Embark on a unique no-itinerary exploration, guided by the Arctic’s wildlife
Follow in the footsteps of true arctic adventurers and let the wildlife and pack ice decide your route around Spitsbergen. On this unique cruise through fjords and along the western coast of the Norwegian Archipelago, get expert help to capture this stunning glacial and mountainous terrain through your lens. Take advantage of continuous daylight to search for iconic arctic wildlife like polar bears and walrus, whales and seabirds, arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer. Reach areas that larger ships can’t access and make Zodiac landings to hike the colourful tundra and photograph ice bears on the hunt. This one-off adventure is the perfect way to capture the stunning scenery, history and wildlife of this untouched region.
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 132
Why we love this trip
Search the arctic tundra for polar bears – with more bears than people and a route that follows the wildlife, there’ll be countless chances for ‘ice bear’ encounters
24 hours of daylight gives endless opportunities to take that perfect picture of the arctic landscape and its prolific wildlife
Take Zodiacs to cruise up to towering glaciers and glistening icebergs, and make landings on the surprisingly colourful tundra
Capture the raw and rugged beauty of the Svalbard archipelago with help from on board photographic expertise
Is this trip right for you?
As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are freezing. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.
This trip takes places during the time of year that Spitsbergen enjoys 24-hour daylight. Just one of the benefits of this is that incredible wildlife can be seen at any time of the day – be prepared to be woken at any time so as to not miss out on exciting animal sightings.
Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you. If you catch sight of a bear never approach it – stay calm and immediately inform your guide. Lastly, never leave food anywhere in an attempt to lure polar bears.
Special InformationIf you arrive today, an arrival transfer will be included. You will be transferred from the airport to Longyearbyen town for some free time. Your luggage will be transferred directly to the ship. Later in the afternoon, you will be collected from a central pick up point to be transferred to the ship.
For passengers arriving one day before the start of the itinerary, a transfer will be provided to your hotel. Please note, no pre voyage accommodation is included in the cost of the voyage but can be arranged if required.
Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but we do hope to visit a few of our favourite landing sites, to be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no fixed itinerary, our main goal will be to sail in a constant search for polar bears on the prowl. This means we may not move the ship every day as we do in regular voyages, if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, we’ll let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide our route! Bears outnumber people in this region, so we have a good chance of being blessed with sightings of the Ice Bears. Our small expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas the bears may favour.
Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that await, and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears we find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife we hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.
A haven for present-day explorers, Spitsbergen and the surrounding area offer unforgettable polar experiences that will keep you and your camera active all expedition long. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises with stretches of colorful tundra, bursting with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close and personal with the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.
- Breakfast (11)
- Lunch (11)
- Dinner (11)
Special InformationAfter disembarkation, a transfer will be provided from the ship to the airport. Please book flights to leave after midday.
If you are spending extra time in Longyearbyen, a transfer is provided from the ship to any central Longyearbyen hotel.
Meals12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners
TransportExpedition Cruise ship, zodiac
AccommodationExpedition Cruise Ship 12 nights
Dates & availability
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Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.
Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.