In the Realm of the Polar Bear

This voyage takes you on a circumnavigation of the largest island in Svalbard. Our goal is to go above the 80th parallel, showing you the great eastern nature reserves and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. The expedition team will enhance the trip during our landings, ensuring an authentic experience of Spitsbergen. 

  • 9 days
  • 23, 30 July, 6, 13 August 2014
    22, 29 July, 5, 12, 19 August 2015
From £3,220

Voyage Highlights

  • See polar bears in their natural habitat.
  • Experience the Midnight Sun. 
  • Visit the 'Piccadilly Circus' of seabirds at Alkefjell. 
  • Learn about the cultural heritage of the many eras of human exploration.
  • Cross the 80th parallel (weather permitting) and spot walrus, whales and polar bears. 
  • Sail the Hinlopen Strait and visit the isolated east coast. 
  • We will attempt to land at the four biggest islands of Svalbard - Spitsbergen, Barentsøya, Egdeøya and Nordaustlandet. 

Day 1-2 Longyearbyen and beginning of the voyage

Stay overnight at one of our hotels, evening at own leisure.

After breakfast on departure day you’ll have some time to explore Longyearbyen and surrounding on your own. Afterwards enjoy lunch at your hotel before being transferred to the pier of MS Fram in the afternoon.

The voyage starts in the Norwegian settlement often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. Here you’ll find all the amenities of a modern small town – situated in a fantastic Arctic landscape. The history of Longyearbyen is very much of coal mining and heritage from the first mining can be seen everywhere.

In the afternoon MS Fram set sail. The first evening we will learn about the ship and get the latest prognosis from the Master and the Expedition Leader on the weather and ice situation.

The voyage you are setting out on is one of a kind with a multitude of landing sites and exciting experiences, you will this evening be presented with what we have in mind. Variations in itinerary and landing sites between each voyage are normal - in the High Arctic you go with what conditions at hand dictate. It’s called Arctic Pragmatism - a survival strategy amongst the wildlife up here - you take what you can get!

We will give you proper introduction briefings on Svalbard and how to explore the land with utmost respect for the vulnerable and exotic wildlife and nature.

While in Svalbard, we will attempt to land several places, some of them described below as examples. On land, our Expedition Team will explain what you see and help you avoid disturbing nature and wildlife. When conditions allow, kayaking, hikes or other activities on land and sea may be offered. Participation on any hike requires a good level of fitness, and that you are accustomed to hiking in uneven terrain.

Safety is always the first priority and the final sailing schedule will be decided by the ship’s captain during the voyage. Below we list some of our possible landing sites, the final itinerary will be introduced during daily briefings.

Day 3-4 North West Spitsbergen National Park

North West Spitsbergen National Park

In local slang called The North West Corner, this area, scattered as it is with islands, fjords and beaches has a long history of exploration. When Willhelm Barentz first found Svalbard in 1596, this was the land he first saw. The name he gave to this new land was Spitzbergen, reflecting the sharp and steep mountains in the area.

Below you can read about some of the possible sites we may visit.


Kongsfjorden or Kings Bay is the largest fjord on the North West coast of Spitsbergen. A large side fjord called Krossfjorden may be visited as well this day. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers bouncing into the ocean. Look out for the mountain called Mitra – named after the catholic bishops’ hat – you will see it on the northern shores of the entrance of Kongsfjorden. In the end of the fjord you see the majestic Kongsbreen (Kings Glacier) with the three characteristic nunataks: Nora, Dana and Svea – named after the three Scandinavian countries.

Ny Ålesund

At 78º 55' N, Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s northermost year-round communities. Previously a Coal mining community, now an advanced High Arctic research station.

In the heroic age of exploration Ny Ålesund was the starting point for numerous expeditions towards the North Pole. Names like Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are strongly linked to this place and you can still, today, see the airship mast that the dirigible” Norge” was moored to before her departure on the first trans-polar flight. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and research activity is high in the summer.


Magdalenefjorden is one of the fjords that we aim at visiting. Here you’ll experience a very important cultural heritage; a whaling station from the 16th century, including a graveyard of whalers that died during the first “oil adventure”.

Monaco Glacier

Deep inside the giant Woodfjord system, in the branch called Liefdefjorden the enormous and fast moving Monaco Glacier is situated. In front of this dramatically crevassed glacier front there is always a lot of brash ice and larger pieces that have “calved off”. Mixing of fresh and saline water creates an upwelling of sea-living creatures towards the surface making them available for the local sea birds.

Day 5-7 Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

The two large nature reserves in East Svalbard were established to protect some of the most pristine High Arctic environment on Earth. The Nature Reserves in East Svalbard serve as reference for scientists as this is virtually untouched by man. The Hinlopen Strait separating the main island of Spitsbergen from Nordaustlandet is teeming with birdlife and scattered on the islands here there are Polar bears. In Eastern Svalbard the density of Polar bears is higher than other areas of Svalbard – it’s up to you to spot one!

Below you can read about some of the possible sites we may visit.


Where a famous battle between whalers took place in the late 17th century and Captain Parry started the first attempt ever to reach the North Pole by rowing boat and by foot over the Arctic Ocean. The eastern shores of Sorgfjorden are within North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve.


This spectacular bird cliff is one of the largest of its kind in Svalbard. Right at the ocean and is readily available and a great view from the ship.  The dolerite intrusions through Permian limestone and dolomite makes for 1000 foot spires that rises directly from the sea creates perfect nesting conditions for species like the Brünnichs guillemot.

Kapp Lee, Edgeøya

With its approx. 5000 km2, Edgøya is the third largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. On its western shores the landscape is largely un-glaciated, unlike most other places on the east side of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard; the early whaling and walrus industry in the 16th century, the era of Pomors; Russian peoples from the White Sea area that sailed to Svalbard in the summers to hunt and fish, the Norwegian trapping era, represented by a special trappers cabin. For the observant visitor you may find signs of mineral exploration and ever so often you see scientific equipment here as well.


Transiting the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give us spectacular views of the east coast. In the distance we will see hundreds of glaciers and mountains and if we are lucky we meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. In the winter time Storfjorden is mainly frozen over. However – later years research have proved that it contains several polynias; areas of open water. The frozen Storfjord makes a perfect Polar bear habitat.


The relatively small fjord in South Spitsbergen National Park is a place that has a long tradition in the Hurtigruten history. The old Hurtigruten steamer D/S Lyngen had scheduled stops here to serve trappers in this area. This used to be a stronghold for the trappers that concentrated on Polar bear hunting up until 1973 when the Polar bear hunt was prohibited in all Arctic countries with an exempt for indigenous peoples that had a thousand year old tradition to refer to.

The landscape of Hornsund is largely alpine with the majestic Hornsundtinden soaring highest of all. Another very special mountain is Bautaen or in English; the Obelisk, which, seen from the right angle looks like a giant Viking sword. Let your imagination run while spending the day in these extraordinary surroundings.

Day 8 Isfjorden

In central Spitsbergen, Isfjorden is the most prominent fjord system in Svalbard. We will spend the day exploring both the outer and the inner parts. One of the most prominent mountains in the outer part is Alkhornet, where thousands of Brunnich Guillemots are nesting during the summer season. In the inner parts of Isfjorden the landscape is changing. Large U-valleys, carved out of the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard Reindeer and the sedimentary geology rising hundreds of meters out of the ocean are just perfect graphs of geological history. This day, our intent is to find a scenic fjord arm and arrange a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings.

Day 9 Longyearbyen

Every good explorer voyage comes to an end. You will probably have a strange feeling of time having passed faster than you expected, however, the number of awesome experiences feels impossible to have happened in such a short time. Bring back the memory of, the calving glacier front or the buzzing birdlife – or simply the subtle, odd feeling of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred kilometres from the Geographical North Pole.

2015 Pricing

Booking Code

Occupancy Cabin Grades
Inside Superior
Outside Superior
22, 29 July
5, 12, 19 August 2015 
Twin Price from 3317 3712 3712 4023 4415 4834 5109
Price to 4423 4949 4949 5364 5887 6445 6812
Single  Price from 5745 6435 6435 6981 7666 8399 10112
Price to  7660 8580 8580 9308 10221 11199


Pricing info:

Price includes:

  • Hurtigruten Expedition Voyage (8 nights) in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyan before the voyage including breakfast and lunch
  • Transfer from hotel to ship in Longyearbyen
  • Wind and water-resistant jackets
  • Landings with Polarcirkle boats and activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee
  • Suites include a range of additional complimentary amenities such as drinks with meals and a welcome gift

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
  • Luggage handling

Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system and all prices are capacity controlled and subject to availability.
Prices may change at any time before departure date, the applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking.

Please note:

  • Prices are in £s per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change

Important information

  • Planned landings will depend on weather and ice conditions.
  • We reserve the right to change the scheduled program and itinerary.
  • The rental of rubber boots is available on board.
  • We recommend purchasing travel and cancellation insurance


Useful information

All prices includes:

  • Wind and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with Polarcirkel boats and activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee
  • Suites include a range of additional complimentary amenities such as drinks with meals and a welcome gift.

Environment and green navigation

Our Captains take pride in route planning that minimises the load of the engines and reduces emissions. We never dump waste in the sea and we ask you not to leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. We ask you to respect the saying: 'Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.'

What to bring

  • Wind and water resistant trousers
  • Shoes with a good grip sole
  • Warm cap or headband
  • Scarf
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm sweaters/jacket
  • Warm socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Small backpack