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Secret Atlas Svalbard

Svalbard Pioneer

Svalbard Circumnavigation Cruise on the Freya with 12 Guests


14 Days

Ship category


Ship type

Small Ship


12 Passengers

Svalbard Pioneer

4 Reviews

Trip highlights

Small intimate group of 12 like minded explorer

See a polar bear!

Visit inaccessible coastlines by Zodiac

Personalized experience with 2 expert guides

The Polartours experience

Best price guaranteed

Experience the chill of a polar plunge

Hike the tundra and polar desert

Paradise for bird enthusiasts

Join us on a truly unique in-depth 12 to 14-day Svalbard circumnavigation cruise. As the sea around Svalbard opens up from the ice during the summer months it gives us the opportunity to take you on our most detailed exploration of the archipelago. The focus on this trip is on exploring the nature and searching for wildlife viewing opportunities. We will be making daily shore landings with our expedition leader and guide to experience the raw beauty and majestic nature of Svalbard. Our aim is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen and to explore the Austfonna Ice Cap depending on conditions.

As the sea around Svalbard opens up with the ice melting during the summer months, it gives us the opportunity to take you on our most detailed exploration of the archipelago. Over the next 12-14 days we will set off to explore Svalbard and make daily shore landings with our expedition leader and guide to experience the raw beauty and majestic nature of Svalbard. Our aim is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen and to explore the Austfonna Ice Cap, depending on conditions or spend extended time exploring the far north-east. This is an intimate small-group experience with a minimum of one guide for every 6 guests.

Your ship: Freya

Floor plan
seal people svalbard

Explore the Arctic in style aboard our small expedition ship, the Freya. With a recently upgraded interior and a solid ice-strengthened hull, this vessel is perfect for traversing Arctic waters while retaining first-class comforts. Originally used as a lighthouse-building vessel, Freya boasts spacious cabins and multiple viewing decks, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the wonders of the Arctic. The Freya will be exploring the shores of Svalbard and East Greenland (Scoresby Sund) during the Arctic seasons of 2024 and 2025, from April to October.

Freya is not just a vessel but an experi … Read more about Freya


Double Freya
Signature Twin



Max. occupancy:


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Single Freya
Signature Single



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Double Freya
Signature Penthouse (Double)


Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:


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Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

G Expedition Arctic Longyearbyen

Arrival at Longyearbyen

Cruising Isfjorden

Our Svalbard circumnavigation cruise departs from the port of Longyearbyen in the afternoon. The overall schedule is flexible to allow us to see as much as possible and will be led by our highly experienced leader. Taking advantage of the beautiful 24-hour sunlight we will sail out of the Isfjord and towards Prins Karls Foreland where we will do shore landings and visit a walrus colony on day 2. Our plan is to sail north and attempt a clockwise circumnavigation of Spitsbergen.

landscape svalbard





Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen


Fjortende Julibukta


Ny Alesund

As we head north we plan to call at the scientific community of Ny-Ålesund, the most northerly inhabited settlement on earth which is home to an interesting historical site and museum. We will explore the majestic Kongsfjord and the fjords that branch into it. We will sail close to an impressive calving glacier face and there will also be an opportunity for hikes ashore with our expedition leader. If the conditions allow we will then sail north and attempt to reach the edge of the sea ice which extends all the way to the North Pole, a really impressive sight.

seal people svalbard
Nordaustlandet, Svalbard
English: The bizarre basalt rocks at the western coast of Hinlopen strait host approximately 120,000 Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia) who come here in summer for breeding. Very often the rocks are covered in fog providing an eery atmosphere. The air is filled with a large flock of birds. The birds noise and the smell are overwhelming



Austfonna and Bråsvellbreen


North coast - Nordaustlandet

We will sail along the north coast of Spitsbergen keeping a lookout for wildlife including polar bears that inhabit the area. Depending on the sea ice conditions, we aim to continue along the north coast to reach the island of Nordaustlandet and cruise along the Austfonna Ice Cap, a truly breathtaking sight. If the sea ice doesn’t allow us access then the other option is to head south through the Hinlopen Strait. We aim to make shore landings on a daily basis to explore the majestic wilderness of this area.

Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer
QuarkExpeditions_ Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears

Kapp Lee







We will follow the compass south and explore the region along the south coast of Spitsbergen. We will visit rarely visited landing sites and have lots of chances to take in the breathtaking nature, wildlife, and scenery. As we round the southern tip of Spitsbergen, we will enter the area around Hornsund where we will have a day to explore and do some wilderness hikes. We will then set sail north along the coast towards Isfjorden.

Longyearbyen Quarl
Fox Longyear

By morning we will have arrived back at the port of Longyearbyen. Disembarking the ship will involve saying goodbye to the new friends you’ve made but knowing you will keep the memories of the transformative adventure you shared together.

Dates & Prices














EUR 14,983









EUR 14,983

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us


Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities

All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program

All shore landings per the daily program

Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping

All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)

Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock

Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled

A photographic journal documenting the expedition

A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions

A parka to keep

Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin

All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program

All luggage handling aboard the ship

mergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person

Transfers between Longyearbyen town center and port on embarkation and disembarkation day

What's not included

International airfare

Arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki

Passport and visa expenses

Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above

Meals ashore unless otherwise specified

Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended

Excess-baggage fees on international flights

Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned

Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified

Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)

Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew

Additional overnight accommodation

Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities


Freya review


Freya Arctic Cruises


Must go!!! What an experience on Svalbard Circumnavigation Cruise! We went on board Freya in August 2023 and it was absolutly amazing! We were very lucky to see a lot of wild life every single day... Walruses, bears (we could even see a family with mother and 2 kids), seals, lots of species of birds and whales... An absolute 10 star experience! We were very welcomed by a professional crew from the beginning. The food was tasty and there are plenty of treats along the day. The group was easy and got along pretty easilly. The guides were unstopable trying to please everyone and always on whacht for more wildlife. They knew all the trails and views in Svalbard and were very flexible adapting the schedual to the weather, moods and animal visits. They were unbelievably knowledgeable and enthusiastic complementing each other with facts from history, geology and wildlife. They always updated us after meals with the plan for the next couple of hours plan and tips for equipment. The small group experience (10-12 guests) makes it unique as we could observe the wild life for as much time as we wanted with no noise or interference from the big crowded ships and could explore places that other ships simply couldn't. The place it self is magical! No words to describe the misterious beauty of Svalbard. The glaciars are breath taking. Also the polar plunge was a fun adventure! Everything about the experience was spectacular, so if you are looking for a once in a lifetime adventure, is a must do!!

Freya Review 3


Freya Arctic Cruises


The adventure of a lifetime: Each day was a new discovery. I never felt so connected with nature and wildlife. Entering the realm of ice, cruising through sea ice and among glaciers was an experience I'll never forget. We dropped zodiacs to explore endless remote places and wildlife, we even had a close up encounter with a polar bear. I had so much fun doing the polar plunge in the arctic sea. Every member of the crew was fantastic and excellent in doing their job. The cuisine exceeded my expectations, every meal was a piece of art. Rethinking about all these unforgettable memories makes me want to book for another trip. I recommend to anyone who wants to create unforgettable memories in the polar regions on a very cozy boat with only 12 guests that will make you feel like home for the entire journey.

Freya Review 4

Brett D.

Freya Arctic Cruises


I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat: I woke every morning and looked out of my cabin window and thought to myself, I can't believe I'm here! Everything about the experience was spectacular, from breathing in the air, to listening to the glaciers. When I stepped on board we were welcomed so warmly by the crew - in fact, we were completely spoilt and nothing was ever too much hassle. We were well looked after and the food was fantastic! Our guides were unbelievably knowledgeable and enthusiastic! They took us to so many exciting places and if necessary would divide the group to suit everyone's needs. They truly enhanced the overall experience for me. It's been a week since I came home and I am still buzzing from the experience. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.


When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:

Flying to Antarctica:

  • Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.

  • Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.

Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:

  • Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.

  • Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.

In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.

All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:

  • Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
  • Bird Watching
  • Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
  • Dinghy rides
  • Kayaking
  • Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
  • Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.

All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.

Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:

  • Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
  • Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
  • Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
  • Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
  • Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
  • Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.

In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.

We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!

Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.

Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.

Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.

Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.

Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.

*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.

An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.

Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.

Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.

If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.

Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.

Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
Svalbard Pioneer





EUR 14,983

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