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Svalbard and Northern Norway – an autumn odyssey 2023

This is a true expedition cruise for those of you who are dreaming of experiencing the magical autumn in Svalbard and exploring some of Northern Norway’s most scenic sites. In October, our small and charming ship, M/S Stockholm, heads out on an expedition cruise from Svalbard to Tromsø, during which we aim to visit sites that are hard or impossible to reach during the summer season. The autumn in Svalbard invites us to a soft photo light, beautiful sunsets, crisp autumn colours and chances to see the magical Northern lights dancing in the sky. The fjords are slowly starting to freeze and perhaps the first snow has fallen and covers the impressive mountain peaks. October is a perfect time to explore the landscape on foot and we hope to head out on several refreshing hikes to enjoy breath-taking views, dramatic nature and the Arctic silence. While sailing and exploring, we keep our eyes peeled for the fantastic wildlife Svalbard has to offer such as the Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes in winter fur, humpback whales, herd of seals, walruses and the king of the Arctic - the polar bear.
 
After some time in the untamed wilderness of Svalbard, we continue our voyage towards Northern Norway. On our way we pass the remote Bear Island, locate in the middle of the Barents Sea. In Northern Norway we experience the spectacular fjord landscape around Tromsø. Here we enjoy the views and keep a lookout for humpbacks and the Northern lights. We also plan to sail into some of Northern Norway’s most stunning fjords such as Kvaernangen and Lyngenfjorden.
 
The number of days we will be in Svalbard before heading to Northern Norway is not set. Since autumn in these areas can be windy, the time of our passage will be determined by the weather and wind conditions. This is one of the reasons why we call it a true expedition cruise! It is also the ultimate trip for someone who has visited Svalbard earlier in the season and would like a different experience of the archipelago.
 

  • Only 12 passengers
  • Magical autumn light
  • Visit eastern Svalbard
  • Hiking opportunities
  • Chance to see whales and Northern Lights
  • 2 experienced guides
Accommodation: Cabin on board M/S Stockholm. Transport: Expedition ship, Zodiac. Ship: M/S Stockholm. Passengers: 12 passengers. Languages: English & Swedish. Length: 17 days, 16 nights on ship. Price: From USD 12 490. Departure: 1 October 2023

Itinerary

Day 1: Longyearbyen

We arrive in Longyearbyen, embark our expedition ship M/S Stockholm and are welcomed by our guides and crew. After being settled in, we head out through Isfjorden – our Arctic adventure has started!

Expedition days in Svalbard

We are now in a part of the world where we are totally dependent on the ice and weather conditions. Our exact itinerary depends on these factors and on the wildlife we encounter. Our ambition is to make landings or cruises every day with our Zodiacs. Here are some examples of places we may visit:

Isfjorden

Isfjorden offers plenty of great landing sites and splendid hiking opportunities. Maybe we get to visit Svenskhuset (the Swedish house), a wooden house built on the initiative of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld in 1872, and learn more about its interesting history. At the entrance of Isfjorden is the characteristic cliff Alkhornet, and even if most birds have left during this time of the year we marvel at the fascinating landscape. Arctic foxes are often seen in the rock crevices around the mountain and with some luck we might see these lovely little animals scurrying around, frantically looking for food.

Magnificent fjords

Svalbard offers its visitor countless of spectacular fjords. During our journey we will explore a few of them such as Lilliehöökfjorden, located far into Svalbard’s fjord system. Here is the Lilliehöökbreen, a glacier that stretches four kilometres from side to side. The glacier is active, producing many small icebergs that majestically sail out through the fjord. We might also visit the scenic Magdalenafjorden, eight kilometres long and five kilometres wide. In Krossfjorden we revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier.

Virgohamna, Danskøya

Two of the most 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.

Moffen

Moffen is a flat island located north of Spitsbergen. It is also a popular haul out for walruses and you can often see large colonies on the beaches. Until mid-September you are not allowed to make a landing on the island, but when we are here in October we hope to be able to go ashore and explore the unique nature.

Sjuøyane

These islands are situated north of Nordaustlandet and it is Svalbard’s northernmost outpost. On one of the islands, Rossøya, Andrée and his companions had one of their depots with supplies in case their, by now legendary, balloon trip in the late 1800s would fail...

Nordaustlandet

Nordaustlandet is the second largest island in the archipelago and is almost completely covered by ice. We travel here through Hinlopen, a channel where we have great chances of spotting whales. Both nature and history lovers are fascinated with Nordaustlandet and here you find one of Svalbard’s most impressive glaciers, Bråsvellbreen. It stretches out for 200 kilometres and the ice edge is 15-20-metre high, intersected by hundreds of melt-waterfalls. Outside Bråsvellbreen is Olagstretet and during this time of year pods of humpbacks whales is not an uncommon sight. In eastern Svalbard we get to experience an endless polar desert and views that remind us of a vast moon landscape.

Southeastern Svalbard

Barentsøya and Edgeøya south of Nordaustlandet offer magnificent landscapes and vast tundra. Chances are good to encounter walrus, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer here. Along large parts of Edgeøyas coast there are remains of whaling stations, Pomors and Norwegian hunters. With sites such as Kapp Lee, Diskobukta and Andréetangen, the island of Edgeøya has interesting stories to tell. At the point of Andréetangen, stands the cabin built in 1946 by Henry Rudi, also known as “the Polar Bear King”.
 
Tusenøyane are located 20 kilometres southwest of Edgeøya and includes around 40 islands, which we rarely get to visit. Here we find many remains from Russian whalers who overwintered here between 1700 and 1850. We have also a great chance to spot female walruses with calves.

At sea

We leave Svalbard’s incredible landscape behind and set course across Barents Sea towards the Norwegian mainland. Please note: what exact day we start our crossing can vary due to weather and wind conditions. 

Day 11: Bear Island

On our way from Svalbard to Tromsø we pass Bear Island, this fascinating rocky island, located in the middle of Barents Sea. Weather allowing, we aim to make a landing on the island discovered by Willem Barentsz in 1596. The island owes its name to the encounter and killing of a polar bear by Barentsz’ men. There are many cultural remains here that date from different historical eras and stem from different nations. During WWII and the Cold War the waters surrounding Bear Island was of high military importance. In 1941 the German navy established an automatic radio station on the island.

Expedition days in Northern Norway

Kvaernangen

Kvaernangen is a 117 kilometres long fjord north of Tromsø. Here we have the chance to see the spectacular Northern lights and enjoy scenic nature. In November you often spot orcas here, and if we are lucky, they arrive early this year and we get a glimpse of these wonderful creatures. In Kvaernangen there are several islands including Spildra and Skorpa. Hopefully we can go ashore one of them and hike along the small trails surrounded by mountains, forests and beaches. The island of Spildra offers Viking history, old Sámi graves and sacrificial sites.

Lyngenfjorden

Between Tromsø och Alta we find Lygngenfjorden, a fjord framed by majestic mountains peaks towering 1800 meters above the sea. This is a place where we get close to the Arctic nature, the culture and the Norwegian people. Lygngenfjorden is a popular destination for whale safaris and with some luck we see humpback whales here. In Årøybukt lies the world’s northernmost distillery, Aurora spirit (bivrost.com), where we hope to make a visit

Havnnes

We continue to cruise along the magnificent peaks of Lyngsalpan and head for one of the most beautiful little trading post in Norway – Havnnes. Archaeological findings from the Stone Age show there has been human settlement in the area for more than 6000 years. Since 1868 the settlement belongs to the Giæver family and still today they run Havnnes as a traditional fishing village.

Tromsø

Tromsø is located 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, beautifully framed by fjords and mountains peaks. The city has been the starting point for many polar expeditions and was referred to as “the Gateway to the Arctic” in the 1800s. Perhaps the first snow has fallen and settled over the high mountain peaks, offering marvellous sceneries together with the small picturesque houses. The area is also a popular haunt for white-tailed eagles. They can be seen soaring above us with their impressive wingspans.

Day 17: Homewards

In the morning we disembark our ship in Tromsø and begin the journey home.

Please note: The exact route will depend on weather, wind and possible wildlife encounters. Your captain and the expedition leader will do everything to maximise our experience. The places mentioned are just examples of some of the many sites Svalbard and Northern Norway has to offer. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!

The Package Travel Directive – protects the traveller’s rights

When you have booked a trip with PolarQuest, you are protected by the Package Travel Directive. This includes that you have the right to rebook your trip or cancel and receive a full refund, if your Government, or other relevant authorities, have implemented restrictions against travelling. This includes documented quarantine requirements in the country you are travelling to. However, free cancellation is only possible when it is less than 30 days to departure, provided the travel restrictions are still in place and clearly will affect your trip. You are also entitled to a full refund, should PolarQuest cancel the trip for any reason whatsoever.

 

Be inspired by our digital polar lectures!

Few trips can compare with a magnificent adventure to the realm of the polar bear, Svalbard, or the world's most remote continent, Antarctica. Our popular Expedition Leader Adam Rheborg has recorded short lectures on what it is like to travel with PolarQuest to these spectacular places on earth, and we hope that your longing to experience these fantastic places is even greater after you have listened!

The ship M/S Stockholm

  • The beautiful M/S Stockholm
    Ulrich Kühn
  • Lisa Ström
  • Ulrich Kühn
  • Ulrich Kühn
  • M/S Stockholm
    © Christian Engelke
  • The service on board is outstanding
    Ulrich Kühn
  • Cosy cabins with bunkbeds
    Niklas Nilsson
  • Niklas Nilsson
  • Katharina Miller
  • Ulrich Kühn

A CLASSIC EXPEDITION SHIP LOVED BY MANY

The M/S Stockholm is a classic ship built in 1953 for the Swedish National Maritime Administration. In 1998 she was totally refitted and started her career as a comfortable polar passenger ship. The M/S Stockholm carries a maximum of 12 passengers in twin cabins with bunk beds. All cabins have private facilities and small windows (portholes). M/S Stockholm is a marvellous piece of maritime history with beautiful brass details and
wooden decks. It is no wonder she is loved by so many! After 20 years of navigating the waters in Svalbard she has the experience and track record of being able to access difficult to reach sites that are inaccessible to other ships.

On board you will enjoy delicious meals in the company of
likeminded travellers, who are all fascinated by the Arctic nature, wildlife and history. The food on board is of high standard and all beverages are included in the price. With such a small party on board, this is like travelling on a private yacht. The crew on board M/S Stockholm are also great enthusiasts of the unique wildlife and unspoiled nature. Their genuine curiosity is a prerequisite for expedition cruises of this kind. A trip on board M/S Stockholm in these northern waters, with its unique wildlife and pristine nature, is an experience of a lifetime! There are two Zodiacs and two guides on board M/S Stockholm.

Cabins & prices

Cabin category Price per person
Twin Cabin bunk beds & private facilities USD 12 490
Twin Cabin for single use USD 22 490

Price includes

  • 16 nights on board M/S Stockholm
  • All meals on board
  • All beverages
  • 1 Expedition Leader and 1 guide
  • Guiding ashore and talks on board
  • All excursions and activities
  • The customary gratuity to the ship’s crew
  • Comprehensive information material before the expedition
  • The trip is climate compensated

Not included

  • Flight to Longyearbyen and from Tromsø
  • Travel and cancellation insurance

Departures & booking

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.

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Departure Return
1 October 2023 17 October 2023