Wildlife cruises to Spitsbergen and Greenland

“24 hour daylight coats the Svalbard Archipelago and east coast of Greenland providing untold opportunities to spot wildlife amongst an untouched high-Arctic environment.”


Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago | Sail within 10° of the North Pole (weather permitting) | Expected wildlife sightings: walrus, polar bear, reindeer, terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes, glaucous and ivory gulls | Greenland Sea | Eastern Greenland | Denmark Strait | Entertaining wildlife presentations |

Description of Wildlife cruises to Spitsbergen and Greenland

To explore the Arctic wonders in depth, wildlife cruises to Spitzbergen, Greenland and Iceland really do cover all bases. This carefully crafted itinerary starts in the Spitzbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago where we explore the remote, intoxicating landscapes of icebergs and glaciers, home to polar bears, walrus, Arctic foxes and a wide array of birdlife. And with 24 hours of daylight during our travel times between mid-June and mid-August, we have plenty of time to catch sight of all these natural wonders, travelling on board the Ocean Nova and the Sea Adventurer Polar adventure ships. These are comfortable, warm ice rated ships sleeping a maximum of a hundred passengers.

After a few days in and around the Svalbard archipelago, we move on to the waters off Greenland’s east coast and, in particular, Scoresbysund, the longest fjord in the world. On this section of our voyage we get to take trips out on a Zodiac boat or paddle a kayak to explore the icebergs, calving glaciers, visit ancient settlements and do some wildlife watching for more Arctic mammals such as the magnificent Musk oxen.

The final leg of our maritime odyssey takes us across the Denmark Strait to Iceland, where we disembark at Akureyri after a total of twelve nights on board the expedition ship, where we take a connecting flight to Reykjavik for the return journey home.

Travel Team

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Our top tip:
You certainly won't regret time spent on deck as opposed to holed up in your cabin. Also, a few pairs of woolly socks are definitely worth bringing along, although wellington boots are provided.
Trip type:
Small ship expedition cruise. Max 78 guests. Min age 12.
Activity level:
12 nights on-board within twin en-suite cabins. Ship features dining, bar, library, observation lounge and fitness facilities.
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, expert team throughout.
All meals included on-board.
Solos welcome. Single cabins available with a surcharge.

Responsible tourism

Wildlife cruises to Spitsbergen and Greenland

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


This itinerary focuses on a constant search for wildlife. The expedition will be highlighted by encounters with colonies of rare seabirds, hauled-out walrus and hunting Polar bears. Often just seeing such extraordinary wildlife can be a very moving experience and clients either donate to related charities or develop a lifelong interest in their conservation. We maintain a ‘leave no trace’ policy when exploring on land. Other activities include sea kayaking and guided photography – which also have a minimal impact on the environment. There is not much contact with local communities on this remote voyage, although we do encourage clients to explore Longyearbyen before we set off and Reykjavik afterwards. There are some small businesses here which benefit greatly from tourism commerce and plenty of locals to engage with.

We are acutely aware of the fragile nature of Polar environments and the species which inhabit them. Therefore we are dedicated to supporting charities which deal with conservation of these areas in particular. This year, for example, we will continue to raise funds for Polar Bears International – an organisation protecting this critically threatened species through research, education, action programs and stewardship. We have also been involved in the development of the ‘Underwater Bait Setter’ – a new piece of fishing equipment which prevents seabird bycatch by setting hooks underwater.

Clean Up Svalbard:
We are on board with the Clean up Svalbard initiative, during which every summer volunteers from our vessels are invited to join the office of The Governor of Svalbard and the local population to remove debris from the beaches. The vast expanses of pristine, white landscape which people travel a long way to see are being jeopardised by waste which drifts to the area on ocean currents. As awful as this is, the problem is not just superficial- birds and other Arctic animals eat the littler or become tangled in stray fishnets. This creates a massive challenge for Arctic wildlife, which already faces the harsh effects of global warming, so this is a hugely important project.

Ship Specs:
Our ship for the duration is a small craft with an approximate capacity of 100 people, meaning they are both more nimble and less at risk of damaging the environment. Each craft is equipped with Zodiac (inflatable landing crafts) which allow us to go from ship to shore quickly and with a far smaller impact than landing the ship itself. We are very conscious of the effects of global warming, especially in the Polar Regions which we traverse, so our vessels burn Marine Gas Oil – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor.

On Board Efforts:
We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board and in brochures. Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste by providing a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and even the laundry is done with green detergents.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


Local Sourcing:
We plan to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting communities local to us and reducing our carbon footprint on the whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society. Our gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.

Staff and Client Preparation:
We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our staff should be experts and able to pass vital information on clients in briefings. We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators and our own material. We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do.

1 Reviews of Wildlife cruises to Spitsbergen and Greenland

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The wildlife, the scenery, the ice, basically all of it

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Spend as much time on deck, you never know when you may see something, really take in every moment we are privelidged to be able to travel and see such wonders.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I am sure any form of tourism,brings money into the local economy, and as travellers we see the impacts and changes on our planet ,If we trully open our eyes and take it on board, then in any way we can and however small try and make a difference then that has to be posative, however the very nature of travel leaves a carbon footprint, bit of a dilema ?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A wonderful experience that fulfilled many hopes and dreams.

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