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Glass-still waters around Spitsbergen

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

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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Experience Arctic exploration in Longyearbyen, the administrative hub of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. Cruise through Hornsund's spectacular area, encountering seals, polar bears, and nesting seabirds. Explore Bear Island, Hopen Island, and the lush tundra of south Edgeøya for a unique Arctic adventure. Delve into the history of Pomor trappers at Russebukta and discover the rarely-visited coast of south Spitsbergen. Explore Bell Sund, offering flora, fauna, and haunting history.
Unforgettable shades of blueA polar bear takes a wintery napLittle AuksA walrus floats on the iceA polar landscapeBell Sund’s flora, faunahappy kayakersGlass-still waters around Spitsbergen
  • Look out for whales, seals, and possibly even polar bears
  • Explore Longyearbyen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago
  • Venture into Bell Sund's fjord system, rich in flora and fauna
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embark

As you land in Longyearbyen, the administrative hub of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, take pleasure in strolling through this former mining town. Explore captivating attractions like the parish church and Svalbard Museum. Despite the seemingly stark landscape, over a hundred plant species have been documented here. In the early evening, the ship departs from Isfjorden, providing an opportunity to spot the first minke whale of the voyage.

Day 2: Hornsund

Begin your day with a serene cruise through the side fjords of the breathtaking Hornsund area in southern Spitsbergen. Marvel at the panoramic views of towering mountain peaks, with Hornsundtind reaching an impressive 1,431 meters (4,695 feet) and the pinnacle of Bautaen serving as a testament to why early Dutch explorers coined the name Spitsbergen, signifying "pointed mountains."

There are 14 magnificent glaciers scattered throughout the region, providing ample opportunities to encounter seals and polar bears. The nearby cliffs of Sofiakammen host thousands of nesting kittiwakes and little auks. As evening falls, witness the mesmerizing sight of thousands of harp seals engaging in rutting behaviors on ice floes at Sørkapp.

Day 3: Bear Island

As you approach the southeastern tip of Bear Island, discover a prime location for observing vast seabird colonies. The nearby nesting cliffs form part of an extensive nature reserve, enforcing a prohibition on large ships bringing passengers ashore. Following this, your journey unfolds as you sail northeast into Sorhamna, providing an opportunity to draw nearer to the seabird cliffs. This region is chiefly inhabited by Brünnich's guillemots, kittiwakes, and fulmars.

Just north of Sorhamna, in Kvalrossbukta, you will make landfall to explore the remnants of a whaling station dating back to the early 20th century. Another potential landing site is the shallow valley of Rendalen, where, at a safe distance, you will search for the fiercely territorial great skuas, imposing large seabirds. Continuing your northward course along the east side of Bear Island, be prepared to encounter dazzling shoals of drift ice.

Day 4: Hopen

On the way to Hopen, you might come across sea ice inhabited by harp seals engaged in rutting behaviors. Upon reaching the southern end of Hopen Island, specifically Koefoetodden, you have the opportunity to observe remnants of 17th-century whaling sites. Easily accessible through nearby Bekkeskaret, a route to Kvasstoppen (190 meters, 620 feet) reveals the remains of a World War II plane. It's worth noting that Hopen Radio station stands as the most isolated manned weather station in all of Svalbard.

Day 5: Tusenöyane

As you sail along the western side of the Tusenöyane, where summer landings are restricted, keep an eye out for polar bears and walruses as we near Risetreppen. This stunning canyon boasts an easily accessible kittiwake colony. While exploring on foot, you may have the chance to come across reindeer grazing on the abundant tundra.

Day 6: Ardalstangen

You arrive at Ardalstangen, stepping onto the shore in an area rich with lakes and diverse waterfowl species. Nearby in Habenichtbukta, you observe, from a distance, the wintering site of 18th-century Pomor trappers, who frequently spent years in the same location. In the afternoon, you touch down on the south side of Russebukta, close to a tundra inhabited by reindeer, providing excellent walking opportunities.

Day 7: Stellingfjellet

Today, you strive to land at the mountain of Stellingfjellet, situated close to the largest colony of Brünnich’s guillemots in Spitsbergen. As the day unfolds, you will make landings at the seldom-explored coast of south Spitsbergen, specifically at the bay of Isbukta.

Day 8: Bell Sund

Continue your cruise in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents lend a slightly warmer touch to this area compared to other regions in the archipelago, evident in the relatively lush vegetation. Seize excellent opportunities to immerse yourself in both history and wildlife.

Consider exploring Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where you can find piles of beluga skeletons. These remnants from 19th-century whale slaughter serve as a haunting reminder of the consequences of unchecked exploitation. Luckily, belugas were not hunted to extinction, and you might even catch a glimpse of one here. Alternatively, make a landing at Millarodden on the north side of Bell Sund. Witness a walrus haul-out site and, potentially, embark on an excursion on the tundra of Ingeborgfjellet, home to thousands of little auks.

Day 9: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
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.



M/V Ortelius Reception Area
M/V Ortelius at Torellneset, Spitsbergen
The bar and observation lounge aboard the Ortelius.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date


$1000 Travel Credit Arctic 2024 23769
Book your Svalbard 2024 cruise  and take advantage of the $1000 travel credit per person, which will be deducted from your cabin price on select June-July departures. This promotion is valid for new bookings only (not for existing reservations) and cannot be combined with other promotions. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.

Code: ARCTIC2024
Applies to Jul 2, 2024 departure

Per person starting at
$4,600 2-3 travelers
M/V Ortelius Quadruple Porthole
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Quadruple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with 2 portholes, 2 upper / lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, Ample storage space.
M/V Ortelius Triple Porthole
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Triple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins). Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
Twin Porthole on the Ortelius
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Twin Porthole
23 twin cabins with 2 portholes, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Twin Window on the Ortelius
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Twin Window
10 twin cabins with 2 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
M/v Ortelius Twin Deluxe
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Twin Deluxe
6 superior cabins with 3 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Small sofa, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
M/V Ortelius Superior Cabin
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1 suite with 2 windows (minimum), 1 double bed, 1 single (sofa) bed, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, ample storage space.


- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Children between the ages of 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • Medical travel insurance, including emergency medical attention and evacuation coverage with a minimum of $100,000 of evacuation coverage is required.
  • Parkas are not provided on your cruise. Please bring your own windproof, waterproof, insulated parka with you. You will want to make sure it is roomy enough to fit warm layers underneath. Click here for information about parka rental.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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