Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday)

Travel information 6 days MS Nordstjernen
Departures
15 departures between May 2022 and Aug 2022
Price from
£ 1269
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Check prices and availability

Majestic glaciers, jagged mountain peaks and the chance to see polar bears under the midnight sun – join us for an unforgettable expedition to Spitsbergen. 

The worlds northernmost town 

Your adventure starts in the unique town of Longyearbyen, located right at the edge of an Arctic wilderness. Enjoy a guided tour that includes visits to the Svalbard Museum before sailing the Isfjord to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg. You’ll learn about the history and culture of the people who first discovered Svalbard and even get to see some of their art on display alongside Russian artefacts.  

Where beauty and history combine 

Your Captain and Expedition Team will decide which parts of Spitsberg’s fabled North West Corner we’ll explore. We’ll attempt to land at Magdalenefjord. Framed by spectacular views of jagged mountain peaks and glaciers, you’ll be setting foot on an island with fascinating explorer and whaling history. If the conditions are favourable, we plan to sail above 80° North, bringing you within 600 nautical miles of the North Pole.  

Dramatic fjords and glaciers 

We sail the Isfjord as we near the end of our adventure. This stunning fjord forms a lush and beautiful system rich in wildlife and vegetation. Its immense U-shaped valleys here were carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers some ten thousand years ago. Your journey of discovery ends where it started in Longyearbyen, the town on top of the world.

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday) Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Sunday to Friday)
  • Day 1
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    On the edge of wilderness

    Your adventure starts with an overnight stay to enjoy Longyearbyen´s galleries, pubs, restaurants and magnificent setting on the edge of an Arctic wilderness. Reminders of mining heritage are everywhere in this frontier town. The 2,000 inhabitants here are outnumbered by snowmobiles, and reindeer roam the streets, which have been given numbers instead of names. 

    Get a taste of what it feels like to live in this legendary Arctic frontier as you stroll the main street and admire its colourful buildings. Head to the aptly named North Pole Expedition Museum and immerse yourself in Svalbard’s polar exploration history. You’ll find old newspapers, photos, postcards, several hours of original expedition film footage and quirky historical artefacts from the fabled age of exploration. 

    Visit the Svalbard Brewery and enjoy a tasting session of beers brewed in the Arctic. Not only will you sample excellent beers, but you’ll also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the resilient residents of this singular town. You may meet nature enthusiasts and explorers just like you, or scientists and engineers associated with various projects, such as the nearby Global Seed Vault. 

    The locals like to remove their shoes before entering most public buildings. This is a custom that originated in the mining days to prevent people from trekking coal dust indoors, and is just one way the town’s mining history continues to affect its culture. 

    The cruise package includes an overnight stay at a hotel, offering modern comforts in historical surroundings. For a unique culinary experience, you can try king crab in  the Funktionærmessen Restaurant before enjoying the many cafes and bars of this frontier town. 

    Day 1
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    On the edge of wilderness

  • Day 2
    Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

    Settlements of the far north

    Estimated time of departure is 13:00

    After breakfast, relax and explore this quaint town. Walk up to the church just a few minutes away.  Maybe you will encounter the Svalbard reindeer that are often walking around town minding their own business. Although wild, you’ll find them more curious and tamer. Stroll the main street, admiring the colourful buildings and picking out souvenirs and gifts from the shops of the world’s northernmost town. 

    After lunch in one of the town’s restaurants, bring your bags to the bus and enjoy a guided tour that includes a visit to the Svalbard Museum. You can find out all about the history, geology and wildlife of the archipelago. Enjoy a visit to Camp Barentz, where you’ll learn about polar bears. While you’re there, keep an eye out for reindeer, grouse and foxes.  

    The historic MS Nordstjernen awaits at the harbour. Built in 1956, it’s one of our most beloved and longest serving vessels. Despite modernisation for exclusive Arctic sailing in 2000, MS Nordstjernen has lost none of its old Atlantic ship aura.  After you settle in, we sail the Isfjord to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg.  

    Once you’ve caught your breath after climbing the long flight of steps from the harbour up to the main street, you can explore the village. Take in its Russian architecture and charm, and pause to admire the murals that were painted by the schoolchildren to brighten the walls. 

    Pay a visit to the Pomor museum to learn about the history and culture of the people who first discovered Svalbard. You’ll even get to see some of their art on display alongside Russian artifacts. Walk up to the charming Orthodox church or, for an absolute novelty, send a postcard from a Norwegian post office in a Russian town.  

    Pick out a set of locally-made Russian nesting dolls for friends and family back home, before ending your visit to this northern mining village with a folklore show, or by soaking up some real Russian atmosphere, including vodka, down at the local pub and brewery. 

    Day 2
    Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

    Settlements of the far north

  • Day 3
    Magdalenefjorden, North West Corner, Moffen and 80°North

    Chances of seeing polar bears

    Leaving behind what little civilisation there is, we now enter full exploration mode. In these beautiful yet remote areas, there is no internet, nor are there telephone masts to provide a mobile phone signal.  

    Free from emails and text messages, this is therefore your rare opportunity to disconnect and detox from the modern world. It's time to really get back in sync with what truly matters.  

    The North West Corner of Spitsbergen embodies Arctic beauty in all its rugged, untouched glory. This is a wilderness of steep mountains, stark glaciers and eerily beautiful offshore islands. It’s also one of those rare spots of the world where natural beauty and fascinating history combine. A birdwatching mecca in the summer months, if we’re lucky may spot a polar bear searching for bird eggs nearby. 

    If there’s one place that represents the essence of what Svalbard has to offer, it’s Magdalenefjord. Here is a breathtaking fjord framed by spectacular views of jagged mountain peaks and glaciers. It has an Alpine feel to it, despite its remote location in the far north-west.  

    Magdalenefjord’s beautiful beach is peppered with evidence of a whaling station from the 17th Century.  You’ll be able to see remains of blubber ovens, a cemetery of 130 graves and a memorial to the whalers.  

    If the conditions are favourable, we plan to sail above 80° North, bringing you within 600 nautical miles of the North Pole. This high up, the sun is visible for 24 hours. Bask under the glorious midnight sun as you scan for wildlife on deck.  

    Directly above 80° North is Moffen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. An intriguing little island, Moffen is known for its walrus population. Large numbers of them usually gather at the southern tip of the island. Our approach to the island will adhere to the 300m exclusion zone to avoid disturbing this vulnerable animal. 

    Day 3
    Magdalenefjorden, North West Corner, Moffen and 80°North

    Chances of seeing polar bears

  • Day 4
    Kongsfjorden and Ny-Ålesund

    Fjords, glaciers and research

    Kongsfjorden, also known as Kong’s Fjord or King’s Bay, is the largest fjord on the Northwest coast of Spitsbergen. Two imposing glaciers, Kongsvegen and the colossal Kongsbreen watch over the entrance of the fjord. As we cruise silently, you might hear the tell-tale creaks and groans of chunks of glacier ice about to plunge into the sea. Framed by picturesque mountain formations, it’s undoubtedly one of Svalbard’s most scenic spots.  

    Hiking in the lush tundra will allow you to observe birds in a pristine environment. For bird lovers, Kongsfjorden is a treasure trove. Northern Fulmars, Black-legged kittiwakes, Atlantic puffins and guillemots are just some of the species found here in the summer months. A bird sanctuary consisting of about ten islands lies at the inner end of the fjord. It supports breeding populations of protected species such as Pink-footed Geese and Common Eider.  

    Later, we dock at the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund. At 78º 55’ N, this is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Transformed into an international science centre, you’ll find a fair number of research stations from various countries dedicated to the study of glaciology, wildlife, and climate change. Its roughly 30-35 residents enjoy a picturesque mix of old and new buildings, including a local café and the world’s northernmost post office.  

    You’ll unearth some fascinating history as you explore the settlement. Ny-Ålesund and its surrounding area are home to a large concentration of protected buildings and cultural artefacts left by Svalbard’s former settlers.  

    Discover rich explorer history in the museum – this tiny settlement is synonymous with historical attempts to reach the North Pole. See the mooring mast of Roald Amundsen’s airship “Norge” before sending a postcard from the most northerly post box in the world! 

    Day 4
    Kongsfjorden and Ny-Ålesund

    Fjords, glaciers and research

  • Day 5
    Isfjorden and Longyearbyen

    Cruising into Isfjord

    Estimated time of arrival is 10:00

    This morning we sail the Isfjord, which means “ice fjord” in Norwegian. This is the most prominent fjord system in the Svalbard archipelago. Branching out to many smaller fjords, it forms a lush and beautiful system rich in wildlife and vegetation. Prepare to see immense U-shaped valleys carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers some ten thousand years ago.       

    To the north of the fjord, Alkehornet is a prominent landmark. It’s an imposing example of carbonate rock, with a horn-shaped mount at its peak. Naturally, the surrounding wildlife has conquered it. This region is home to Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer and colonies of guillemots and kittiwakes.  

    Your expedition comes to a close back where it started in Longyearbyen. Why not take advantage of another opportunity to get to know Longyearbyen even further? 

    Get a taste of what it feels to live this far north. You’ll find that many places here hold the record for being the most north anything. The world’s northernmost cinema, church, library, high school, supermarket – they’re all here. You can chalk off each landmark with a customary selfie.  

    Grab some souvenirs from the local shops while you can. A toasty Svalbard sweater or a box of local handmade chocolates would make a wonderful gift for family and friends. Svalbard is a duty-free zone and Longyearbyen has a selection of sports and outdoor clothing shops, so you can stock up on supplies for your next adventure!  

    Join the locals for a drink in the world’s northernmost craft brewery. Meet the ingenious, resilient and conscientious residents of this unique town. Art lovers will definitely want to make time to visit Galleri Svalbard to admire diverse works of art inspired by the High Arctic. At the farewell dinner at the hotel, you’ll say goodbye to your new found friends.

    Day 5
    Isfjorden and Longyearbyen

    Cruising into Isfjord

  • Day 6
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Say goodbye to the Arctic

    Your Arctic adventure around Svalbard is over for this time. As you wind down from your expedition, you’ll have some time to look back on all your new memories, still holding onto that elated feeling of having just been quite literally near the “top of the world.” 

    After saying goodbye to Longyearbyen, a transfer will whisk you to the airport for your flight back home. Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you again!  

    Day 6
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Say goodbye to the Arctic

Departures

2022

May:
15.
22.
29.
June:
5.
12.
19.
26.
July:
3.
10.
24.
31.
August:
7.
14.
21.
28.

Current offers on this cruise:

  • Book with Confidence

    Our popular Book with Confidence policy is back, giving you the peace of mind you want for your next adventure exploring the world with us.
    The benefits of the policy apply to any new bookings made between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, for expedition cruises departing on or before 30 June 2022.
    See Special Offer

What's included

Included in your voyage

Hotel 

  • One night at the hotel in Longyearbyen before the expedition cruise, including light dinner and breakfast 
  • One night at the hotel Longyearbyen after the expedition cruise incl. light lunch, dinner and breakfast 

Transfers 

  • Transfers between airport and hotel in Longyearbyen 
  • 3 hours Sightseeing in Longyearbyen incl. Museum and Camp Barentz, ending at the pier 
  • Transfer between ship and hotel in Longyearbyen 

Expedition Cruise  

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner  
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Please note there is very limited Wi-Fi and phone signal in the remote areas we travel to and streaming is not supported. When in Svalbard, there is no Wi-Fi or mobile coverage except in Longyearbyen or Barentsburg. 

Onboard Activities 

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats while in Svalbard 
  • Loan of trekking poles and thermal suits for activities 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights  
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Activities are subject to change
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected
MS Nordstjernen passing an iceberg at Spitsbergen
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo
On board MS Nordstjernen there is a good, old speedometer.
Photo: Spitsbergen Travel
Arranging for dinner on board MS Nordstjernen.
Photo: Spitsbergen Travel
Your ship

MS Nordstjernen

Year built 1956
Ship yard Blohm & Voss
Passenger capacity 108
Beds 150
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 2191
Length 80,77 m
Beam 12,6 m
Speed 15 knots
MS Nordstjernen passing an iceberg at Spitsbergen
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo

MS Nordstjernen is named after the North Star or Stella Polaris, famous for helping seafarers find their way back home and the Vikings to navigate the north.

Read more about MS Nordstjernen

Welcome to the bar! MS Nordstjernen.
Photo: Petra Wöbke – Guest image
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