Last year, I went to Svalbard on MS Spitsbergen with Hurtigruten. I am still thinking about this trip every time I hear something about Svalbard or see pictures of the Arctic. I think back to my trip and wish I was there again.
I am jealous of the people that are going to travel there, although I have been already myself! But it was one of those once in a lifetime experiences for me and one of the best trips I ever had.
These are my highlights or best moments that made my trip so memorable.
SPOTTING THE FIRST WILDLIFE
While crossing the Barents Sea, all of a sudden an announcement was made that the captain has spotted a dolphin colony to the right of the ship.
This was on the very first day of the cruise and later I was told that dolphin sightings are rare in those waters and especially at the time of year, I was travelling. How lucky!
And this was only the beginning of many wildlife encounters.
The staff on board were amazing. The best I ever had without a question. They were friendly, attentive and always went the extra mile.
I really felt at home on board and as a result was very sad to leave the ship at the end of the trip.
EVERYONE LEAVING EVERYTHING BEHIND
Expedition cruises are spontaneous and unpredictable.
I took part in one of the activities offered on board when again an announcement was made that some whales were spotted. Everyone just ran off and left the guy from the Expedition team behind who was leading the activity.
It was really funny, but this is the nature of Expedition cruises and staff are of course not offended. Still, one minute we were crafting a zipper holder and the next we were all running towards the window, leaving the guy on his own. 🙂
MY FIRST LANDING
The first landing is very exciting. You are excited and curious how the landings are going to work and what you are going to see.
My first landing was in Burgerbukta, a fjord surrounded by several glaciers. Seeing my first glacier was special.
To me, it really marked the beginning of my Expedition journey and made me very excited of what else was to come.
UNPREDICTABLE NORTHERN LIGHTS SIGHTING
All cabins on board are fitted with phones that have an announcement function. Guests have the choice of turning this function off or leaving it on.
I decided to leave it on and one night received an announcement 2 am in the morning that Northern Lights appeared.
I jumped out of my bed, put on some clothes and ran up to the highest deck. And lucky me, I was rewarded with a faint Northern Light occurrence. My first Northern Lights!
Yes, they were not strong, but still amazing for someone who has never experienced this phenomenon before.
TALKING TO OTHER GUESTS
You may wonder why I put this into “my best moments”, but the guests on board played a critical part of my cruise experience.
I was travelling solo and I interacted with other guests on a daily basis. I had my own “friends circle” on board and also learned a lot from other guests.
One of the guests was a university professor and geologist and taught me about certain mineral compounds in rocks that you can find in Svalbard. This was super interesting.
Even the guests were so knowledgeable and everyone talked to everyone. So, although I was travelling solo, I never felt alone. It was just great.
You are in pristine waters, surrounded by ice, fjords and glaciers.
It was incredible to paddle in this environment with the clear sky and the sun shining upon you.
This was one of the highlights of my cruise.
The landing boats or Zodiacs get you close to the glacier and on the way pass several little icebergs and ice floes, pieces that broke of the glacier.
You get so close that you have the opportunity to see the different ice layers and colours. They are the most beautiful blue colours you will ever see.
This experience was just the best and so magical. I was lost for words.
This was a lot of fun and at the same time freeeezing! The most cold I have ever felt in my life, but totally worth it!
I got a polar plunge certificate and I am one of the few people who can say “I went swimming in Arctic waters!” 🙂
ONLY SNOW AND NOTHING ELSE
The landscape changed the further north the ship got. There was one landing, Mushamna, where there was nothing around us. Only snow and a trapper hut.
For me, I felt like I travelled to the end of the world. I have never seen that much snow in my entire life.
It was beautiful and one of these moments where I felt at peace and absolutely relaxed.
Related posts to my Svalbard adventure:
- MY HURTIGRUTEN EXPEDITION CRUISE IN PICTURES – SVALBARD, THE ARCTIC, PART 1
- MY HURTIGRUTEN EXPEDITION CRUISE IN PICTURES – SVALBARD, THE ARCTIC, PART 2
- PACKING TIPS FOR ARCTIC EXPEDITION CRUISES
- MS SPITSBERGEN – ARCTIC SUPERIOR 622 CABIN REVIEW