Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

North Spitsbergen

The 8-day North Spitsbergen small ship cruise explores rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice caps and glaciers and has a special focus on spotting polar bears. Sail within 600 miles of the North Pole and immerse in the virtually unspoiled wilderness of the true High Arctic. 

Begin and end in Longyearbyen, Norway, the administrative center of Spitsbergen. Immediately sail north to Raudfjorden, taking in the expansive fjord spilling with glaciers. Weather allowing, sail to the massive 3-mile-long Monaco Glacier, where kittiwakes and polar bears roam. In the Hinlopen Strait, search for bearded and ringed seals, polar bears, pink-footed geese, walrus, reindeer and blue whales. Zodiac cruise between ice floes in Lomfjordshalvoya and view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet where thousands of Brunnich’s guillemots nest.

When the ship reaches 80 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole, she parks for several hours in pack ice, waiting and searching for polar bears. The return route offers even more arctic wildlife viewing like the elusive bowhead whale, fin whales and minke whales. At Forlandsundet, walruses are known to haul out and at Alkhornet, arctic foxes pick their way between grazing reindeer to rummage below the sea cliffs in search of fallen seabird eggs. 

In addition to the classic 8-day North Spitsbergen voyage, the 9-day North Spitsbergen – Kvitoya – Farthest North route travels slightly farther north, aiming to reach 82 degrees. The 8-day North Spitsbergen, Polar Bears & Bowhead Whales in Pack Ice route uniquely explores along the ice edge in search of bowhead whales, seals and polar bears. The 8-day East Spitsbergen, Home of the Polar Bear – Summer Solstice route cruises Spitsbergen’s southern end and then up along the east coast to the island of Edgeøya and its nearby pack ice. (The 9-day East Spitsbergen & Bear Island, in the Realm of Polar Bear & Ice route follows a similar itinerary but adds a visit to Bjornoya/Bear Island, and is not listed; contact us for the day-by-day detail.) And two 8-day itineraries generally follow the main itinerary but do not attempt to reach Nordaustlandet and/or Seven Islands: North Spitsbergen Explorer – Polar Bears, Bowhead Whales & More, and North Spitsbergen Explorer – Into the Pack Ice.

A few ships sail the North Spitsbergen cruise: the 170-guest Hondius, and 108-guest Ortelius and Plancius. All three ships are ice-strengthened vessels designed for polar expedition. AdventureSmith Explorations’ crew of award-winning Arctic small ship cruise experts have personal experience sailing in the High Arctic. Contact us to discover more about this Arctic cruise and other options to suit your travel interests and timeline.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises, Svalbard & Spitsbergen Cruises and Arctic trips.