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MS Quest, Spitsbergen

Sailing in Spitsbergen

  • TAILOR-MADE

Duration

10 Days

Prices Start from

£4,000 (ex. flights)

Suitable for

Couples Romantic/Honeymoon Adventure Traveller Solo Traveller Photographers

 An introduction to the Arctic that can be completed in under two weeks, this expeditionary cruise offers world-class guiding and an insight into the wildlife, history and geography of Spitsbergen. 

Teeming with charismatic wildlife and with jaw-droppingly beautiful glaciers around every corner, the archipelago of Svalbard is a favourite with historians, wildlife lovers and photographers alike. Sailing on an expeditionary vessel, this voyage offers a phenomenal Arctic experience in a nutshell.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Boat and Glacier, Spitsbergen 1

Explore by Zodiac

Navigate secluded waterways and fjords by zodiac, stepping ashore to trek across vast tundras.

Reindeer, Spitsbergen 2

Arctic Wildlife

One of the most wildlife-rich parts of the Arctic, spot polar bears, walruses, seals and reindeer.

Monaco Glacier 3

Huge Glaciers

Marvel at the views while sailing past the icy walls of Spitsbergen’s most awe-inspiring glaciers.

Polar Bear, MS Quest, Spitsbergen 4

Expedition Ships

Choose from a variety of ice-strengthened ships, renowned for their expeditionary feel.

Be part of the AECO clean up Svalbard campaign by beach cleaning during your expedition. Dedicated clean up bags are provided and passengers are encouraged to collect items on the beaches before returning to the ship. All items are taken by the ship back to Longyearbyen so they can study where the waste is coming from. On average an expedition ship will collect three – fours tons during the season.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Have you always wanted to explore Spitsbergen? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Longyearbyen

  • Day 2

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Isfjorden

  • Day 3

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Krossfjorden & Ny Alesund

  • Day 4

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Raudfjorden

  • Day 5

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Hinlopenstretet & Alkefjellet

  • Day 6

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Phippsoya

  • Day 7

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Liefdefjorden & Monacobreen

  • Day 8

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Fuglesangen & Smeergenburg

  • Day 9

    Sailing Spitsbergen: Prince Charles Island

  • Day 10

    Longyearbyen

    Disembark on returning to Longyearbyen

Day 1

Longyearbyen

Embark in Longyearbyen.

Day 2

Sailing Spitsbergen: Isfjorden

Day 3

Sailing Spitsbergen: Krossfjorden & Ny Alesund

Cross Kongsfjord to Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community.

Day 4

Sailing Spitsbergen: Raudfjorden

Day 5

Sailing Spitsbergen: Hinlopenstretet & Alkefjellet

Explore secluded waterways and fjords by zodiac, stepping ashore to trek across vast tundras and glaciers.

Day 6

Sailing Spitsbergen: Phippsoya

One of the most wildlife-rich parts of the whole Arctic, spot the walruses, seals, reindeer and whales that live here.

Day 7

Sailing Spitsbergen: Liefdefjorden & Monacobreen

Sail past the icy walls of Spitsbergen’s most incredible glaciers while looking out for unique bird species.

Day 8

Sailing Spitsbergen: Fuglesangen & Smeergenburg

Landings here including the remains of the whaling station often frequented by polar bears.

Day 9

Sailing Spitsbergen: Prince Charles Island

Sail south past Prins Karls Fordland and Forlandet National Park.

Day 10

Longyearbyen

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

Exterior Front View, Ortelius, Spitsbergen
Ortelius, Spitsbergen, Spitsbergen

Sailing Spitsbergen

Voyage northwards up the western side of the island of Spitsbergen, exploring its secluded waterways and fjords by zodiac and stepping ashore to trek across vast tundras and glaciers. Off ship, hike along shorelines and learn about historical whaling in the Svalbard archipelago. Take zodiac trips and explore by kayak, searching for reindeer on land or ringed and bearded seals in the water. Alternatively, explore the tundra vegetation at select points along the shoreline, looking out for wildflowers.

Polar Bear on Ice, Spitsbergen, Arctic
Polar Bear on Ice, Spitsbergen, Arctic
Wild Reindeer in Snow, Svalbard
Wild Reindeer in Snow, Svalbard
Bearded Seal, Arctic, Svalbard
Bearded Seal, Arctic, Svalbard

Wildlife of the Arctic

For most, the lure of seeing a polar bear in its natural habitat is enough to draw travellers to Spitsbergen. Be prepared to also see Artic foxes, walruses, whales and a variety of birdlife. When travelling through Hinlopen Strait and its vast amounts of sea ice with it, expect close contact with polar bears. The captain will work in tandem with the expedition team in order to maximise viewing potential.

Village of Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen, Arctic
Village of Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen, Arctic

Visit a Former Mining Village

Cross Kongsfjord to Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community. Founded in 1916, Ny Alesund operated as a coal mine sporadically until 1962. Since then, it has become the site of numerous international polar science institutes. Ny Alesund earned its place in aviation history as a launch pad for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators, such as Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all passed through Ny Alesund.

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What can I say – Sue knew everything there was to know about Spitsbergen. The number of options can be overwhelming, but from my first conversation with Sue I knew we would be pointed in the right direction.

Destination: Spitsbergen
Travel Expert: Sue

Sue knew how important it was to me to spot polar bears and did everything she could to ensure we had the best chances possible. We were even lucky enough to see Arctic foxes and walruses.

Destination: Spitsbergen
Travel Expert: Sue

Thank you, Sue, for arranging our family snowmobiling trip, which was simply out of this world. We left with memories to last a lifetime.

Destination: Spitsbergen
Travel Expert: Sue

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Greg Mortimer £££££

  • Greenland

Launched in October 2019, the Greg Mortimer is a purpose-built expedition vessel that features a revolutionary X-Bow design. One of the most dynamic and state of the art ships on the seas, it is designed to slice through the water rather than riding over the waves making for comfortable and fast travels through the polar seas.

View Boat

MS Quest £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Originally built in Denmark in 1992 to serve as a ferry on the west coast of Greenland, the MS Quest underwent a complete refurbishment in 2005 that saw her be converted to a comfortable ice-strengthened expedition ship. Accommodating a maximum of 53 passengers in 26 Scandinavian-style cabins, each with outside views and private facilities, the vessel is made up of superior cabins and spacious owner’s cabins. There is a spacious observation lounge and a panoramic lecture room where guides discuss the flora, fauna, history and glaciology of the region. The outer decks and forward observation area of the 161-foot-long vessel allow for plenty of outside viewing, and five zodiacs allow everyone to disembark and explore easily.

View Boat

Noorderlicht £££££

  • Spitsbergen

A 153-foot-long steel-hulled sailing yacht, Noorderlicht (meaning Northern Lights) was originally built in Germany as a three-masted schooner before being completely remodelled and refitted with two masts. Offering ten simple but comfortable double-occupancy cabins on both the upper and lower berths, there are four shared showers and toilets. Up on deck, the sails are hoisted by brute strength and, while no one is expected to join in, it is always appreciated for passengers to get stuck in. The food is delicious and the smell of freshly baked bread is a sure way to lure you out of bed each morning. For anyone with a love of the sea and adventure, Noorderlicht is a wonderful way to explore.

View Boat

Ocean Adventurer £££££

  • Russian Arctic

Originally built in 1976 in Yugoslavia, Ocean Adventurer underwent extensive upgrades as part of a multi-million pound renovation in 2017. On this nimble, ice-strengthened vessel, facilities include a well-stocked library, a lounge area, a gym and observation decks. With major technical enhancements, including two new Rolls Royce engines, to increase fuel efficiency and minimise carbon footprint, Ocean Adventurer has the capacity to carry 128 passengers across 63 cabins. Ship-to-shore satellite communications allow for email and wireless internet access, and a stocked library houses a large collection of polar books.

View Boat

Ocean Nova £££££

  • Antarctica

Built in 1992 in Denmark and designed to navigate the ice-choked waters off Western Greenland, Ocean Nova has since undergone an extensive refurbishment of cabins. There is an upper glazed observation deck which is perfect for wildlife viewing, a large dining room, a library and a small gym. She carries a fleet of seven zodiacs and offers easy zodiac access from her side step rather than a gangway. The 240-foot-long vessel has capacity for 78 passengers accommodated in comfortable outside cabins over two decks, and all cabins have a picture window and private bathrooms.

View Boat

Plancius £££££

  • Antarctica

Built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy she was fully refurbished after her decommission to become a very comfortable, but not luxurious, 108 passenger expedition vessel. The cabins all have television screens that alert passengers to wildlife sightings, and there is a superb observation lounge along with a bar that offer spectacular views. Equipped with kayaks, ten zodiacs and eight expedition leaders, guests can embark on anything from show shoeing expeditions and mountaineering trips.

View Boat

Ortelius £££££

  • Antarctica

Originally built in Poland in 1989 as an ice-strengthened passenger vessel, the 298-foot-long Ortelius spent many years plying the frozen waters of the Arctic and Northern Pacific before being totally refurbished in 2005. Sleeping a total of 108 passengers, the vessel provides comfortable (but not luxurious) cabins that range from quads to suites, each with a private bathroom. She carries a fleet of zodiacs for landings, and on some Antarctic departures helicopters are even used.

View Boat

Sea Spirit £££££

  • Russian Arctic

At 295-foot-long, Sea Spirit was built in Italy in 1992 and renovated in 2004 to become one of few polar ships that boast suite-only cabins, some even with private balconies. Accommodating 114 passengers, Sea Spirit is one of the most elegant and luxurious polar vessels sailing and boasts features like a jacuzzi, a fully equipped gymnasium an ice-strengthened hull and a fleet of ten zodiacs for shore landings.

View Boat

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