Things to consider
Choosing the right ship to travel aboard is a key decision when planning your Svalbard adventure. To help you get started, here are a few key tips on what to consider:
- To be guaranteed the best chance of bear sightings you need to choose a ship capable of muscling into the pack ice, the true realm of the polar bear. Pick a ship with a high ice rating
- Few people pay attention to a ship's draft, but it can make a real difference in Svalbard as ships with shallower drafts will be able to access areas others can't.
- Quieter ships often get good wildlife sightings compared to noisier ones as Arctic wildlife tend to be skittish
- Kayaking is a fantastic optional add-on which gets rave reviews, but its not offered by all Svalbard ships, so choose carefully
Whether you're heading north to catch of glimpse of the ice bear, experience the pack ice or to sail Svalbard's sheltered waters, there's a wide enough choice of ship to suit every kind of traveller.
Svalbard cruise ships
MS Expedition - Arctic Ship
Blessed with a huge amount of deck space this is a great ship for the 136 passengers. A well-established team makes it a great atmosphere on board.
Akademik Ioffe - Arctic Ship
Originally built for Russian Polar research, this 96 guest workhorse is now the ideal ‘basecamp’ for those travelers looking for a real Arctic adventure.
Plancius - Arctic Ship
A former Dutch Navy research ship, the Plancius is a practical and highly capable expedition ship with a recent full re-fit to take 116 guests.
Ortelius - Arctic Ship
An outstanding expedition ship with a hard won reputation for navigating some of the Polar region's most challenging waters carrying just 116 guests.
Ocean Nova - Arctic Ship
Built to navigate Greenland’s ice-choked waters the very popular Ocean Nova is very capable and comfortable ship carrying just 68 passengers.
Polar Pioneer - Arctic Ship
Small, nimble and on the basic side this former research ship carries just 56 guests into some of the most remote corners of the Arctic.
Noorderlicht - Arctic Ship
A three-masted schooner built in 1910 and re-purposed to carry just 20 adventurers in simple berths through the frozen north.
Ocean Adventurer - Arctic Ship
Refurbished for her 128 guests in 2017 and with a stunning history of polar exploration this is one of the Grand Dames of the Arctic.
Sea Spirit - Arctic Ship
A purpose built expedition ship with elegant style and spacious cabins for her 114 guests to travel in style.
National Geographic Explorer - Arctic Ship
A class act from the pioneers of polar travel the Explorer carries 148 guests in great comfort to some of the most incredible spots in the Arctic.
Silver Explorer - Arctic Ship
Intimate luxury at the highest of standards on this 132 passenger super-yacht. 5* service with all the excursions of an expedition ship.
Rembrandt van Rijn - Arctic Ship
A beautiful three-masted schooner evoking a bygone era when sail power ruled the waves, with comfortable cabins for 33.
Visit Svalbard on these ships
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…
Plan your trip
North of the Arctic Circle and halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard’s dramatic coastline and fjords are largely ice-free during high summer providing incredible …
Getting to Svalbard
Svalbard is geographically closer to the North Pole than to Norway. Surprising then, that getting there is quite so straightforward, with regular flights from Norway to …
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 effect …
Arctic Cruise Ships
We partner with selected ice-strengthened Arctic expedition vessels from small yachts and nimble little ships with convivial atmospheres, to larger Russian research boats and …