Oceanwide Expeditions

expedition cruises

Antarctica cruises & Arctic cruises

East Spitsbergen, Home of the Polar Bear - Summer Solstice, Including Long Hikes
Up to $900 OFF or $1000 travel credit | code ARCTIC2024

East Spitsbergen, Home of the Polar Bear - Summer Solstice, Including Long Hikes

Discover the highest peaks, largest seabird colonies, and best places to spot polar bears along the eastern shores of Spitsbergen

PLA04-24 Experience the high Arctic summer solstice with an expedition that visits some of the top sites of eastern Spitsbergen. Our goal is to take you to amazing glaciers, fascinating historical sites, bountiful seabird colonies, and sprawling fjord systems...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

20 Jun - 27 Jun, 2024

Berths start from:

4000 USD

15 Days Extended East and North Spitsbergen
Up to $2740 OFF

15 Days Extended East and North Spitsbergen

PLA04c24 North Spitsbergen is among the top spots on Earth to encounter polar bears, while the eastern islands of Svalbard offer some of the Arctic's best birdwatching opportunities.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

20 Jun - 4 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

6400 USD

Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice
Up to $300 OFF

Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice

Full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

HDS05-24 Take a cruise around Spitsbergen and explore the icy waters of the North Atlantic. This special expedition offers you the chance to catch sight of whales, reindeer, Arctic foxes, walruses, seals, and the star attraction, the polar bear.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

24 Jun - 3 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

5100 USD

North Spitsbergen, Basecamp, Free kayaking, Hiking, Photo Workshop, Cleaning the Shores
$1000 travel credit | code ARCTIC2024

North Spitsbergen, Basecamp, Free kayaking, Hiking, Photo Workshop, Cleaning the Shores

The best activity voyage in the Arctic

OTL04-24 The North Spitsbergen Basecamp cruise offers you a myriad of ways to explore and enjoy this Arctic Region. This expedition allows you to hike, snowshoe, kayak, and learn to take perfect pictures of the polar flora and fauna.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

25 Jun - 2 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

5600 USD

16 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen & Bear Island
Up to $6240 OFF

16 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen & Bear Island

OTL04d24 Why take just one polar voyage when you can combine two into an activity-filled, wildlife-focused adventure? We’ve joined our East Spitsbergen cruise (emphasizing polar bears and pack ice) with our North Spitsbergen Basecamp cruise (multiple free activities)...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

25 Jun - 10 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

5160 USD

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Latest blog and customer story

News & blogs

What’s so Special about East Spitsbergen?

Though eastern Svalbard does not differ dramatically from the rest of the island group, the itineraries we follow there give you a different experience than our other Svalbard options.

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Customer story

Around Spitsbergen, in the Realm of the Polar Bear & Ice

There are journeys and there are journeys. This trip is one that falls in the latter category. I look back on a fantastic experience, during which the awareness of human behavior on this vulnerable planet (and especially the Arctic) became very clear to me.

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Antarctica & Arctic cruise reviews

by Daisy Busker
The voyage was an absolute once in a lifetime! In Svalbard we observed polar bears, whales an walruses from a short distance under the close eye of the great staff! The moment you set foot on board hondius, you are in for a time filled with fun, wildlife and great service! We have felt at home and comfortable all while being 80degrees north! Read full review
by Kelly Karnes
Well ran ship and guides were knowledgeable. Read full review
by Joanne Puckett
We recently spent 8 days/7 nights cruising Svalbard with Oceanwide Expeditions. We had an amazing time. The ship was extremely comfortable - rooms were a good size, lounge area well set up, dining room very efficient. We managed to leave the ship several times and participated in some landings as well as zodiac cruises. We felt completely safe at all times leaving and refining the ship as well as inland where the “threat” of polar bears is ever present. The staff did an amazing job at keeping watch , allowing us to explore with the guides on some foreign but stunning landscapes. We saw a quite a bit of wildlife and managed to see every animal we had hoped to - even if the polar bears were safely at a distance. The food produced by the kitchen was great. Drinks were very reasonably priced. We met some wonderful fellow passengers onboard and we all became quite social. Would highly recommend this company, the crew and this ship.
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by Kathrin Wittchen
The trip was fantastic in every aspect. Enjoyed every second of it and can’t wait to return. Read full review
by Heike Oelmann
Great Tour with lots of activities, Great crew, nice ship, delicious food. All in all a great tour Read full review
by M. Hansen
Fantastic landscapes and wildlife viewing, great crew - all of them - including hospitality staff, guides, people on the bridge etc. Very friendly and attentive. Good food.
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by Alexandre Elshobokshy
Everything was PERFECT on this ship, if you ever get the chance to get on board, PLEASE, do so!!!!
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by Erik Friess
On March 4th I went aboard the Ortelius to take part in the base camp tour. I had very high expectations, but this trip far exceeded everything I had hoped for. The landscapes were breathtaking and in all weather conditions, whether sunshine or sleet, it was a unique experience. I have never experienced such an intense encounter with wildlife anywhere else in the world. Looking a humpback whale straight in the eye and feeling its breath is an experience I will never forget. The entire crew, especially Sara, not only did an excellent job in terms of organization and expertise, they also managed to create an atmosphere as if we were one big family on the ship. I can't imagine how this trip could have been better. 6 out of 5 stars! Read full review
by Sandy Kuan

The destination of this trip were Antartica, Falkland Island , South Georgia in January 2024, for 18 days cruising. For the most part on Hondius, we felt we were discriminated by some of the Expedition team members. This can be seen especially at lunch and dinner time. Most of the team members sit only with Caucasian guests. There were also different attitudes towards Caucasian vs second language English speakers seen throughout this trip. I tried to initiate conversations with some of the team members but gotten minimum replies. It was very different attitude when this team member interacted with Caucasian guests which was always with lots of enthusiasm. I remembered the first day we arrived on the ship, the Team Lead said ‘’ we are on the same ship and we are a big family.’’ But it didn’t feel that we were welcomed throughout the journey. Most of the time it felt been treated as secondary. I understand there was a group of people from other countries who don’t speak English well or at all. But, It doesn’t mean it’s okay to ignore or treat one who doesn’t speak English or who is not Caucasian differently. I am not taking about Language barriers but more about attitudes and Oceanwide appearance in front of its customers from its own expeditions team members. Only the last day or two, some of the team members finally started been seen doing their “homework “ it felt like, by company’s standard I guess..to sit with second language English speaking guests at lunch/dinner whom they have almost never interacted with. The positive sides were the expedition team members were very knowledgeable about Antarctica, from water, ice , birds, whales, winds, penguins, Hondius ….etc. They were able to answer every question, putting efforts to lectures and landings. They even tried to use rope to show us how long each different whale looked like. The Team from the restaurant was impressive, very nice service, excellent food. Front desk, super sweet, friendly and helpful. Housekeeping, they kept our room and bed clean and cozy, surprised towel animals every day. However it does not justify how we were been discriminated. Once again, you can’t treat your guests differently by skin color.

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Frequently Asked Questions

An ice-strengthened ship is a ship made of steel. These ships are made to get through the ice at Antarctica and the Arctic. Nowadays, most of the ships that cruise to Antarctica and the Arctic are ice-strengthened ships. Ortelius and Plancius are both are ice-strengthened ships. Ortelius has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. Plancius has an ice-class notation of 1D.

Icebreakers are needed if there is a trade route to keep ice free, if there are military reasons for patrolling in areas with heavy sea ice or if you need to work in heavy ice conditions, particularly in winter. Icebreakers are expensive to build and very expensive in fuel to run (sometimes powered by gas turbines or a nuclear generator). They are uncomfortable to travel in on the open sea. 

All guests are required to wear a waterproof jacket and trousers (the clothing must be fully waterproof – water resistant or repellant is not suitable sufficient) while in our Zodiacs. This is for safety reasons owing to the increased risk of exposure related illness if you get wet. In Norwegian waters this is also a legal requirement – any person not properly dressed will not be permitted to leave the vessel.

Apart from that, our advice is to take warm, windproof clothes that you can easily add or remove in layers. Multiple layers of medium-warmth clothing provide more insulation than single heavier articles. This is due to warm air getting trapped between the layers and acting as further insulation. Look for clothing made of wool, silk, and new synthetic fibers, all of which retain heat better than other materials.

Layers give you the flexibility to control your temperature. The most important layer is the outer waterproof and windproof shell. More information about this can be found in our expedition manual, which you will receive at time of booking.

Our trips can best be described as expedition-style cruises. The emphasis is on viewing wildlife, visiting interesting locations, and participating in activities. For example, we may go to places where there is a good chance of seeing penguins or polar bears, or we may visit culturally significant sites or research stations, or we might embark on a kayaking trip or shoreline snowshoeing hike.

The aim is always to give you the utmost firsthand contact with the polar world. This is why we keep our program flexible, so that we can take the best possible advantage of local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions as they occur. No two voyages are the same. There is always an element of the unexpected in our trips.

When packing for an expedition cruise, avoid weighing yourself down with too much gear. Select informal, practical attire that can be worn in layers. Please ask for our expedition manual with detailed information on clothing lists, what to pack, and what to expect on our voyages.

Yes, we provide all passengers lightweight life jackets that inflate automatically on contact with the water. It is mandatory to wear these life jackets at all times while cruising in the Zodiac boats.

All promoted Arctic and Antarctica cruise itineraries are for general guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The expedition leader and captain make these decisions in order to provide you the safest and most exploratory experience. Landings may also change due to site availabilities and environmental regulations per IAATO or AECO.

We follow the protocol advised by IAATO. Before leaving for your voyage, please make sure anything you bring that may come into contact with the environment (clothes, equipment, etc.) is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. We ask that you do not sit, kneel, or lay down during our landings. Please also do not place anything on the ground. You will receive a document with further information after booking.

On this page you find all information you need to know about the avian influenza outbreaks, including biosecurity protocols.

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About Oceanwide Expeditions

Passionate

Taking you closer to the heart of the polar regions has been our driving passion at Oceanwide Expeditions for over twenty years. Our knowledgeable cruise leaders, committed staff, and thoroughly outfitted vessels are our way of expressing what we care about most: making your cruise to the Arctic and Antarctic truly unforgettable. When you sail with us, you experience a part of the world that is unlike any other. Mountainous glaciers, snow-swept shores, whales and polar bears and vast colonies of penguins make up this world, and they are all part of the surreal ecosystem you can watch unfold before you on your future Oceanwide expedition.

Adventurous

Providing you a travel experience that inspires (and is inspired by) you, that’s what taking you closer to the heart of the polar regions means to us. We get you away from the vessel and into the action as fast as possible: up to two landings per day in the morning and afternoon, with a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs ready to shuttle you past the ice floes and onto the shore. We keep our programs flexible so that you get the most out of whatever surprises nature has in mind. When you sail with us, the cruise is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Pioneering

So what exactly is beneath the tip of that iceberg? The pioneering spirit, which all travelers to the polar regions (regardless of age and background) have in common. Guiding our expeditions with passion, tapping into the desire for inspiration and beauty, and always taking you closer to the heart of the Arctic and Antarctic – at Oceanwide Expeditions, that is our promise to you.

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