Polar Pioneers of Svalbard

Tromsø - Spitsbergen - Tromsø

Set off on a spring expedition through polar waters to the high Arctic. In Svalbard, you'll see the summer's Midnight Sun over a landscape where winter reigns - a unique combination that no other expedition cruises will experience. Go ashore on landings and excursions to enjoy a winter scene that is beyond imagination.

  • Experience the Midnight Sun in a unique winter setting like no other place in the world
  • Venture through unique landscapes with chances of seeing the King of the Arctic - the Polar Bear
  • Observe the beginning of the breeding season for seabirds and discover some of the world's largest sea cliffs
  • Join exciting winter outings with our expert expedition team


If you crave for the return of spring with blossoming trees, warmth and chirping birds, you should consider a classical journey along the Norwegian coast in summer. An expedition to the high Arctic brings you to latitudes where spring is more winter than the deepest wintertime in most of Europe. Wherever we make landfall you’ll have the pleasure of leaving footprints in snow and ice. In Spitsbergen there is midnight sun while the winter still reins - a unique combination that you will experience with no other and nowhere else, as we are the only ones sailing this far north.

An expedition to the high north

Tromsø is the Gateway to the Arctic, so naturally your expedition starts here. In the middle of the Arctic Ocean you find the very isolated island Bjørnøya where you can join a rare landing. 
Arriving Spitsbergen, we will make attempts to enter fjords where we can expect fast ice – ice that is landlocked. In Longyearbyen you can take part in great winter experiences like dogsledding, ice caving and snow scooter driving.

Cruising further north to North West Spitsbergen National Park and Kongsfjorden, you will go ashore on landings and excursions to enjoy a winter scene that is beyond imagination. On the way back to the Norwegian mainland, we arrive at North Cape from the north, something very few people will experience. Being back in Tromsø means that you return to urban civilisation, a great contrast to the expedition you have just experienced.

Price includes: 

  • Cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • 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 accompanying landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

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


  • Prices are in EUR (€) per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather – and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
  • Medical questionnaire mandatory
  • Free rubber boot rental service on board

The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the final sailing itinerary during the voyage. Hence, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

18 May 2017 or 27 May 2017

Departs From Tromsø, Norway
Day 1
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Photo: Vladaphoto / Shutterstock Photo

Gateway to the Arctic

Location: Tromsø

Tromsø is called the Gateway to the Arctic. When polar explorer Roald Amundsen recruited members for his famous expeditions more than100 years ago, he went to Tromsø. This was the only place he could find men (yes – it was mostly men back in those days) with navigational experience from Polar waters. He needed men that knew how to survive  in the Arctic with a minimum of means, men that had survived an overwintering in Svalbard by trapping and hunting. Today Tromsø is home to experts on polar operations and academics that investigate global warming the in Arctic. It is a melting pot with indigenous people, locals and people from all over Europe. Tromsø is in short still the Gateway to the Artic and a natural starting point for expeditions heading north – just like the one you are about to embark on. 

Day 2
Photo: dinozzaver / Shutterstock Photo

Join the 9 Inhabitants of Bjørnøya

Location: Bjørnøya

Bjørnøya is the southernmost of the Svalbard group of islands. Its nine inhabitants, all members of a scientific crew, find themselves on a very isolated location in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. This small island is known for having the largest concentration of sea birds on the northern hemisphere. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an "all-you-can-eat" buffet for 126 different bird spices of birds living here. We will try to make a landing here.

Days 3-4
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Photo: Krisgrabiec / Shutterstock Photo

Exploring the icy Arctic

Location: Bjørnøya to Longyearbyen

Cruising northbound from Bjørnøya we will take advantage of the conditions at hand, focusing on the ice edge. We will attempt to enter fjords where we can expect fast ice – ice that is landlocked. This is the platform where the ringed seal cast (gives birth to) their offspring, making it a perfect hunting ground for polar bears.

The Svalbard group of islands is home to about 3,000 polar bears, probably the largest concentration on earth. There are more polar bears than humans. On the other hand the polar bears are solitude animals with no set colony or living area. The only exception is pregnant females that use denning areas during winter. It is more likely to observe this marine mammal on the drift ice, close to the ocean or even in the ocean. Bottom line is that we often observe polar bears on this itinerary – not every day and seldom on very close range – aand we can offer no guarantees. But the more eyes scouting through binoculars the higher is the chance of observing the King of the Arctic.

Day 5
Photo: mpcz / Shutterstock Photo

Beware of the Polar Bear

Location: Longyearbyen

The climate in Spitsbergen is mild compared to the location. Longyearbyen, as one of the northernmost settlements in the world, benefit from the Golf Stream. Through Spitsbergen Travel, a part of Hurtigruten, we offer great winter experiences like dogsledding, ice caving and snow scooter. Please observe that you should not stray outside the city limits without the company of a guide. 

Days 6-7
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Photo: ondrejprosicky / Shutterstock Photo

Into the Arctic wild

Location: Barentsburg to North West Spitsbergen National Park

You will certainly notice how different Barentsburg is from Longyearbyen. Everything here happens around the entrance of the coalmine, and there is very little commercial activity available to visitors. You are invited to see a lively culture show or you can visit the hotel or the museum. 

Day 8
Photo: ondrejprosicky / Shutterstock Photo

Bear Island

Location: Bjørnøya

As we cruise south, we will try to make another stop at the southern tip of Bjørnøya if conditions allow. Here in the middle of the ocean, it is windy and exposed and houses some of the largest bird colonies and birdcliffs in the world.

Day 9
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Photo: anibaltrejo / Shutterstock Photo

The North Cape

Location: North Cape

After exploring Spitsbergen we head back to the Norwegian mainland. Arriving North Cape from the north is something very few people will experience. We will pay a visit to Gjessværstappan, a bird cliff that will be teeming with spring breeding arctic species in a cacophony of sound.

Day 10
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Photo: v.belov / Shutterstock Photo

Return to Civilisation

Location: Tromsø

Disembarking in Tromsø, you will feel like a polar hero. The return to civilization will appear like a great contrast to the expedition you have just experienced. 

27 May 2017 or 5 June 2017

Location Tromsø, Norway
Your ship Things to see and do


Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that Svalbard has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.


Learn more about the various seasons in Svalbard and the wonders of the High Arctic


Immerse yourself in the adventures you can experience on a voyage to Svalbard.

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