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Secret Atlas Svalbard

Svalbard Explorer aboard the Polar Pioneer

A small Arctic expedition cruise around beautiful Svalbard

Length

10 Days

Ship category

Classic

Ship type

Small Ship

Capacity

54 Passengers

Svalbard Explorer

Trip highlights

As much wildlife as the eye can see

Beautiful short hikes ashore

Zodiac rides around the magical landscapes

A closer look at the North West side of Svalbard

The Polartours experience

Only 48 passengers- one of the smallest expedition ships

1 guide for every 10 guests aboard

Expert guides to answer all questions

We plant trees in Greenland to compensate for your trip!

Explore Svalbard on an intimate and small ship expedition cruise with just 48 guests in total. This cruise takes place on the newly refurbished Polar Pioneer, one of the smallest and most rugged expedition cruise ships visiting the Arctic, perfect for venturing into the ice edge. On this expedition we will sail to the northern wilderness and explore the beautiful landscapes, wildlife and glaciers of north west Spitsbergen, home to a copious amount of polar wildlife. Every day is an adventure and we will use the Zodiacs to visit various sites of interest and to take short hikes ashore in nature. This is an intimate small group experience with the minimum of one guide for every 10 guests.

Your ship: Polar Pioneer

Polar Pioneer
Polar Pioneer
Polar Pioneer Deck plan

The well-known MV Polar Pioneer is a durable, capable veteran expedition ship (19 seasons strong) loved by guests and expedition leaders for its capability to explore remote polar regions with ease despite its small size.

Its new Scandinavian owners have done an extensive refit upgrading it to today’s standards and is ready for the 2022 Arctic season.

The Polar Pioneer benefits from holsting maximum 48 guests on an authentic expedition adventure free from the crowds of larger vessels. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs at once ensuring there is no waiting to go ashore and everyone can explor … Read more about Polar Pioneer

Cabins

polar pioneer mini suite
Mini Suite

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Polar Pioneer triple cabin
Triple Cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

polar pioneer Twin cabin (private)
Twin Cabin (private facilities)

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Polar Pioneer Captain's suite
Captain's Suite

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Polar pioneer twn cabin (shared facilities)
Twin Cabin (shared facilities)

Type:

Twins

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.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Arrival at Longyearbyen

Cruising Isfjorden

You will step onboard Polar Pioneer in the port of Longyearbyen in the afternoon. After an introduction from our expedition leader and a safety briefing from the Captain, we set sail through the majestic Adventfjord. As Longyearbyen disappears and we turn north, we wave goodbye to civilisation for the next 10 days. As we sail out through the Isfjord we will spend time on deck watching for the whales that frequent the waters.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Exploring the pack ice

Every expedition is different and we base our choices around the weather conditions and potential wildlife sightings. Our plan is to head north at the start of the expedition. We plan to make our first shore landing in the area around Prins Karls Foreland which is home to Walrus colonies. If the conditions allow we will attempt to reach the edge of the sea ice which is a magical experience (although this can never be guaranteed).

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Every expedition is different and we base our choices around the weather conditions and potential wildlife sightings. Our plan is to head north at the start of the expedition. We plan to make our first shore landing in the area around Prins Karls Foreland which is home to Walrus colonies. If the conditions allow we will attempt to reach the edge of the sea ice which is a magical experience (although this can never be guaranteed).

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Raudfjorden

Magdalenefjorden

Smeerenburgfjorden

Woodfjorden

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Krossfjorden

Fjortende Julibukta

Ny London

Ny Alesund

Fuglesongen

As we venture to the north west region of Spitsbergen we will encounter numerous glaciers and stunning Artic landscapes. Under the guidance of the expedition leader we will use the Zodiacs to go ashore and explore various places on a daily basis including glacier fronts, places of historical interest and wildlife sites. When ashore there will be the opportunity to do wilderness hikes which is the perfect way to experience the raw nature of the Arctic.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Krossfjorden

As we sail back south we explore the area in and Kongsfjorden. Expect majestic glaciers, some of Svalbard’s most beautiful fjords and scenery from the decks. Here we encounter one of Svalbard’s most breathtaking sites, the Lilliehook glacier, one of Svalbard’s largest calving glacier fronts. We will spend time here witnessing nature’s beauty in its rawest form with the option of doing a wilderness hike to a neighbouring fjord. The following day we will do a short sailing to the scientific community of Ny-Alesund, the most northerly settlement on earth. Here there are some interesting historical sites and a great museum.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Disembark in Longyearbyen

In the morning we arrive back at the port of Longyearbyen. After breakfast we say our goodbyes after making new friends and sharing a wonderful adventure together.

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

Expert Svalbard Expedition Leader

Lectures on Svalbard

Use of Zodiac (Dinghies) for shore landings and photography opportunities

Polar Bear protection guides for shore landings

Full Board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Bedding and towels

Highly experienced Captain and Cook

Rubber boots for shore landings

Transfers from airport to hotel and to vessel for embarkation + vessel to airport/hotel after disembarkation

What's not included

Flights

Travel and cancellation insurance

Any additional expenses such as museum entryAlcohol and spirits

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
Classic
New

Price

Upon Request


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