• a small animal in a body of water

Spitsbergen in Depth Tour: Big Island, Big Adventure

A land of polar bears and immense fjords, reindeer and icebergs, Spitsbergen provides the perfect setting for an epic Arctic experience. Our 14-day Spitsbergen in Depth Arctic tour offers an extensive exploration of Spitsbergen, allowing you to experience all this remote island has to offer. With much of the area covered in ice and uninhabitable all year round, and phases of no darkness and no daylight, this region is one of the world’s most remarkable.

The Svalbard archipelago is home to an array of unique life forms and is one of the prime locations for viewing polar bears, walrus and reindeer; while the awe-inspiring 14th July Glacier and Alkefjellet cliff are both birdwatching utopias. Animal lovers are set to be wholly enchanted by the wildlife on this Arctic tour. You’ll also get an insight into 16-century whaling culture at secluded landing sites across Svalbard. Enjoy the mesmerising Arctic wildlife against a fairy-tale backdrop of snow-dusted peaks and glaciers, expansive ice fields and forbidding icebergs - one of the last untouched places in the world, with a bigger population of polar bears than humans.

Your vessel is specifically designed for Arctic conditions, meaning the cruise will take you to places ordinary cruise companies wouldn’t dream of exploring, and allow you to visit the farthest reaches of this incredible region. What’s more, you’ll do it all in first-class style - with numerous different decks for taking in the views, a heated outdoor swimming pool, and an onboard library and cocktail lounge.

The Arctic has fascinated explorers since its discovery and our Arctic tours enable you to discover why. We love crafting unforgettable adventures for our customers and we can’t wait to guide you on this extraordinary Arctic experience. Get in touch with our team of Polar Travel Advisers or your Destination Specialist for any additional assistance.

Ocean Adventurer Ship tour dates:

23/07/19 - 04/08/19
24/06/20 - 07/07/20

World Explorer Ship tour dates:

27/06/20 - 10/07/20
30/07/20 - 12/08/20

14 days
Group basis, Escorted
Start your journey

Trip highlights

  • Roam immense glaciers, fjords and icebergs on the many Zodiac boat excursions of the tour
  • Discover the Arctic’s most iconic wildlife, including bearded walrus, elegant reindeer and the majestic polar bear
  • Take a thrilling hike through colourful tundra meadows and sweeping icefields; explore the remote polar town Longyearbyen
  • Join bird utopia, witnessing countless species of birds nesting on the snow-coated cliffs, from puffins to Arctic geese

Your Arctic experience begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. Combining natural splendour and abundant green spaces with a glittering skyline and cosmopolitan vibe, take some time before your adventure to explore this dynamic city. If you arrive early, there are numerous museums, art galleries, forests and restaurants to keep you busy. Retire at your included airport hotel for a night’s rest before your Arctic adventure begins.

a body of water with a mountain in the background
a beach covered in snow

The following morning, you’ll meet your group and be transferred to the airport, where you will board a private charter flight to Longyearbyen, a small coal-mining town and Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. Here, you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation - learn about the region’s culture and history at one of the local museums, wander the multi-coloured houses, and observe how people live in this remote polar town. Later on, you’ll meet at the designated point in town and be transferred to the pier. As the ship sets sail, take in your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from the icy Arctic waters.

a polar bear in the snow
Spitsbergen Reindeer David Merron

Each day of this incredible tour will bring new adventure as the cruise circumnavigates by heading north, and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring the smaller, outlying islands. The cruise plans to circle Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favourable, the ship will also circumnavigate the whole Svalbard archipelago, allowing you to really get a sense of one of Europe’s last great wildernesses. Every Arctic experience is different - depending on the weather, sea and ice. Some of the other locations that may be visited include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya. While the names of the places may seem strange, each site has its own unique appeal and wonder.

There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful stretching tundra meadows meet immense glaciers and towering mountain ranges. For the bird enthusiasts, the 14th of July Glacier is home to a wide variety of birds, including puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns; while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

With majestic wildlife wherever you look, be sure to have your camera poised at all times. Snap the gentle snow reindeer at sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Join the activities of the Expedition Team as they search for the iconic polar bear. With Phippsøya and Isbukta two of the bears’ favourite hunting grounds, there is great potential for you to witness these majestic creatures and capture them in action.

A significant 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 in the region, and you will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, as well as other evidence of whaling at historic landing sites such as Smeerenburg - where remnants of blubber oil ovens point to the location's history as a Dutch whaling settlement.

As the cruise meanders through the icy realm, there are plenty of opportunities for some polar fun, including a daring polar plunge, optional sea kayaking and paddling excursions and numerous onboard lectures from Arctic experts.

a flock of seagulls flying over a large body of water
a airplane that is covered in snow

Your Arctic experience ends in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen, where it began. After a last breakfast onboard, you’ll have time to wave farewell to your Expedition Team and fellow passengers, before completing disembarkation. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo. Or, if you’ve booked additional accommodation in Longyearbyen for the end of the trip, you’ll be transferred to your hotel.