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Arctic Norway & Svalbard

Cruise the spectacular fjords of Svalbard in search of polar bears, reindeer & giant icebergs    

Arctic Norway & Svalbard

12 Days | From $11450

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Important Notes

Arctic Norway & Svalbard

Cruise the spectacular fjords of Svalbard in search of polar bears, reindeer & giant icebergs    

Arctic Norway & Svalbard

About your trip

Spot polar bears in the wild, cruise between giant ice floes and hike through an otherworldly Arctic landscape…

High in the Arctic Ocean – midway between Norway and the North Pole – lies Svalbard. This Norwegian archipelago will be your adventure land for the week as you hop aboard a unique summertime cruise through towering glaciers and frozen tundras to the magnificent polar ice edge. From polar bears stalking seals on sea ice to humpback whales, and vast colonies of walruses, you’ll seek out once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings in the pristine Arctic wilderness, accompanied by a team of seasoned experts. 

Daily shore landings, hiking trails and excursions by Zodiac boat will bring you face-to-face with some of Svalbard’s most astounding natural wonders, including dramatic fjords, hidden beaches and shifting ice fields. 

Wildlife lectures, an on-board hot tub and à la carte dining are all part of your Arctic sailing experience, too, as you and your Flashpackers bask in the glow of the magical midnight sun. With time in awesome Oslo bookending this voyage to the Great Unknown, there’s every reason to let your inner explorer run wild.

Please note that the cruise itinerary will vary, depending on ice and weather conditions. Sea kayaking is an optional extra activity with limited availability; we strongly advise booking early. Contact our sales team to secure your place. 

What's Included

  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 10 dinners
  • 9-day Arctic cruise (114 passengers)
  • Visitor permit for Arctic
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • 2 domestic flights
  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Cold weather kit including coat and boots
  • Experienced Pack Leader and expedition guides

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

Itinerary

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Your Itinerary

  • Day 01 Oslo Calling

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    Flashpackers, welcome to Oslo. Crowned “the newest capital of Nordic cool”, Norway’s hip coastal capital is a great place to begin your polar adventure. Summertime here is all about the good life: think street art, sculpture parks and island-hopping between the laid-back beaches of Oslofjord. Settle into your hotel in the heart of one of Europe’s greenest and most walkable cities before meeting with your group and Pack Leader in the early evening. Tonight, we’ll head to Oslo’s buzzing harbor promenade for a three-course welcome dinner. This is a chance to get to know your fellow Flashpackers while sampling the best of Norway’s cutting-edge culinary scene: think local seafood, deli cheeses and craft beer. As the Vikings would say, “skål!”

  • Day 02 Explore Oslo

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    Today we’ll embark on a private walking tour of the capital, with stops for food en-route. Since the centre of Oslo is pretty much car-free, a mosey around by foot is an ideal way to get a feel for the city’s lively neighbourhoods dotted with parks, museums and innovative architecture. Along the way, you’ll learn more about Norwegian culture, politics and society. Of course, eating is a key part of this insight – it’d be rude not to try some traditional snacks and treats. Norway’s setting amid a tapestry of mountains, forest and fjords has given rise to a trove of homegrown foodie treats spanning flatbreads, honey, cured meats, farm-fresh berries and more. We don’t need to ask you twice…

  • Day 03 Welcome aboard

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    Today, we’ll cut a dash to the High Arctic of Svalbard: Norway’s wild above-and-beyond situated in the Arctic Ocean. Our journey to the Polar North begins with a three-hour flight to Longyearbyen airport, the gateway town to the otherworldly Svalbard archipelago. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the staff of your polar expedition ship: your HQ for the next week of adventure. With a bar, hot tub, polar library and spacious suites onboard, your new home offers a rather lovely window onto the icy delights of the Arctic. Better still, you’ll be accompanied by an experienced team of polar professionals. Settle in with a briefing and evening meal as we set sail through the waters of Isfjorden, one of Svalbard’s largest fjords, in the glow of the endless evening light.     

  • Day 04 Arctic exploration

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    You and your fellow Flashpackers will spend the next six days sailing between the coasts and islands of western Spitsbergen – the main island of the Svalbard archipelago, and an area of immense natural beauty. Our itinerary will vary according to ice and weather conditions but – forecast allowing – we’ll aim for three excursions a day across a series of gorgeous tundra meadows, fjords and national parks. You’ll feel like a true explorer as you set forth on daily outings by Zodiac boat, with shore landings and hiking trails in the heart of the cinematic-style Arctic landscape. A small expedition setup like this offers a circle-seat to the region’s extraordinary wildlife including polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and more. 

  • Day 05 Arctic exploration

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    As we sail towards the polar ice edge – voyaging into an Arctic kingdom of snow-covered mountains, glaciers and icebergs – it’s like entering a different planet. This is prime polar bear territory, and you’ll likely spot one of the iconic creatures lumbering along the horizon, swimming or lounging on ice. You may even see a polar bear mother with her cubs. The inshore waterways of western Spitsbergen are a particular hotspot for polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat. Here, we’ll get as close to shifting ice floes as we can, in order to try and catch the dramatic interplay between bears and their large seal prey. Our wildlife experts, meanwhile, will be on-hand with live commentary to enhance each sighting.    

  • Day 06 Arctic exploration

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    Each new day in the vast Arctic outback brings something unexpected and new. South Spitsbergen National Park, with its polar deserts and towering mountain ranges, is a highlight. It’s home to Hornsund, a show-stopping fjord where mighty glaciers cascade down into icy inlets; with fast ice providing another ripe ground for polar bears to hunt in. Beautiful Bellsund, meanwhile, is an eerie bay boosting remains of the area’s long-past whaling trade, including wooden boats, cabins and thousands of whale bones. The park offers some jaw-dropping hiking routes, too, with a chance to see birdlife such as murres, guillemots and little auks nesting in the sea cliffs. Back on-board, why not continue your wildlife observations from the ship’s open-air sundeck?

  • Day 07 Arctic exploration

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    Another day of Arctic wonders beckons, as you immerse yourself in the outdoor theatre of Svalbard. Zodiac boat excursions, shore landings and far-flung hill or beach walks are the best way to get up-close to the astounding glacial terrain. On calm, sunny days, the ship also runs a series of sea kayaking trips as an optional extra. Designed for confident paddlers, kayaking provides a unique vantage point onto Spitsbergen’s mirror-still waters and frozen tundras. Without the sound of boat motors, this is also an opportunity for extra-special wildlife encounters. The fun continues onboard, with delicious a la carte dinners and time to bond with your fellow Flashpackers – as well as the ship’s wider community of international seafarers.

  • Day 08 Arctic exploration

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    This is a cruise full of wow-power, but one stop to truly make your jaw drop is Northwest Spitsbergen National Park. Because of its northerly location, we’ll be exposed to a lot more ice here – with the onset of the polar ice edge; the dynamic boundary between solid sea ice and open ocean. It’s also a particularly good area to see migratory Arctic seabirds, polar bears, walrus and marine mammals including orca, beluga, minke and humpback whales. Exploring the park, you’ll find evocative turquoise fjords fringed by jagged peaks and colossal tidewater glaciers. You’ll step into the history books, too, uncovering evidence from Svalbard’s earliest sealers and whalers.

  • Day 09 Arctic exploration

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    Just when you thought the polar wildlife couldn’t get more extraordinary – there’s more to come. Another jewel in our voyage across the Arctic archipelago is Prins Karls Forland in Forlandet National Park. This is one of Svalbard’s best places to observe huge colonies of walruses. Seeing hundreds of these large, gregarious animals hang out together is an epic experience indeed. We’ll also pass by North Isforden National Park, home to romping Arctic foxes and herds of grazing Svalbard reindeer. A further stop-off that all guests look forward to is Ny Ålesund. One of the world’s most northerly settlements, this tiny research town has a gift shop and post office; so you can send a postcard to loved ones back home.

  • Day 10 Arctic exploration

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    One particularly magical element of your summertime Arctic cruise is the prospect of midnight sun. Adding to the ethereal charm of the polar landscape, the phenomenon gives us more time to explore the surrounding terrain due to almost 24 hours of light. Equally, it creates a stunning backdrop for Arctic photography. Good job our resident photographer is available to share tips and masterclasses on framing the perfect shot. For braver souls, another tradition we have on-board the ship is that of the Polar Plunge. On a calm day, guests can choose to leap off the side of the boat into icy waters – swiftly followed by a spell in the hot tub. Wim Hof, eat your heart out.

  • Day 11 Back to civilisation

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    Ah, Flashpackers – we’ve come to the end of our thrilling foray into Svalbard and the Arctic North. There’s just time for one more lavish buffet breakfast before we disembark at Longyearbyen. We’ll bid farewell to the ship’s expedition crew then hop on a three-hour flight back to Oslo and the bright lights of all things civilization. Back at your city hotel, you’ll meet up once more with your Pack Leader. It’s time for final knees-up – aka, a three-course farewell feast by the waterfront, in the shadow of the ever-lovely Oslofjord. You’ve sailed the Arctic, marvelled at polar bears and bonded together over one of the planet’s last untouched areas of glacial wilderness. We think a cocktail or two is called for…

  • Day 12 Farewell, Norway

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    It’s been an adventure of unparalleled beauty and scale – not to mention new friendships – but today we draw the curtain on an unforgettable escape. After breakfast (Norway’s coffee culture is legendary, by the way), make your way back to the airport at your leisure. Or since Oslo is such a catch of a city, why not stay on a few days to meander around its world-class museums, microbreweries and indy boutiques? Wherever you head to next, we’ll guarantee you’ll be bitten by the famous “polar bug”. That is, an unwavering desire to return to one of the most mesmerizing places on Earth. 

Our Favorite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Clarion Hotel, Oslo

This contemporary hotel is situated in Oslo’s hip Bjørvika district, close to Oslo Opera House and the new Munch Museum. Expect sleek furnishings, an in-house art gallery and tasty cocktails on a terrace overlooking the Aker River.

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Polar expedition ship

This sturdy four-star polar expedition vessel carries a maximum of 114 passengers, making it more intimate and agile than your average cruise. With comfortable suites (all with portholes or windows), wraparound sundecks, WiFi, a library, hot tub and bar area, it’s your home away from home.

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Polar expedition ship

This sturdy four-star polar expedition vessel carries a maximum of 114 passengers, making it more intimate and agile than your average cruise. With comfortable suites (all with portholes or windows), wraparound sundecks, WiFi, a library, hot tub and bar area, it’s your home away from home.

Important Notes

How is this trip different from a normal Flash Pack adventure?

Normally, when you travel with Flash Pack you’ll be part of a group of up to 14 solo travellers, all in their 30s and 40s. You’ll also have a dedicated Pack Leader who will stay with you throughout the trip.

When you join our Arctic adventure, you’ll still be part of an exclusive Flash Pack group – who you’ll meet in Oslo and spend your entire adventure with, bonding over group meals and immersive activities. However, on board the cruise there will be up to 100 other passengers, of all different ages, travelling to the Arctic with you.

Your Pack Leader will accompany you during your time in Oslo and meet you again after the cruise. On board the ship there will be a team of expedition staff who will lead your activities and ensure you have a great trip.

Which airport do I need to fly into and out of (plus airport code)?

You’ll be flying in and out of Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (OSL) with internal flights organised by Flash Pack to and from Longyearbyen airport (LYR).

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Before 3pm ideally. The welcome dinner will be from 7pm in central Oslo.

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

There are no planned activities for Day 12, so you can leave any time that suits you.

Do you include airport transfers?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. 

Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

We don’t include departure transfers as Flashpackers leave at different times, but we will offer you support with finding a local taxi.

Do I need a visa?

You do not normally need a visa for Norway if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.

From 2024, ETIAS travel authorisation will be an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals travelling to European countries https://travel-europe.europa.eu/etias/what-etias_en.

We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.

How much should I budget per day for extras?

The Arctic cruise is inclusive of all meals. However, drinks (other than coffee and tea) aren’t included, and you may want to purchase souvenirs from the on board shop.

If you want to take part in sea kayaking (previous experience required) in the Arctic, these are at additional cost and subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Sea kayaking fee US$655 / £505

To book these activities, you’ll need to get in touch with our sales team. We strongly advise booking early to secure your place.

Are tips included?

Tips aren’t included in the cost of this adventure and are entirely at your discretion.

If you’d like to tip your Pack Leader, we recommend 20 USD per person per day.

Tips for cruise staff are collected anonymously at the end of the cruise and shared out equally. Again, 20 USD per day would be an appropriate amount.

What fitness levels do I need for this trip?

There is no required level of fitness to take part in this adventure, however you should be in good health as you will be a long way from full-scale medical facilities.

Once you reach the Arctic, there will be activities available, such as hiking and sea kayaking, but you can choose your level of exertion. For example, you can opt for an active hill hike or a more gentle walk along the beach.

To take part in the sea kayaking activity, you will need previous experience of paddling on open water and an appropriate level of fitness. This is due to the cold weather and changeable conditions, meaning you might have to paddle hard if the wind picks up.We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.

What’s the deal with Norway’s midnight sun?

June is part of the Norwegian summer, known for its long daylight hours due to the phenomenon of the midnight sun. Expect nearly 18 to 20 hours of daylight, providing ample time for sightseeing and outdoor activities. There will be blackout blinds available on the ship, to enable easier sleep.

Will there be WiFi on the ship?

Yes, there is high-speed Wi-Fi on board the ship. However, please note internet connection can be unstable in remote areas.

What will the ship be like?

You’ll be travelling on an outstanding four-star polar cruise ship. With a maximum of 114 passengers on board, the atmosphere is friendly and intimate, and you’ll be able to maximise your time spent exploring off the ship. Unlike the larger cruise ships, you’ll be able to navigate smaller channels and the ship is permitted to make shore landings.

Suites are spacious and comfortable, complete with ensuite bathroom, closet and television. All cabins are outward facing and have windows. A daily housekeeping service is provided.

Common areas include a large outdoor sundeck (perfect for wildlife viewing) with barbecue, an outdoor hot tub, a small gym, a polar library (ideal to enjoy some quiet moments), a small souvenir shop (open twice a week), as well as a bar and restaurant. There are laundry facilities on board, as well as a ship’s doctor.

You’re also welcome to spend time at the ‘Bridge’ (the Captain’s Deck), as long as conditions allow. Here, you’ll be able to witness the inner workings of your expedition’s command centre, and see how the Captain and crew use cutting-edge navigation and communication systems to plan a safe voyage.

What weather conditions can I expect?

Weather conditions in polar cruises are generally mild, with temperatures near freezing point. However, the continuous sunlight of 18 – 24 hour days adjusts your thermal temperature to the cold air. Passengers have been known to safely experience ‘t-shirt’ conditions.

Will I get sea sick?

While the ship is navigating between the Arctic islands, we may encounter rough seas. But once sheltered by islands in icebound waters, you won’t feel any ocean swell or heavy seas.

Anti-seasickness medication is available on board. If there is a particular brand you prefer, we recommend bringing your own. A ship’s doctor will travel with you as part of your Antarctic expedition crew.

What equipment will I need?

The ship’s staff will provide every Flashpacker with a specialised expedition parka to keep. It’s insulated, windproof and waterproof and has been designed purposely for guests on the Arctic trip, in order to easily adapt to sunshine or colder conditions. Flashpackers will also be provided with a pair of rubber boots for shore landings throughout the cruise. 

You’ll need your own winter clothing, too. Make sure you have good boots, thick socks and insulated waterproof gloves/mittens, as well as a winter hat, scarf/buff and insulated wind-resistant winter jacket. You’ll also want long-sleeved thermal base layers and a fleece. Don’t forget to pack a pair of insulated, waterproof trousers. In addition, you’ll be given a detailed pack list that details everything you’ll need prior to departure.

What will the food be like?

All food is included throughout the polar voyage, with three hearty meals a day, as well as a substantial 5 o’clock tea of sandwiches and cake. You can expect a full buffet breakfast, a buffet lunch with some meals to order, and an à la carte menu for dinner.


There is a complimentary tea and coffee station, open 24 hours. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available at extra cost.

Can my special dietary requirements be catered for?

Food allergies and special diets can of course be catered for on this trip, for example, if you are a vegan you will receive a vegan version of the same menu.

However extreme allergies like an extreme nut allergy cannot be catered for on this adventure, as all food is prepared in the same kitchen. Please bear this in mind when booking, and reach out to us if you think you will be affected.

Do I need any special insurance to visit the Arctic?

Yes. It’s mandatory for all passengers travelling to carry adequate travel insurance that must contain medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage. Passengers must ensure that their purchased insurance includes cruise travel in the polar regions, and has evacuation and repatriation coverage of no less than 200,000 USD per person. You’ll be asked to submit basic medical information prior to departure.

Will this itinerary change?

Absolutely! Travel to the Arctic is unpredictable and we keep our itinerary flexible to make the best of the seasonal and daily weather conditions. If one bay is inaccessible due to thick sea ice, there will be an equally beautiful one around the next headland. Likewise, while encounters with wildlife are highly likely, nature comes with no guarantees.

Your safety and comfort is paramount and your ship captain and expedition leaders will always make the best decisions for each voyage using the latest weather forecasting systems. This could affect landings and other activities that take place during the cruise. As a result, no two Arctic expeditions will ever be the same and you’ll have a truly unique experience.

Hotels and activities on the Norwegian mainland are also subject to change, due to availability or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

How do you ensure safety around polar bear sightings?

Svalbard is one of the best places to find polar bears in their natural habitat. In this High Arctic territory, polar bears can be seen engaging in natural behaviours such as stalking seals on sea ice, caring for their cubs, roaming across the vast tundra wilderness, and perhaps devouring a whale or walrus carcass. Remarkably close viewing can sometimes be had from the ship or on a Zodiac cruise. However, close encounters with polar bears on land must certainly be avoided. Polar bear safety will be paramount on your cruise to Svalbard.

Will we have a Pack Leader for the duration of the trip?

While you are in Oslo you will have a dedicated Pack Leader with you, but they will not accompany you on the cruise. On the cruise, you will have access to a team of naturalists and expedition experts who will be there to lead the activities and answer any questions you might have.

What should I pack?

To keep you warm in the polar conditions, you’ll be provided with a thermal overcoat and rubber boots for the duration of the cruise. However, please prepare for extreme weather and bring your own warm layers for day-to-day wear, including insulated, waterproof trousers.

What you pack is personal to you and our list is certainly not exhaustive. If you have any questions about what to pack for your trip to the Arctic, please get in touch with one of our friendly Trip Experts.

Baggage

  • A large backpack or suitcase – it’s up to you whether you bring a backpack or a suitcase
  • A day bag – this needs to be around 20-25 litres to fit your daily essentials in, such as water and your camera

Clothing

  • Thermal vests/base layers – if the weather gets cold, you may want to wear a thermal vest during the day and at night
  • Activewear – breathable and light materials are best as a base layer for most activities. Hiking tops are best as they have wicking properties that remove sweat, keeping you dry and warm
  • Fleeces/jumpers/down jacket – substantial, warm layers will be required
  • A warm, waterproof jacket – for general wear when you’re not on the cruise.
  • Outdoor trousers that are warm and waterproof
  • Scarf/hat/buff – a buff is particularly useful to cover your face if the wind picks up
  • Warm, waterproof gloves
  • Thin and thick socks – to wear in layers
  • Swimwear – there is a hot tub on board the ship
  • Polarised sunglasses – the bright snow can be blinding on sunny days (you might even want to bring a spare pair)
  • What you wear in the evenings is up to you, but you may want some nicer clothes for the evenings

Shoes

  • Day shoes – you’ll be provided with rubber boots to wear on board but a comfortable pair of trainers or boots will be useful for your time on land and for wearing inside the ship.

Accessories

  • Electricals and chargers, such as your phone, camera, chargers, etc
  • Plug socket adaptors – the standard plug socket in Norway is type C or F which have 2 round prongs. This is the same as most of Europe.
  • Refillable water bottle – refilling a bottle instead of buying single-use bottles will help to reduce our plastic footprint, consider an insulated winter water bottle
  • Eye mask and earplugs – if you’re a light sleeper, you may feel more comfortable bringing an eye mask and earplugs
  • Any personal medication you require
  • Personal toiletries, including a toothbrush, deodorant, razors, hairbrush, etc
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Moisturiser and lip balm
  • High SPF factor sun cream – this helps to protect your skin from the cold and the high UV levels due to the ozone layer being thinner here

OUR PROMISE

Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees

THE PEOPLE

Our mission to create 1 million friendships so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends. Want to know more about your group? GET IN TOUCH

THE SECURITY

We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

THE TRIPS

Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti SEE TRIPS

THE GUIDES

We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone.

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