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Svalbard Arctic Cruises & Expeditions

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Weigh anchor and head for one of the northernmost inhabited archipelagos on the planet - Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in Norway. Just 600 miles from the geographic North Pole and due north of the Scandinavian destinations of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the frigid waters of the Arctic give you access to wonders like the Northern Lights or the towering fjords that characterize this region. An exploration of the expansive tundras will get you up close (but not too close!) to the polar bears, whose thick fur protects them from the chilling winds. These giant creatures blend right into their glacial habitat, but with a keen eye, you'll be able to spot whole families. These polar islands also provide an excellent starting point for cruises to other destinations in the Arctic Circle, like Iceland & Greenland.

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How to Get to Svalbard
There is only one international airport in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard - the Longyear Airport.

You can find SAS flights from:
  • Oslo (4 hour flight)
  • Tromso (2 hour flight)
SAS is the biggest Scandinavian airline.

The Longyear Airport is just outside of Longyearbyen, and taxis and buses are coordinated with the flight schedules. 

Just let us know if you'd like some extra guidance when booking your flights.
 
Highlights of Svalbard
Svalbard is the crown jewel of Norway's Arctic region. This northern archipelago has will keep you in awe of the incredible life that inhabits this rugged terrain. On your cruise through Svalbard, you will likely encounter:
  • Several species of whales, including beluga & minke
  • Polar bears, walruses, seals, and even reindeer
  • Glaciers & icebergs 
  • Impressive fjords 
  • Opportunities to hike, snow mobile, kayak, and dog sled.
  • Diverse cultures that go back hundreds of years.

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Svalbard (Spitsbergen) FAQs

Since Svalbard is a territory of Norway and also home to the country's largest administrative center in Longyearbyen, you will find that these frequently asked questions typically have the same answers as those of the rest of Norway, however we have included some information more specific to the Spitsbergen Archipelago here.

Do I need a visa to travel to Svalbard?

If you are traveling from North America, Europe, or Australia & New Zealand, a visa is not required for entry into Norway/ Svalbard. However, if you are traveling from another country, you should check your country's state department for more information on travel requirements. 

Is tipping customary in Svalbard?
Tipping isn't a big part of the culture in Norway, but if you would like to leave some spare change on restaurant/ cafe bills as a gratuity for good service it is certainly appreciated. It is always up to the individual if they choose to tip.

What is the internet access like in Svalbard?
Perhaps surprisingly, Svalbard has pretty high speed wireless internet access in the developed parts of the archipelago, and you can connect via hotspots and cyber cafes in the town centers. As you get further away from civilization in the polar waters, the signal is usually lost.

Can I use my cell phone while in Svalbard?
As long as you activate global roaming with your service carrier before leaving home, you should have pretty strong coverage in the developed and settled parts of Svalbard. Of course, when you are in the more remote areas and cruising on open ocean, you should not count on having any service at all, sometimes for days at a time.

Do I need a power adapter/ converter?
Svalbard has the same electric grid as the rest of Norway and most of Europe - 220-240V electricity with Type F sockets. You will need either a Type C or Type E/F power converter and a step-down transformer for devices that can only handle 110V electricity.

What are the toilets like in Svalbard?
Toilets on cruise ships and throughout the cities and towns in Svalbard are standard flushing toilets.
 
Approximately what will it cost for (prices in USD):
Cup of coffee - $4.00
Beer - $7.00
Basic lunch - $12.00
Dinner - $24.00

Can I drink the water in Svalbard?
It is considered safe to drink the water in Svalbard and all of Norway unless someone tells you otherwise.

What is the most common way of paying for things in Svalbard?
While traveling through Svalbard, make sure to have enough cash on hand to pay for things from small stores and vendors that do not accept credit cards. In the towns and cities, it's easy enough to find ATMs, but many of the sites are more remote in the Spitsbergen archipelago, and having several krones on hand is helpful.

Should I purchase travel insurance for my trip?
We always recommend purchasing travel insurance, just in case. Here's more information on one of our affiliates. 

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