SVALBARD Cruises

SVALBARD (SPITSBERGEN) Cruises

A three hour flight north of Norway’s capital Oslo and you’ll reach the remote community of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen (the largest of Svalbard archipelago). This tiny community and town with two streets is the starting point for many Arctic cruises. Spitsbergen’s incredible landscapes, snow capped mountains, enormous glaciers, glistening icebergs, deep fjords and towering cliffs make for a stunning backdrop for your Arctic cruise.

Svalbard is home to an estimated 4,500 polar bears as well as good population of walrus, bearded seals as well as being the breeding place of many of the Arctic’s most beautiful birds (including puffins, red-throated diver & eider ducks). When you add massive glaciers and stunning mountain scenery you perhaps start to understand why a Spitsbergen cruise is equally rewarding an experience as a cruise to Antarctica.

Making the choice as to which voyage, when, which ship or operator is where we help; unlike ship owners/operators we’re not obliged to sell the ships we own/operate – we offer independent expert advice and can match the best experience for you.

 

To help you understand the options, and there a many, we have a specialist and dedicated Arctic Luxury & expedition cruises web site featuring (Spitsbergen, Greenland, Canadian Arctic, Franz Josef Land, Russian Far East and the North Pole).  Click here and you’ll be taken to this site.

The other option is to call us 1300 323 194 and we will share our first hand knowledge (we have been fortunate to visit the regions on several different ship – including the North Pole) and suggest ships and itineraries we think will best suit you.

Arctic Travel Centre

You’ll be taken to the Svalbard/Spitsbergen page on our specialist Arctic web site.

SVALBARD – SPITSBERGEN LUXURY & EXPEDITION SHIPS

If you know the ship upon which you would like to explore Spitsbergen on click on the image or button below.

You’ll be taken to the page for that ship with all of its Arctic Cruises on our specialist Arctic web site.

Arctic Travel Centre

EXPEDITION SHIPS

Generally Arctic cruise ships that are expedition style have a greater emphasis on maximising time off the vessel or out on deck than on a larger more ‘luxury’ ship.

Where an Expedition ship has less than, or close to (<130), 100 clients all guests can go ashore at the same time.  Expedition ships with 130-200 guests will have to operate zodiac cruises and landings simultaneously: assuming conditions permit, if not, you’ll spend more time waiting on-board.

On most days an Expedition ship will offer two off ship excursions. The expedition team works closely with the ship’s captain and crew to deliver a high level of service and a flexible approach which means they can react to local circumstances; like discovering a hunting Polar bear.  The cabins are comfortable, the food of a very high standard.

An expedition client is anyone who wants to maximise their opportunities to get off the ship and learn. Guests on-board are of all ages however you will need to be physically able to climb some relatively steep stairs and get in and out of a Zodiac.

EXPEDITION – LUXURY SHIPS

As the name suggests these Antarctic cruise ships are a hybrid of an Expedition Ship and a Luxury Ship. Some are small ships with close to 100 guests and can offer two landings a day and focus on maximising opportunities for exploring as on an expedition vessel but with the added comfort of having larger, more comfortable cabins and common areas. Those with up to 200 guests generally offer one off ship excursion a day (largely due to time factors associated with the IAATO 100 passenger ashore limit) and still have an adventurous soul. Generally cabins are larger or perhaps the ship is newer than an Expedition ship. Meals are a mix of buffet and served courses and the cuisine is of a very high standard.

LUXURY SHIPS

As the name suggests these Antarctic cruise ships are a hybrid of an Expedition Ship and a Luxury Ship. Some are small ships with close to 100 guests and can offer two landings a day and focus on maximising opportunities for exploring as on an expedition vessel but with the added comfort of having larger, more comfortable cabins and common areas. Those with up to 200 guests generally offer one off ship excursion a day (largely due to time factors associated with the IAATO 100 passenger ashore limit) and still have an adventurous soul. Generally cabins are larger or perhaps the ship is newer than an Expedition ship. Meals are a mix of buffet and served courses and the cuisine is of a very high standard.

HIGHLIGHTS OF SVALBARD (SPITSBERGEN)

Spitsbergen Wildlife

Arctic-Luxury-&-Expeditions-Cruises-Polar-bear-in-snow-North-pole-725-x-440

There is a large variety of birdlife in the Arctic with guillemots, razorbills, puffins, terns, gulls, geese, ducks, phalaropes, curlew, sandpipers, owls and falcons. Other wildlife includes: three species of seal, four species of whale, Arctic fox, walrus and the undoubted stars of the show: Polar bears.

Polar bears would have to be one of the most amazing creatures on earth. A true marine mammal, equally at home in the water as it is on land/ice, that over-winters in sub-zero temperatures and roams widely in search of a variety of prey.

Our operators ensure your cruise adventure is filled with incredible experiences without disturbing the wildlife. In the event of a polar bear sighting, on land or on ice, from a zodiac, the zodiac-driver will make sure that they always keep a distance of at least 30 meters between the zodiac and the land/ice/spot where the polar bear is present (this increases to 200 metres from ships). This is for the safety of both guests and the bears.

GLACIERS AND ICEBERGS

Spitsbergen-glacier-Alex-Burridge725-x-440

Over 60% of Svalbard is covered in Ice. The resulting glaciers, icebergs and bergy bits – the variety of colours, shapes and sizes are impossible to adequately describe, are definitely as spectacular as the scenery found on the Antarctic Peninsula.

During each voyage guests will spend time zodiac cruising among icebergs that are thousands of years old, some black, some blue, all amazing and a photographer’s dream. You’ll also have the opportunity to cruise past the vast (often over 50 metres high and kilometres wide) glacial walls including Monaco, 14th July and Lilliehöök.

Sea Ice will have an effect on most Spitsbergen Cruise itineraries.  Ship pre-determined itineraries are at best a guide.  Voyages that plan to circumnavigate Svalbard have to react to the ice conditions they find.  Accurate sea ice maps are used by the Captains and Expedition leaders to make final plans as to the actual voyage itinerary – so please take a flexible attitude with you when travelling to Svalbard

WALRUS AND MOFFEN ISLAND

Walrus

Since the near-extinction of walrus in Svalbard in the middle of the 20th century, Moffen Island has played an important rule in re-establishing the species here. Today Moffen Island is protected, and lucky visitors may witness more than 100 walrus hauled out at island’s southern tip. Approach during the summer is limited to a minimum distance of 500 metres; as the waters around Moffen are very shallow most ships stay further off. Being a fraction north of 80°N Moffen Island is often visited on longer voyages.

There are a small number of ‘walrus haul-outs’ scattered around Spitsbergen; the numbers of walrus at each site will vary throughout the season. Your guides will ensure appropriate movement near the walrus to ensure they are not disturbed and you can watch them in a natural and relaxed state.

ZODIAC CRUISING

Zodiac Cruising

Some sites don’t lend themselves to a physical landing or may be best seen from water level; a ‘zodiac cruise’ means you’ll explore the site whilst sitting on the side (inflatable tube) of the zodiac, each zodiac will have one of the expedition team with them.

Zodiacs (rubber inflatable boats) not only offer a safe way to explore they are an integral part of exploring Spitsbergen, excepting Longyearbyen and Ny Alesund there are no jetties to enable disembarkation from the ship, i.e. you’ll use the zodiacs to go ashore at most sites.

Note: Please ensure you are adequately dressed as it can get cold; waterproof pants are essential.

KAYAKING

Kayaking Monacobreen Glacier

Some ships offer kayaking (for an additional cost) for up to 20 guests. It’s an incredible way to gain a very different perspective, to experience the Arctic with no sound, other than the splash of your paddle, and to be close enough to the crystal clear water to see the incredibly rich invertebrate life that sustains almost all of the wildlife found here.

Your safety is paramount; expert guides and a Zodiac will be close enough to offer assistance, yet far enough away not to disrupt the tranquility. Occasionally, if you’re lucky, whales, or even a polar bear will come to investigate but don’t worry as the guides will form the kayaks into a ‘raft’ and you will enjoy a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Due to limited numbers please request your kayaking at time of booking your voyage.

Call us today 1300 784 794

 

To discuss your luxury expedition cruise to Antarctica, The Falkland Islands or South Georgia, South America, Russia and beyond.

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