Svalbard

Explore the rugged beauty of an Arctic island chain

Embark on an Arctic cruise to Svalbard

Offering majestic fjords, astounding ice formations, and some of the densest populations of polar bears on the planet, Svalbard stands out among all Arctic cruise destinations.

Svalbard was once called Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains” in Dutch, and was discovered in 1596 by Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz. But unlike the arduous voyages made to Svalbard in the early years of its discovery, our Arctic cruises to Svalbard are safe and comfortable – though not at all lacking in polar adventure.

Svalbard expedition: what to expect?

Svalbard is part of Norway, and its principal island, Spitsbergen, is the largest and only permanently populated island of the chain. Svalbard cruises tend to focus on animal sightings, as the area is known for its seabirds (kittiwakes, guillemots, and many more), seals, walruses, whales, and of course, polar bears.

Taking a cruise to Svalbard means experiencing snow-swept peaks, rolling tundra, and dramatically cut coastlines. It means loads of opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and many other outdoor activities. It means getting the chance to see truly exotic wildlife in its natural habitat.

In a word, a Svalbard cruise means adventure.

Join us on an expedition cruise to Svalbard cruise and enjoy some of the most awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife the world has to offer.

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Cruises to Svalbard

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

Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice
Up to $6150 OFF

Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice

Full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

HDS06-24 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:

3 Jul - 12 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

5400 USD

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $5970 OFF

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

HDS10c25 A full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen combined with a voyage into northeast Greenland, this expansive expedition cruise explores some of the best spots in the high Arctic - including a visit to Scoresby Sund, Earth's largest fjord, along with exhilarating...

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

14 Aug - 5 Sep, 2025

Berths start from:

10480 USD

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $4540 OFF

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

PLA10d24 When you join two outstanding Arctic cruises into one, you get powerhouse polar adventures like this. After edging the pack ice of the planet’s most stunning polar bear habitat, you head to scenically surreal northeast Greenland for views of the magical...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

9 Aug - 31 Aug, 2024

Berths start from:

9920 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

Svalbard cruise video

Latest blog and customer story

Svalbard blog

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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Svalbard 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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Latest highlight and wildlife

Map of Svalbard

Svalbard cruise photos

Svalbard cruise reviews

by Marga Doornbos-Roos
A trip I will never forget. The landscape, the animals and also the staff. Awesome!
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by Ruud Smit
Hi great, what I really miss are de Daily reviews, regarding what did the schip that day. Where has the ship been. Foto's will come soon. Read full review
by Ruud van de Vorst
we saw everithing we wanted to see
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by Christine Schleith
Fantastic Landscape and impressive flora and fauna. Amazing!! Read full review
by Marco Montanari
My girlfriend and I spent a wonderful week on the M/V Hondius, visiting the north west coast of Svalbard and spending two days in the ice floe. We saw polar bears, arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, walruses, various seals, minke whales and the very rare Greenland whale (as well as several species of birds). The staff was great, the ship comfortable. We will remember this trip with great pleasure Read full review
by Mohit Advani
Fantastic trip - Everyone from the Expedition Team to the Hospitality Team was great. The boat is excellent and very well appointed. Excellent food and service. Really good wildlife and nature viewing with experienced guides. Highly recommended!
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FAQ's about Svalbard cruises

Svalbard is one of our core Arctic locations, a great place for enjoying wildlife, activities, and scenery. For this reason, there are too many areas we visit to list here. For details on intended routes and landing sites, see the Svalbard page at our website.

This depends on what you want to experience at Spitsbergen. In case you want to experience the Polar night or the Aurora Borealis, November to February is the best time to travel to Spitsbergen. Do you want to see the midnight sun and enjoy boat trips, kayaking or hiking? Then the best time to visit Spitsbergen is around May until September. This is the summer period of Spitsbergen.

The sun sets for the last time in Spitsbergen in mid-September and rises above the horizon again in mid-February. The winter landscape and temperatures prevail until May.   

The weather in Spitsbergen differs per area and location. Although snow can occur throughout the year in Svalbard, the North Atlantic Current helps provide Svalbard with warmer temperatures than many other areas within similar latitudes. However, strong winter breezes, low pressure and the combination of wet sea air and cold polar air can lead to rapidly changing weather conditions, especially during the winter months.

During the winter season, the temperature in Spitsbergen can can drop to -16 to -12 degrees Celsius (3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Adding in the wind chill factor means the weather can feel much colder. July is the warmest month of the year with an average temperature between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius (37 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit).  We therefore recommend that you bring a variety of warm clothes for your Spitsbergen cruise. 

As polar bears can travel great distances in a day, it is impossible to say where and when we will spot them. Sea ice is the best place to look, so we tend to focus our efforts there. Though you will have a good chance of seeing polar bears in Svalbard, nature makes the decisions. Sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Your cruise to Spitsbergen will come with an enormous amount of opportunity to spot wildlife. Polar bears are obviously the main attraction regarding wildlife. There are six national parks throughout Spitsbergen, and Svalbard alone is known to contain, Polar bears, reindeer, Arctic fox, numerous birds (such as guillemots and little auks) and several high Arctic seal species inhcluding the iconic Walrus. You might also encounter a variety of whales including the largest of them all: the Blue whale. 

About Svalbard cruises

Weather during Svalbard cruises

Svalbard lies within the high Arctic and is technically a desert, with the eastern regions being particularly dry. You may encounter snow, however, especially in the west. Depending on when and where you take your Svalbard cruise, you can expect temperatures around 6°C (42°F) in summer.

Fun facts about Svalbard

  • The name “Svalbard” is from Svalbarði, meaning “cold edge”.
  • Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s only true town, was founded by an American in 1906 and has around 2,000 permanent residents.
  • Almost 65% of Svalbard is a protected nature reserve or a national park.
  • Svalbard is an archipelago (chain of islands) off the north coast of Norway.
  • Svalbard has the world’s third biggest ice sheet, coming behind only Antarctica and Greenland.
  • Svalbard is made up of four main islands and almost 150 smaller islands.
  • Nobody gets buried on Svalbard but are instead shipped to Norway for burial.

Take a Svalbard cruise

An expedition cruise to Svalbard lets you experience one of Earth’s northernmost wildernesses, a beautifully stark landscape of glaciers and snow-capped mountains.

But that’s not all. During your Svalbard cruise, you can learn about the region’s fascinating history, enjoy invigorating kayak outings or hikes, and encounter more exotic wildlife than just about any other Arctic location can offer.

Embark on one of our many cruises to Svalbard and enter an unimaginable Arctic wonderland! If you have any questions about our Svalbard expedition, please feel free to contact us.

Polar bear video by Vedat Mihmat

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