Spitsbergen, the land of the Polar Bear is an Arctic archipelago about 650 kilometres (400 miles) north of Norway and only a 1000 kilometres (600 miles) south of the North Pole.

It is by far the largest wilderness area of Europe and offers some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. Its rugged mountains and rolling tundra offer plenty of opportunities for hikers, climbers and skiers while the often ice covered seas are great for polar diving.

Sailing along the pack-ice of Northern Spitsbergen will give us the best opportunities to spot the King of the Arctic.


Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Departure from Longyearbyen

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord we may see our first Minke Whale.

Day 2: Raudfjord

We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bear are often seen here.

The highlights of Day 2: Ringed and Bearded Seals, Polar Bears

Day 3: Liefdefjorden

Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake. As well, Polar Bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

The highlights of Day 3: Pink-footed Goose, Monaco Glacier, Polar Bears

Day 4: Hinlopen Strait

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. At the entrance there is the possibility to see Blue Whale. We’ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus.

The highlights of Day 4: Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, Ivory Gulls

Day 5: Seven Islands

We will try to reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bear inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before turning west again.

The highlights of Day 5: Just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole, Polar Bears, Pack ice

Day 6: Retracing Our Route Westwards

Retracing our route westwards, our route takes us through and along the pack ice, keeping watch for Polar Bear and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 100 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whale forage in summer in the upwellings along the Spitsbergen banks. West of the mouth of the Kongsfjord we have also good chances to see Humpback Whale.

The highlights of Day 6: Sailing along the edge of the continental shelf Greenland Whale (Bowhead Whale), Fin Whales, Humpback Whales

Day 7: Prins Karls Forland

We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs, and along the coast we see Harbour Seal, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Here we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walrus. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime we arrive in Longyearbyen.

The highlights of Day 7: Harbor Seals, Walrus, Remains of Polar Bear hunting era

Day 8: Arrival in Longyearbyen

We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.

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Duration Price Range
Ortelius June 16 – 23
June 23 – 30
7 Nights  $3,850 – $6,500
Plancius June 17 – 24
June 24 – Jul 01
7 Nights  $3,850 – $6,500

rates1 - norhtern spitsbergen


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The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica

– 106 in 48 cabins

Staff and crew
– 46

Ice class
– UL1

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Our Yachts

Expedition Ships

made it

M/V Ortelius

OrteliusThe ice-strengthened vessel “Ortelius” is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises, allowing us to adventure in remote locations such as the Ross Sea. Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian academy of Science.

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made it

M/V Plancius

PlanciusM/v “Plancius” was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased and completely rebuilt as a 114-passenger vessel in 2009 It complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). M/v “Plancius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag.

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