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I note there are very few reviews of the Arctic cruises and can't see any of this ship for this itinerary here so hope this might be helpful to someone: We spent 7 nights on the MS Expedition (G adventures ship) and one night in Longyearbyen - all booked through Explore. The ship: We loved the Expedition, it was comfortable with loads of communal space (bar, library, lounge, big observation decks) and our twin cabin was larger than we expected. The mud room for storage of outdoor stuff definitely made 'suiting up' quicker and easier, and we were given muck boots and a parka - the parka we got to keep - saving plenty of luggage space on the way over at least. The food also exceeded expectations - yes there was plenty of stodge and multiple crumbles with custard (not complaining!) - but also lots of choice, fresh fruit and salads, and the dinner service was amazing. The crew in general were great - from the cabin cleaners to the waiters and barmen - very hardworking and friendly. There was a lot of effort made to entertain, from deck BBQ, to a resident musician, a quiz night and themed buffets. The atmosphere was warm and it was lovely to share experiences with others aboard - although you also had plenty of space to be alone if preferred (other than dinner - communal tables). The expedition staff: Similarly we thought they were excellent - approachable and expert. Most of the lectures were well-paced and very well delivered, especially the history lectures. There were so many opportunities to chat to them and to ask questions. The expedition leader was especially impressive in handling our flights all being cancelled by fog at the end of the trip - she did her very best to sort things out (even though the airline was uncooperative) and we felt well looked after - we were not chucked off the ship and were given lunch and a promise of the night on board if we needed it. The expedition itself: This was a fantastic 'taste of Svalbard'. Our Zodiac cruises and landings were varied - from cruises amongst the ice bergs and along glacier fronts, to cruises alongside the massive bird cliffs. We landed at beaches with bird life and trappers huts, at a walrus haul-out, at the beautiful Magdalenefjord where we did our polar plunge, and also at the research station at Ny Alesund. The only thing we did not get to do much of was to have a walk when ashore - due to some fog I think the perimeters at landing sites did not allow more than a ten minute walk in any direction. Pretty minor disappointment given all the things we did get to do - like standing on an ice floe, polar plunging, and watching walrus 10 feet from us for half an hour! The wildlife: we saw a mother bear and cub, lots of walrus on the beach and at sea, very close up, birds, including puffins, whales, polar fox, reindeer and some distant seals. We were thrilled with this. Word of caution though - if what you want from the cruise is just polar bear seeking and to spend all the time looking for them amid the sea ice, this isn't how this cruise works. We were so happy with what we saw and really the wildlife was a (major) bonus to seeing this stunning archipelago, the ice, the mountains, the history etc. But I think a few were disappointed by the lack of a constant safari-style show - and perhaps marketing the trip as 'Realm of the Polar Bear' might have raised expectations with some. In summary, we'd highly recommend as a great value introduction to the Arctic, and we'd love to come back. Happy to answer any questions if helpful.

Realm of the Polar Bear Review

G Expedition Cruise Review by brobee

36 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Arctic
I note there are very few reviews of the Arctic cruises and can't see any of this ship for this itinerary here so hope this might be helpful to someone:

We spent 7 nights on the MS Expedition (G adventures ship) and one night in Longyearbyen - all booked through Explore.

The ship: We loved the Expedition, it was comfortable with loads of communal space (bar, library, lounge, big observation decks) and our twin cabin was larger than we expected. The mud room for storage of outdoor stuff definitely made 'suiting up' quicker and easier, and we were given muck boots and a parka - the parka we got to keep - saving plenty of luggage space on the way over at least. The food also exceeded expectations - yes there was plenty of stodge and multiple crumbles with custard (not complaining!) - but also lots of choice, fresh fruit and salads, and the dinner service was amazing. The crew in general were great - from the cabin cleaners to the waiters and barmen - very hardworking and friendly. There was a lot of effort made to entertain, from deck BBQ, to a resident musician, a quiz night and themed buffets. The atmosphere was warm and it was lovely to share experiences with others aboard - although you also had plenty of space to be alone if preferred (other than dinner - communal tables).

The expedition staff: Similarly we thought they were excellent - approachable and expert. Most of the lectures were well-paced and very well delivered, especially the history lectures. There were so many opportunities to chat to them and to ask questions. The expedition leader was especially impressive in handling our flights all being cancelled by fog at the end of the trip - she did her very best to sort things out (even though the airline was uncooperative) and we felt well looked after - we were not chucked off the ship and were given lunch and a promise of the night on board if we needed it.

The expedition itself: This was a fantastic 'taste of Svalbard'. Our Zodiac cruises and landings were varied - from cruises amongst the ice bergs and along glacier fronts, to cruises alongside the massive bird cliffs. We landed at beaches with bird life and trappers huts, at a walrus haul-out, at the beautiful Magdalenefjord where we did our polar plunge, and also at the research station at Ny Alesund. The only thing we did not get to do much of was to have a walk when ashore - due to some fog I think the perimeters at landing sites did not allow more than a ten minute walk in any direction. Pretty minor disappointment given all the things we did get to do - like standing on an ice floe, polar plunging, and watching walrus 10 feet from us for half an hour!

The wildlife: we saw a mother bear and cub, lots of walrus on the beach and at sea, very close up, birds, including puffins, whales, polar fox, reindeer and some distant seals. We were thrilled with this. Word of caution though - if what you want from the cruise is just polar bear seeking and to spend all the time looking for them amid the sea ice, this isn't how this cruise works. We were so happy with what we saw and really the wildlife was a (major) bonus to seeing this stunning archipelago, the ice, the mountains, the history etc. But I think a few were disappointed by the lack of a constant safari-style show - and perhaps marketing the trip as 'Realm of the Polar Bear' might have raised expectations with some.

In summary, we'd highly recommend as a great value introduction to the Arctic, and we'd love to come back. Happy to answer any questions if helpful.
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