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

Swoop Says

Svalbard cruise ships

MS Expedition - Arctic Ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A purpose built expedition ship with elegant style and spacious cabins for her 114 guests to travel in style.

National Geographic Explorer - Arctic Ship

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

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

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

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