Embrace a true expeditionary spirit and experience Arctic summer in Spitsbergen
This unique 11-day voyage invites guests to embrace a true expeditionary spirit as they experience Arctic summer in Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Rather than follow a set itinerary, we’ll journey along the coast and inner fjords to capture the best—and most vibrant—of Spitsbergen in late July. The Arctic summer season is unlike any other as the ice melts and the region becomes more accessible. You’ll be able to walk the snow-free tundra and seize every opportunity to photograph seasonal flowers such as purple saxifrage. You’ll relish the chance see incredible wildlife—including Polar bears—as the prolonged daylight in the Land of the Midnight Sun maximizes wildlife sightings. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for whales returning to the ice-free fjords, walruses, the elusive Arctic fox which will be on the prowl, and a frenzy of bird activity on the towering cliff sides.
Inspiring you on this voyage through the snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra will be award- winning photographer, filmmaker, workshop leader and lecturer Chris Linder, who transitioned from naval officer and oceanographic researcher to visual storyteller. “July is a magical time to visit Svalbard, when the light-filled summer days fuel a brief but intense explosion of life from tiny tundra flowers to polar bears, walruses, and whales,” says Chris, who has photographed more than 50 scientific expeditions. “The diversity of subject matter and enchanting low-angle light make this expedition a photographer’s dream.”
View Arctic wildlife, such as Polar bears, walrus and reindeer
Experience a once-in-a-lifetime photography-themed journey
Cruise in a Zodiac to get up close to glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
Hike the colourful tundra
Travel in a small expedition vessel
Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff
9 nights on the ship
Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
Countries visited: Spitsbergen
All meals while on the ship
Beer and house wine during dinner
All transport and listed activities
Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
Mandatory transfer package including return flights from Longyearbyen to Helsinki
We can include flights from the UK. Please contact us for a quote.
What's Not Included
Single accommodation (available on request)
Visas or vaccinations
People, Places & Planet
We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. To read more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice, click here, and to find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation click here.
Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
We are extremely conscious of our presence in the Polar regions. Often seeing whales, Polar bears, seals and seabirds can be a very moving experience and clients either donate to related charities or develop a lifelong interest in conservation of these species.
There is not much contact with local communities on this remote voyage, although we do encourage clients to explore and use local business before embarkation. There are some small businesses which benefit greatly from tourism commerce and plenty of locals to engage with. By supporting locally owned shops and using various other services and facilities, money goes towards an increase of employment opportunities and growth of the local economy.
We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our team of lecturers, specialists and crew are able to pass vital information on to clients in briefings.
We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) of which our operator is a full member.
Our onboard gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
All of our Arctic expeditions are designed to operate in line with The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) which has guidelines in place to protect the fragile environment of this Polar region.
We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do. This is driven by our ‘leave no trace’ policy, which includes being vigilant with litter disposal and avoiding approaching animals any closer than 5 metres.
We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board. Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste throughout and are provided with a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and the laundry is done with green detergents.
We are on board with the ‘Clean up Svalbard’ initiative, during which every summer volunteers from our vessels are invited to join the office of The Governor of Svalbard and the local population to remove debris from the beaches. The vast expanses of pristine, white landscape which people travel a long way to see are being jeopardised by waste which drifts to the area on ocean currents. As awful as this is, the problem is not just superficial- birds and other Arctic animals eat the littler or become tangled in stray fishnets. This creates a massive challenge for Arctic wildlife, which already faces the harsh effects of global warming, so this is a hugely important project.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
We do our best to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting the local economy and reducing our carbon footprint as a whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society.
We make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board and offer a carbon offsetting option for clients.
Our small Zodiac landing crafts are lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines.
Activities include sea kayaking and guided photography which have a minimal impact on the environment.
Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Most of our vessels burn Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
Arrive in Helsinki, Finland
Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.
Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Embark
This morning, the group will transfer to the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from the frigid waters.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
3 - 10
The unspoiled beauty of Spitsbergen is the focus of this one-of-a-kind voyage along the west coast of the island, which is the largest in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Each day will be a photographic surprise as we explore the costal fjords and smaller, outlying islands, and venture into the colourful tundra during shore and Zodiac excursions. The weather and, at this time of year, the melting ice will influence our route and shore landings, where you’ll be able to photograph stunning scenery, wildlife, birds and historical sites. And, of course, magnificent landscape shots are just at your fingertips as 60 percent of Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous.
Our nimble expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to reach areas and hike wherever possible.
After the long cold winter, Spitsbergen is virtually invaded by birds which migrate here in vast numbers to nest. The waters surrounding the archipelago, a rich food source for marine life, attract walruses, seals and whales. As with many regions of the world, summertime offers a greater diversity of land-dwelling wildlife to photograph, including Polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard rock ptarmigan and Svalbard reindeer. Summertime visitors will be surprised to find themselves photographing what’s at their feet— a palette of brightly coloured wildflowers that grace the summer tundra.
One of the main features of Spitsbergen Photography: Under the Midnight Sun will be the presentations and hands-on learning opportunities with award- winning guest photographer Chris Linder, whose expertise extends to science and conservation. You’ll be able to learn from Chris about the two most important aspects of photography—composition and light—as he covers lens choices, perspective, composition, and how to make the most of various lighting and weather situations. You’ll gain insight on photographing popular polar subjects such as Polar bears—as well as unique polar landscapes, flora and lesser-known species. The goal is for all guests—regardless of skill level or equipment—to expand on and improve their photography on the voyage.
Chris will also demonstrate how photographers of all levels can use photo storytelling to advance conservation goals and polar ambassadorship. In addition to presentations titled Composition and Light, and Journeys of a Science Photographer, Chris will present Science on Ice and the Big Thaw, using images from his book of the same name. “My goal for the guests on this expedition is to not only help everyone return home with great photographs,” says Chris, “but also to improve their photography skills. Through lectures and hands-on lessons, I will explain how perspective, light, composition, and story work together to make compelling images. My focus will be on artistic considerations more than technical ones, in the hope that photographers of all skill levels can benefit.”
Presentations by other onboard experts, who specialize in marine biology, ornithology, glaciology and history, will complement the photography sessions and help prepare you for the adventures that await.
In addition to photography, optional hiking and Zodiac excursions get you up close—though never obtrusively— to the incredible wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
11 - 10
Disembark in Longyearbyen & Fly to Helsinki, Finland
Your adventure ends in the frontier style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Helsinki, included in the transfer package.
The Ocean Adventurer takes a maximum capacity of 128 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with Quark Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.
No visa required for British passport holders.
Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Norway. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies (bat lyssavirus) and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.
Eating and Drinking
All meals while on the ship included.
The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.
Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.
Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.
Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.
Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.
Spitsbergen has a short season from mid June to mid August; and there is 24 hour daylight in all three months. There may be more sea ice in the earlier months and some more flowers, but in reality with the capricious nature of the weather and wildlife there is not much to choose between them.
Is this trip for you?
The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.
On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).
There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.
Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.
Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.
All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.
Please note that, as with all Polar holidays and voyages, the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions.
The required deposit is 25% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent in booking currency) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.
COVID-19 Vaccination: Please note that as a condition of travel on any of our Polar voyages, clients must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Clients must provide proof of their vaccination status to Quark staff before boarding the ship. For full terms and conditions please refer to our Quark Book and Travel with Confidence Policy, found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/quark-book-and-travel-confidence
If you have any questions, please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.
The Spitsbergen Photography: Under the Midnight Sun voyage is offered on the Ocean Adventurer which is a Polar Adventure Ship.
Polar Adventure Ships
These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.
The Ocean Adventurer is a comfortable vessel with spacious cabins, which all have private bathroom facilities and exterior views. Designed to carry travellers in comfort to the most remote corners of the world, Ocean Adventurer was built in 1976, and underwent extensive upgrades in 2017. This multi-million dollar investment included renovations to the interior of the ship, significant technical upgrades, and the addition of a new cabin category, the Owner’s Suites. The refurbishment gave the ship new bathrooms in every cabin, and upgrades to the Lounge, Dining Room, gym, and suites. Technical enhancements – including two new engines, generators, gear boxes, drive systems, and re-bladed propellers – resulted in increased fuel efficiency, and a minimized carbon footprint.
TRIPLE: From 145 sq. ft. (13.5 sq. m), a Triple Cabin is equipped with two lower berths and one upper berth. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
LOWER DECK TWIN: From 115 sq. ft. (11 sq. m), a Lower Deck Twin Cabin is equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Lower Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
MAIN DECK TWIN PORTHOLE: From 115 sq. ft. (11 sq. m), a Main Deck Twin Porthole Cabin is equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
MAIN DECK TWIN WINDOW: From 115 sq. ft. (11 sq. m), a Main Deck Twin Window Cabin is equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a window with exterior views.
SUPERIOR: From 132 sq. ft. (12 sq. m), a Superior Cabin is equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Upper and Captain’s Decks, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
DELUXE: From 144 sq. ft. (13 sq. m), a Deluxe Cabin is equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Captain’s Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
SUITE: From 215 sq. ft. (20 sq. m), a Suite is equipped with one double bed made up of two twin berths. Located on the Captain’s Deck, it has windows with exterior views and private facilities.
OWNER’S SUITE: From 208 sq. ft. (19 sq. m), an Owner’s Suite Cabin is equipped with one double bed made up of two twin berths. Located on the Bridge Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views. Cabin 403 has a bathtub and shower; other Owner’s Suites have showers.
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Would you like to include flights with your booking?
Competitive flight prices
Full refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
Specialist support to rearrange flights and transfers