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

by Maas van de Ruitenbeek Customer story

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.

Ship: m/v Ortelius

Regions: Arctic

Destinations: Svalbard

For more than 30 years, I have visited the far north of Europe on a yearly basis. Sometimes I even go several times a year. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland... Always looking for peace, space, and roughness.

It has been my wish for a long time to travel to Svalbard. As an avid lover of the north, this area can’t be missed.

Three years ago, my wish seemed about to come true. But as so many have experienced, the world was locked down by a wandering virus and the journey canceled. The year after that, unfortunately still no travel options.

But three times is a charm. On July 31 of this year, the time had finally come. At 4 in the afternoon, we were met at the quay of Longyearbyen by the friendly crew of Ortelius, who even brought our luggage to our cabins.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner on board, and after the briefing and safety instructions, the ropes were dropped. We were on our way: around Spitsbergen, in the realm of the polar bear and ice.

In preparation for this trip, I had watched dozens of videos on YouTube. I also watched the BBC documentary, Frozen Planet, more than once. So I had an idea of ​​what to expect.

But what a journey! It far exceeded all my expectations. Every day we experienced one highlight after another. If you had told me before that we would see 13 polar bears, a blue whale, thousands of birds, Arctic foxes, and impressive glaciers, I might have given you a frown of incredulity.

But these wonders and more became a reality, thanks in part to the unremitting efforts of the crew and expedition leadership. They always had a plan. If the plan could not be carried out for whatever reason, such as dangerous weather or a polar bear near the landing site, there was always a plan B.

They did everything they could to give us the most out of this trip.

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.

That awareness is sharper now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes. When that happens, you become an “ambassador for the Arctic,” as the captain said so beautifully during his farewell speech.

Related cruises

North Spitsbergen Explorer - Versatile landscapes, sea ice & wildlife - Birding, Summer Solstice

The best opportunity to get active while spotting exotic Arctic wildlife!

OTL03-24 This expedition focuses on the versatility of north Spitsbergen’s visually stunning landscapes, vast spans of sea ice, and many opportunities to spot whales, polar bears, seabirds, walruses, and other such wildlife. Enjoy the fantastically beautiful...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

18 Jun - 25 Jun, 2024

Berths start from:

5000 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

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

The best activity voyage in the Actic

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:

4000 USD

18 days Extended East and Around Spitsbergen
Up to $3660 OFF

18 days Extended East and Around Spitsbergen

OTL05c24 This fantastic combination cruise lets you enjoy not only a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen but also an extended voyage into Svalbard's scenically stunning eastern shores - including Bear Island, where colonies of exotic Arctic birds nest above dazzling...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

2 Jul - 19 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

8000 USD

East Spitsbergen and Bear Island, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice, Cleaning the Shores, Including Long Hikes

See Spitsbergen’s dramatic east coast and the majestic bird colonies of Bear Island

OTL05-24 The east shores of Spitsbergen are a fantastic place to view gorgeously rugged landscapes and exotic Arctic wildlife, including minke whales, Arctic foxes, and polar bears. And speaking of bears, this exploratory cruise also visits Bear Island – a bird...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

2 Jul - 10 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

4600 USD

Loading