Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Sailing Spitsbergen

At the end of a long winter, Arctic spring begins to awaken on North Spitsbergen. The climate, however, still clings to the cold, with snow-covered mountains, snow-swept shores and temperatures around 25°F (–4° C). It’s a good time to experience the last of winter scenery and with luck, see Arctic animals like polar bears, walruses and seals.

The 8-day Sailing Spitsbergen small ship cruise begins and ends in Longyearbyen, Norway. Highlights include visiting the Svalbard Museum in Longyearbyen, a former mining town and now administrative capital of Spitsbergen, the largest island of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Spot minke whales while sailing Isfjorden and tour historic whaling and hunting stations at Trygghamna. Witness large seabirds decide upon their breeding site along the cliffs of Alkhornet and gawk at the foraging animals like arctic foxes and reindeer grazing below.

Snowshoe around historic Ny London to see the remains of early 20th-century marble mining and Ny Ålesund, the northernmost community in the world. Hike the tundra of Ymerbukta and glaciated Ekmanfjorden, depending on when spring arrives, otherwise view the fascinating geological coastal formations by Zodiac and ship. Delight as walruses haul out to sea at Poolepynten and ringed and bearded seals hunt in the icy water near Gaffelbreen.

This unique Arctic sailing is aboard the 2-masted, 20-guest Noorderlicht or the 3-masted, 33-guest Rembrandt van Rijn. Both schooners are well suited for Arctic adventures while sailing the Svalbard archipelago. Hoisting traditional sails while exploring remote areas in search of Arctic wildlife, geology and history makes both ships ideal accommodations.

In addition to the main 8-day Sailing Spitsbergen Arctic sailing voyage, there is an 11-day North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer itinerary that sails to the north coast of Spitsbergen when the icepack allows; an 8-day Central Spitsbergen, Arctic Autumn itinerary that sails south to Bellsund, where centuries-old hunting huts can be explored; and an 8-day Isfjorden Adventure, Late Arctic Autumn itinerary that explores the glacial interior of Spitsbergen with opportunities to see the northern lights, the enormity of Arctic ice, striking geological formations, an historical Soviet settlement and more. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations to learn your best options for Sailing Spitsbergen.

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