I had always wanted to go to Svalbard and hopefully see Polar bears, and this cruise did not disappoint!! We flew from Heathrow to Tromso via Oslo and embarked there. Everything went fairly smoothly despite a rushed change of plane. This is an expedition cruise and not to be confused with normal cruising. We set sail from Tromso in the evening and in the morning landed near North Cape and were taken up there by bus. From there we cruised the Barents Sea past Bear Island and on to Spitsbergen. We were actually able to circumnavigate Spitsbergen as the ice had pulled back sufficiently to do so. Apparently only a week before, we would not have been able to do this!
The ship is really lovely and very luxurious. The ship crew were wonderful, and the expedition team excellent, they could not have been better.
We had all our breakfasts and lunches on deck (warmly wrapped up) so that we did not miss anything. The hotel staff were so caring and would bring rugs to anyone who was cold. The food was superb, even managing to keep the Sunday lunches hot while we ate on deck. The dining room was lovely but we really only ate there at night, although even then we had to leave everything and dash up on deck to see whales that had most inconsiderately decided to come close at dinner time!
Excellent! Very spacious with twin beds (I was with my daughter) a large sofa, TV, dressing table, lots of wardrobe space. Lovely bathroom with a really good shower and nice toiletries, and really huge fluffy towels! Always loads of hot water!!