Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, offers amazing landscapes and animals seen while with Quark
Guests on zodiacs viewing several walrus's in the ocean playing together in Svalbard
Guest looking at an arctic reindeer in Svalbard
Solo polar bear looking back at a baron landscape of rock in Svalbard
Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, offers amazing landscapes and animals seen while with Quark
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Spitsbergen Circumnavigation: A Rite of Passage

Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. It is rugged, wild, unspoiled and utterly unforgettable. This 14-day journey offers the most extensive exploration of Spitsbergen, including the opportunity to witness iconic Arctic wildlife like walrus, reindeer and polar bears, a glimpse into 16th-century maritime culture at secluded landing sites, and the rare chance to appreciate breathtaking views at the birdwatching utopias 14th of July Glacier and Alkefjellet.

The aim of this expedition is to circumnavigate the whole Svalbard archipelago if conditions permit, though embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel so there are no guarantees. The wildlife-viewing opportunities on this trip will leave you with plenty of memories—and photos: the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; Arctic birds in the thousands—in all their varied majesty; small herds of reindeer loping across the tundra; and that most iconic of Arctic creatures, the polar bear, especially as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on the perpetual hunt for food. Shore excursions by Zodiac will enable you to set foot in places only a few humans have walked before and optional kayaking and paddle excursions are available at an added cost to intimately explore your surroundings even further.

This Arctic cruise begins and ends in Longyearbyen, Svalbard with round-trip charter flights to and from Helsinki, Finland. Get an extensive exploration of Spitsbergen aboard the 199-guest Ultramarine, an ice-stable ship equipped for personal and intimate Arctic exploration.

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



Itinerary

Spitsbergen Circumnavigation: A Rite of Passage Itinerary

The 14-day Spitsbergen Circumnavigation small ship cruise begins and ends in Helsinki, Finland with round-trip charter flights to and from Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Route map of Spitsbergen In Depth arctic small ship cruise, operating round-trip from Helsinki, Finland with charter flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. Circumnavigate Spitsbergen with visits to Calypsobyen, Smeerenburg, the Monaco Glacier, Moffen, Alkefjellet, Barentsoya & Edgeoya.
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Day 1
Arrive Helsinki, Finland

This Arctic voyage begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If arriving early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at the included airport hotel.

Accommodations

Airport Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Fly to Longyearbyen & Embark

This morning, take a group transfer to the airport and board the private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. As the ship sets sail, enjoy the first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 13
Exploring Spitsbergen

Expect a new adventure every day as the circumnavigation begins by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. The plan is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, also attempt a circumnavigation of the whole Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition is different, depending on the weather and ice, but some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya. These names may seem strange to you, but each site has its own unique appeal.

There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful tundra meadows are complemented by immense glaciers. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns, while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Always on the lookout for wildlife, be sure to have your camera ready to capture reindeer when visiting sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Searching for the iconic polar bear is a constant activity for the expedition team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are two of the bears’ preferred places for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to view and capture them in action.

A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture— not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Longyearbyen, Fly to Helsinki & Depart

The time to say goodbye to the expedition team and shipmates has come. The adventure ends as it began, in the historic frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Helsinki.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Mandatory Transfer Package (approximate package price is $995 in 2025 and includes one night’s pre-expedition hotel night at Helsinki airport hotel with breakfast on Day 2, charter flight from Helsinki to Longyearbyen, arrival and departure transfers in Longyearbyen, and charter flight from Longyearbyen to Helsinki); shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals and snacks on board; soft drinks and juices on board; select beer and wine during dinner; all shore landings per the daily program; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leader; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal documenting the expedition; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings;  official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard the ship; emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person; transfers between Longyearbyen town center and port on embarkation and disembarkation day.

Exclusions

International airfare; arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended), or insurance of any kind; excess baggage fees on international flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, and any gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of voyage for shipboard staff and crew; additional overnight accommodation; any adventure options or excursions.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 180 days – full refund, less $500 admin fee
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 75% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Spitsbergen Circumnavigation cruise begins and ends in Helsinki, Finland (HEL), with group charter flights between Helsinki and Longyearbyen, Norway (LYR). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Helsinki anytime on Day 1 of the itinerary. An arrival transfer is not needed, as the Day 1 hotel is at the airport. The scheduled flight time will be communicated in your final documents.

On Day 14 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00 and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport or hotel. Plan flights to depart Helsinki no earlier than three hours following arrival of your group charter flight from Longyearbyen on Day 14. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Group charter flights between Helsinki and Longyearbyen are required on this trip’s itinerary; see the Mandatory Transfer Package information listed above under Inclusions. The flight to Longyearbyen is expected to depart early on Day 2 of the itinerary. There is a strict luggage limit on the flights to and from Helsinki, which will be detailed in your final documents as flights are confirmed close to departure.. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Helsinki; there is no option to pay for additional luggage. On Day 14 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00 and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport for the return charter flight to Helsinki, or to your independently arranged hotel in Longyearbyen.

Activities

Hiking, Zodiac cruising, daily presentations, photography guides and the polar plunge are optional and included. Various optional activities may be available on your Spitsbergen Circumnavigation cruise, for guests aged 16 and older, at the following per person costs in 2025: sea kayaking for $795 and one-time paddling excursion for $295. Sea kayaking must be pre-booked and is arranged in small groups of 10 people, multiple times per voyage, and only conducted during calm weather conditions. You must have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit. One-time paddling excursions are available for those who want something less in-depth than the full sea kayaking program; no experience is necessary. Each departure’s first paddling excursion may be pre-booked and all subsequent outings are booked on the ship. Contact AdventureSmith for more details and to reserve your spot on these adventure activities.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x (2x for Premium cabins) the per-person listed rate in select cabins based upon availability. Premium Cabins are as follows:
Ultramarine: Deluxe Balcony Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner’s Suite, Ultra Suite

Families & Children

At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of up to $500,000 USD per paying traveler provides coverage between the first and last day of ship-based travel and is included in the cost of this trip. For ship- and land-based trips, additional days of travel pre- and post-expedition are not covered. Travelers are responsible for having adequate international medical coverage prior to embarkation, with a minimum benefit of $50,000 USD. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers also protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Jun 25 - Jul 08, 2025
Ultramarine • 14 days
brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity A brown kayak paddle icon depicting a one-time paddle activity option
From $14196USD
Per Person
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brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity Kayaking
A brown kayak paddle icon depicting a one-time paddle activity option One-Time Paddling
Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Ultramarine

The new Ultramarine 199-passenger polar ship is purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration in Antarctica and the Arctic. Dual helicopter pads and an incredible 70-day cruising range allow access to the hardest-to-reach places.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires August 30th, 2024
Save Up To 30% On Select Svalbard Expedition Cruises

Don't miss out! Save big when you book your select 2024 or 2025 Arctic expedition cruise exploring Svalbard.

Expert Reviews

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Expert Aboard: Ultramarine Ship Review

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Spitsbergen Circumnavigation: A Rite of Passage