Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Arctic Cruises

A special destination with thriving wildlife and a chance to gaze on the natural wonder that is the Aurora Borealis.

Information about Arctic

The great Arctic encompasses the northernmost destinations on earth. From the unparalleled glaciers of Greenland to the incredible structure of Svalbard and the jaw-dropping volcanic beauty of Iceland, the Arctic offers unique encounters with the natural world at its most rugged and wild.

Embark on an expedition cruise into the heart of the Arctic, where wildlife thrives in abundant waters and immeasurable tundra. Take Zodiac cruise rides through pack ice, as you spot curious seals and breaching whales. Experience the vastness of the impressive bird cliffs in Iceland. And if you're lucky, observe the elusive polar bear and walrus on sea ice near Svalbard.

Immerse yourself in this awe-inspiring world rich in history, fascinating traditional culture and wildlife that will leave you with unforgettable memories. We offer a wide range of Arctic itineraries that suit all tastes.

Pictures of Arctic

Albatros Expedition high arctic- iceland to svalbard
Albatros Expedition high arctic- iceland to svalbard
Albatros Expedition high arctic- iceland to svalbard

Destinations you will visit in Arctic

Highlights in Arctic

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
Exploring the pack ice

The highlight of many Svalbard cruises is to explore the pack ice, and the best conditions occur when there is an obvious edge to pack ice to sail past, or calm seas where some ships go into the loose pack ice.

It is a unique and unforgettable experience to explore the pack ice ‘at the top of the World’. Seabirds feed along the edge, that can also be good for Harp Seals, and whales. The highlight is to spot a bear. Sometimes they are at a distance, sometimes a few hundred metres away, sometimes they come right up to the ship. What is crucial is to bring binoculars to enjoy and observe the Polar Bear in the heart of their realm, the pack ice, whatever the distance.

Sometimes a bear is seen quickly, sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes it takes most of the day. Other times two days can be spent exploring the pack without seeing a bear. It is important to patient, enjoy the whole experience, with a bear sighting being the icing on … the pack ice! Conditions can change quickly. Mists often come in to reduce visibility. Currents can spread out the ice into widely scattered pack, making bear sightings less likely. Strong winds and a swell can mean keeping further away from the pack ice edge.   In the early season the whole northern coast is in the grip of the pack, plus fast ice in the deeper parts of the fjords on the western side. Ships explore the ice edge to the NW of Spitsbergen at this time, with more options as the ice retreats north. As the pack ice retreats north it gradually ‘unzips’ from west to east, clearing the coast of northern Spitsbergen first, then the northern end of Hinlopenstretet, (enabling circumnavigations of Spitsbergen, exactly when varying from season to season), then the northern coast of Nordaustlandet and Sjuøyane.

Some years the ice edge can end up a long way to the north, enabling a circumnavigation of the whole archipelago, even to reach remote Kvitøya. Other years, pack ice remains along the northern coast of Nordaustlandet, caught up among the offshore islands. This prevents a circumnavigation of the archipelago, but the areas of drifting pack ice around and places like Lagøya and Sjuøyane can be superb for ship cruising and even Zodiac cruise amongst the pack.

Animals in Arctic

Our trips to Arctic

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