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Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Norway

Extensive Arctic Ocean - North Spitsbergen Explorer

Sail even longer in the remote fjords of Northern Europe aboard the Hondius

Length

19 Days

Ship category

Premium

Ship type

Large Ship

Capacity

170 Passengers

Extensive Arctic - North Spitsbergen Explorer

9 Reviews

Trip highlights

Witness iconic Arctic wildlife during summer Solstice

Observe breathtaking icebergs and glaciers

Explore Spitsbergen like few travelers do

Spot seals and whales in their natural habitats

The Polartours experience

Best price guaranteed

Observe a polar bear!

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Venture to one of the most remote locations of northern Europe

Sailing between the Scottish port of Aberdeen and our most cherished Arctic archipelago, Svalbard, this expedition adventure visits the islands of Fair Isle and Jan Mayen, and the amazing Spitsbergen ice edge, giving you the chance to search for whales, and other animals of the land, sea, and air.

We will have at least one dedicated expedition guide in our team who will share their expert knowledge about bird species and who will be available to help you identify, photograph on deck and learn more about the birds that we see. In addition to outdoor sessions, our guide will focus on species and related information on the birds of the Arctic in re-caps and lectures onboard.

Your ship: Hondius

Hondius deck plan

We are proud to welcome you aboard Hondius, the world's first Polar Class 6 vessel. Purpose-built for demanding Antarctic exploration, Hondius meets the latest and highest Lloyd’s Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships.

Built to exceed the Polar Code requirements adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Hondius is the most flexible, advanced, innovative Antarctic cruise vessel currently operating. Her modern design allows you to enjoy genuine exploration that will bring you closer to the real Antarctic than ever before.

Huge expense and technical skill ha … Read more about Hondius

Cabins

Twin Porthole Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Junior Suite

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

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Triple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

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Twin Deluxe Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Quadruple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Quadrupel

Max. occupancy:

4

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Twin Window Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Grand Suite with Private Balcony

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

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Superior Cabin

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

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

Vlissingen
Vlissingen
Vlissingen

You board the vessel at midday in Vlissingen, headed north. Far north.

Whales & Dolphins
Hondius
Ocean Atlantic Greenland National Park

Crossing the North Sea and sailing by Doggersbank, we hope to be lucky enough to spot such species as white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises, minke whales, and orcas.

Ocean Atlantic Scottish Isles
Ocean Atlantic
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

Passengers who boarded in Vlissingen will be offered an excursion by bus to Fowlsheugh, a seabird cliff south of Aberdeen. Over 100,000 pairs of seabird of different species can be seen here. Alternatively, you can join an excursion to the Ythan Estuary, where the beaches are teeming with harbor seals, grey seals, and birds that keep to the shorelines. Both outings are included in the price of booking.

Ocean Atlantic Scottish Isles
Ocean Atlantic
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

We plan to stay the day on Fair Isle, an island in the Shetlands whose seventy-odd inhabitants are known for their beautiful knitwear. This is a fantastic location with accessible seabird breeding grounds, and you may even spot grey seals.

 Beerenberg volcan on Jan Mayen Island
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands
Noorderlicht _ North Norway, Aurora Borealis & Whales

Jan Mayen Island

You sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, 300 nautical miles northeast of Iceland. Your two days at sea do not pass idly, however. Keep a close lookout for any spouts of water from the surrounding seas, heralding the arrival of a minke, fin, orca, or blue whale.

A beautiful late summer day on Svalbard (Spitsbergen) with the most spectacular nature scenery
A beautiful late summer day on Svalbard (Spitsbergen) with the most spectacular nature scenery
A beautiful late summer day on Svalbard (Spitsbergen) with the most spectacular nature scenery

Jan Mayen Island

Jan Mayen is a stark volcanic island crowned by the snow-capped summit of Mt. Beerenberg. From the slopes of this imposing 2,300-meter-high (7,545 feet) volcano, broken glaciers grasp out into the frigid sea. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, you can now visit the weather station. You can also walk to the remains of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station amid the thick moss beds of this stark volcanic landscape.

Oceanwide Wandering Albatross
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Norway
Ocean Albatros

Jan Mayen Island

Basking in the midnight sun, you sail north along the edge of the sea ice in search of bowhead whales, harp seals, polar bears, and a variety of seabirds. You then change direction after about 79° north, cutting west to the rocky edges of the continental shelf of west Spitsbergen. Here you have a good chance of seeing fin whales and – near the glacial mouths of the gaping Spitsbergen fjords – surfacing minke whales.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Southern Spitsbergen

Gåshamna

Gnålodden

Vårsolbukta

Bjørnøya (Bear Island)

Akseløya

Whale Watching

Isbjørnhamna

Hornsund

Ahlstrandodden and Bamsebu

Forlandsundet, between the main island of Spitsbergen and the narrow Prins Karls Forland, is a place of great beauty and fascinating wildlife. Walruses sometimes haul out here. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or head south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Southern Spitsbergen

Gåshamna

Gnålodden

Vårsolbukta

Bjørnøya (Bear Island)

Akseløya

Whale Watching

Isbjørnhamna

Hornsund

Ahlstrandodden and Bamsebu

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Raudfjorden

Magdalenefjorden

Smeerenburgfjorden

Woodfjorden

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Krossfjorden

Fjortende Julibukta

Ny London

Ny Alesund

Fuglesongen

This voyage will take you into the pack ice and along the remote shorelines of rugged north Spitsbergen. Places we might visit include the following:

Raudfjord

On the north coast of Spitsbergen, you can enjoy this expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears. We will try to land at Alicehamna or Buchananhalvøya.

Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather and sea ice, we could sail into Liefdefjorden, land at Texas Bar and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this precipitous glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent us from sailing here early in the season, we may sail along the west coast of Spitsbergen.

Highlights of Hinlopen

We aim to sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjord in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, we may attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here we may see reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses. We can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

The Seven Islands

The northernmost point of the voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet at Chermsideøya or Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands. Here we may reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

Sailing the continental shelf

While retracing our route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, we sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Forlandsundet, St. Johns Fjord, or Alkhornet

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet at Sarstangen or Poolepynten. Alternatively, we might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Raudfjorden

Magdalenefjorden

Smeerenburgfjorden

Woodfjorden

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Krossfjorden

Fjortende Julibukta

Ny London

Ny Alesund

Fuglesongen

On the way to Hopen, we may encounter sea ice with rutting harp seals. We land at the southern end of Hopen Island, at Koefoetodden, where you can see the remains of 17th-century whaling sites. Through nearby Bekkeskaret is an easy route to Kvasstoppen (190 meters, 620 feet) and the remains of a plane from World War II. Hopen Radio station is the most remote manned weather station in all of Svalbard.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Ny London

Ny Alesund

Sailing along the western side of the Tusenöyane (where we’re not allowed to land in summer), you may see polar bears and walruses as we approach Risetreppen. This beautiful canyon features an accessible kittiwake colony. During our walk, we may encounter reindeer on the lush tundra.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Ny London

Ny Alesund

At Ardalstangen, we go on shore in an area with lakes and different species of waterfowl. Nearby in Habenichtbukta, we can look from some distance to a wintering site of 18th-century Pomor trappers, who often stayed for years in the same place. Later in the afternoon, we land at the south side of Russebukta, near a tundra with reindeer and great walking opportunities.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land at Aardalstangen and see Habenichtbukta (and the remains of a Pomor site), then walk into Aardalen. From there we walk north along the mountain to Russebukta (about 17 km / 10.6 miles). This area is teeming with reindeer and wildfowl, and you will have a far-ranging view over the tundra. We might also do this program in reverse.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

We continue our voyage in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife.

One possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you might even see one here. Alternately, we may land at Millarodden at north side of Bell Sund. Here we can see a walrus haul-out site and possibly make an excursion on the tundra of Ingeborgfjellet, with its thousands of little auks.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land at Recherchelagune and walk along the eastern shore of Recherchefjord, by Laegerneset (17th century whaling station). Our goal is to reach Ahlstrandhalvøya, and from there to Ingebrigtsenbukta. If need be, our Zodiacs can help us at the mouth of the river. We might also do this hike in reverse or land at Ingeborgfjellet, then walk along the coast to the west side of van Muydenbukta, along a shore with many whale skeletons.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Our adventure comes to an end exactly where it started. Today you disembark in Longyearbyen, taking away memories that will accompany you wherever your next journey lies.

Dates & Prices

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

29

May

2025

16

Jun

2025

Full

From

USD 5,934

USD 7,417

29

May

2025

16

Jun

2025

Full

From

USD 5,934

USD 7,417

31

May

2025

16

Jun

2025

Full

From

USD 5,707

USD 7,134

31

May

2025

16

Jun

2025

Full

From

USD 5,707

USD 7,134

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

Info

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

Voyage aboard the indicated 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 programme.

AECO fees and governmental taxes.

Comprehensive pre-departure material.

What's not included

Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights

Pre- and post- land arrangements.

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.

The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Reviews

[email protected]

Hondius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Premium

The trip of a lifetime. The ship and it's crew were wonderful and we all became one big happy family on a joyous adventure. This trip was worth the wait and all the extra testing and paperwork due to Covid-19 restrictions. The ship was the perfect size and well appointed. Excursions and lectures were well orchestrated and fun. The meals were well prepared and there was always plenty of choices for even the pickiest of diners. Getting to know the other intrepid travelers on this journey really helped to make this a truly unforgettable experience. The only question now is .. where to next? (Copied from Oceanwide Expeditions)

Pedro José Cermeño Parra

Hondius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Premium

Great trip, the best landscape I have ever seen and kayaking was really amazing! (Copied from Oceanwide Expeditions)

Gabor D

Hondius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Premium

Hondius is running its first season which could have been a double-edged sword having huge potential without the experience to fulfill the promise... Well, the ship and crew went beyond our expectations on several fronts. The ship is incredibly silent, no engine noise even in economy cabins, very stable running smoothly in choppy sea conditions. The plan was to circumnavigate the archipelago, but ice conditions blocked 10 % of the perimeter of Svalbard. Instead of saying that we cannot follow the original itinerary and shortening our journey, Hondius took us to the limits of the ice block from the north and also from the south basically doubling the length of the originally planned route. Members of the expedition team pushed themselves very hard to make the journey unforgettable and safe. We encountered polar bears, males, females with cubs, on the ice , on shore and swimming close to the ship. Zodiac cruises and hikes provided sightings of arctic foxes, incredible birdlife, and a colony of walruses among others. The crew on the ship is very efficient in finding and preserving wildlife, the ship is perfect for navigating through the ice to maximize chances for good photography and videos, such a silent ice breaker helped us to enjoy blue and fin whales. Being an expedition ship, the food compared favourably to big cruise ships according to my experience. With one or two exceptions, lectures were enjoyable and informative, most of us felt that we really learned something. Rafael, the expedition leader is probably the most knowledgeable person on arctic matters I had the privilege to meet thus far, and his charisma was helped effectively by other guides to keep the behaviour of multinational passengers in accord with the wildlife around us. One needs to be patient when waiting for the zodiacs fully dressed (140 people takes time to board), but overall we had a highly enjoyable and memorable trip. (Copied from Liveaboard)

FAQ

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
Extensive Arctic - North Spitsbergen Explorer

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