Wild Arctic - Svalbard

Why the Arctic?   Arctic landscapes.  Wildlife: polar bears, reindeer, walruses.  Arctic Diving.

Here is a selection of our Arctic cruise adventures in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago & in Greenland.
Of course, there are lots of options & permutations... so contact us to discuss the best options for you.

Why an Arctic Expedition Cruise?

Svalbard - aso known as Spitsbergen. Europe's largest wilderness; 62,500 sq km. The size of Ireland.

 

Spectacular landscapes - stark environment. Beautiful fjords, spectacular glaciers, stunning ice caps & mountains, humbling pack ice.

 

Arctic wildlife - Polar bears, walruses, seals, reindeer, Arctic fox, birds incl. puffins & guillemots, whales incl. beluga, minke, fin.

 

Arctic Diving - A must-do for avid scuba divers. Awesome ice diving, unforgettable ice blues, marine life incl. sea stars, spider crabs, corals, variety of fish, sea kelp, & more!

 

Svalbard Expedition Cruise

Highlights: Beautiful wilderness, Arctic wildlife, chance to see Polar Bears.
Is this for me? For those who want a different Europe: spectacular wilderness & unique wildlife.

 

Expedition Cruise Highlights
   Day    Location Svalbard Cruise Tour MapSvalbard Arctic Cruise Map
  1   Longyearbyen
  2   Krossfjorden
  3   Liefdefjorden
  4   Phippsøya
  5   Laagøya
  6   Hinlopen Strait
  7   Freemansundet
  8   Hornsund
9   Ahlstrandhalvøya
10   Longyearbyen
 
Expedition Cruise Highlights
 

Svalbard/ Spitsbergen:  Cruise along this desolate, barren & beautiful coastline of varying landscapes: fjords, glaciers, ice capped mountains.
Wildlife: See polar wildlife. Chance to see majestic Polar Bears. Just as impressive are tusked walruses, Arctic foxes & a variety of birds.
Hiking, kayaking, diving: Options on particular cruises to go hiking, scuba diving & kayaking.

 

Arctic Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Expeditions range from 7 days to 15 days when extended or combined with Greenland.
Or visit our partner companies, Oceanwide Expeditions or SilverSea Arctic Expeditions to choose your itinerary and receive up to US$ 300 discount off advertised prices when booked through WildSpace.
We also make all your land arrangements, including hotels, transfers, and any additional excursions.

             

Svalbard Arctic Expedition Cruise Itinerary
         
   Day   Activities & Highlights  
  1   Arrive in Longyearbyen, capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago. 
Before embarking you can stroll around this former mining town & visit the Polar Museum. 
In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden. (D)
 
 
  2  

Arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Experience the landscape via a Zodiac cruise along the 14th of July Glacier. 
Near the glacier, there are living green slopes with a colourful variety of flowers. Large numbers of Kittiwakes & Brünnich's Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. Good chance of spotting Arctic Foxes hunting along the base of cliffs looking for fallen chicks, as well as Bearded Seals, who cruise this fjord. 
In the afternoon sail to Ny Ålesund, the world's most northerly settlement, & a research centre. 
Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Geese, Pink-footed Geese & Arctic Terns.  (B L D)

 
 
  3   Go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya near the mouth of Liefdefjorden.
Birdlife: common eiders & pink-footed geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. 
Sailing into Liefdefjorden, cruise near the face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes & occasionally polar bears are seen on the glacier.  (B L D)
 
 
  4   Today you will reach the cruise's northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. 
Here you will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. 
Polar bears inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls. You may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in your spectacular surroundings & seeing a Ross gull, before you turn south again.  (B L D)
 
 
  5   You will visit Laagøya today, a low island with a big lagoon where a big herd of Walrus tends to congregate. Sabine's Gulls nest on the island. At Sorg Fjord you may find another herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. On a nature walk, you may encounter families of ptarmigans.  (B L D)  
 
  6   Today you will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. 
You'll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the zodiacs & explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich's guillemots. 
On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, you will attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, & Walruses. 
Near Torrelneset, you will explore the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world's third largest ice cap, which meets the sea nearby. You will walk along beautiful coastline covered in smooth rocks. You may encounter walruses along the way.  (B L D)
 
  7   In Freemansundet the expedition plans to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer & Barnacle Geese. 
Later you will cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. 
After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, you will land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. You can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kitttiwakes, together with Black Guillemots and piratical Glaucous Gulls. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Foxes & Polar Bears, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.  (B L D)
 
 
  8   Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. 
Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals & Polar Bears.  (B L D)
 
 
  9   Today you will land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. 
Here you'll see piles of Beluga skeletons (the Beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter. Fortunately, Belugas were not hunted to extinction and may still be seen locally - there is a good chance that you will come across a pod. 
Cruising into Recherchefjorden during the afternoon you can explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many Reindeer feed.  (B L D)
 
 
  10   Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and onward home.  (D)  
 
Arctic Cruise Tour Photos
Svalbard Arctic Cruises of 7 days from only US$ 3,900 (quad share)
Want more Exclusivity or a longer cruise? from US$ 5,450 to US$ 15,000+
Greenland Expedition Cruise 

Highlights: Svalbard to Greenland. Arctic landscapes, wildlife & the high seas. 
Is this for me? For those that want a range of highlights, & have a spirit of exploratory adventure.

Quick Look Expedition Cruise Itinerary
   Day    Location
  1   Longyearbyen
  2   Raudfjord
  3   At sea
  4   At sea
  5   Approach Greenland
  6   Blomster Bugt
  7   Antarcticahavn
  8   Scoresby Sund
9   Cape Hofmann Halvø
10   Scoresby Land
11   Illoqqortoormiut
12   At sea
13   Akureyri - Reykjavik

 

 

Expedition Cruise Highlights

Svalbard/ Spitsbergen: see a part of this beautiful archipelago. Abundant wildlife: seals, walruses, polar bears, seabirds.
Greenland:  the world's largest island. Isolated, desolate in parts, yet full of life, including plants. See mountains, ice-bergs, glaciers, fjords.
Wildlife
: See polar wildlife. Chance to see musk oxen, majestic Polar Bears. Just as impressive are tusked walruses, Arctic foxes, Arctic hares & a variety of birds.
Native culture: see old Norwegian hunter's hut, remains of historic Inuit settlements & Thule winter houses on Greenland. 
Zodiac cruises & landings
: you will have a chance to go on zodiac cruises to get closer & land in a number of locations.

 

Greenland Expeditions range from 7 days to 15 days when extended or combined with Svalbard/ Spitsbergen.
Or visit our partner company, Oceanwide Expeditions or SilverSea Arctic Expeditions to choose your itinerary and receive up to US$ 300 discount off advertised prices when booked through WildSpace.
We also make all your land arrangements, including hotels, transfers, and any additional excursions.

             

Detailed Greenland Expedition Cruise Itinerary
         
   Day   Activities & Highlights  
  1   Arrive in Longyearbyen, capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago. 
Before embarking you can stroll around this former mining town & visit the Polar Museum. 
In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.  (D)
 
 
  2  

We sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. 
It is home to Ringed & Bearded Seals, seabird colonies & rich plant life. 
Good chances of seeing Polar Bears near Hamilton Glacier or closer to the head of the fjord. 
From there we continue to Moffen Island, for a chance of seeing walrus.  (B L D)

 
 
  3-4   At sea, on our way to Greenland, we may see the edge of the East Greenland sea-ice. Keep watch for whales & also migrating seabirds.  (B L D)  
 
  5   Approaching Greenland we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our first landing at Myggebugten. 
Beyond the old hunters' hut there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. 
We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Musk Oxen from the ship.  (B L D)
 
 
  6   We will land at Blomster Bugt to see the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers (birds) and their young. 
In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss & Ella Ø and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.  (B L D)
 
 
  7   The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we might also see groups of Musk Oxen. 
From late August onwards, the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.  (B L D)
 
 
  8   Today we reach the Scoresby Sund & sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons.
Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing, e.g. near Maane Glacier.
Later we land on Danmark,Ø where we find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned ~200 years ago. The circular 'tent rings' of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are wonderfully preserved, allowing entrances & even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. 
In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.  (B L D)
 
 
  9   We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans and Great Northern Divers at sea.
The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow & Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too! 
In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.  (B L D)
 
 
  10   In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high & more than a kilometre long. 
Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. 
We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. 
We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.  (B L D)
 
 
  11   In the morning we land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants.
At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs & the drying skins of seal, Musk Ox & even Polar Bears. 
After dinner we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.  (B L D)
 
 
  12   Today we will spend the whole day at sea and will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration.
At night, there is a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).  (B L D)
 
 
  13   In the morning we arrive in Akureyri and are taken by a chartered bus for a 6 hour drive through North Iceland to Reykjavik, where our journey ends.  (B)  
 
Arctic Cruise Tour Photos
Greenland Arctic Cruise of 7 days from only US$ 3,000 (twin share)
Want more Exclusivity or a longer cruise? from US$ 6,000 to US$ 15,000+
Prices

The long answer:  The World's wildlife & wilderness destinations are often expensive because of strict government controls, high park fees & complex logistics. Amongst other things, it also depends on accommodation quality, location & exclusivity; what type of ships are used; whether you're flying around lots; and how many days you spend in country. 

 

Whatever your budget, we will recommend the best possible adventure to suit you.

 

  Svalbard Expeditions
  Quad share from:   US$ 3,900
  Twin share/ longer cruises from:  US$ 5,450
 
  Greenland Expeditions
  Twin share from:  US$ 3,000
  Longer cruises from: US$ 6,000
  Season  
 
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
  Season   High   Closed      
 
    Seasons shown here are based on accommodation pricing, which is based on holiday seasons.  For wildlife seasons & the best time to go, see our "Seasons" tab.    
     

Prices based on 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The cheapest options are for quad share rooms - enquire for more details.

Choose your own Arctic Expedition - contact us to recommend an adventure for you!
Or choose your itinerary from one of our partner companies, Oceanwide Expeditions or SilverSea Arctic Expeditions and receive up to US$ 300 off advertised prices. We also make all your land arrangements, including hotel, transfers, and any additional excursions.

 

No hidden costs - Guaranteed!  
We include everything possible to make your adventure as easy as possible.

 

We clearly explain what's included & what's not:

 

Inclusions: All your accommodation, most meals, wildlife viewing activities with Guide, all airport transfers, all park & conservation fees. Where activities (such as kayaking, scuba diving, mountaineering) are not included, the supplementary price is shown.

 

Unless otherwise stated, all government taxes, fuel surcharges, Park & Conservancy entrance fees are included and correct as at date of quote. However they are subject to government & local authority imposed changes, often without notice (!) and therefore beyond our control. We will always endeavour to minimise their impact and inform you if a supplement is required.

 

Exclusions: International airfares to & from your chosen destination. Visa fees, personal & travel insurance, excursions not specified, drinks unless specified, laundry, telephone or internet costs, gratuities, and all other personal expenses. Some airports now charge safety fees, which are payable directly at each airport upon departure.

 

Additional things to consider: Busy times of the year normally have a supplement added. These will be included in our costs - so no surprises when you get there!

 

Seasons

The Arctic season for tourism is only 5 months long, from June to October, when the pack-ice has melted sufficiently to allow ships in. In any case, the rest of the year, you wouldn't want to be there in the sub zero temperatures and very short daylight hours! For an Arctic environment, Svalbard is remarkably mild, thanks to the Gulf Stream.  

 

If you're constrained to travelling at a particular time, don't worry: we'll recommend the best options & places to visit at that time. 

     

If you have specific interests - such as seeing polar bears - then you do need to travel at the right time of year, AND to the right destination.

 

Guide to the seasons & the best time to go to The Arctic - Svalbard & Greenland

 

  May-June
Spring time, long days (sunlight even at midnight).
Excellent time for whale watching.
Beautiful colours of spring flowers.
   
  July-August
Height of summer, with long days.
Good chances of seeing Polar Bears, incl. dedicated Polar Bear Cruises during this time.
Excellent time to go on a Svalbard/ Spitsbergen Cruise; the chances of a full circumnavigation:
30% in the first half of July, 
60% in the second half of July, 
90% in the first half of August, 
95% in the second half of August. 
(Where a full circumnavigation is not possible, the ship will cruise NE/ SE Svalbard).
   
  August-September
Svalbard continues to produce excellent wildlife.
Best season to chance the cruise to remote Northeast Greenland - pack-ice remains unpredictable, so a sense of expeditionary adventure is essential!
   
  October
Onset of autumn, & nightfall returns.
Excellent chance to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). 
   

 

Whenever you choose to travel, rest assured that when you choose to travel with us, we will advise you of the best Arctic locations, Arctic seasons and dates for your particular interests.

 

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