Svalbard Circumnavigation and Kvitoya arctic wildlife cruise

On this in-depth Svalbard Arctic wildlife cruise, we will also venture to the jumbled, ever-shifting southern edge of the polar ice cap. Here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, we will search for polar bears stalking their prey. Whether it’s of a calving iceberg along the jagged, mountainous coastline or the otherworldly hush of a land where man is an infrequent visitor, your memories of this Svalbard expedition cruise will last a lifetime.

Starts in LongyearbyenEnds in LongyearbyenDuration: 14 Days
Accommodation type:ExpeditionM/V Sea Spirit Expedition Ship



Island of Kvitøya

• Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve

• Bråsvellbreen – 45 kilometre ice cliff

• Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve

• South Spitsbergen National Park

• Polar bears

• Beluga Whales

• Arctic Seals

• Walrus

• Svalbard Reindeer


Day 1Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2Embarkation in Longyearbyen
Day 3 – 5Spitsbergen
Day 6Nordaustlandet
Day 7-8Kvitøya
Day 9-10Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve
Day 11Edgeøya and Barentsøya Islands
Day 12-13West Coast of Spitsbergen
Day 14Disembarkation

• Little Auks

• Pink-footed Geese

• Guillemots

• Glaucous Gulls

• Snow Buntings

• Barnacle Geese

Day to Day Itinerary

DAY 1:
Flight to Longyearbyen, Svalbard
– Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative hub of Svalbard and the embarkation point for our Arctic adventure! Upon arrival at Longyearbyen airport, our team will warmly welcome you and facilitate your transfer to a comfortable hotel, prearranged by us and covered in your itinerary cost. Once settled, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the quaint and pedestrian-friendly town center.

We suggest commencing your exploration of this captivating Norwegian High Arctic territory with a visit to the outstanding Svalbard Museum, where you can also acquire rare polar books and maps. Following this enriching experience, indulge in a delightful dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s charming restaurants. And if you’re still awake at midnight, you’ll witness the perpetual daylight, as the sun remains above the horizon throughout our stay in Svalbard.

DAY 2:
Embarkation in Longyearbyen
– Following breakfast at your hotel, the morning awaits for your exploration of Longyearbyen. Revel in the breathtaking vistas of icy fjords and glacier-capped mountains enveloping this historically significant former coal-mining town. Take advantage of the opportunity to shop for souvenirs or any last-minute essentials, such as cold-weather attire. Rest assured, your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow will soon be provided upon boarding the ship. For lunch, indulge in quick and convenient meal options offered in Longyearbyen, including the most northerly pizzas and kebabs in the world.

In the afternoon, you’ll be escorted to the pier, where a warm welcome awaits aboard the deluxe expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Settle into your spacious suite and acquaint yourself with the ship, which will serve as your comfortable abode throughout this extraordinary journey. As we set sail, a comprehensive schedule of events commences with informative briefings and introductions from our experienced expedition staff. Following the first of many delectable dinners onboard, step out onto the open decks to marvel at the stunning scenery illuminated by 24-hour daylight as we traverse the wildlife-rich waters of Isfjorden.

DAY 3-5:
Arctic adventures begins
– The goal of this voyage is a circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago. We will make an attempt to go to the northeastern most part of the archipelago – the island of Kvitøya, famous for its polar bears. Along the way, we hope to experience the many facets of this incredible High Arctic territory.

Much of the pristine nature of Spitsbergen is protected by a system of national parks, and the first one on our way will be the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park, which is the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. This area is well-known for its deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain ranges and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into turquoise waters. The skies are filled with millions of murres, guillemots and little auks, whose eggs are just now hatching at countless breeding colonies located on small islands, mountainsides and sea cliffs within the park. This is also a great chance to encounter marine mammals, including Beluga Whales and various Arctic seals.

This wildly beautiful area contains many enchanting locations like Signehamna Bay and Kongsbreen Glacier (“Kings Glacier”). Human habitation – rare along our route – can be found at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town and airship base that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements where you can find a museum, gift shop and post office.

DAY 6:
The Polar Ice Edge is straight ahead!
– The Svalbard Archipelago is located halfway between the top of Norway and the North Pole, which means the Polar Ice Edge can be found to the north of the islands! This corner of Svalbard is full of stunning scenery and wildlife as well as rich history from the age of exploration. Our plan is to navigate along the ice edge towards the island of Nordaustlandet and further to the east towards Kvitøya (White Island).

However,  remember, our route and research opportunities are heavily dependent on the weather. But rest assured, we’ll take the best possible advantage of the circumstances presented to us by nature in this wild and remote corner of the world.

DAY 7-8:
Following the trails of great Arctic explorers
– On this part of the journey, we will make an attempt to go to the eastern and northern regions of the Svalbard Archipelago – infrequently visited aboard expedition ships – experiencing the isolation and beautiful remoteness of Svalbard’s Arctic wilderness areas. Kvitøya (White Island) is one of the most rarely visited and closest islands to Franz Josef Land. This place, almost completely covered by ice, became the final resting place of the balloon expedition of the Swedish polar explorer Salomon August Andrée. Kvitøya is not always accessible to expedition ships, but it may provide another opportunity to observe polar bears in their natural habitat.

DAY 9-10:
Great wonders of the Arctic world
– During this voyage, we expect to encounter significant sea ice concentrations in the enormous Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve, which covers the rugged northwestern parts of Spitsbergen and the entirety of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in Svalbard. In this remote and isolated region, ice can persist very late into the summer. The massive Austfonna ice cap rises above the stunning landscapes of the High Arctic. Part of it meets the sea along the 45-kilometer ice cliff known as Bråsvellbreen—one of the great wonders of the Arctic world. The polar desert environment supports little in the way of vegetation but hosts a prodigious number of seabirds. The cliffs of Alkefjellet are home to thousands of Pink-footed Geese, Glaucous Gulls, Little Auks, Black-Guillemots, Snow Buntings and (probably) Barnacle Geese. Historically, this icy wilderness has proven a good location for spotting Polar Bear and Walrus.

DAY 11:
The picture-perfect nature of Svalbard
– The Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve is a truly pristine and rarely visited wilderness containing hundreds of uninhabited islands. On the large islands of Edgeøya and Barentsøya, broad tundra valleys support the territory’s densest population of endemic Svalbard Reindeer. The valleys are also important breeding areas for ground-nesting birds such as Geese, Eiders and Sandpipers. Arctic Foxes prowl the vast landscape, seeking to provide food for their young cubs, who are just now emerging from their dens. Shallow, murky seas are ideal feeding grounds for Walruses resting in large numbers on gently sloping beaches. Historical sites throughout the islands provide glimpses into the region’s bygone era of trapping and hunting.

South Spitsbergen National Park is a vast region of varied landscapes, including polar deserts and impassible mountain ranges. The centerpiece of this park is Hornsund, a picture-perfect fjord where countless mighty glaciers cascade from soaring mountaintops into icy inlets. The park also includes the southern shores of Bellsund, a picturesque bay where the remains of historical whaling operations can be found, including wooden boats, cabins and thousands of whale bones — a scene from the distant past, literally frozen in time. Throughout the park, there is always a high probability of wildlife sightings. Wildflowers will be at their peak during this time.

Because of its extended length, this ambitious and in-depth Svalbard circumnavigation expedition cruise is a great chance to get a comprehensive view of the Arctic’s many faces. Every day offers something new and exciting. We will not miss a single opportunity to encounter amazing Arctic wildlife, witness incredible polar scenery and walk in the footsteps of historic expeditions.

DAY 12-13:
Back to the West Coast 
– Our circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago is coming to an end. We are back to the West Coast of the Spitsbergen archipelago, with its beautiful locations like Alkhornet Mountain (which is also known as bird heaven because its cliffs support over 10,000 breeding pairs of seabirds).

DAY 14:
Disembarkation in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
– Following a final hearty buffet breakfast onboard, it’s time to bid adieu to Longyearbyen. We arrange transfers to the airport and your flight to Oslo. As you depart, you might already find yourself contemplating your next incredible journey with us into the polar realms!

You might also like:

Uganda Gorilla & Wildlife Safari