photographer, mountains, arctic waters, port side of small cruise ship
Mother polar bear & 2 cubs stand on snow-covered ice on a sunny day during the Svalbard in Spring small ship cruise.
white and yellow wildflowers seen on national geographic svalbard in spring small ship cruise
2 Svalbard reindeer in a grassy field in Bellsund, on Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway.
Woman & child paddle tandem yellow inflatable kayak in glassy water beside small icebergs & snow-covered brown mountains.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light & Epic Ice

On this 10-day voyage, see Svalbard the way few have ever seen it, during its spring awakening—a true Arctic refuge, covered in snow, surrounded by sea ice. Watch for polar bears returning to the spring hunting grounds to coincide with the seals pupping. Be stunned by astonishing light, as the spring sun mounts higher each day. Capture it all with ace photographers or view it from our exclusive polar igloos. Focus on photography during near-ideal light conditions, plus enjoy a unique photo opportunity at the Seed Vault in Longyearbyen.

Along the way, appreciate numerous highlights. Search for adult male polar bears hunting on the pack ice. Walk on the frozen sea in the Arctic, an adventure only possible in early spring. Take advantage of the exceptional light and pristine ice to capture incredible photos, and learn from the onboard team of photography experts. And see the Arctic at a time of year few ever have, thanks to your ship’s ice class and technology, and the experience of your captain.

Sail along Svalbard aboard the 126-guest National Geographic Resolution. With a polar ice class 5 rating, state-of-the-art educational equipment and highly qualified naturalist guides, these ships are ideal for an Arctic cruise. After daily explorations via hiking, kayaking and Zodiac cruising, relax in the sauna, yoga room, library or bar, then watch your expedition ship crush through ice from the bridge or deck and enjoy the highest technologies in ice-stable small ship cruising.

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



Itinerary

Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light & Epic Ice Itinerary

The Svalbard in Spring voyage begins and ends in Oslo, Norway with a flight to sail from Longyearbyen, Svalbard. These departures aim to capitalize on the near-ideal light for photography.

Route map of National Geographic Land of the Ice Bears voyage, operating round-trip from Oslo, Norway, via Longyearbyen, Svalbard, with visits to sites along Spitsbergen's northern, western and southern coasts.
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Day 1
Arrive Oslo, Norway

Arrive in Oslo and transfer to your centrally located hotel. In the afternoon, the introduction to Norway begins with a tour of Oslo, including a visit the Fram Museum, dedicated to the wooden ship sailed by Norwegian pole explorers such as Nansen and Amundsen. This evening, join fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail reception, followed by dinner at your leisure.

Accommodations

Hotel Bristol (or similar)

Meals

lunch

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Day 2
Fly to Longyearbyen & Embark

Depart Oslo on a charter flight and enjoy breathtaking vistas en route to Longyearbyen. On arrival, visit the Svalbard Museum to learn the story of Svalbard and its context in Norway and the Arctic, from 17th-century whaling to modern mining, research and tourism. Then tour the Gallery Svalbard to view the permanent art and cultural collections as well as studios of local artists. Embark the ship, your home base for the next 6 days.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 8
Exploring Svalbard

Travel in the archipelago is truly exploratory by design and the exact day-to-day movements will remain flexible, depending on local conditions. The main focus is to explore and absorb the stunning early season sea and landscapes each day under near-ideal light for photography. Like the icons of this icy realm, the walrus and the polar bear, the ship’s movements will be in reaction to the frozen seas and the shifting currents while searching for the creatures who thrive in this wintry wilderness. The polar bears will be returning to spring feeding grounds when/where the seals are pupping and the ship’s ace staff will be on constant lookout. Use agile Zodiac fleet to cruise among the small ice floes and icebergs and maybe even set foot on the frozen ocean (only possible in the early season). The Arctic light at this time of year is exceptional and ever-changing and you’ll have the rare opportunity to witness it. Chase the light and near pristine conditions with a National Geographic photographer by your side to help you capture the best photographs.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 9 - 10
Disembark Longyearbyen & Fly to Oslo

Disembark in Longyearbyen and have a photo op outside the Seed Vault before transferring to the airport. Fly back to Oslo and overnight at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel. The next day, walk across the street to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

SAS Radisson Blu Airport Hotel (or similar) (day 9); n/a (day 10)

Meals

breakfast, lunch and dinner (day 9); breakfast (day 10)

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Expedition parka to keep; two hotel nights in Oslo; accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Round-trip charter flight Oslo-Longyearbyen ($1,140 per person in 2024, subject to change); immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% 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 payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Svalbard in Spring cruise begins and ends in Oslo, Norway (OSL). Embarkation time may vary as it is based upon arrival of group flights from New York, New York (JFK). Disembarkation times may vary depending on local conditions on Day 9. Plan departing flights after breakfast on Day 10 of the itinerary. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

The round-trip charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen is not included in the cruise price, but is arranged for you by AdventureSmith Explorations through your ship. Your Adventure Specialist will book these flights for you on the scheduled charter flight for your particular departure. Airfares vary by departure; your Adventure Specialist will detail these for you in their proposal and on your invoice. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change.

There is a strict luggage limit of one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg), and one carry-on bag weighing up to 18 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat. In Oslo, arrangements can be made to store excess luggage which can then be delivered back to you upon your return from Svalbard.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, kayaking, Zodiac excursions, photography, morning yoga and stretching, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. 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.

Apr 18 - Apr 27, 2024
National Geographic Resolution • 10 days
From $12730USD
Per Person
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Apr 25 - May 04, 2024
National Geographic Resolution • 10 days
From $12730USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Resolution

The 126-guest National Geographic Resolution is one of the newest additions to the National Geographic fleet. This expedition ship is specifically designed for stability, efficiency, scholarship and long-range exploration in the polar regions.

Expert Reviews

Reviews From Our Experts so You Know What to Expect

Arielle Lightcap • January 7th, 2020
Expert Review: What to Expect on a Polar Bear Cruise

A travel expert lends her Arctic cruise insight on what you can expect aboard a small ship polar bear cruise in the Arctic Svalbard region.

Todd Smith • June 17th, 2022
Expert Aboard: National Geographic Resolution & Endurance Ship Review

Firsthand review of the National Geographic Resolution & Endurance. Learn what makes these the best-in-class next generation expedition ships. From X-Bow design to on deck igloos, this in depth ship review covers what you need to know.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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Set sail  for 8-12 days aboard one of three French ships for a luxury Norwegian fjords cruise. Select from various routes to add time exploring Spitsbergen, Scotland, Denmark or the island of Bjornoya.

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Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light & Epic Ice

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