closeup of polar bear face seen on realm of polar bear arctic cruise
passengers at bow of small cruise ship in arctic waters
two reindeer grazing seen on realm of the polar bear arctic cruise
pod of many walruses seen on realm of the polar bear arctic cruise
A polar bear looks up from an iceberg during the Realm of the Polar Bear Arctic expedition.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Realm of the Polar Bear

During this 8- or 11-day Realm of the Polar Bear cruise, experience an Arctic expedition to the remote island of Spitsbergen and into the land of the polar bear. High in the Arctic, Spitsbergen is an island within the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago that is ensnared in ice during much of the year. However, as summer approaches, the ice gives way to scenic fjords and stunning scenery frequented by the world’s largest land carnivore: the polar bear. 

Birders and nature enthusiasts will enjoy endless hours of wildlife spotting opportunities, while history buffs will be intrigued by the numerous research bases and the history of the island’s capital, Longyearbyen. Photographers can put their skills to the test by participating in the new Citizen Science Program, an interactive information gathering initiative aimed at better understanding Arctic wildlife. With a little guidance beforehand, learn which angles and types of wildlife the program is looking for during your voyage, and you can make a meaningful contribution to science.

The ice-strengthened, 134-guest Expedition small ship is ideally suited for cruising this icy wilderness. Her expert staff are on hand at all times to ensure guests fully appreciate the majesty of the Arctic. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other—more like a private expedition than a traditional small ship cruise. 

Cruises above the Arctic Circle are pure expeditions, where weather and wildlife dictate the route for the coming day. With the possibility of circumnavigating Spitsbergen and reaching 80 degrees north latitude (on 11-day departures), you’ll experience parts of the world seen by only a select group of people.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises.



Itinerary

8-Day Realm of the Polar Bear Itinerary

The 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear voyage operates round-trip from Longyearbyen, Norway, traveling along the western shoreline of Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Archipelago.

Route map for 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear Arctic small ship cruise, operating round-trip from Longyearbyen, Norway with visits along the western shoreline of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago.
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Day 1
Embark Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Transfer from Longyearbyen to embark in the late afternoon on this exciting Arctic expedition to Svalbard’s largest island, Spitsbergen.

Accommodations

Expedition

Meals

dinner

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Days 2 - 7
Spitsbergen

This voyage is spent travelling in the world in which the polar bear survives. Wildlife viewing opportunities are enhanced by exploring as many remote areas as possible. Spotting wildlife like the arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer and land or seabirds can be difficult, but well worth the effort. Ice and weather conditions permitting, explore near sea ice, through fjords that lead to glaciers and icebergs, and discover bird nesting colonies, all from the platform of the ship. Alternatively, hop in a Zodiac to explore more closely, or be brought to land to visit historical sites and experience the tundra. The expedition guides are always on the lookout for wildlife, ranging from endangered and rare polar species to sea mammals and birds. And, of course, everyone’s eyes remain peeled for polar bears – they can be found all throughout this region, but finding them can require patience and persistence. Join in the search!

Early-season voyages often provide the greatest opportunity to see large ice floes in the Arctic pack ice, which usually means excellent wildlife viewing. Later in the season, the group can cover more territory, which may allow the chance to explore the entire archipelago. This can lead into the less explored regions of Nordaustlandet and Kvitøya, or the continental edges where large whales are attracted by nutrient rich upwellings.

Each day is planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Distances are relatively short in the archipelago, and as there are no ocean crossings the seas are normally calm. During these six days visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea.

Accommodations

Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Disembark Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard the M/S Expedition; all meals on board; Zodiac excursions with an expert expedition team; lectures and educational programs; Longyearbyen airport transfers depending on your flight details; insulated, waterproof boots supplied for USA sizes 6-16; exclusive MS Expedition parka, see the MS Expedition Parka Sizing Chart. Select departures feature a German language program to include 2 German-speaking expedition staff to provide educational content in German; contact AdventureSmith for more details.

Exclusions

Airfares to the embarkation point and from the disembarkation point; adventure option of kayaking; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; hotel accommodations; trip Cancellation Insurance with emergency medical evacuation insurance (required); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage. Should the price of marine fuel increase dramatically, a fuel surcharge may be instituted.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $1000 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
89 to 60 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 50% of the remainder of payments made
59 to 0 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear voyage begins and ends in Longyearbyen, Norway (LYR). Longyearbyen is only accessed via flights from Oslo, Norway (OSL). Plan flights to arrive to Longyearbyen no later than 2:00pm on day 1 of the itinerary; airport transfer is included. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. For guests already in Longyearbyen on day 1, a baggage drop is available between 9:00am and 12:00pm noon. A group transfer is provided to the ship for boarding at 4:00pm. Plan flights to depart Longyearbyen no earlier than 2:30am on day 8; transfers to the airport or a centrally located hotel are included. Early morning disembarkation and transfers, as well as luggage storage for those with later flights, can be arranged. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Various optional activities may be available on your Realm of the Polar Bear voyage, including Zodiac cruising and land treks. Arctic kayaking is available for an added cost. The following table details the departures that have kayaking as an option. The per-person cost for (K) kayaking is $749 in the 2020 & 2021 seasons. Kayaking excursions are dependent on weather but kayakers can expect approximately 4 trips per cruise. Must book prior to departure; limited availability. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for availability and to reserve space.

2020 Season:
Jul 06 – Jul 13, 2020 – K
Jul 23 – Jul 30, 2020 – K

2021 Season:
Jul 06 – Jul 13, 2021 – K
Jul 23 – Jul 30, 2021 – K

Room Configuration

Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a quad, triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the rate with no single supplement. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7x the twin rate, excluding Category 1 and 1A cabins.

Families & Children

Minimum child age is 10 years old. An adult over the age of 21 must accompany every 2 children under the age of 18. The ratio of adults to children traveling together must be one adult per two children and two adults per four children (17 and under).

Travel Insurance

Travelers are required to have travel insurance with a minimum medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage of USD $200,000 covering all applicable dates of travel, personal injury and emergency medical evacuation. It is strongly recommended that you extend coverage to include personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and all other expenses that may arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience while traveling. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

11-Day Realm of the Polar Bear In-Depth Itinerary

The 11-Day Realm of the Polar Bear In-Depth voyage operates round-trip from Longyearbyen, Norway, cruising northbound along the western shoreline of Spitsbergen. Depending on ice conditions, some expeditions may sail towards the east coast of Spitsbergen, then through Freemansundet towards the south. Other expeditions may explore alternative routes to maximize time in this remote destination.

Route map of Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth Arctic small ship cruise, operating round-trip from Longyearbyen, Norway, and attempting a full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen.
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Day 1
Embark Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Get a first glimpse of the midnight sun in Longyearbyen, Norway, Spitsbergen’s capital. Transfer from the city to the Expedition for a late afternoon embarkation at 4:00pm.

Accommodations

Expedition

Meals

dinner

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Days 2 - 10
Spitsbergen In-Depth

Each day is planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. During these nine days, visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea. Spend time moving through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals. Ivory gulls will be a highlight for the birders. Keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches. Ice permitting, visit spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Shore stops will be highlighted with tiny tundra flowers. The expedition team will be on hand to answer any questions about this spectacular wilderness, and onboard lectures hosted throughout the day are about anything from local wildlife to the history and exploration of the Arctic.

The goal is to offer the best possible opportunity to see wildlife in and around the Svalbard archipelago. Ice conditions sometimes allow for sailing through the Hinlopenstretet towards the east coast of Spitsbergen, then through Freemansundet towards the south. However, this is not always possible.

Some departures will explore alternative routes to maximize time in this remote destination. Early season voyages often provide the greatest opportunity to see large ice floes in the Arctic pack ice, which usually means excellent wildlife viewing. Later in the season, the group will cover more territory, which may allow the chance to explore the entire archipelago. This can lead into the less explored regions of Nordaustlandet and Kvitøya, or the continental edges where large whales are attracted by nutrient rich upwellings.

Accommodations

Expedition

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Disembark Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Disembark at approximately 8:00am this morning and be transferred to either the airport or the Radisson Blu Polar hotel, depending on the time of your flight. Those transferring to the hotel may have an opportunity to explore the town center at leisure before being transferred to the airport later in the day as per flight schedules.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard the M/S Expedition; all meals on board; Zodiac excursions with an expert expedition team; lectures and educational programs; Longyearbyen airport transfers depending on your flight details; insulated, waterproof boots supplied for USA sizes 6-16; exclusive MS Expedition parka, see the MS Expedition Parka Sizing Chart. Select departures feature a German language program to include 2 German-speaking expedition staff to provide educational content in German; contact AdventureSmith for more details.

Exclusions

Airfares to the embarkation point and from the disembarkation point; adventure option of kayaking; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; hotel accommodations; trip Cancellation Insurance with emergency medical evacuation insurance (required); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage. Should the price of marine fuel increase dramatically, a fuel surcharge may be instituted.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $1000 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 90 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
89 to 60 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 50% of the remainder of payments made
59 to 0 days – 100% of deposit (may be applied to future trip by trip operator) and 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The 11-day Realm of the Polar Bear In-Depth voyage begins and ends in Longyearbyen, Norway (LYR). Longyearbyen is only accessed via flights from Oslo, Norway (OSL). Plan flights to arrive to Longyearbyen no later than 2:00pm on day 1 of the itinerary; airport transfer is included. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. For guests already in Longyearbyen on day 1, a baggage drop is available between 9:00am and 12:00pm noon. A group transfer is provided to the ship for boarding at 4:00pm. Plan flights to depart Longyearbyen no earlier than 2:30am on day 11; transfers to the airport or a centrally located hotel are included. Early morning disembarkation and transfers, as well as luggage storage for those with later flights, can be arranged. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Various optional activities may be available on your Realm of the Polar Bear voyage, including Zodiac cruising and land treks. Arctic kayaking is available for an added cost. The following table details the departures that have kayaking as an option. The per-person cost for (K) kayaking is $749 in the 2020 & 2021 seasons. Kayaking excursions are dependent on weather but kayakers can expect approximately 4 trips per cruise. Must book prior to departure; limited availability. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for availability and to reserve space.

2020 Season:
Jun 26 – Jul 06, 2020 – K
Jul 13 – Jul 23, 2020 – K
Jul 30 – Aug 09, 2020 – n/a
Aug 09 – Aug 19, 2020 – n/a

2021 Season:
Jun 26 – Jul 06, 2021 – K
Jul 13 – Jul 23, 2021 – K

Room Configuration

Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a quad, triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the rate with no single supplement. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7x the twin rate, excluding Category 1 and 1A cabins.

Families & Children

Minimum child age is 10 years old. An adult over the age of 21 must accompany every 2 children under the age of 18. The ratio of adults to children traveling together must be one adult per two children and two adults per four children (17 and under).

Travel Insurance

Travelers are required to have travel insurance with a minimum medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage of USD $200,000 covering all applicable dates of travel, personal injury and emergency medical evacuation. It is strongly recommended that you extend coverage to include personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and all other expenses that may arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience while traveling. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

Jun 12 - Jun 19, 2021
Expedition • 8 days
From $4199USD
Per Person
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Jun 19 - Jun 26, 2021
Expedition • 8 days
From $4199USD
Per Person
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Jun 26 - Jul 06, 2021
Expedition • 11 days
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From $5899USD
Per Person
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Jul 06 - Jul 13, 2021
Expedition • 8 days
From $4399USD
Per Person
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Jul 13 - Jul 23, 2021
Expedition • 11 days
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From $5899USD
Per Person
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Jul 23 - Jul 30, 2021
Expedition • 8 days
From $4399USD
Per Person
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Jul 30 - Aug 09, 2021
Expedition • 11 days
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From $6199USD
Per Person
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Aug 09 - Aug 19, 2021
Expedition • 11 days
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From $6199USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Expedition

The 134-passenger Expedition is a top-of-the-line polar vessel at an affordable price. Unlike many expedition ships, where public space is at a premium, there are multiple large public areas aboard to enjoy.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires December 31st, 2020
Flexible Cancellation Policy On Select 2021 Arctic Voyages Aboard Expedition

Book or re-book Arctic expeditions with confidence using these risk-free, flexible cancellation policy details.

Expert Reviews

Reviews from Our Experts So You Know What to Expect

Arielle Lightcap • January 7th, 2020
Expert Review: What to Expect on a Polar Bear Cruise

A travel expert lends her Arctic cruise insight on what you can expect aboard a small ship polar bear cruise in the Arctic Svalbard region.

Andrew Browning • December 4th, 2015
Expert Review: Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth

Polar bears, arctic foxes, walrus, beluga whales... Adventure Specialist Andrew rounds up and reviews his Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth Arctic cruise and time aboard the Expedition ship.

Arielle Lightcap • October 21st, 2019
Expert Aboard: Expedition Ship Review

An AdventureSmith Specialist writes this detailed ship review of the 134-guest Expedition polar vessel. Read about her favorite features and cabin insights.

Chris Harter • August 19th, 2011
Expert Review: Realm of the Polar Bear

We saw more in my 7 nights aboard the Expedition than I ever thought possible! Chris reviews his Realm of the Polar Bear Arctic cruise.

Testimonial

Hear It from Travelers Who Have Explored with Us

"Well Equipped For Adventure"

The trip exceeded my expectations! The Expedition ship was extremely well equipped for adventure.

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Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

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Realm of the Polar Bear

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