel, Ocean Atlantic, is docked close to the town centre. After boarding and a welcome drink, the expedition leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The captain will the manoeuvre the ship out of Advent Fjord and our Arctic adventure commences.

Day – Kongsfjorden, Ny Ålesund & Ny London:

During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we will have passed Prins Karls Forland and arrive in the magnificent Kongsfjord. Our visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give us the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of year the migrating birds have just arrived, all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months.

Our first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The captain will try to get alongside, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.

Day 3 – Smeerenburg & Fuglesongen:

We have now entered North West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th Century, host to more than 200 men in the heyday of blubber production.

There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow we’ll make a landing on Fuglesongen, the largest colony of little auks in Svalbard. The arctic fox has clearly noticed this as well and can often be seen roaming the base of the bird cliffs.  

Day 4 – Into the Pack Ice, North of 80 Degrees:

During the night the ship will have steered far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target for us is just the ‘edge’, possibly at 80 degrees north!

This is the kingdom of the polar bear. As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, looking for their prey: seals. Bears who do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to live on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find; a hard life indeed.

During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and culture can be enjoyed onboard in the Viking Theater. Should we make it into the pack ice, where the sea usually is calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged.

Day 5 – Andøyane Og Monaco Glacier:

It's likely that the northeastern coast of Spitsbergen Island and Hinlopen Strait will still be locked in by coastal ice. We will try our luck and sail as far east as possible. Should this fail, Wood Fjord and Liefde Fjord could be excellent alternatives for the day. In this case, we will circumvent the bird rich Andøya in Zodiacs, and make a landing on Reindyrflya. Other interesting landings in this fantastic fjord system could be Mushamna and the oddly named Texas Bar. In the afternoon, a Zodiac cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs.

Day 6 – Blomstrand Peninsula & Lilliehöök Glacier:

In the morning we will have reached the west coast of Spitsbergen and Kongsfjorden. Our ship will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. As we will immediately see, the name is a bit misleading. Blomstrand is now an island - the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. We will cruise through this on our Zodiacs and make a landing on the island. Strong hikers might want to scale Irgensfjellet (385m) for views of The Three Sisters, the Nunatak Mountains stretching far into the Kongs Glacier, and views down to Ny Ålesund.

After lunch, we continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, we may do a Zodiac cruise along the front of Lilliehöök Glacier…or enjoy a lecture.   

Day 7 – Bellsund, Vårsolbukta & Calypsobyen:

The west coast enjoys warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so any winter ice should now have melted. This allows us to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on our last full day of exploration.

Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices have fallen and the coal mine is now being dismantled.

We will stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. The tundra, which Svalbard reindeer love to graze, is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks. We will go for a nice walk along the beach and spot remains from early industrial eras.

During lunch, we’ll cross the fjord along the 4km long island of Akseloya. We will make a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord. Coal was extracted here in the early 1900s, but the enterprise never attained full production. Today, Calypsobyen offers an exciting landing that gives visitors a glimpse of the era of Neo-Industrialism, when all opportunities for profit were tried out. A pleasant walk can be made on the tundra behind the buildings.

Day 8 – Longyearbyen:

Early in the morning the ship returns to our starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewells to the expedition team and crew, disembarkation will take place and we arrange transfers to the airport.

NOTE: This itinerary is for guidance only. Each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.

Customer review background image

What our customers think of The Land of Ice & Bears

Very good knowledge, professional, friendly with good leadership. The expedition team really worked hard to make our holiday the best! All lectures were very good.

Travelled: June 2022

Anna-Karin Hjalmarsson - Sweden

Most memorable moment: watching a polar bear rather close from a zodiac for over an hour eating eggs from eider nests, walking around, finally going into the ocean and swimming away.

Travelled: June 2022

Anna-Karin Hjalmarsson - Sweden


Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.

Additional Notes

Optional Adventure Activities:

Kayaking: included

Single Supplement And Child Policy

For those travelling solo and want their own cabin, the single supplement in a twin cabin is 1.7 times the cost of a single berth. However, there is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin.

At date of embarkation, the minimum age restriction of 8 years and a minimum height and weight requirement of 64lbs or 29kg and 48” or 1.2m must be met.


  • All excursions and activities by Zodiac
  • Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation during the voyage on full board basis
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac activities
  • Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
  • Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port taxes, any entry fees to historic landing sites and AECO fees


  • Flights to and from points of embarkation/ disembarkation
  • Any additional services before and after your voyage
  • Transfers not specific to the itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional adventure activities
  • Single room supplement
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Items of a personal nature: laundry, beverages, etc
  • Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
  • Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gifts, drinks)

Questions about this Voyage?