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Walrus Quark

Svalbard Explorer, Best of High Arctic Norway

Join this trip and discover the highlights of Spitsbergen aboard the Ocean Explorer

Length

10 Days

Ship category

Premium

Ship type

Mid-Sized Ship

Capacity

138 Passengers

Svalbard Explorer

12 Reviews

Trip highlights

Witness iconic Arctic wildlife

Explore Spitsbergen like few travelers do

See a polar bear!

Photograph magnificient Arctic seabirds

The Polartours experience

Take advantage of continuous daylight

Experience the chill of a polar plunge

Hike the tundra and polar desert

Learn from Polar experts

This fascinating expedition provides a taste of everything Spitsbergen has to offer, starting with its largest settlement, Longyearbyen. The largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is known as the “wildlife capital of the Arctic,” and on this stirring voyage, we show you why. A key focus of this 10-day expedition will be to seek out the abundant wildlife that resides here, including walrus, reindeer, and that most iconic of Arctic denizens, the polar bear, in their natural habitat, while marvelling at the surreal experience of continuous daylight. Explore the unique Arctic landscape, hike the vast and colorful tundra, learn about the history and geology of this remote wilderness, and join us on a gripping excursion to a faraway, unforgettable land.

This exciting introductory journey to the remote Norwegian island, renowned for its stunning scenery and abundant, varied wildlife, is now available on two ships, each providing a distinct polar experience. Ocean Explorer, our new, game-changing polar vessel, can take you to remote destinations most other ships can’t reach. Aboard Ocean Explorer, explore Spitsbergen in brand new ways—taking advantage of the 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size—to create the Arctic experience perfect for you.

Your ship: Ocean Explorer

Ocean Explorer Deckplan
Sauna
Jacuzzi

Our Polartours team is very proud to introduce the wonderful Ocean Explorer, the latest addition to the fleet, purpose-built for polar expeditions.

With a capacity for 138 passengers, this modern vessel boasts cutting-edge expedition ship technology, including the renowned ULSTEIN X-BOW®, ensures a smooth and comfortable sailing experience.

We have been enchanted by the light-filled two-story library located at the bow, offering a welcoming ambiance for guests to unwind. The Scandinavian-designed cabins, most with verandas, providing luxurious accommodations, exceeded our expectations.

We, … Read more about Ocean Explorer

Cabins

Studio double
Studio Double

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Studio single oe
Studio Single

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

1

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Deluxe veranda forward oe
Deluxe Veranda Forward Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Deluxe veranda oe
Deluxe Veranda Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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Deluxe veranda middle
Deluxe Veranda Middle Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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Studio Veranda Stateroom Ocean Explorer
Studio Veranda Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:

2

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Explorer suite oe
Explorer Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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Owners Suite Ocean Explorer
Owners Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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studio veranda singleOE
Studio Veranda Single

Type:

Single

Max. occupancy:

1

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Junior Suite Ocean Explorer
Junior Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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Grand Veranda Stateroom Ocean Explorer
Grand Veranda Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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Royal Veranda Stateroom
Royal Veranda Stateroom

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

2

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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.

Sea-Kayaking-What-To-Wear-In-Antarctica

0 Days

5.0

(1)

Sea Kayaking

Embark on an exhilarating sea kayaking adventure in some of the world's most magnificent and biodiverse wilderness areas, including Antarctica and the Arctic. Take in the breathtaking scenery as you navigate through ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. In Antarctica, spend unforgettable moments with penguins, seals and whales, and keep an eye out for the occasional encounter with leopard seals or killer whales. In the Arctic, paddle through bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around huge icebergs. Led by experienced guides, you will join a small group of like-minded adventurers to explore the picturesque coastlines of these wild and remote destinations. Paddling offers an intimate and unique way to experience the beauty of these regions and make the most of your time there. Important: This activity is subject to weather conditions and logistics.

Price on request

Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki

Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.

Longyearbyen Quarl
Longyearbyen Embarkation
Ultramarine ship

This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from frigid waters.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Skansbukta

Cruising Isfjorden

Nordfjorden

Brucebyen

Barentsburg

Festningen and Russekeila

Poolepynten

Alkhornet and Trygghamna

Pyramiden

During your voyage you’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife.

Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.

The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Since most of Svalbard’s Arctic ecosystem is uninhabited and well-protected, this remote archipelago is one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears against stunning natural backdrops of mountains and ice.

The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. Get a chance to witness the intimate gatherings of giant pinnipeds as they haul out together on small coastal strips.

If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can book the sea kayaking or paddling excursion adventure options.

In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is an ever-changing gallery of spectacular icebergs, a polar bear resting between hunts, or an abandoned historical site from centuries ago.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Southern Spitsbergen

Gåshamna

Gnålodden

Vårsolbukta

Whale Watching

Akseløya

Hornsund

Ahlstrandodden and Bamsebu

Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard Peninsula, and the only one to have a permanent population.

The southwestern part of Spitsbergen benefits from facing the warmer waters that the Gulf Stream carries into this part of the Greenland Sea. This means that the shores and waters here remain ice-free for much of the year except the coldest winter months. The one area that tends to retain 'fast ice' the longest (sea ice attached to the land) happens to be the most southerly fjord, Hornsund.

As well as a warmer arctic climate than many other places on the same latitude, Spitsbergen benefits from long months of the arctic "midnight sun", when the sun doesn't set at all between the 20th of April and the 22nd of August.

The combination of long daylight hours and a warmer climate means that Spitsbergen is a haven for birdlife with the chance to sail into the heart of this part of the island surrounded by glaciers, offering stunning and rugged vistas, with some amazing geology. There is tendency to try for landings in Bellsund, and combine landings and ship cruising and Zodiac cruises in Hornsund, with some impressive glacial fronts.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Disembark in Longyearbyen

The time to say goodbye to your Expedition Team and shipmates has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the historic frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Helsinki, included in the transfer package.

Dates & Prices

When do you want to travel?

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

7

May

2025

16

May

2025

Available

From

USD 6,850

7

May

2025

16

May

2025

Available

From

USD 6,850

15

May

2025

24

May

2025

Available

From

USD 8,416

15

May

2025

24

May

2025

Available

From

USD 8,416

23

May

2025

1

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 8,754

23

May

2025

1

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 8,754

31

May

2025

9

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 9,766

31

May

2025

9

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 9,766

8

Jun

2025

17

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 11,266

8

Jun

2025

17

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 11,266

16

Jun

2025

25

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 9,361

16

Jun

2025

25

Jun

2025

Available

From

USD 9,361

24

Jun

2025

3

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 9,766

24

Jun

2025

3

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 9,766

2

Jul

2025

11

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

2

Jul

2025

11

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

10

Jul

2025

19

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

10

Jul

2025

19

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

18

Jul

2025

27

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

18

Jul

2025

27

Jul

2025

Available

From

USD 8,889

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

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

Emergency 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

Reviews

Marilyn G.

Ocean Explorer Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Premium

The trip to Svalbard lives up to all my expectations. Animals, accommodations, activities and meals all lived up to my expectations.

Rose C.

Ocean Explorer Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Premium

Fabulous: guides, food and staff excellent

Mengqi Z.

Ocean Explorer Arctic and Antarctic Cruises

Premium

Excellent experience

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
Svalbard Explorer

4.9

(12)

Premium

From

USD 6,850



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