Spitsbergen Cruise Holidays – Arctic Adventure

Spitsbergen is the land of the midnight sun, for between end of April and the end of August the sun never sets.  It is the largest island of the Svalbard or ‘Cold Coast’ archipelago and is half way between Tromso in the north of Norway and the North Pole, at 80 degrees north it’s also Europe’s most northerly point.

Polar Bears and Glaciers

The location and the islands nickname give you the impression that this is not a place that can be visited throughout the year; in fact the majority of the tour operators only visit the island between June and September. Spitsbergen cruise holidays are perhaps the most popular way of seeing what this diverse island has to offer because not only does it have beautiful flora, birds and artic mammals such as walrus’, beluga whales, seals and reindeer but glaciers and icebergs too.  Probably one of the main highlights for most visitors however are the polar bears, this is where you will witness mothers with their young and because the area is so rich in food there are a every regular sightings.

Arctic Cruising

Cruises vary between 8 and 14 nights and following an overnight stay in a city such as Oslo it’s a 4 hour flight to Longyearbyen the starting point of most cruises.  The following days at sea have many opportunities for animal and bird life photography at close quarters.  Trips from the main ship are done in the smaller zodiacs, the small boats weaving in and out of huge blue icebergs creaking and cracking can be quite disconcerting at first but the qualified staff are there to make sure of their passengers safety. Landings on beaches will bring you right up close with the walrus’ and bearded seals snoozing in the sunshine and afterwards perhaps a hike to see the nesting grounds of the Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns and Guillemots.  There will also be visits to the remains of centuries old whaling stations, now deserted and back on board during the evening lectures by qualified staff on the flora, fauna and history of the area.

This is not an area plied with luxury cruise liners; however the ships which cruise here limit their guests to give a spacious accommodation and a more private tour experience.  Cabins are either double, triple or single occupancy in both economic and luxury styles with a port hole or panoramic window and private facilities.  The other facilities on board are also more like a hotel with a bar, lounge, observation deck, gym and sauna and of course the all important dining room serving international cuisine.

Although this area is remote, Spitsbergen cruises are accessible to everyone.  It’s not just those who enjoy extreme adventure, although it can appeal to them too, this is an area for those who want an Arctic adventure with all the wildlife and diversity with a little bit of luxury thrown in.

Related posts:

  1. Arctic Cruises – What to Expect
  2. Greenland Cruises: Exploring the Arctic Seas
  3. Arctic Cruises – What to pack
  4. Hurtigruten: Cruise under the Northern Lights
  5. Carnival Cruise Lines: For an Adventure of a Lifetime

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