PLEASE NOTE: The autumn Spitsbergen voyages, just at the onset of winter, are ideal for observing the northern lights. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board a historic sailing vessel. Important information about the sailing program: The boat is equipped with sails to be used in good conditions (based on open sea, water depth, wind, and time). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or the other propulsion method. If sails are used, the crew operates them. Guests must follow the safety instructions of the team. The average cruising speed for s/v Noorderlicht is 6 knots.The central Spitsbergen cruise offers the chance to explore both the beautiful fjord region as well as the history of the people who have lived and worked here. The expedition is also a wonderful way to enjoy the wildlife in its natural habitat and one of the great attractions in the Arctic: The Northern Lights.
Day 1: Largest town, biggest island
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage. In the evening you sail for Trygghamna, where you see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station, both of which you can visit the next morning.
Day 2 – 5: Glacial fjords, historic finds
Leaving Trygghamna early in the morning, you sail to the north side of Bellsund. Here you find a fjord system with two major branches: Van Mijenfjord and Van Keulenfjord – and one smaller side bay, Recherchefjord. The geology has created particularly unique landscapes here, such as the long and narrow island of Akseløya, which blocks Van Mijenfjord almost completely. In Fridtjovhamna, the calving glacier Fridtjovbreen is surrounded by picturesque mountains.
The rich wildlife of this area has attracted hunters throughout the centuries. At Ahlstrandhalvøya you can walk in the hunters’ footsteps, examining the remains of their huts. Recherchefjord has one of the highest concentration of historical sites in all of Spitsbergen, ranging from 17th century whaling culture to the mining period of the early 20th century. The glacier Recherchebreen ends at a lagoon, likely to be frozen in October, and several smaller icebergs. Polar bears are commonly sighted all over Bellsund, so keep your eyes open for them and for the belugas that frequent this area.
Day 6: Russian waypoints
You next pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen. An alternative is Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.
Day 7: Chasing the Arctic chill
Sailing into the inner reaches of the Isfjord system, you can see the new ice that is forming on the heads of the fjords. You may also experience temperatures as low as -10° C (14° F), depending on how clear the sky is.
Day 8: There and back again
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Highlights you might experience
s/v Noorderlicht is well suited for sailing among small islands and offers good open-deck viewing areas, also when under sail. Full ship info >>
Cabins & Prices
- 1 upper / lower berth
- Shared shower & toilet
- Wash basin
- Storage space
- Frosted glass in the cabin ceilings which provides some daylight into the cabins.
- All cabins have shared shower & toilet facilities
- s/v Noorderlicht has 4 showers and 5 toilets onboard which are conveniently located
Share your cabin with others for the best price
Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).
Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.