Spitsbergen Arctic Circle cruise

“Nine day cruise around Spitsbergen onboard a well-equipped and small Polar vessel accompanied by like-minded passengers and Arctic experts. Flexible itinerary to make the most of animal sightings.”


Well-equipped Polar adventure vessel | Arctic experts on board | Zodiac craft for onshore expeditions | No fixed itinerary although tried and test locations include: 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait | Potential wildlife sightings: polar bears, walrus, Arctic fox, whales and huge colonies of seabirds |

Description of Spitsbergen Arctic Circle cruise

Despite being north of the Arctic Circle, the islands of Svalbard are still easily accessible during the summer, and provide a unique glimpse of life around 1000kms from the North Pole.

Remote, remarkable, and relatively small in surface area, this archipelago offers an amazing introduction to the animals and landscapes of the Arctic, with a cruise around the largest island, Spitsbergen, absolutely no exception.

Spitsbergen makes an ideal destination for travellers who are short on time but want to go large on animal encounters as this is where you'll find seals, polar bears, walrus and Arctic foxes making the most of the midnight sun.

As Spitsbergen is just a short flight from the UK you'll get to start this nine day Arctic cruise no sooner than you've taken off. As part of a small group you'll be invited on board a Polar Adventure Ship, such as the Ocean Nova or the Ocean Adventurer. Both vessels are well-equipped with contemporary comforts and first-class facilities, including Zodiac boats to allow passengers to disembark and zip across the water to explore on land.

As you'll also be ably accompanied by Arctic experts there's every chance that you'll learn more about the animals in the Arctic as well as picking up a few photography tips when you need them most. This trip is ideal for anyone looking for an exciting and accessible Arctic introduction.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?


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01 Jun 2019
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09 Jun 2019
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23 Jun 2019
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15 Jul 2019
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Spitsbergen Arctic Circle cruise

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 and after we set off. 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 artic 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 and all our team’s air travel is carbon offset.

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. We are committed to providing delicious but sustainably sourced meals during the trip, so rest assured that any seafood you encounter at a meal on board has been reasonably caught.

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.

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.

1 Reviews of Spitsbergen Arctic Circle cruise

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2010 by

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

Seeing our first polar bear.

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

Take plenty of warm layers for the zodiac trips but you don't need to wear warm clothing inside the ship.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


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


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