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Giant whale jaw in the arctic

Around Spitsbergen

Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Noorderlicht
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This 16-day Arctic expedition cruise in Spitsbergen and Norway is carried out by the two-mast sailing vessel Noorderlicht. This beautiful vessel brings you to the most remote places around Spitsbergen, Lofoten and the Troms area. The small ship is well- suited for sailing among small islands and offers wonderful open deck viewing areas to take in the beautiful Arctic scenery and wildlife. Explore Brasvell glacier, the polar desert of Svartknausflya, and observe fossilized whale skeletons on raised beaches where polar bears roam. This spectacular journey showcases the distinctive beauty of the Arctic. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Longyearbyen | Embark
Day 2 : Forlandsundet | Fuglehuken
Day 3 : Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskya
Days 4-15 : Continue around Spitsbergen
Day 16 : Longyearbyen | Disembark


  • Visit a 17th-century English whaling station and Pomor hunting station
  • Observe arctic wildlife such as arctic fox, polar bear, walrus, and more
  • Learn about the region from experienced naturalists and expedition staff
  • Marvel at interesting geological formations and breathtaking scenery



Places Visited

  • Forlandsundet
  • Fuglehuken
  • Hinlopen Strait (Hinlopenstretet)
  • Kong Ludvigøyane
  • Longyearbyen
  • Smeerenburg
  • Trygghamna
  • Ytre Norskøya Island


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Giant whale jaw in the arctic Glaciers and beautiful arctic tundra. A walrus relaxes on the snow. A single home in the desolate arctic. Hiking across rocky hills in the arctic.

Day 1 Longyearbyen | Embark

After arriving in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, you may wish to visit the Svalbard Museum, which has an interesting collection on the history of Spitsbergen, the mining industry, and polar exploration. Sail in the afternoon, setting course for Alkhornet, a seabird cliff with a large colony of kittiwakes. Below the cliffs is a den with arctic foxes which scavenge off fallen eggs and chicks. Continue to Trygghamna to visit the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and an 18th century Russian Pomor station.

Day 2 Forlandsundet | Fuglehuken

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave Tryghamna and walk to Alkhornet, a large seabird cliff. Below the cliffs is a den with arctic fox which scavenge off fallen eggs and chicks. Reindeer graze on the lush vegetation. At noon sail through the Forlandsundet. Weather permitting, go ashore at Fuglehuken, where the first Western Europeans (the expedition of Willem Barentsz) set foot on Spitsbergen. Here you can see the graves of whalers and visit colonies of common guillemots, Brünnich's guillemots, little auks, and kittiwakes. Nearby you may be able to visit a haul-out of harbour seals and walruses.

Day 3 Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskya

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit the remains of Smeerenburg, the largest 17th century whaling settlement on Spitsbergen. Land on Ytre Norskøya, where there are many graves dating from whaling days.

Day 4-15 Continue around Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 12 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners
Today sail either to Sorgfjord, where you have a good chance of seeing walruses, or to Murchison Bay, on the north side of which there is an extensive dry tundra, home to many reindeer. There is also a Swedish research station here. As you continue through Hinlopen Strait you are surrounded by icecaps. Land in Lomfjord, a beautiful fjord surrounded by high mountains. Augustabukta is a lovely bay close to a glacier which is crevasse-free, allowing you to walk without difficulties. On a nearby cliff the rare and beautiful ivory gull nests, together with black guillemots. Reindeer, polar bears and walruses are usually seen in this area.

Next sail towards the impressive Brasvell Glacier. Take an excursion on Svartknausflya, a desolate polar desert almost devoid of vegetation, or visit Wilhelmøya, which has raised beaches littered with sub-fossilized whale skeletons, and where encounters with polar bears are likely. Sailing through the narrow Heleysundet between Spitsbergen and Barentsøya can only be done against the current, a very spectacular journey.

As an alternative, if conditions do not favor sail through Freemansundet. At Kapp Lee, walk in beautiful Rosenbergdalen to see reindeer. For walkers it is great hike from here to Diskobukta. In Diskobukta visit a large colony of kittiwakes which nest in a canyon. Arctic foxes and polar bears with young often roam through the canyon, scavenging on young, flightless birds which fall from the ledges. On the raised beaches there are many sub-fossilized whale skeletons.

Kong Ludvigøyane is a breeding place for walruses. On the islands there are also many remains of the whaling, walrus, and polar bear hunting periods. Close encounters with polar bears are virtually guaranteed here. Continuing your exploration of southern Spitsbergen, sail into the labyrinth of side fjords in Hornsund. Behind Brepollen, a large glacial deposit at the head of the fjord, sail along a beautiful glacier front with good chances of seeing bearded seals and polar bears.

The geological formations in this area are very spectacular and colorful. Pay a visit to the Polish research station at Isbjørnhamna, where the friendly crew discusses their scientific programs.

On your way to Longyearbyen sail into Bell Sund to reach Ahlstrandhalvøya, with its interesting geological formations and the remains of the 20th century beluga hunting. It is still a good area for observing belugas. If time allows pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen, or to Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.

Day 16 Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.


Per person starting at
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Twin Non Private
The ‘Noorderlicht’ provides accommodation for 20 travellers in comfortable twin cabins. All cabins have upper and lower berths, a cupboard and wash basin with hot and cold water. Shared shower (4) and toilet (5) facilities are conveniently located.


- 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.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Noorderlicht - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.

Cruise fare includes:
- Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- AECO fees and governmental taxes
- Comprehensive pre-departure material

Not included in cruise fare:
- Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
- Pre- and post land arrangements
- Transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes
- 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
- Customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)

Please note:
It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US Dollar $120 per Barrel 90 days prior to departure, Noorderlicht reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night.
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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