4 Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Overview The arctic archipelago "Svalbard" has always fascinated us. For this reason we have booked the trip with Hurtigruten. The tour operator attaches great importance to sustainability and environmental protection. This is ... Read More
Overview The arctic archipelago "Svalbard" has always fascinated us. For this reason we have booked the trip with Hurtigruten. The tour operator attaches great importance to sustainability and environmental protection. This is also reflected a little in the price - an Arctic trip is not cheap. The landscapes (geology, glaciology) are very impressive. The fact that in this harsh climate some life develops during the short summer months is fascinating. Lush green meadows, barren moonscapes, beautiful waterfalls and of course lots of snow and ice - that is Svalbard/Spitsbergen. We can recommend this trip because it is very relaxing (no internet for 9 days), but especially because it offers a good mixture of activities, lectures and observing the landscapes and wildlife. Wildlife If you go to this cruise to see polar bears or other wildlife, you'll probably will be lucky... Hurtigruten attaches great importance to sustainability and does not want to disturb the delicate habitat of the animals. Accordingly, everything can only be observed from a very great distance. Of course there are some lucky exceptions, but we have only been able to observe polar bears from a distance of at least 750 meters, for example. Unfortunately, the advertising gives the wrong impression here. With the right equipment you can counteract this a little. Embarkation/Disembarkation The whole process was ok. What was a problem in our opinion the time of disembarkation. We've arrived short after 0.05 o clock. We've waited 1 hour 20 minute to get from board to take the flight at 3.25 o clock. it was very pain and stressful to travel at this late hour. I would have payed 500 euro more to have an afternoon or early evening flight instead of the whole travel thing in the middle of the night... :-( Ship MS Spitsbergen was in 2016 completely renewed. The Ship provides following rooms: Explorer Lounge with Bar, Reception and Bord Shop, Restaurant (2 sittings - 18.00/20.00), Fitness, Jacuzzi, Sauna and on the top floor a large terrace area to observe the beautiful landscapes and animal life. Cabin The cabin was for its size generous and had everything you would expect on a ship. Dining The dining on the MS Spitsbergen was excellent. The Swiss Chef with his crew cooked on a very high level. You wouldn't expect that on a ship. Entertainment and Activities The Expedition-Team organized on each day an interesting program. Nevertheless they could have done different programs for all the different ages. The passengers ages vary from 25 to 90. So not all program points fitted for the young and vice versa. Service The Philippines on board were excellent. They are very friendly and good hosts. The Norwegian crew (Captain and his crew) were very professional, but in comparison to the Philippines rather inaccessible. Ports and Shore excursion On this trip (Spitsbergen/Svalbard) was only Port (Ny Alesund) accessible. All other stations were shore excursion by tender-boat. Some places were not so special, but what do you expect, when you're in the arctic :-) Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Finally, we had the courage to book the tour we always had dreamt about - to experience the Arctic landscape in Svalbard! After plenty of research we chose PolarQuest with their comfortable and renovated ship Sea Endurance. The opportunity ... Read More
Finally, we had the courage to book the tour we always had dreamt about - to experience the Arctic landscape in Svalbard! After plenty of research we chose PolarQuest with their comfortable and renovated ship Sea Endurance. The opportunity to make expeditions with Zodiacs and thereby come really close to the nature and wild animals was the decisive reason behind our choice. Our expectations were pretty high and we did not get dissapointed! The ship was great and the crew onboard provided a fantastic service. Everything, from cleaning and dining to attitude and safety was in a very high level. Everyday was a new adventure, often with two expiditions in Zodiacs. And the guiding was amazing! Each guide had an own story to tell and they were so generous with sharing knowledge and experiences. And - most important of all - they made us feel safe. The Arctic nature is tough and you don't want to fall into the ice cold water.... Most of us were excited about seeing polarbears, I was a bit scared. But that was before I met the crew that guided us. Then I felt 100 % safe :-) Everyone should do this trip at least once, and I really recommend PolarQuest and Sea Endurance! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a totally amazing experience. Sea Endurance is a comfortable ship taking 52 passengers and 22 staff plus 5 guides and a medical doctor. Both staff och guests came from many countries. The cabins are small but nice, the dining ... Read More
This was a totally amazing experience. Sea Endurance is a comfortable ship taking 52 passengers and 22 staff plus 5 guides and a medical doctor. Both staff och guests came from many countries. The cabins are small but nice, the dining room serves buffet breakfast and lunch and á la carte for dinner. Food was good and generous and the service friendly and outstanding. We spent the evenings in the panorama lounge admiring the beauty of the land scape. The sun never sets at this time of the year. The route was not set as it depends on the weather and ice situation. The expedition leader decided on a daily basis. We sailed the equivalence of 1820 kilometer in one week and covered all of the west coast, the northern part searching for the ice edge getting close to Vitöya before we met the ice. That is where the balloon expedition led by André ended their journey and lives. There was an announcement board where the program for next day was announced and the expedition leader woke us up every morning over the loudspeaker system with the latest information. We went on one or two zodiac cruises every day and we also went ashore for short walks and always with guides with armed weapons first and last. Security was very important. We came across walrus, polar bears, seals and thousand of birds. The highlight was the polar bear mother with 2 newborn kids that we watched for nearly 2 hours playing on the ice edge. The guides have deep knowledge of biology, arctics, nature, zoologi, birds, ecology and they held lectures in their fields. Elke, the expedition leader is an impressive leader and together with Hadleigh, Manda, Eirik and Zet they made sure that the trip became an unforgettable experience for all of us. For the really brave ones the trip ended with a polar plunge in the minus 2 degrees icy water:) Humble and in deep gratitude we all went home with new friends and a lot of memories. I give Polar Quest the highest ratings for the quality, the extremely knowledgable guides, the service on board, the documentation and communication beforehand. Go if you can...the beauty and scenery is unforgettable and you will learn a lot about the Arctic and the beauty of Mother Earth. Mariann Klint Sweden May 2018 Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Best cruise of my life! Forget the stiff cruises with dinner jackets - this is a true Exploration cruise. We went by Zodiacs to the Glaciers, hiking along some of the most beautiful and vulnerable destinations (dont worry there are ... Read More
Best cruise of my life! Forget the stiff cruises with dinner jackets - this is a true Exploration cruise. We went by Zodiacs to the Glaciers, hiking along some of the most beautiful and vulnerable destinations (dont worry there are different levels of hikes easy to advanced) and even some of us were bading in the Arctic (Hurtigruten staff kindly provided towels and warm drinks). Guides were fabulous and the ship is a true classic with cosy wooden interiors, space for 200 guests, makes it very intimate and friendly. In addition to enjoying the nature, I particularly liked visiting Barentsburg, a remote Russian mining town in the Arctic with continuous mining activities and Ny Alesund a small scientist community to get a better idea of how life is in the Arctic. It is not your typical cruise, but a true once in a lifetime experience being so close to nature. There is so much to see and experience outdoors and with the guides, spotting polar bears or whales. In short, is a truly unique experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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