Special-interest holidays worldwide
Island Holidays
Established 1987

North Spitsbergen Sailing Cruises

Zodiac approaching the Rembrandt van Rijn

Locations in this tour typically include: Longyearbyen • Trygghamna • Alkhornet • Forlandsundet • Fuglefjorden • Birgerbukta • Ytre Norskøya • Raudfjord • Reindyrsflya • 14th of July Glacier • Ossian Sarsfjellet • Ny Ålesund • Magdalenafjorden • Bohemanflya • Gipsvika;

(RVR21 & RVR22 only) Liefdefjorden • Fuglesangen • Fuglehuken • Forlandsundet;

Route map

Spitsbergen North Route

Key facts

  • North Spitsbergen (Sailing)
  • Arctic expedition cruise with specialist expedition leaders
  • 2017 departures:
    12 May (RVR16)
    19 May (RVR17)
    26 May (RVR18)
    02 June (RVR19)
    09 June (RVR20)
    16 June (RVR21)
    27 June (RVR22)
  • Nights: 07 (11 nights on RVR21 & RVR22 only)
  • Cabin price from: £1,960* (£3,085* for RVR21 & RVR22 only) triple shared porthole
  • Deposit: 20%
  • Vessel: S/v Rembrandt van Rijn
  • Tour leader: Oceanwide Expeditions
  • * Please note that the prices quoted are for cruise only and do not include flights or hotel accommodation. We will arrange your flights and any accommodation but as fares and rates are subject to change, prices are quoted on request.
  • Spitsbergen North 2017 detailed itinerary
  • Spitsbergen 2017 Overview, dates & prices

The ship

S/v Rembrandt van Rijn was built as a herring lugger early last century. She was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in 1994. The vessel underwent a complete rebuilding and refurbishment program and the communication and navigation equipment has been completely renewed according to the latest SOLAS regulations.

S/v Rembrandt van Rijn

The Rembrandt is well suited for expedition cruising among small islands and offers excellent open deck viewing areas, even when under sail. The two inflatable rubber crafts (zodiacs) enable landing and wildlife viewing opportunities in otherwise inaccessible areas. Read more about the Rembrandt van Rijn

Your itinerary

Day 1
After arriving in Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ (actually the administrative centre) of Spitsbergen, you may wish to visit the Svalbard Museum which has an interesting collection on the history of Spitsbergen, the mining industry and polar exploration. In the evening we sail, setting course for Trygghamna where we will see the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and an 18th century Pomor hunting station, which we will visit the next morning.

Day 2
From Trygghamna we walk to Alkhornet a large seabird cliff, where the birds are prospecting their breeding places. Below the cliffs is a den of Arctic Fox, and Reindeer graze on the lush vegetation. In Forlandsundet we visit a haul out place of Walrus at Poolepynten if sea conditions allows, or at Sarstangen.

Day 3
Today we sail into Fuglefjorden with views on Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta, with breeding places for Great Skuas and good chances for bears. In Birgerbukta we find blubber ovens of the Basques. We will try to visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island which was used for many years as a lookout point for Dutch whalers. There we can still follow their tracks to the summit of the island, passing excellent bird cliffs on the way. On shore the remains of 17th century blubber ovens can be found, while Arctic Skua and Common Eider breed among the graves of 200 Dutch whalers.

Day 4
Raudfjord on the north coast of Spitsbergen is a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is also a favourite with Ringed and Bearded Seal, has good seabird colonies, and offers good chances for spotting Polar Bear and Beluga. Jermaktangen, at the fjord's eastern entrance, is a geography lesson in the erosion of the land by the sea.

Day 5
If sea-ice conditions allow, we may land on the northern-side of Reindyrsflya, the largest tundra area of Spitsbergen. The vast undulating plain is a good grazing area for reindeer and several species of waders also breed here. The area's lakes offer good chances of spotting Red-throated Diver and King Eider.

The itinerary now changes for the longer cruises RVR21 & RVR22 – see below.

Day 6
In the morning we are at the 14th of July Glacier. Not far from the glacier we see a breeding site for Brünnich's Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin. The guano of these bird colonies, the southward exposure and the sheltered situation, give rise to a relatively rich vegetation with many species of flowering plants. In the afternoon we sail to Ossian Sarsfjellet, where we can observe the Kittiwakes and Brünnich's Guillemots on the cliffs at close quarters. Alternatively we visit Ny Ålesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited village in the world, a centre for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions (Amundsen and Nobile for example). Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Common Eider, Arctic Tern and several species of wader can be seen at close quarters. The reindeers here are smaller than their mainland relatives and do not form large herds.

Day 7
In the morning we find ourselves on Bohemanflya an extensive tundra area with their own avifauna and spectacular geological formations along the coast. In Gipsvika deep inside Isfjorden were we will go ashore near the majestic cliff of Templet. It is a stunning area with spectacular mountains eroded into shape in the sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous created around 290 mio years ago.

Day 8
Departure by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.

RVR21 & RVR22 only

Day 6
We sail into Liefdefjorden and look Worsleyneset where King Eiders and Grey Phalaropes nest. Chances that fjord-ice is blocking our way to the front of Monacobreen and to the Warm springs in Bockfjord are there, but the life along the edge of the fjord ice is spectacular (chances for Bearded Seals, Polar Bears, foraging seabirds).

Day 7
In the morning we land at Fuglesangen, where we can sit near the Little Auks. Sailing southwards we visit Magdalenafjorden, one of the most beautiful places on Spitsbergen, with many impressive glacier faces. During a shore visit we will view the remains of 17th century English whaling activities. We can also visit some big seabird colonies particularly noteworthy for their Little Auk.

Day 8
Today we will visit Ny Ålesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited village in the world, a centre for polar research and a former starting point for many North Pole expeditions (Amundsen and Nobile for example). Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Common Eider, Arctic Tern and several species of wader can be seen at close quarters. The reindeers here are smaller than their mainland relatives and do not form large herds.

Day 9
In the morning we sail from Ny Ålesund to the 14th of July Glacier where we cruise in zodiacs. Not far from the glacier we see a breeding site for Brünnich's Guillemot, Auk and Puffin. The guano of these bird colonies, the southward exposure and the sheltered situation, give rise to a relatively rich vegetation with many species of flowering plants.

Day 10
On our way south, we will try to make a landing on Fuglehuken, where we see many remains form the Polar Bear hunting era. There are large seabird colonies and a haul out place for harbour seals. Alternatively we land on the coast of Forlandsundet at Engelskbukta or Sarstangen. Occasionally Walrus are hauled out here. The tundra offers some great walking in a beautiful setting.

Day 11
In the morning we find ourselves on Bohemanflya an extensive tundra area with their own avifauna and spectacular geological formations along the coast. In Gipsvika deep inside Isfjorden were we will go ashore near the majestic cliff of Templet. It is a stunning area with spectacular mountains eroded into shape in the sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous created around 290 mio years ago.

Day 12
Departure by scheduled flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.

Disclaimer: This itinerary is dependent on sea and ice conditions. The final itinerary will be decided by the ship's captain and your Expedition Leader to maximize opportunities.