Small Group Safari

Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

Explore the stunning Spitsbergen Archipelago aboard the M/S Freya or M/V Kinfish - intimate ship charters focusing on sightings of the amazing polar bear and other Arctic wildlife of Svalbard.

Duration 11 days
Price From $9,124
When Apr - Aug 2019
Destination Svalbard

Safari Overview

Explore the wildlife capital of the Arctic aboard some of the smallest expedition ships to cruise the icy waters of the Svalbard Archipelago. You will sail north from Longyearbyen exploring the western coast of Spitsbergen in search of colonies of walrus as well as other resident marine mammals. Setting sail during the heart of the Arctic summer the sea ice is fragmented sending ice floes along the eastern part of the Archipelago. Searching these principle hunting grounds for the polar bear, the M/S Freya and M/V Kinfish all allow close-up encounters with this majestic creature.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Navigate far into the icy north for close-up polar bear encounters.
  • Stay aboard an intimate expedition ship with as few as 11 other passengers.
  • Enjoy walking and sailing through incredible landscapes and breath-taking fjords and waterfalls.
  • Witness other Arctic wildlife including walrus, whales, Svalbard reindeer and more.

Travel at a fantastic time of year to witness Arctic wildlife roaming the islands around Spitsbergen.

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Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

Kate Humble & Natural World Safaris

In July 2018, we were lucky enough to have veteran BBC presenter Kate Humble join us as specialist leader on one of our Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer expeditions, on board the same ship – the M/S Freya – which fellow specialist leader David Yarrow travelled on the year prior. Kate’s passion for wildlife and the natural world has seen her feature in a cavalcade of much-loved television programmes like Springwatch and Animal Park, while she also involves herself in charity work for a number of conservation organisations, from the RSPB to the Marine Conservation Society.

Upon returning from her trip, Kate shared the following words with us:

”As you know, the beauty of great wildlife encounters is that they are unpredictable, and although knowledge and experience of a place can up your chances, there are no guarantees. The first talk I did for the guests was absolutely about that – that even with a BBC Natural History team, cameras, specialist guides and equipment, there is no certainty that you are going to find what you are looking for, and even if you do, see it doing something that is interesting enough to film. But the combination of knowledge of both the landscape, and the ice, with some luck, and a flexible itinerary, meant we not only saw over 30 polar bears throughout the trip, we also witnessed some really wonderful behaviour.

It was this that made our Svalbard safari a completely stand-out wildlife-watching experience.

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Longyearbyen

Today you will arrive in Longyearbyen ready to board your expedition ship in the afternoon and start your Arctic adventure. Meet your fellow passengers and sail through the spectacular icy fjords of the Svalbard Archipelago.

Days 2-10

Exploring Svalbard

Your time aboard the M/S Freya or M/V Kinfish will be spent exploring the Svalbard Archipelago in search of Arctic wildlife and frozen landscapes. The exact itinerary will depend upon the weather conditions, the density of the pack ice in the north and wildlife opportunities; as well as the chosen length of your trip. During your Arctic safari you can expect to visit ice-filled fjords framed by breath-taking snow-capped peaks, towering bird cliffs with colonies of seabirds numbering in their thousands and see gigantic glaciers crashing into the icy seas. Alongside stunning landscapes go in search of polar bears as they hunt for seals, seek out colonies of walrus basking in the sun and spot whales breaching in the icy seas. On shore you may come across Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer and, of course, the impressive Arctic flora.

Day 11

Depart Longyearbyen

You will arrive back into Longyearbyen in the early morning, disembark and then time to say your final farewells and begin your journey home.

Trip Details

Small Group Trip

This is a small group wildlife expedition. The M/S Freya and M/V Kinfish are small, intimate ships perfect for exploring the icy shores of the Svalbard Archipelago, ensuring your proximity to wildlife-rich areas of interest. Carrying between 12 and 16 passengers, they create unique and enchanting wildlife experiences with unrivalled up-close encounters of Arctic wildlife, including the mighty polar bear.

Trip LogS

To download trip logs from previous departures, please click the following links:

M/S Freya Trip Log 2016 | July 5-15
M/S Freya Trip Log 2016 | August 2-12  
M/S Freya Trip Log 2017 | June 19-29 

M/S Malmo Trip Log 2016 | July 15-24   
M/S Malmo Trip Log 2017 | June 3 -11 
M/S Malmo Trip Log 2017 | August 22-September

M/S Sjoveien Trip Log 2017 | August 4-14

Dates and prices

2019 Departures

Date   Trip Length  Price From  Ship  Max Passengers  Specialist Guide 
April 25 - May 3
9 Days  £9,495 M/S Freya 16 David Yarrow
May 7 - 17
11 Days  £9,495 M/V Kinfish
12 Chase Teron

May 17 - 25

9 Days  £7,295 M/V Kinfish
12
May 25 - Jun 4 11 Days  £9,495 M/V Kinfish
12 Steve Winter

Jun 4 - 14

11 Days  £8,395 M/V Kinfish
12

Jun 14 - 24

11 Days  £8,395 M/V Kinfish
12

Jun 24 - Jul 4

11 Days  £8,395 M/V Kinfish
12

Jul 4 - 14

11 Days  £8,395 M/V Kinfish
12

Jul 14 - 24

11 Days  £8,395 M/V Kinfish
12

Aug 10 - 20

11 Days  £8,995 M/S Freya 16 TBC
Aug 20 - 30 11 Days  £8,995 M/S Freya
16 Shannon Wild and Russ MacLaughlin
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Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Svalbard safaris.

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Safari Reviews

  • Words do no justice - a life-changing experience and trip. Our hearts and minds are still way up North in the High Arctic, where they shall remain until we return some day henceforth. Words... do no justice to this experience...

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • The trip was well organised with the best team leaders in Annette and Ronnie that i could wish for. The boat was comfortable and well equipped with a friendly crew who couldn't do anymore for us. The food was fabulous and plentiful with a super atmosphere. David Yarrow was a brilliant bonus for me - I learnt a ton.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • I would like to thank you for the most fabulous trip to Svalbard. The entire experience was absolutely amazing... far beyond my expectation. Everything was phenomenal. Mats and Nate, Chase, the M/S Malmö crew, and the entire group were beyond words. Simply fantastic. I can't thank you enough for arranging this trip.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • What an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We felt like true explorers with this unique environment all to ourselves. The wildlife and nature sightings were breathtaking, while the guides and Kinfish team were professional and educative. Lorna and Alice were incredibly helpful with regards to packing recommendations, and all other details. The service on board was also outstanding, as was the dining. I particularly enjoyed the lectures from Ben and Pernille!

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    5 out of 5
  • Very well organised from the booking process onwards. Excellent staff - efficient, courteous, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, hard-working (this includes Natural World Safaris staff and the crew of the M/S Freya).

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Fantastic sightings; great guides; lovely crew; characterful ship! Fulfilled more than I'd hoped. Thank you!

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Excellent - great destination, smooth and stress-free, top guides and David Yarrow was fantastic.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Incredible – lived up to all expectations and more. The guides were fabulous, the crew also first-rate and the experience created for us was beyond all doubt spectacular.

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    5 out of 5
  • Fantastic trip on the M/S Malmo. Great guides in Hadleigh Measham and Mats Forsberg, not to mention the ship's crew, with a special shout out to Paul the Chef!!! Also great to have Alice from NWS on board – she's written a great blog already. The team really worked hard to give us all a wonderful Arctic experience. Just awesome – way beyond my expectations and because we were only a small expedition it was very personal and we went places I imagine a bigger ship/group would not have been able to go.

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    10 out of 5
  • The trip was amazing! It was incredible to be the only boat out in the waters. We were able to make changes based on the weather and the wildlife, which made the trip that much better. We were very lucky that Shannon sighted a polar bear swimming in the water. It was amazing being able to watch him come to shore on the zodiacs and wander around the ice and the glaciers. We were so lucky!

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer with Shannon Wild & Russ MacLaughlin

    5 out of 5
  • It was one of the best trips we’ve had in our life. Everything was great: the nature, the animals we saw, the crew, the guides, the chef and all the guests on board. We also liked the fact that we were a small group, giving us the feeling of an expedition (with a reasonable degree of comfort).

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    5 out of 5
  • It was an amazing experience, great group and excellent crew made it unforgettable all-round.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • It was a great trip. Svalbard is such a beautiful place - being able to travel among the icebergs and see polar bears walking around is really something special for me.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Our expedition ship, the M/S Freya, was perfect with regards to the newly refurbished cabins, viewing decks and bridge. The guides were amazing and very professional – their knowledge was excellent. Enjoyed their wealth of knowledge and would even launch the zodiacs at midnight. Excellent lectures.

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    4 out of 5
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