Tailor-Made Holiday

Voyage to Spitsbergen with Doug Allan

12 days

from £7,525pp (excluding flights)

This voyage will be hosting special lecturer Doug Allan, who is not only an award-winning photographer, but a true expert in the Arctic. He has spent more time in Arctic conditions, filming the wildlife and polar bears from both above and below the water, than most professionals in his field. A true raconteur, passengers onboard this cruise can look forward to Doug’s warm wit and unparalleled skills in film and photography.

"Wildlife cameramen don’t come much more special than Doug" Sir David Attenborough

  • Travel to Spitsbergen with award winning polar photographer Doug Allan
  • Spitsbergen is undoubtedly one of the best regions to see the polar bear, the King of the Arctic 
  • Opportunity to observe seals, Arctic fox, walrus, reindeer, whales and an array of birdlife
  • Navigate the ice flows, experience the calving of icebergs and the beautiful soft light of the Arctic summer. 

Days will be spent circumnavigating the Svalbard Archipelago with lots of shore excursions and zodiac cruising. The itinerary will change day to day depending on the wildlife and ice activity. Each day, mornings and afternoons are usually spent at different locations and extended hiking of up to three hours or more may be possible if the area is clear of bears.

Why Cruise?

Travelling onboard a small expedition ship allows for in-depth cruising in remote wilderness areas. There are no roads, settlements or hotels that are going to get you closer to Spitsbergen’s extraordinary wildlife on both land and sea. The exact route of these expeditions depends on weather, ice and the wildlife but cruising allows the kind of flexibility needed to make the most of your time in the region.

Unique Experiences

This is a unique opportunity to travel to the Arctic with a phenomenal photographer to assist you with making the most of the beautiful lighting that comes to Svalbard in late August. The polar night where the midnight sun gets closer and closer to the horizon gives startling sunsets. With ten days in an extraordinary setting bathed in warm light, you will have the opportunity to capture on camera some of the most incredible natural experiences and wildlife encounters available.


  • By 2019 all departures will be Climate Neutral
  • No single use plastic onboard
  • Biodegradable cleaning and laundry products
  • Recycling
  • Sustainable food including reducing the consumption of meat and providing vegetarian and vegan options.  Endangered species of food that has not met environmental standard such as the tiger prawn will not be served
  • Fuel consumption is kept to a minimum by not travelling unnecessary distances or at full speed.
  • Polar Quest is a proud member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators), an organisation promoting sustainable tourism in Svalbard.  They work actively to protect the fragile environment by recognising the ways to travels in such areas of the world. Travelling in small groups is essential for the climate as well as a benefit for passengers.


In addition to the superb crew and highly trained and passionate expedition guides that will accompany you on this incredible voyage, Doug Allan, award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be the special lecturer on this voyage.

Doug Allan is one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen, whose love affair with ice has lasted over forty years. He spent four winters as a research diver, scientist, base commander and photographer for the British Antarctic Survey, before changing direction to full time filming in 1984. He specialises in natural history, expeditions and science documentaries in the wildest and most remote places on our planet, particularly the polar zones. Over his career, he's filmed for series like The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Ocean Giants, Operation Iceberg and Forces of Nature. He has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife.

His photographic awards include eight Emmy’s and five BAFTA’s. He has twice won the underwater category in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and has three Honorary Doctorates in recognition of his camerawork, as well as two Polar Medals.


For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 7525 £ 550

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arrive into Longyearbyen
Time to rest or explore locally.

The former mining town of Longyearbyen offers the Svalbard Museum and the North Pole Expedition Museum, both located close to The University Centre. The nearby Svalbard Gallery houses an interesting collection of artwork, maps, books and notes.

Keen birders can make their way to the bay, a wonderful place to look for waders.

A short stroll away is the infamous polar bear warning sign, while the tiny Svalbard Church is located on the far side of the valley.

You will be staying at Svalbard Hotell, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Longyearbyen embarkation
Have a morning free to explore Longyearbyen, in the afternoon embark the MS Quest and sail out through the spectacular Isfjorden.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 3

Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago
You are now in a part of the world where life is totally dependent on the ice and weather conditions. The exact itinerary depends on these factors and on the wildlife that is encountered. The ambition is to make landings or zodiac cruises every day.

The following are a sample of the places you may visit:

Northwest Spitsbergen

The scientific village of Ny-Ålesund is situated in Kongsfjorden. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole. Two other courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on the island of Danskøya. Swedish explorer Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started with an airship. There are still interesting remnants from these expeditions left on this site.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 4

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 5

Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago
Magnificent fjords

Svalbard offers the visitor countless spectacular fjords. During the journey explore a few of them such as: Liefdefjorden, meaning "The fjord of love", it is surrounded with snow-covered mountain peaks and here it is hoped to cruise along the face of the spectacular Monaco Glacier. Many common eiders and pinkfooted geese nest in the area.

In Krossfjorden revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large number of kittiwakes and Brünnich's guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs.

Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty - dominated by beautiful glaciers. It is also a favourite spot for seals and the bird cliffs are bursting with activity.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 6

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 7

Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago
Hinlopen Strait and Alkefjellet

If the ice allows enter the Hinlopen Strait. Here is Alkefjellet, an impressive, basaltic cliff, which is the home to an estimated 200 000 Brünnich's guillemots. It may also be possible to continue into the beautiful bay Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 8

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 9

Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago
Eastern Svalbard

The island of Nordaustlandet is covered by an enormous ice cap and fascinates naturalists as well as historians. There are huge glacier fronts here, intersected by hundreds of waterfalls. Barentsøya and Edgeøya offer magnificent landscapes and vast tundra. Chances to encounter walruses, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer are good here.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 10

Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago
Southwest Spitsbergen

The grand fjords of Hornsund offer spectacular glaciers and a breathtaking landscape of towering mountain peaks, often reaching above the clouds. On a clear day you can see the summit of the highest mountain Hornsundtind, measuring 1431 meters. Hornsund is a favourite haunt for some of Svalbard's polar bears and bearded seals are often seen resting on the fjord ice.

Notes on landings
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy-and excitement-of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you can expect.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board

Day 11

Longyearbyen Disembarkation
The time to say goodbye has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

You will be staying at MS Quest, full board


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

MS Quest

MS Quest

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 converting her into a small, very comfortable ice-strengthened expedition ship....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Spitsbergen

Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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Sue Grimwood, Travel Expert

"It was tremendously helpful to be able to speak to someone who had been to Antarctica before - Sue had been on the ship we had booked, so was able to give us some very useful information. We felt that at every stage of the booking process that we were in safe hands. "

""I was uncharacteristically worried about this trip - neurotic some might say - and I was given 110% support and help with everything. I had been disappointed by not being able to get a space on the 2014 trip and so Sue was stuck with me for 2 years - a testament to her patience and professionalism. I was confident in Sue - she knows Antarctica and speaks from experience, that is worth a huge amount. Emails, which I would send were responded to almost immediately.""

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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