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Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth - M/V Ocean Atlantic

- Trip code OARPX Polar
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We are currently calculating the carbon footprint for this trip
Days 11
Price from Call us
Flights not included

Why book this trip?

This itinerary is similar to the Realm of the Polar Bear, but with even more time dedicated to searching for the King of the Arctic. You will enjoy three additional days scoping the ice, oceans and tundra for polar bears, seeing plenty of glaciers and other arctic wildlife along the way. With the extra time, you may have the chance to circumnavigate the archipelago. You can really make the most of your Arctic adventure on this in-depth voyage.

  • Discover deep fjords - with icy blue glaciers & sculpted icebergs
  • Wildlife - enjoy spotting an array of sea birds, walrus, seals & polar bear
  • Regular Zodiac excursions - explore the rugged shoreline and elegant ice shapes
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 10

    Lunch: 9

    Dinner: 10

  • Trip staff

    Expedition Crew


  • Transport



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    10 nights premium boat

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    Trip pace:



Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Longyearbyen

Arrive into Longyearbyen (LYR), the largest settlement on the Svalbard archipelago. The town has a population of 2,060 people and about as many snowmobiles! Longyearbyen is located at 78°13N 15°33E and has an arctic tundra climate. Due to its location far north of the polar circle, it experiences polar night from mid-October to mid-February and polar day from mid-April to mid-August.

The Ocean Atlantic, will be docked close to the town centre. Embarkation will commence in the afternoon so you will have time to explore the town on your own, before the group transfer to the port. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures on board. Before setting sail, there will be a mandatory safety drill out on deck.. In the early evening, the ship will sail out of Advent Fjord and your Arctic adventure will commence.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Dinner

Day 2 - Around Spitsbergen

Each day will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Distances are relatively short in the archipelago and as there are no ocean crossings, the seas are normally calm. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. During the coming days, we will visit ice covered seas, fjords with breath-taking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea around us. We will spend time steaming through the ice in search of polar bears, hunting for seals. Ivory gulls will be a highlight for keen birders, while we keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches. Each voyage is different and the order of landing sites vary from trip to trip, depending on the ice conditions and wildlife sightings so the itinerary is always moveable. If weather conditions prohibit a landing, there are excellent facilities to enjoy aboard the Ocean Atlantic, such as the wellness centre and the sauna. You will be travelling with a team of expedition experts, who will share their knowledge of the region's wildlife, history and geology in fantastic lectures along the way.

Our visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give us the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent - but still elusive - polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of year the migrating birds have just arrived. They are all eager to settle and feed here for the coming summer months.

Further north from Longyearbyen, we plan to visit Ny Ålesund. This northernmost town, houses a few scientific stations, a post office and a single shop, which is opened specifically for visitors when they enter the town. You will have time to wander through the main street, talk with locals and buy some souvenirs, before returning to the ship. From here, the ship will generally head North, into the fjord system, and if the ice conditions allow, you may have the opportunity to Zodiac-cruise along the Lilliehook Glacier front.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3 - Around Spitsbergen

We enter North West Svalbard, declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a slow cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskoya to Amsterdamoya to make a landing at Smeerenburg. More than 200 men inhabited this legendary 17th century whaling town, during the heyday of blubber production. There are several interesting places to visit in this north-western corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow we'll make a landing on Ytre Norskoya, a former lookout post for the whalers.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4 - Around Spitsbergen

We'll head to Wood Fjord and its branch, the Liefde Fjord, where we hope to cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen. This gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs. The ice front is named after Albert I of Monaco, who was a major sponsor of Svalbard research. From here, the ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north, will be determined by time and weather, but the Captain will aim to reach the edge, possibly at 80 degrees north. This is the kingdom of the polar bear. As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey resides - seals! Bears who for unfortunate reasons, do not catch the ice moving north, remain in Svalbard all summer and sustain a diet of berries, eggs and any whale carcasses that they can find.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5 - Around Spitsbergen

During the day, lectures on wildlife, environment and culture can be enjoyed on board. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, our Captain will cruise slowly between the floes to look for wildlife.

We hope to visit the island of Nordaustlandet and hopefully its 7 smaller islands Sjuoyane in the far north of Svalbard. Weather permitting, we will land and walk on these northern landmasses - these high Arctic islands are quite barren, with moss and lichens covering the stones. The birdlife is rich in this area and some of the rarer gulls frequent these islands, so bring your binoculars. From here, we will cruise towards the Hinlopen Strait that divides Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6 - Around Spitsbergen

In the morning, we arrive and cruise slowly by the famous Alkefjellet. If the weather is clear, we will have a good view of the steep cliffs. The whole area is home to a dense congregation of Brunichs guillemots. During the summer, the breeding pairs offer a wild view of frantic activity, both along the cliffs and in the sea in front. More wildlife awaits, as we land at the polar desert landscapes of Torrelnesset. The beach here is home to a host of walrus, feeding on clams and other molluscs that they can find in the shallow waters of Svalbard.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7 - Around Spitsbergen

If the ice is passable, we can make it through the southern edge of the Hinlopen Strait and cruise through Freemansundet that separates Barentsoya and Edgeoya. We enjoy the views of the massive Kapp Lee on our way and pass through into Storfjorden.

We plan to make a Zodiac landing along Edgeoya's coast. Edgeoya is the third largest island in Svalbard with an area of more than 5000 square kilometres. During the night we will cross the southernmost part of Svalbard, called Sorkapp, before continuing up the western coast.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8 - Around Spitsbergen

Passing the southern edge of Spitsbergen, we will arrive at the entrance to Hornsund. The fjord is almost 30 kilometres long and many call it the most beautiful, with many glaciers that calve into the waters as well as towering mountains along the shores. The mountain tops are most often covered by dense clouds and East-Spitsbergen current often leads pack ice into the fjords mouth, offering some impressive scenery from the outer decks of the ship.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9 - Around Spitsbergen

The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so winter ice should now have melted. This allows us to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on this last full day of exploration. Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.

We will stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Varsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. Tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks, which the Svalbard reindeer love to graze. We will walk along the beach, spotting remains from early industrial eras. As we cruise during lunch, we'll cross the fjord along the 4 km long (but quite narrow) island of Akseloya. We will make a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord. Coal was extracted here in the early 1900s, but the enterprise never attained full production. Today, Calypsobyen offers an exciting landing that gives visitors a glimpse of the era of Neo-Industrialism, when all opportunities for profit were tried out. A pleasant walk can be made on the tundra behind the buildings.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10 - Around Spitsbergen

During the night we have entered Forlandssundet, that separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. Our destination is Poolepynten (Poole Point), a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by herds of walrus. These large mammals flaunt their tusks and whiskers, as well as their considerable bulk. Afterwards, we'll head southbound, towards the entrance to the Isfjorden. On our way towards Longyearbyen, we hope to get our last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard.


Grade: Premium Boat

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11 - Trip ends in Longyearbyen

We will dock in Longyearbyen in the early morning and will disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information
Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Dress on board is informal. Pack comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. Wind and waterproof outer layers are essential, and themost important piece of clothing you will bring is a parka. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton.
Boots are available to loan on board the ship.
Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost).
Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava.
Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good.
Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet.
Outer Clothing
Warm parka jacket, a ski jacket is ideal. Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship.
Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.


Complimentary, used waterproof boots will be supplied onboard. However, guests might want to bring their own if they are the following sizes due to the limited quantities onboard:
- men's UK size 12 & 13 1/2
- women's UK size below three & seven and above
Guests must bring their own if they are:
- men's UK size six 1/2 or smaller
- men's UK size 13 1/2 or larger
- women's UK size two or smaller
- women's UK size nine 1/2 or larger
These are rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knees with a strong, ridged non-skid sole.
You usually have to step from the Zodiac into icy water up to 30 cm high on most landings. Do not bring heavy, cumbersome boots that make it difficult to walk or boots with metal cleats as they cannot be used for landings. For maximum warmth, wear loose-fitting boots and two pairs of socks. Try out your boots before the voyage.



Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so
don't overload yourself.

Please note that a 15kgs luggage weight limit is sporadically enforced on the internal flight, occasionally charges may be levied against passengers taking luggage in excess of 15kgs.


Sunglasses and sun cream
Personal toiletries
A refilllable water bottle
Books/reading material
Camera and memory cards (and something to protect the camera when out in the elements)
Seasickness remedy
Walking poles
Personal First Aid


Local crew
The voyage fare does not include the customary, optional gratuity which is divided between the ships' crew, and hospitality staff. We suggest US$13 - US$15 per day as a guide. For the expedition team, between US$3 and US$5 per day. Both of these are entirely at your discretion. Gratuities can be added to your onboard account at the end of the voyage or paid in cash on board. Full details will be provided before you settle your onboard account.
International Departure Taxes
Most countries have airport departure and security taxes. These are generally now added to the cost of your flight ticket and will be quoted to you when you are arranging your flights.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Expedition, Zodiac

Ship description

The MV Ocean Atlantic allows you to explore the Arctic region in complete comfort. The ship was renovated in 2016 and has ample space on the multiple decks for lecture halls, a relaxed restaurant, bar area, pool and observation platforms. All common areas on the Erickson Deck feature large panel windows, enabling passengers to quickly spot passing wildlife. The ship has plenty of space as numbers are capped at 198 on a vessel that can carry three times more. Spacious deck and lounge areas, as well as stylishly appointed cabins, allow you to comfortably explore the polar regions.


The lead-in prices on our website are based on triple share. They are comfortable with a private toilet and shower, and are inside cabins. The Ocean Atlantic has a number of different cabin categories, ranging from singles, triples, twins, doubles and suites - all with two beds. Some cabins have larger windows, depending on your cabin grade. We can also offer single cabins as well as single occupancy at a supplement which will be subject to availability at the time of booking.

Ship dining

Onboard our expedition ship you'll find a diversity of gourmet international cuisines prepared and catered by professional chefs; all meals are included in the price of your expedition. Dining is casual, tables are unassigned and the dining room is capable of seating the entire passenger compliment at one time. There is always a selection of different meals available, and vegetarians will find plenty of options. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice; please advise us at time of confirmation. Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included and can be purchased in the dining room or at the bar.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Minimum age restrictions

For our group tours, the minimum age is 16. The minimum age on Family trips varies between 7 and 11 - please check the 'Family information' section of the trip page for more information. 

Your safety and enjoyment on tour

We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday, so we ask you to confirm when booking this trip that you are fit and able to fully participate in all elements of the itinerary. If you have any concerns about your fitness or ability to complete any of the activities, please get in touch with our Customer Relations team at as soon as possible. Our tour leaders are trained and experienced in managing differing abilities within a group, but if they have concerns about a group member’s ability to safely participate in any element of the itinerary or believe someone’s presence could affect the safety or enjoyment of the holiday for others, in accordance with our Booking Conditions our tour leaders have the authority to ask an individual to miss an activity or activities. This decision would never be taken lightly, but on the rare occasions our tour leaders ask someone to sit out part of the tour, refunds will not be offered and individuals may be liable for additional costs incurred. 


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Polar information
Ship information
The MV Ocean Atlantic allows you to explore the Arctic region in complete comfort. The ship was renovated in 2016 and has ample space on the multiple decks for lecture halls, a relaxed restaurant, bar area, pool and observation platforms. All common areas on the Erickson Deck feature large panel windows, enabling passengers to quickly spot passing wildlife. The ship has plenty of space as numbers are capped at 198 on a vessel that can carry three times more. Spacious deck and lounge areas, as well as stylishly appointed cabins, allow you to comfortably explore the polar regions.

Dates, prices and booking

📢 Prices may change - book now and today's trip price is guaranteed in our price promise


Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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