Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Wednesday to Monday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Wednesday to Monday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Wednesday to Monday)

Spitsbergen and Polar Bears – an Arctic Adventure (Wednesday to Monday)

Travel information 6 days MS Nordstjernen
Departures
16 departures between May 2022 and Aug 2022
Price from
£ 1311
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Check prices and availability

Join us on an expedition to Spitsbergen for the chance to see towering glaciers, dramatic mountain formations and polar bears under the midnight sun. 

The town on top of the world 

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 Spitsbergen’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 plan to explore Kongsfjorden, also known as King’s Bay, the largest fjord on the Northwest coast of Spitsbergen. You might get to see glaciers calving into the sea as we enter the fjord and, with luck, polar bears as they trek along the coast’s drifting ice on the hunt for seals. Your expedition will end where it all started in Longyearbyen. 

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

    Mining History and Arctic Nature

    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 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

    Mining History and Arctic Nature

  • Day 2
    Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

    Settlements of the Far North

    Estimated time of departure is 17:00

    After breakfast, relax and explore this quaint town. Walk up to the church just a few minutes away.  Maybe you’ll encounter the Svalbard reindeer that are often walking around town minding their own business. Although wild, you’ll find them quite curious and tame.  

    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 and the North West Corner

    Into the Arctic Wilderness

    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.  

    Spitsbergen means “pointed mountains.” If there’s one place that embodies that definition more than others, it’s Magdalenefjord. This breathtaking fjord is 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. The reflection of snow-capped mountains perfectly mirrored in the waters’ glassy surface is undoubtedly one of Svalbard’s most iconic sights.  

    We arrive in the morning and hope to make a landing to explore this wonderful Arctic wilderness. If we’re successful, you’ll be setting foot on an island with fascinating history of exploration - Magdalenefjord has lured explorers for centuries. Arctic explorer Willem Barents famously came here in 1596, naming it Tusk Bay because of the walrus tusks he found here.  

    The beautiful beach is peppered with evidence of a whaling station from the 17th Century with blubber ovens, a cemetery of 130 graves and a memorial to the whalers.  

    Long before explorers set foot on Magdalenefjord, the stunning views were the preserve of wildlife. The scree slopes are breeding grounds for large numbers of Little Auks. Arctic terns, Skuas, Eider Ducks and Barnacle Geese are just some of the birds you’re likely to see. The surrounding waters host minke and beluga whales in the summer months. Scan for seals on the floating sea ice, and if it’s your lucky day, polar bears.

    Day 3
    Magdalenefjorden and the North West Corner

    Into the Arctic Wilderness

  • Day 4
    Woodfjorden, Liefdefjorden, Moffen and 80°North

    Scanning for Polar Bears

    Svalbard is a land of contrasts. Within Woodfjorden’s vast fjord system is a varied and unique landscape featuring striking red mountains of Devonian sandstone, cone-shaped remnants of three volcanoes and thermal springs. Woodfjorden’s beautiful tundra is rich in fauna enhanced by the oxidised soil in the Old Red areas. Hiking here will reward you with gorgeous views of purple saxifrage and spider plants.  

    The stunning views continue in Liefdefjorden, which means ‘The Love Fjord’ in English. Its possibly named after a Dutch ship, but it could also very well be for its jaw-dropping views. Rolling red hills give way to snow-capped mountains inland. 

    The area around Liefdefjorden is also a great place to scan for wildlife. The sights and sounds of thousands of sea birds like kittiwakes, terns and eiders fill the sky. As ever, the weather and ice will determine where we land and what activities we’ll do. 

    If the conditions are favourable, we plan to sail above 80° North, bringing you within 600 nautical miles of the North Pole. This far north, the sun is visible for 24 hours. Under the glorious midnight sun, you’ll have even more time to enjoy the stunning views from the deck.  

    Directly above 80° North is Moffen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. A stark, gravely island, Moffen is known for its walrus population. Large numbers of them are known to gather at the southern tip of the island. Seeing these huge marine mammals frolic on the shore is always a highlight. Our approach to the island will be kept to a safe distance to avoid disturbing this vulnerable animal. 

    Day 4
    Woodfjorden, Liefdefjorden, Moffen and 80°North

    Scanning for Polar Bears

  • Day 5
    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. It’s 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 5
    Kongsfjorden and Ny-Ålesund

    Fjords, Glaciers and Research

  • Day 6
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Flying Home from the Arctic

    Estimated time of arrival is 08:00

    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 the ship and its crew, you’ll take a transfer to the airport for your flight back to Oslo. 

    If you have the time, grab some souvenirs from the local shops before heading home. 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 could stock up on supplies for your next expedition cruise.  

    Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you again! 

    Day 6
    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Flying Home from the Arctic

Departures

2022

May:
18.
25.
June:
1.
8.
15.
22.
29.
July:
6.
13.
20.
27.
August:
3.
10.
17.
24.
31.

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, breakfast and lunch 

Transfers 

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

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
Check prices and availability

Here are a few suggestions: