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Cruises to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Spitsbergen (Svalbard) (Photo:Aleksandra Suzi/Shutterstock)

About Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Svalbard is the official Norwegian name for the island archipelago located 600 miles north of Norway's North Cape, but most of the outside world knows the place as Spitsbergen, which is, in fact, the name for the largest island in the chain. Svalbard attracts a considerable number of visitors in the height of summer. They come for the scenic mountain wilderness of ice and snow that is home to a great variety of wildlife on land, in the sea and often in the air.

The islands were named Spitsbergen ("sharp-pointed mountains") by a Norwegian, Wilhelm Barentz, in 1596 and were soon after visited in 1605 by Henry Hudson, who reported an abundance of whales. A whaling industry established by the Dutch, English, Norwegians and Russians began almost immediately and expanded to include the trapping of walruses and seals. Today, only Norway engages in whaling in these waters.

The islands also became a base for polar research, as they lie halfway between the top of Norway and the North Pole. A number of expeditions by sea and early 20th-century airship flights left from Spitsbergen. In 1906, an American entrepreneur named John Monro Longyear established a coal-mining industry there, and he named what would become the island capital, Longyear City (now officially Longyearbyen). Norwegian and Russian interests also established mining claims, and the Russians still operate a mine at Barentsburg.

At the Treaty of Versailles, Norway was handed administrative rights to Spitsbergen, and it assumed official oversight in 1925, changing the archipelago's name to Svalbard in the 1920s. Since the turn of the century, Svalbard has achieved a measure of local rule, administered by a locally elected Longyearbyen County Council.

Longyearbyen (population: 2,200) replaced mining with tourism as the primary industry when regular air service was established in 1975. The town then transformed itself from a rough mining center to the attractive, colorful, small frontier town we see today, with many families settling there to engage in tourism, research and government services. Evidence -- some picturesque -- of now-abandoned coal mining facilities is still extant in a perimeter around the capital.

Sixty percent of the islands are designated as national parks or nature reserves, and the landscape and wildlife are protected. The most numerous species of wildlife seen are polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, walruses, bearded and ringed seals, fin and blue whales, little auks, kittiwakes, fulmars and a variety of wading birds. The landscapes of mountains, fjords, glaciers, snow, sea ice and tundra are breathtaking.

Two kinds of cruise ship passengers visit the islands in summer. Those who arrive by large cruise liners on long voyages often make a single call at one of the three permanent settlements -- Longyearbyen, Ny-Alesund (a research station) or Barentsburg (a Russian mining camp) -- and then cruise the fjords and coastline without landing. Expedition cruise travelers arrive in small purpose-built ships and use Zodiacs to get close to the glaciers and wildlife or for hikes across the tundra. Some expedition vessels are based at Longyearbyen for all or part of the summer tourist season (June through August), while others embark passengers in mainland European ports.

The eastern side of Svalbard experiences far more heavy ice conditions; hence, most cruise and expedition ships concentrate on the west side's coastline and fjords. The summer climate, when most tourists visit, is quite mild for an area so far north, with daytime temperatures often above freezing and possibly rising to just above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is low, but summer months may experience fog. The midnight sun lasts from mid-April to mid-August.


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  • 18 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Oslo
    Visiting:
    Olden, Svolvaer ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Azamara
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    Cruise Itinerary

    18 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Azamara)
    • Day 1
      Oslo
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Olden
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Svolvaer
    • Day 5
      Trollfjord
    • Day 6
      Narvik
    • Day 7
      Honnigsvag
    • Day 7
      Cruising
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 10
      Agadir
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Tromso
    • Day 13
      Cruising
    • Day 14
      Trondheim
    • Day 15
      Alesund
    • Day 16
      Bergen
    • Day 17
      Bergen
    • Day 18
      Cruising
    • Day 19
      Copenhagen
    Ship Details

    Azamara Quest - Azamara

    Pros

    Destination-focused itineraries; friendly and fun onboard vibe

    Cons

    Standard cabins are small with tiny bathrooms, despite a high price tag

    Bottom Line

    Destination-immersive, upscale cruising, with not a lot of nickel and diming

    Reviews

    Azamara Quest Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins3.5
    Dining4.5
    Service5.0
    Value3.5

    Editor's Note: A March 2019 dry dock saw the ship's casino converted into ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    hubofhockey
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Hong Kong - Vietnam - Thailand - Singapore Azamara Quest
    Read More
    Oldtony77
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Azamara regular
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 32 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Visiting:
    St. John's, Reykjavik ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Princess Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    32 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Princess Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Cruising
    • Day 6
      St. John's (Newfoundland)
    • Day 7
      Cruising
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Cruising
    • Day 10
      Reykjavik
    • Day 11
      Isafjord
    • Day 12
      Akureyri
    • Day 13
      Cruising
    • Day 14
      Lerwick (Shetland Islands)
    • Day 15
      Cruising
    • Day 16
      Cruising
    • Day 17
      Southampton
    • Day 18
      Cruising
    • Day 19
      Haugesund
    • Day 20
      Hellesylt
    • Day 20
      Geiranger
    • Day 21
      Cruising
    • Day 22
      Tromso
    • Day 23
      Honnigsvag
    • Day 24
      Cruising
    • Day 25
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 26
      Cruising
    • Day 27
      Cruising
    • Day 28
      Trondheim
    • Day 29
      Alesund
    • Day 30
      Skjolden
    • Day 31
      Cruising
    • Day 32
      Cruising
    • Day 33
      Southampton
    Ship Details

    Island Princess - Princess Cruises

    Pros

    Comfortable, mid-sized ship; peaceful adults-only sun deck; good variety of food.

    Cons

    Ship generally feels cramped; bathrooms and standard balconies are also small.

    Bottom Line

    Ideal for those looking for a traditional cruise ship experience with no surprises.

    Reviews

    Island Princess Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.0

    Island Princess is one of the two 92,000-ton Coral-class ships -- the other is Coral Princess -...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    KnA8361
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Island Princess – 10 Day Panama Canal with Costa Rica & Caribbean Dec 20, 2019
    Read More
    JK1954
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Bucket List Cruise of Panama Canal transit of Gatun Locks
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 16 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Southampton
    Visiting:
    Haugesund, Hellesylt ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Princess Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    16 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Princess Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Southampton
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Haugesund
    • Day 4
      Hellesylt
    • Day 4
      Geiranger
    • Day 5
      Cruising
    • Day 6
      Tromso
    • Day 7
      Honnigsvag
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Trondheim
    • Day 13
      Alesund
    • Day 14
      Skjolden
    • Day 15
      Cruising
    • Day 16
      Cruising
    • Day 17
      Southampton
    Ship Details

    Island Princess - Princess Cruises

    Pros

    Comfortable, mid-sized ship; peaceful adults-only sun deck; good variety of food.

    Cons

    Ship generally feels cramped; bathrooms and standard balconies are also small.

    Bottom Line

    Ideal for those looking for a traditional cruise ship experience with no surprises.

    Reviews

    Island Princess Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.0

    Island Princess is one of the two 92,000-ton Coral-class ships -- the other is Coral Princess -...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    skykingNC
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Classic Lovely Ship But Service Needs Upping
    Read More
    doug111
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Not The Best Cruise Ship or Cruise
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 21 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Eidfjord, Bergen ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Holland America Line
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    Cruise Itinerary

    21 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Holland America Line)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Eidfjord
    • Day 4
      Bergen
    • Day 5
      Molde
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Cruising
    • Day 8
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 9
      Santiago (Valparaiso)
    • Day 9
      Cruising
    • Day 10
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Cruising
    • Day 13
      Eyjafjordur
    • Day 13
      Akureyri
    • Day 14
      Isafjord
    • Day 15
      Reykjavik
    • Day 16
      Reykjavik
    • Day 17
      Cruising
    • Day 18
      Kirkwall
    • Day 19
      South Queensferry
    • Day 20
      Invergordon (Inverness)
    • Day 21
      Cruising
    • Day 22
      Amsterdam
    Ship Details

    Veendam - Holland America Line

    Pros

    Lanai cabins provide direct access to outdoor deck areas

    Cons

    Service can feel snail-paced at times

    Bottom Line

    A "no bells and whistles ship," ideal for relaxing

    Reviews
    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service3.0
    Value4.0

    The last of Holland America's Statendam-class ships, Veendam blends a modicum of hipness with t...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Joe9596
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Very Pleasantly Surprised
    Read More
    viviansky
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    A super boring trip lacking activities
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Hamburg
    Visiting:
    Molde, Tromso ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    MSC Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    14 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (MSC Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Hamburg
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Molde
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Tromso
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Honnigsvag
    • Day 10
      Honnigsvag
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Hellesylt
    • Day 13
      Stavanger
    • Day 14
      Cruising
    • Day 15
      Hamburg
    Ship Details

    MSC Preziosa - MSC Cruises

    Lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere and Mediterranean style

    Family-friendly with free kids fares and water play areas

    Good choice for budget-conscious cruisers

    Reviews

    MSC Preziosa Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value5.0

    The 2013 debut of MSC Preziosa moved the family-owned Italian company MSC Cruises up another no...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    oldgit26
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Nice ship, awful cruise
    Read More
    oldrover
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Oh woe, oh woe, MSC Christmas and a crappy new year. 15 Nights
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 10 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Tromso
    Visiting:
    Gjesvaerstappan, Bear Island ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Silversea Cruises
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    Cruise Itinerary

    10 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Silversea Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Tromso
    • Day 2
      Gjesvaerstappan
    • Day 3
      Bear Island
    • Day 4
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 5
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 6
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 7
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 8
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 9
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 10
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 11
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    Ship Details

    Silver Wind - Silversea Cruises

    Pros

    All-inclusive pricing, fabulous crew

    Cons

    Minimal onboard entertainment, small casino

    Bottom Line

    A luxurious cruise experience without being pretentious

    Reviews

    Silver Wind Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value4.0

    Silver Wind is one of the cosiest and most intimate ships afloat, with beautifully designed sui...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Cptchiron
    Sail Date Jan 2019
    Expectations exceeded..
    Read More
    agalies
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Cruising on Silver Wind, with the grand finale at the Tower Bridge
    Read More
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 11 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Spitsbergen
    Visiting:
    Spitsbergen, Braubach ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Silversea Cruises
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    11 Night Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Route (Silversea Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 2
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 3
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 4
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 5
      Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
    • Day 6
      Cruising
    • Day 7
      Braubach
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Akureyri
    • Day 10
      Hornbjarg
    • Day 10
      Vigur Island
    • Day 11
      Dynjandi
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Reykjavik
    Ship Details

    Silver Cloud Expedition - Silversea Cruises

    Pros

    All-suite cabins with butlers, heated pool, large gym and spa, many bars and restaurants

    Cons

    Bathrooms, specifically the towels and lighting, need improving

    Bottom Line

    A dream ship if you crave exotic adventures coupled with the posh amenities of luxury cruising

    Reviews

    Silver Cloud Expedition Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value4.0

    Silver Cloud, Silversea's first ship (debuting in 1994), had grown tired and dated until the lu...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    RobC1116
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Loved our Greenland and Canadian Arctic cruise!
    Read More
    markham
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Uninspiring and flat
    Read More
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

    Leaving:
    Hamburg
    Visiting:
    Molde, Tromso ... see more