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Polar Bear Adventures in the Midnight Sun

An expedition exploring the Svalbard Archipelago aboard the MS Expedition

  • 13 July 2019
  • 12 July 2020
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Expedition Cruising
  • Polar Bear

There are few places that measure up to Svalbard, where you can be assured that nature in its purest form will provide highlight after unexpected highlight. This remote and spectacular archipelago of immense glaciers, narrow fjords and abundant wildlife is a true Arctic wilderness and is home to species such as polar bears, walrus, seals and whales, all of which we have good chances of seeing during our expeditions. During summer, when the sun never sets, the tundra experiences a warm awakening and ice-peppered fjords ring with the thunderous sound of glacial ice crashing to the sea. The flora and fauna take advantage of the short but extreme summer with blooming flowers and active wildlife.

For these Arctic adventures we are delighted to be working with G Adventures and their vessel, the MS Expedition. The vessel’s ice strengthened hull, shallow draft and superior manoeuvrability coupled with a veteran crew will allow us to access the bays, fjords and pack ice, and the ship’s fleet of Zodiac landing craft will enable us to explore even further, get close to wildlife and make landings for walks ashore. Svalbard remains a relatively untouched archipelago of astounding beauty and many of our planned locations are pristine and rarely visited. During our voyages you will experience nature in its purest form in the High Arctic and joining you on board will be a knowledgeable expedition team which includes naturalists and geologists, all of whom have a genuine passion for the Polar regions. Their expertise and professionalism will enhance your cruise in so many ways.

The voyage is undertaken in the spirit of discovery; the pace is unhurried and the options are many, so the day-by-day itinerary shown is a thoughtfully considered framework based on the vessel’s long experience in this region.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • What to Expect...

    In order to achieve the most with our time in the Arctic, flexibility will be crucial and changes to the itinerary may be made following a local reconnaissance, a change in the weather, ice conditions or wildlife sightings. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from a ship’s log from previous voyages which will provide you with an idea of what to expect.

    Bellsund, Svalbard - Early this morning we sailed into the mouth of Bellsund, with snow-covered mountains rising to north and south and our destination for the morning ahead. After breakfast, we took two scout boats along the shore in the vicinity of Alstrandodden to check for the presence or past presence of polar bears. We saw some fresh-looking tracks, but no bears, and a small group of white reindeer, so after breakfast brought everyone ashore for a hike or slow meander. We watched the reindeer browsing on the vegetation and a lone male comfortably slouched on the snow, a large bearded seal fishing in the fjord, many flights of geese overhead and a few grazing on land, little auks, eider and black guillemots bobbing in the bay below us, purple sandpipers and snow buntings flitting about the tundra, and the changing scenery as the sun shifted its way across the dramatic slopes and strata on the mountains. We returned regretfully to the ship for lunch, then immediately set off again to explore the front of Nathortbreen, a long glacier at the end of Vankeulen Fjorden. Six Zodiacs slowly wove between the stranded bergs. Back on the ship, we headed back out towards the mouth of Bellsund, watching for bears, and turned south into picturesque Recherchfjorden, with 1205 metre high Berzeliustunden towering above us and several glaciers flowing smoothly down to the sea. The day continued sunny, mild and windless, adding to our intense pleasure at being more than 77 degrees north in this spectacular land. At last! Sue spotted a big polar bear in amongst some reindeer, each ignoring the other. The bear gave us about 15 minutes of viewing before it disappeared into a hollow, quite unconcerned about our presence. After that, a couple of fat bearded seals on ice pans seemed tame by comparison, but rounded out the day’s haul of wildlife nicely.

    Moffen Island, 80°n - A grey day greeted us as we approached Moffen Island, an oval ring of gravel immediately north of the 80°N line of latitude, where a large herd of approximately 100 walrus lay huddled together just above the water. Others hauled their way up to join them and yet more rolled in the light surf or offshore. The herd was surrounded by dozens of eider ducks and some brent geese and a few skuas watched for their chance at an easy meal. For most of us, this was our furthest north point, but we weren’t finished yet as, over breakfast, we steamed even further pole ward towards the ice edge to see if we could find some ice firm enough to walk on and/or some more walrus or polar bears. The first strip of jammed-together chunks of ice, perhaps a mile long, produced our first bear of the day. Callum had the watch and saw the lovely fat bear haul a skinned seal up on the ice, where a crowd of glaucous gulls were eager to share in the catch. We watched until the bear grew uneasy and moved away from his kill, at first plunging into the sea and then clambering back onto the ice where he appeared to be having some difficulty manoeuvring over the ice chunks and intervening water spaces, so we left him in peace and set off further north passing more ice strips, moving in and out of fog banks. We reached about 80° 40’N before we began to head back south. The day would have been complete with a couple of whales and, sure enough, up popped two bowheads, one of the rarest of northern whales hunted to near extinction by the last century.

    More information

Expedition

Expedition

The 134 passenger Expedition was completely refurbished in 2009 and is perfect for our Arctic explorations being large enough to provide stability, speed, spacious cabins and ample public space, yet small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas and get you close to the action. She provides an intimate small ship cruising experience.

View vessel details

Itinerary

  • Kittiwakes
  • Walrus

Day 1 - London Heathrow to Oslo.

Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. This evening is at leisure to relax and explore independently.

Day 2 - Oslo to Longyearbyen.

After breakfast at our hotel transfer to the airport for the flight to Longyearbyen. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Expedition for embarkation. Sail this evening.

Days 3 to 11 - Spitsbergen.

During our time exploring Spitsbergen, each day will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet to offer such a plethora of natural and historical extravaganzas. Spend the next nine days exploring ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery, and glaciers flowing into the sea. Spend time moving through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals. Ivory gulls will be a highlight for the birders. Keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches. Ice permitting, we will visit spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Shore stops will be highlighted with tiny tundra flowers and the expedition team will be on hand to answer any questions about this spectacular wilderness. Our goal is to give the best possible opportunity to see wildlife in and around the Svalbard archipelago. Ice conditions sometimes allow for sailing through the Hinlopenstretet towards the east coast of Spitsbergen, then through Freemansundet towards the south. By sailing later in the season when some of the ice has melted we hope to cover more territory, which may allow the chance to explore the entire archipelago. This can lead into the less explored regions of Nordaustlandet and Kvitøya, or the continental edges where large whales are attracted by nutrient rich upwellings. The flexibility of not having a set itinerary allows us to take advantage of weather conditions and wildlife sightings and the experienced Captain and Expedition Leader will take the best advantage of these factors to maximise your Arctic experience. Our last evening on board will be spent anchored off Longyearbyen.

Day 12 - Longyearbyen to London Heathrow.

Disembark this morning for our scheduled flight to London via Oslo. Arrive this evening.

  • Guillemots
  • Svalbard
  • Exploring by zodiac

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER - SAVE £400 PER PERSON FOR 2019 DEPARTURE AND £500 PER PERSON FOR 2020 DEPARTURE
Prices per person based on double occupancy
13 to 24 July 2019
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Category 2 Twin with two lower berths/porthole £6595 £6195
Category 3 Twin with two lower berths/window £7095 £6695
Category 4 Superior with two lower berths/window £7995 £7595
Category 5 Suite with queen bed/lounge area/window £8795 £8395
Category 3 for sole use £10395 £9995
12 to 23 July 2020
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Category 2 Twin with two lower berths/porthole £6795 £6295
Category 3 Twin with two lower berths/window £7295 £6795
Category 4 Superior with two lower berths/window £8195 £7695
Category 5 Suite with queen bed/lounge area/window £8995 £8495
Category 3 for sole use £10995 £10495

Tour Reference Code: SCEX130719/SCEX120720

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel • Overnight hotel accommodation in Oslo with breakfast • 10 nights aboard the MS Expedition on a full board basis • Shore excursions • Expedition team and lecture programme • Parka jacket • Transfers • Use of wellington boots on board the MS Expedition • Port & airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, gratuities.

NB. Please note that the 2020 itinerary is subject to flight schedules to Longyearbyen which have yet to be released. Once we have these details finalised it may be necessary to amend the dates or the itinerary and planned hotel stays.

  • Deckplan

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Expedition

The 134 passenger Expedition was completely refurbished in 2009 and is perfect for our Arctic explorations being large enough to provide stability, speed, spacious cabins and ample public space, yet small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas and get you close to the action. She provides an intimate small ship cruising experience.

 
  • MS Expedition in Antarctica
    MS Expedition in Antarctica
  • MS Expedition
  • Zodiacs
    Zodiacs
  • Expedition in Antarctica
  • Polar Bar
    Polar Bar
  • Mud Room
    Mud Room
  • Dining Room
    Dining Room
  • Expedition Lounge
  • Category 3 Cabin
    Category 3 Cabin
  • Category 5 Cabin
    Category 5 Cabin
  • Category 5 Cabin
  • Category 4 Cabin
    Category 4 Cabin
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite 

    There are a range of cabins and suites available and all feature outside views (window or porthole), full private en-suite bathrooms a writing desk and reading desk. Category 2 cabins measure 15sqm with a porthole, Category 3 cabins measure 15sqm with a window and Category 4 cabins measure 15sqm with a large window. These cabins categories all have twin beds. Category 5 suites measure 30sqm, have multiple windows with a separate living and sleeping area and have a Queen size bed.

  • Your Space

    Your Space 

    Spacious public areas provide panoramic views of the beautiful Arctic landscapes and include the Polar Bear Pub, Discovery Lounge, and a fine dining room serving international cuisine, large enough to accommodate all passengers in one sitting. There is also a barbecue deck, a top 360° view observation deck and a fitness centre and sauna. Enjoy a casual drink in the Polar Bear Pub with direct access to the back deck, relax with a book in the Lonely Planet Library or with a glass of wine in the Discovery Lounge, spend your days on the observation deck enjoying fantastic scenery and keeping your eyes peeled for passing wildlife. The Expedition Lounge is equipped with state of the art audio visual equipment, including multiple screens and will host the lectures, evening films and pre landing briefings and recaps.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining 

    Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner is served to your table in the dining room which can accommodate all passengers in one sitting. The Dining Room features large windows so whilst dining you are not missing out on the spectacular scenery. All meals include a vegetarian option and most dietary requests can be accommodated with advance notification. Afternoon tea is also served daily.

  • Life On Board

    Life Onboard 

    The expedition team includes experts in marine biology, history and geology with one onboard expert for every 10 guests. Together they provide a vast in-depth knowledge and experience that will enrich your travels in unforgettable ways. A fleet of Zodiacs are used for landings and nature cruises, and an open bridge policy allows interaction with the Captain and navigation crew, further fostering the expeditionary nature of every voyage.

  • For your comfort

    For you comfort

    Ship stabilisers ensure a smooth ride in rough waters allowing you to enjoy more of your time at sea and with a focus on security and comfort, the crew of the MS Expedition is committed to the ship’s continued safe operation. The ship has forward-looking sonar which further enhances its adept abilities in navigating the Arctic waters, the ship being designed to Ice Class 1B specifications for service in sea ice. G Adventures’ environmental policies meet and exceed industry regulations and with a keen focus on their guests’ comfort, you will be provided with both a parka jacket and rubber boots for use on board, the jacket being a gift for you to keep as a memento of your expedition.

  • Ship Directory

    Ship Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the vessel or click on the booklet to download.

    We are delighted you have chosen the MS Expedition for your upcoming voyage. The 134 passenger vessel is large enough to provide stability and speed and yet small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas, making her an ideal vessel for expedition cruising. Completely refurbished in 2009, the atmosphere on board is relaxed and informal with ample public space; relax with a book in the Discovery Lounge or perhaps join new found friends in the Polar Bear Pub to discuss the day’s events and wildlife sightings.

    The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft and the Captain, Officers, expedition team and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and expertise. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable ship. In addition, the expedition team, with their in-depth knowledge and experience, be it marine biology, history or ornithology, are dedicated to offering you the best possible experience during your time on board and ashore.

    We hope this information booklet answers any questions you may have pertaining to the vessel and wish you a pleasant voyage. 

    AIR CONDITIONING

    The ship is air conditioned throughout. All cabins have individually controlled air conditioning.

    ALARM

    An alarm will be sounded in the event of emergency. Please follow the instructions provided on board for what to do in the event of emergency.

    ALL ABOARD

    Your times for embarkation and disembarkation will be provided by your Expedition Leader.

    ALTERATIONS TO THE SCHEDULE

    Our planned schedule may be changed at short notice due to weather conditions or technical reasons. Should there be any alterations the Captain or Cruise Director will inform you of any changes.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    The ship uses a public address system to advise guests of all important information and activities during the cruise. Announcements can be heard throughout the public areas of the ship and in all cabins. Please listen out for these announcements as they will be of importance or interest.

    BAR/BEVERAGES

    A bar offering soft and alcoholic drinks is available in the Discovery Lounge and Polar Bear Pub. Individually purchased drinks consumed throughout your journey should be settled at the end of your journey.

    BRIDGE

    Permission to visit the ship’s Bridge may be requested. Please note this is a working area and access may sometimes be restricted, for example, during manoeuvres or bad weather conditions.

    CABINS

    All cabins include en-suite bathroom facilities and are fitted with a writing desk, 2 twin beds (other than Suites) and a reading chair. The cabins details are as follows:

    Category 1 (Triple) Deck 2 – Cabin size 15m2 with porthole window.

    Category 2 (Twin) Deck 2 – Cabin size 15m2 with porthole window.

    Category 3 (Twin) Deck 3 – Cabin size 15m2 with window.

    Category 4 (Twin) Deck 4 – Cabin size 15m2 with large window.

    Category 5 (Suite) Deck 5 – Cabin size 30m2 with up to 4 large windows, queen bed, sitting area with sofa and fridge.

    COMMUNICATION

    The vessel has a satellite internet system on board that allows passengers to send emails whilst on their voyage. Please note that throughout the sailing, signal strength may vary and therefore internet reception cannot always be guaranteed. Prices are available on request.

    CURRENCY

    The currency on board is US Dollars. Your ship account will be payable at the end of your cruise by cash (in Dollars) or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). Please note that debit cards are not accepted.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced on board and delivered to your cabin each evening.

    DRESS CODE

    The dress code on board is informal. We recommend that you bring comfortable, casual clothes that can be layered according to the temperature and that you also bring entirely waterproof outer layers of clothing. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes with rubber soles or other non-slip soles when moving around inside the ship. Please note that you will be provided with a complimentary parka jacket for use during the voyage and to then take home, plus a calf to knee-high pair of rubber boots for use on board the ship and during shore excursions only.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electrical supply aboard the ship is 220 volts, 50Hz, AC power and outlets take Scandinavian two-prong plugs. We recommend you take a universal adaptor with you.

    EMERGENCY AND SAFETY PROCEDURES

    Full details of the ship’s emergency and safety procedures will be provided following your embarkation. There is a Doctor and a Medical Centre on board.

    END OF CRUISE DISEMBARKATION

    Your Expedition Leader will provide you with detailed disembarkation information prior to the end of your cruise. This will include transfer information (where applicable). If you should have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Expedition Leader as soon as possible after embarkation.

    EXPEDITION LEADER

    Throughout your cruise you will be accompanied by an experienced Expedition team, to include Naturalists and Zodiac Drivers, who will be happy to assist you with any queries or requests.

    FIRE SAFETY

    On your cabin door is a deck plan displaying your closest (and all other) emergency exits. Emergency exits are marked in green and fire extinguishers fitted in all corridors.

    FITNESS ROOM

    An exercise area is available for passenger use on deck 6 of the vessel. If you intend to use the gym, please ensure you dress suitably.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have not been included in your holiday cost and are entirely at your own discretion. As a recommendation we would suggest tipping 10 - 15 US Dollars per passenger per day.

    GIFT SHOP

    A small shop selling a number of souvenir and practical items is located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    HAIRDRESSER

    There is no hairdresser on board. Hairdryers are available on request from the ship’s reception.

    HOUSEKEEPING

    Your cabin will be cleaned once a day and you will be provided with a ‘turn down’ service at night.

    LAUNDRY

    A laundry service is available at additional charge (prices available in your cabin).

    LIBRARY

    A small selection of books is available for use on board. The library can be located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    LIFT

    There is no lift on board the vessel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Lost property can be handed in to the ship’s reception. Please ensure you have all of your belongings with you before you return home. Should you leave items on board the ship we are only able to return them to you at your own cost.

    MEALS

    The dining room is located on deck 5 of the vessel and seats all passengers at a single sitting. The chef will serve three meals a day; breakfast and lunch are buffet style and dinner will be served. There is a small self-service tea and coffee station located in the ship’s lounge. Dietary requests can be catered for (on request). Please provide any such requests in writing to Noble Caledonia at the time of your reservation and please reiterate these requests to the ship’s Hotel Manager upon your embarkation.

    MEDICAL

    The vessel is equipped with a Medical Centre. A Doctor is on call 24-hours a day when at sea. When docked, emergency care may be obtained through local medical facilities. Guests may be charged for medical services and for medications used for their medical treatment. The Medical Centre is not intended or designed to provide ongoing treatment for pre-existing conditions or for extended critical care.

    MOSQUITOES

    Please ensure you take the appropriate precautions to guard against mosquito bites.

    MUD ROOM

    A large, heated Mud Room is located on deck 2 of the vessel.

    OBSERVATION DECK

    An observation deck is available to passengers throughout the sailing. Please note the deck may have to be closed during periods of inclement weather.

    PAYMENTS ON BOARD

    The official currency on board is the US Dollar. Upon embarkation, an account is opened for each passenger for charging shipboard expenses such as laundry, communication charges, drinks, gift shop, medical services/ medications, etc. Accounts are settled in US Dollars by cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) at the end of the cruise.

    POST

    The vessel’s crew will be happy to send any post you may have on your behalf (although please note that as they are unable to do so at every port of call, this could take longer than if you were to post yourself). Please note that neither the ship nor Noble Caledonia can be held responsible for items of post that are not successfully delivered on your behalf.

    RECEPTION

    Reception is staffed during peak hours. You will always be able to contact a member of the crew 24 hours a day.

    SAFE

    While no safe is available within your cabin, valuables can be stored without charge in the ship’s reception in a personal safe, for which you will be given a key.

    SAFETY

    The ship contains the latest in firefighting equipment and fully complies with the strict provisions of the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and its 1981, 1983, and 1988 Amendments.

    • The ship holds forward-looking sonar which reduces the risk of grounding on uncharted ground. • The vessel is designed to Ice Class 1B specifications for service in sea ice. • The vessel holds four totally covered lifeboats, providing capacity for all passengers and crew, while six life rafts have a capacity of 150 persons. • There are also full immersion cold weather survival suits for all passengers and crew.

    All officers are specially trained in emergency procedures, and regular drills are held to instruct the crew in their emergency duties. For passengers, a lifeboat drill is held within 24-hours of embarkation on each voyage. Attendance at this drill is mandatory.

    SAUNA

    A sauna room is available for passenger use on deck 2 of the vessel.

    SMOKING

    Smoking is not permitted in any of the passenger cabins. Smoking is only permitted in the designated area on the back deck, port side, of the Polar Bear Pub. Smokers are asked to use extreme care when smoking on the outer decks and to use the ashtrays provided.

    TELEPHONE

    A satellite telephone is available for passenger use at additional cost. This can be located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    VISITORS

    Visitors are not permitted aboard the vessel.

    WI-FI

    The vessel has a satellite internet system allowing Wi-Fi access in various public spaces. Please note that throughout the sailing, signal strength may vary and therefore internet reception cannot always be guaranteed. Prices are available on request.

    ZODIACS

    Much of the success we enjoy on our expeditions is due to the proper handling and usage of Zodiac landing craft. These rubber boats, of which there are 10 on board, are ideal for our operations; they have a shallow draft and contain air-filled compartments. Guests will be advised where and when to meet the Zodiac for travel to and from the ship. Please ensure that your hands are free at all times and accept the assistance given by the crew when boarding the Zodiacs. A Zodiac safety briefing will be given.

    Please Note:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Deck plans
    • Deckplan

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  • View all tours
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite 

    There are a range of cabins and suites available and all feature outside views (window or porthole), full private en-suite bathrooms a writing desk and reading desk. Category 2 cabins measure 15sqm with a porthole, Category 3 cabins measure 15sqm with a window and Category 4 cabins measure 15sqm with a large window. These cabins categories all have twin beds. Category 5 suites measure 30sqm, have multiple windows with a separate living and sleeping area and have a Queen size bed.

  • Your Space

    Your Space 

    Spacious public areas provide panoramic views of the beautiful Arctic landscapes and include the Polar Bear Pub, Discovery Lounge, and a fine dining room serving international cuisine, large enough to accommodate all passengers in one sitting. There is also a barbecue deck, a top 360° view observation deck and a fitness centre and sauna. Enjoy a casual drink in the Polar Bear Pub with direct access to the back deck, relax with a book in the Lonely Planet Library or with a glass of wine in the Discovery Lounge, spend your days on the observation deck enjoying fantastic scenery and keeping your eyes peeled for passing wildlife. The Expedition Lounge is equipped with state of the art audio visual equipment, including multiple screens and will host the lectures, evening films and pre landing briefings and recaps.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining 

    Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner is served to your table in the dining room which can accommodate all passengers in one sitting. The Dining Room features large windows so whilst dining you are not missing out on the spectacular scenery. All meals include a vegetarian option and most dietary requests can be accommodated with advance notification. Afternoon tea is also served daily.

  • Life On Board

    Life Onboard 

    The expedition team includes experts in marine biology, history and geology with one onboard expert for every 10 guests. Together they provide a vast in-depth knowledge and experience that will enrich your travels in unforgettable ways. A fleet of Zodiacs are used for landings and nature cruises, and an open bridge policy allows interaction with the Captain and navigation crew, further fostering the expeditionary nature of every voyage.

  • For your comfort

    For you comfort

    Ship stabilisers ensure a smooth ride in rough waters allowing you to enjoy more of your time at sea and with a focus on security and comfort, the crew of the MS Expedition is committed to the ship’s continued safe operation. The ship has forward-looking sonar which further enhances its adept abilities in navigating the Arctic waters, the ship being designed to Ice Class 1B specifications for service in sea ice. G Adventures’ environmental policies meet and exceed industry regulations and with a keen focus on their guests’ comfort, you will be provided with both a parka jacket and rubber boots for use on board, the jacket being a gift for you to keep as a memento of your expedition.

  • Ship Directory

    Ship Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the vessel or click on the booklet to download.

    We are delighted you have chosen the MS Expedition for your upcoming voyage. The 134 passenger vessel is large enough to provide stability and speed and yet small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas, making her an ideal vessel for expedition cruising. Completely refurbished in 2009, the atmosphere on board is relaxed and informal with ample public space; relax with a book in the Discovery Lounge or perhaps join new found friends in the Polar Bear Pub to discuss the day’s events and wildlife sightings.

    The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft and the Captain, Officers, expedition team and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and expertise. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable ship. In addition, the expedition team, with their in-depth knowledge and experience, be it marine biology, history or ornithology, are dedicated to offering you the best possible experience during your time on board and ashore.

    We hope this information booklet answers any questions you may have pertaining to the vessel and wish you a pleasant voyage. 

    AIR CONDITIONING

    The ship is air conditioned throughout. All cabins have individually controlled air conditioning.

    ALARM

    An alarm will be sounded in the event of emergency. Please follow the instructions provided on board for what to do in the event of emergency.

    ALL ABOARD

    Your times for embarkation and disembarkation will be provided by your Expedition Leader.

    ALTERATIONS TO THE SCHEDULE

    Our planned schedule may be changed at short notice due to weather conditions or technical reasons. Should there be any alterations the Captain or Cruise Director will inform you of any changes.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    The ship uses a public address system to advise guests of all important information and activities during the cruise. Announcements can be heard throughout the public areas of the ship and in all cabins. Please listen out for these announcements as they will be of importance or interest.

    BAR/BEVERAGES

    A bar offering soft and alcoholic drinks is available in the Discovery Lounge and Polar Bear Pub. Individually purchased drinks consumed throughout your journey should be settled at the end of your journey.

    BRIDGE

    Permission to visit the ship’s Bridge may be requested. Please note this is a working area and access may sometimes be restricted, for example, during manoeuvres or bad weather conditions.

    CABINS

    All cabins include en-suite bathroom facilities and are fitted with a writing desk, 2 twin beds (other than Suites) and a reading chair. The cabins details are as follows:

    Category 1 (Triple) Deck 2 – Cabin size 15m2 with porthole window.

    Category 2 (Twin) Deck 2 – Cabin size 15m2 with porthole window.

    Category 3 (Twin) Deck 3 – Cabin size 15m2 with window.

    Category 4 (Twin) Deck 4 – Cabin size 15m2 with large window.

    Category 5 (Suite) Deck 5 – Cabin size 30m2 with up to 4 large windows, queen bed, sitting area with sofa and fridge.

    COMMUNICATION

    The vessel has a satellite internet system on board that allows passengers to send emails whilst on their voyage. Please note that throughout the sailing, signal strength may vary and therefore internet reception cannot always be guaranteed. Prices are available on request.

    CURRENCY

    The currency on board is US Dollars. Your ship account will be payable at the end of your cruise by cash (in Dollars) or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). Please note that debit cards are not accepted.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced on board and delivered to your cabin each evening.

    DRESS CODE

    The dress code on board is informal. We recommend that you bring comfortable, casual clothes that can be layered according to the temperature and that you also bring entirely waterproof outer layers of clothing. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes with rubber soles or other non-slip soles when moving around inside the ship. Please note that you will be provided with a complimentary parka jacket for use during the voyage and to then take home, plus a calf to knee-high pair of rubber boots for use on board the ship and during shore excursions only.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electrical supply aboard the ship is 220 volts, 50Hz, AC power and outlets take Scandinavian two-prong plugs. We recommend you take a universal adaptor with you.

    EMERGENCY AND SAFETY PROCEDURES

    Full details of the ship’s emergency and safety procedures will be provided following your embarkation. There is a Doctor and a Medical Centre on board.

    END OF CRUISE DISEMBARKATION

    Your Expedition Leader will provide you with detailed disembarkation information prior to the end of your cruise. This will include transfer information (where applicable). If you should have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact the Expedition Leader as soon as possible after embarkation.

    EXPEDITION LEADER

    Throughout your cruise you will be accompanied by an experienced Expedition team, to include Naturalists and Zodiac Drivers, who will be happy to assist you with any queries or requests.

    FIRE SAFETY

    On your cabin door is a deck plan displaying your closest (and all other) emergency exits. Emergency exits are marked in green and fire extinguishers fitted in all corridors.

    FITNESS ROOM

    An exercise area is available for passenger use on deck 6 of the vessel. If you intend to use the gym, please ensure you dress suitably.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have not been included in your holiday cost and are entirely at your own discretion. As a recommendation we would suggest tipping 10 - 15 US Dollars per passenger per day.

    GIFT SHOP

    A small shop selling a number of souvenir and practical items is located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    HAIRDRESSER

    There is no hairdresser on board. Hairdryers are available on request from the ship’s reception.

    HOUSEKEEPING

    Your cabin will be cleaned once a day and you will be provided with a ‘turn down’ service at night.

    LAUNDRY

    A laundry service is available at additional charge (prices available in your cabin).

    LIBRARY

    A small selection of books is available for use on board. The library can be located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    LIFT

    There is no lift on board the vessel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Lost property can be handed in to the ship’s reception. Please ensure you have all of your belongings with you before you return home. Should you leave items on board the ship we are only able to return them to you at your own cost.

    MEALS

    The dining room is located on deck 5 of the vessel and seats all passengers at a single sitting. The chef will serve three meals a day; breakfast and lunch are buffet style and dinner will be served. There is a small self-service tea and coffee station located in the ship’s lounge. Dietary requests can be catered for (on request). Please provide any such requests in writing to Noble Caledonia at the time of your reservation and please reiterate these requests to the ship’s Hotel Manager upon your embarkation.

    MEDICAL

    The vessel is equipped with a Medical Centre. A Doctor is on call 24-hours a day when at sea. When docked, emergency care may be obtained through local medical facilities. Guests may be charged for medical services and for medications used for their medical treatment. The Medical Centre is not intended or designed to provide ongoing treatment for pre-existing conditions or for extended critical care.

    MOSQUITOES

    Please ensure you take the appropriate precautions to guard against mosquito bites.

    MUD ROOM

    A large, heated Mud Room is located on deck 2 of the vessel.

    OBSERVATION DECK

    An observation deck is available to passengers throughout the sailing. Please note the deck may have to be closed during periods of inclement weather.

    PAYMENTS ON BOARD

    The official currency on board is the US Dollar. Upon embarkation, an account is opened for each passenger for charging shipboard expenses such as laundry, communication charges, drinks, gift shop, medical services/ medications, etc. Accounts are settled in US Dollars by cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) at the end of the cruise.

    POST

    The vessel’s crew will be happy to send any post you may have on your behalf (although please note that as they are unable to do so at every port of call, this could take longer than if you were to post yourself). Please note that neither the ship nor Noble Caledonia can be held responsible for items of post that are not successfully delivered on your behalf.

    RECEPTION

    Reception is staffed during peak hours. You will always be able to contact a member of the crew 24 hours a day.

    SAFE

    While no safe is available within your cabin, valuables can be stored without charge in the ship’s reception in a personal safe, for which you will be given a key.

    SAFETY

    The ship contains the latest in firefighting equipment and fully complies with the strict provisions of the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and its 1981, 1983, and 1988 Amendments.

    • The ship holds forward-looking sonar which reduces the risk of grounding on uncharted ground. • The vessel is designed to Ice Class 1B specifications for service in sea ice. • The vessel holds four totally covered lifeboats, providing capacity for all passengers and crew, while six life rafts have a capacity of 150 persons. • There are also full immersion cold weather survival suits for all passengers and crew.

    All officers are specially trained in emergency procedures, and regular drills are held to instruct the crew in their emergency duties. For passengers, a lifeboat drill is held within 24-hours of embarkation on each voyage. Attendance at this drill is mandatory.

    SAUNA

    A sauna room is available for passenger use on deck 2 of the vessel.

    SMOKING

    Smoking is not permitted in any of the passenger cabins. Smoking is only permitted in the designated area on the back deck, port side, of the Polar Bear Pub. Smokers are asked to use extreme care when smoking on the outer decks and to use the ashtrays provided.

    TELEPHONE

    A satellite telephone is available for passenger use at additional cost. This can be located on deck 4 of the vessel.

    VISITORS

    Visitors are not permitted aboard the vessel.

    WI-FI

    The vessel has a satellite internet system allowing Wi-Fi access in various public spaces. Please note that throughout the sailing, signal strength may vary and therefore internet reception cannot always be guaranteed. Prices are available on request.

    ZODIACS

    Much of the success we enjoy on our expeditions is due to the proper handling and usage of Zodiac landing craft. These rubber boats, of which there are 10 on board, are ideal for our operations; they have a shallow draft and contain air-filled compartments. Guests will be advised where and when to meet the Zodiac for travel to and from the ship. Please ensure that your hands are free at all times and accept the assistance given by the crew when boarding the Zodiacs. A Zodiac safety briefing will be given.

    Please Note:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Deck plans
    • Deckplan

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What to Expect...

In order to achieve the most with our time in the Arctic, flexibility will be crucial and changes to the itinerary may be made following a local reconnaissance, a change in the weather, ice conditions or wildlife sightings. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from a ship’s log from previous voyages which will provide you with an idea of what to expect.

Bellsund, Svalbard - Early this morning we sailed into the mouth of Bellsund, with snow-covered mountains rising to north and south and our destination for the morning ahead. After breakfast, we took two scout boats along the shore in the vicinity of Alstrandodden to check for the presence or past presence of polar bears. We saw some fresh-looking tracks, but no bears, and a small group of white reindeer, so after breakfast brought everyone ashore for a hike or slow meander. We watched the reindeer browsing on the vegetation and a lone male comfortably slouched on the snow, a large bearded seal fishing in the fjord, many flights of geese overhead and a few grazing on land, little auks, eider and black guillemots bobbing in the bay below us, purple sandpipers and snow buntings flitting about the tundra, and the changing scenery as the sun shifted its way across the dramatic slopes and strata on the mountains. We returned regretfully to the ship for lunch, then immediately set off again to explore the front of Nathortbreen, a long glacier at the end of Vankeulen Fjorden. Six Zodiacs slowly wove between the stranded bergs. Back on the ship, we headed back out towards the mouth of Bellsund, watching for bears, and turned south into picturesque Recherchfjorden, with 1205 metre high Berzeliustunden towering above us and several glaciers flowing smoothly down to the sea. The day continued sunny, mild and windless, adding to our intense pleasure at being more than 77 degrees north in this spectacular land. At last! Sue spotted a big polar bear in amongst some reindeer, each ignoring the other. The bear gave us about 15 minutes of viewing before it disappeared into a hollow, quite unconcerned about our presence. After that, a couple of fat bearded seals on ice pans seemed tame by comparison, but rounded out the day’s haul of wildlife nicely.

Moffen Island, 80°n - A grey day greeted us as we approached Moffen Island, an oval ring of gravel immediately north of the 80°N line of latitude, where a large herd of approximately 100 walrus lay huddled together just above the water. Others hauled their way up to join them and yet more rolled in the light surf or offshore. The herd was surrounded by dozens of eider ducks and some brent geese and a few skuas watched for their chance at an easy meal. For most of us, this was our furthest north point, but we weren’t finished yet as, over breakfast, we steamed even further pole ward towards the ice edge to see if we could find some ice firm enough to walk on and/or some more walrus or polar bears. The first strip of jammed-together chunks of ice, perhaps a mile long, produced our first bear of the day. Callum had the watch and saw the lovely fat bear haul a skinned seal up on the ice, where a crowd of glaucous gulls were eager to share in the catch. We watched until the bear grew uneasy and moved away from his kill, at first plunging into the sea and then clambering back onto the ice where he appeared to be having some difficulty manoeuvring over the ice chunks and intervening water spaces, so we left him in peace and set off further north passing more ice strips, moving in and out of fog banks. We reached about 80° 40’N before we began to head back south. The day would have been complete with a couple of whales and, sure enough, up popped two bowheads, one of the rarest of northern whales hunted to near extinction by the last century.

Also of Interest


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In the Realm of the Polar Bear

An expedition exploring the Svalbard Archipelago aboard the MS Expedition

SPECIAL OFFER - SAVE £400 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Expedition
Expedition

Itinerary at a glance

  • Oslo, Norway
  • Longyearbyen
  • Spitsbergen
  • Longyearbyen

Tours 1 - 1 of 1
Tours 1 - 1 of 1

Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000