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Bear Svalbard

Svalbard Pioneer

Svalbard Circumnavigation Cruise on the Vikingfjord with 12 Guests


14 Days

Ship category


Ship type

Small Ship


12 Guests Passengers

Svalbard Pioneer

6 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: Vikingfjord

Vikingfjord Exterior

We are proud to introduce the Vikingfjord, an exceptional ice-strengthened expedition ship designed for an intimate experience with only 12 guests. This state-of-the-art vessel seamlessly combines the comfort of a cruise ship with the cozy intimacy of a small yacht. Featuring 8 spacious ensuite cabins with modern decor, an open-plan lounge with rear-facing windows, a unique L-shaped observation lounge located in the bridge, an on-deck hot tub and sauna, and a sleek, light-filled Scandinavian design, Vikingfjord ensures a luxurious and memorable journey. The ship will navigate the breat … Read more about Vikingfjord


Vikingfjord Double Penthouse
Signature Penthouse (Double)


Double/Matrimionial (convertible)

Max. occupancy:


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Vikingfjord Single Room
Signature Single



Max. occupancy:


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Vikingfjord double bathroom
Signature Twin/Double



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














GBP 14,409









GBP 14,409









GBP 14,409









GBP 14,409

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


Photo Tour Atlas Review

Luca F.

Vikingfjord Arctic Cruises


WHEN REALITY SURPASSES DREAMS: I’ve joined a photo expedition in May 2023. What an amazing experience it has been! Probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made for my holidays. Everything worked marvelously, the weather, the expedition team (John and Mette are awesome), the cabin, the captain, the chef, the staff onboard, all very nice people offering high levels of customer service, extremely empathic. The tour exceeded the expectations by a long shot, we have seen bears 4 times, and witnessed a new hunting behaviour when the bear was chasing a reindeer and the legendary Florian was busy filming the scene. Not to mention the curious walruses swimming around us while at anchor… Wildlife at its best. Not a single day was like the previous one, I’ll remember every single one forever. Congratulations to all, highly recommended.

Secret Atlas Reviews

Steve L.

Vikingfjord Arctic Cruises


Out of this world experience: This was such an amazing trip. Everything was perfect. The guides, the crew, the boat, the food and best of all the extraordinary scenery. The light was so beautiful and we saw spectacular wildlife including 4 polar bears, walruses, arctic foxes. It was a holiday of a life time and I will always have such wonderful memories of Svalbard and its wildlife. Thank you.

Secret Atlas Review

Lucy S.

Vikingfjord Arctic Cruises


Life Will Never Be The Same: This trip has truly been one of the highlights of my life. A photographic micro expedition with only 10 people was exactly what I was looking for. I hated the thought of being on one of those huge cruise ships with hundreds of people in an ecologically sensitive area such as Svalbard. It’s obvious that Andy and Michele (the co-founders of “Secret Atlas”) have travelled extensively and are passionate about nature and the environment. They offer an alternative to the mundane and characterless glossy travel brochure trips that permeate the travel industry. We were extremely fortunate to have Florian Ledoux on board with us. As a renowned wildlife photographer he generously shared his time, knowledge, humour, photos, and background stories on the Polar Bears (that we actually got to see when out on the zodiacs.) He spent months in the Svalbard Arctic wilderness using his expert drone photography skills to film "Polar Bear" for Disney and we got to see the movie on board. I cannot commend the crew of the “Villa” highly enough. They bent over backwards to make our journey an unforgettable experience. Thank you to Captain Stig, Lina, Sophie, Marlene, Satu, Nick, and Thor. Special mention goes to Francoise for his exceptional culinary skills. Never in my life have I eaten so well ! No part of the ship was off limits so we got to spend time on the bridge with The Captain and crew and were even allowed to scale the Derrick! Our two guides Christian and Celena made our zodiac excursions adventurous, exciting and exhilarating as we never knew what was in store, but we did know we were in safe hands.Our excursions were made all the more interesting by Christian’s riveting story-telling based on his vast knowledge of historical facts, the environment and wildlife. My life has become all the more rich for having seen Polar Bears, Minke Whales, Walruses, Seals, Arctic Foxes, Reindeers and the incredible cliff face rookeries of Kittiwakes and Guillemots in their natural environment, all set against a backdrop of stunning Glaciers, Glacier calving and Icebergs. Everyone should do this trip as it is quite simply, amazing.


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





GBP 14,409

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