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Polar bear and cub

Circumnavigating Svalbard - In the Realm of the Polar Bear

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard MS Fram
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This expedition is one of a kind, with a multitude of landing sites and exciting experiences in the Arctic. Sail above 80º N, to take you to the ice edge of the Arctic Ocean. The adventure will include several excursions including hiking, kayaking, and other activities on land and on the water. There’s also a good chance that you’ll see a polar bear – after all, there are more polar bears than there are humans on Svalbard. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Oslo | Longyearbyen
Day 2 : Longyearbyen | Embark
Days 3-5 : North West Spitsbergen National Park
Days 6-8 : Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves | South Spitsbergen National Park
Day 9 : The Isfjord
Day 10 : Longyearbyen | Disembark | Oslo

Highlights

  • Enjoy Longyearbyen's unique charm and stunning surrounding areas
  • Discover Kongsfjorden, one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen
  • Visit Eastern Svalbard, featuring the highest population of polar bears
  • Explore Torellneset, an excellent place to spot walruses relaxing on the beach

Ship

MS Fram

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar bear and cub Homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway Arctic fox during spring in Svalbard Sailboat in Svalbard, Norway Walruses huddled together on the ice

Day 1 Oslo | Longyearbyen

This Arctic Circumnavigation starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Norway's capital is often called 'the blue, the green and the city in between' because of its idyllic setting, nestled between fjord and forest. Spend a day checking out the museums, parks and intriguing architecture, or relax in one of the many cafés or bars.  

Then, set foot in an entirely different world when you arrive in Longyearbyen after your flight. This tiny town perched on the edge of the Arctic wilderness is surprisingly cosmopolitan, with first-class facilities, charming architecture, an internationally renowned museum, and several bars and restaurants. 

Transfer to your hotel and overnight. 

Day 2 Longyearbyen | Embark

After an overnight stay in the hotels, you can join an exciting excursion to get to know this unique town and the surrounding area. The mighty Arctic wilderness dominates life here, but the town maintains a lively cultural life in spite of its remote position. Longyearbyen is often called an antidote to modern-day life and serves as a prime destination for adventure travelers. Enjoy the singular atmosphere of this colorful frontier outpost before boarding your ship. 

Day 3-5 North West Spitsbergen National Park

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The North West Corner is scattered with islands, fjords, and beaches. The ocean here can be full of drifting ice especially in the early season and the frozen landscape changes constantly. Due to strong winds and currents, the Captain monitors conditions closely before deciding where we can land or sail. This is why all our itineraries are flexible; we work with the elements, not against them, and safety is our first priority. If we are able to land, this area is excellent for exploring Svalbard’s history. You will have the chance to see the remnants of ancient blubber ovens used to render whale oil.  

You might visit Kongsfjorden, considered one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by stunning mountain formations. On the shore of Kongfjorden is the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international center for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings. 

In the Magdalenafjorden and Gravneset areas, you may have the chance to actually swim and earn a rare Arctic swimming certificate. There will also be exciting hiking and scenic kayaking opportunities, featuring the nearby Gully Glacier. 

We may also get to see the enormous Monaco Glacier in Liefdefjord, and enjoy a chance to cruise in small boats.  

Day 6-8 Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves | South Spitsbergen National Park

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
If conditions allow, sail to Isflakbukta on Phippsøya, part of Sjuøyane (Seven Islands), which are located at the far north of the Svalbard archipelago. Thousands upon thousands of seabirds mate here, while walrus dive for clams in the bays. 

We also aim to cruise in Sorgfjorden, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve and was the site of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers. If the weather is favorable here, we can hike in beautiful Eolsneset or enjoy tender boat cruising in the Hinlopen Strait area. 

Another part of our journey may be a visit to Torellneset, which is an excellent place to spot walruses sunning themselves on the flat beach. 

We continue on to Edgeøya, the third-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. On its western shores, the landscape is largely un-glaciated, unlike most other places on the east side of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you can find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.
  
We make our way to the southern cape and the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen, where Hornsund hosts a wonderfully varied landscape and geology. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears that hunt on the floes, so with a bit of luck, we may spot some of these magnificent predators. 

Day 9 The Isfjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the day exploring the Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. In the inner parts of Isfjorden, the landscape changes constantly. The immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of Svalbard Reindeer.   

Day 10 Longyearbyen | Disembark | Oslo

  • 1 Breakfast
Every good explorer's voyage comes to an end. You can probably sense that time has passed faster than expected. Many report a subtle exhilaration due to having taken a journey to the very top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole. The transfer vehicle takes you early in the morning to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.

MS Fram

Longyearbyen

Per person starting at
$8,532
Cabin I MS Fram
Select a Date
Polar Inside I
113-140 square feet. Inside cabin: One bed, one sofa bed, TV, refrigerator, shower/wc
Cabin FJ MS Fram
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Polar Outside FJ
172-226 square feet. Outside cabin: Double bed, seating area, TV, refrigerator, shower/wc, limited or no view. (FJ 503 with twin beds).
A comfortable twin cabin on the MS Fram
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Polar Outside N
113-140 square feet. Outside cabin: One bed, one sofa bed, table, TV, refrigerator, shower/wc. (N-352 with upper/lower berths).
Cabin U MS Fram
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Arctic Superior U
118-252 square feet. Outside cabin: One bed, one sofa bed, table, TV, refrigerator, kettle, shower/wc. (U-526 with upper/lower berths).
Cabin F MS Fram
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Arctic Superior F
183-248 square feet. Double bed, seating area, TV, refrigerator, kettle, shower/wc.
Cabin M MS Fram
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Expedition Suite M
172-215 square feet. One room with seating area, TV, mini-bar, kettle, double bed, shower/wc.
Cabin MG MS Fram
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Expedition Suite MG
260-420 square feet. One room with private balcony, seating area, TV, mini-bar, kettle, double bed, shower/wc.

Notes

INCLUDED IN YOUR EXPEDITION:
  • Expedition in the cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis 
  • Coach-class flights between Longyearbyen and Oslo 
  • One overnight hotel stay in Longyearbyen before the cruise, including breakfast and lunch 
  • All transfers in Longyearbyen, including an excursion before the cruise
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket 
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore 
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR EXPEDITION:
  • International flights 
  • Travel protection plan
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional excursions and gratuities 
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kinsey V

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

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