Expedition Cruise to the White Sea – Norway and Russia Adventure

Expedition Cruise to the White Sea – Norway and Russia Adventure

From AUD $10,171


This is really a journey of two parts – the awe-inspiring scenery of the Norwegian coast, and the pristine isolation of Russia’s White Sea region. Hjørundfjord is our first stop – a beautiful fjord – before we sail across the Arctic Circle and visit the Lofoten Islands, famed for their picture-postcard beauty.

Next, we visit the idyllic fishing village of Sommarøy before stopping at North Cape, the northernmost point of the European mainland. Vardø, once a centre for Pomor people who traded with Russia, is our last stop before leaving Norway.

Trip Name
Expedition Cruise to the White Sea – Norway and Russia Adventure
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 100 metres Passenger Capacity: 335 Built / refurbished: 2009 / 2016 MS Spitsbergen is named after the crown jewel of Arctic Norway – the Svalbard archipelago and its biggest island, Spitsbergen.  After complete reconstruction, MS Spitsbergen joined the Hurtigruten fleet in 2016. The ship features high technical standards as well as comfortable, modern public areas and cabins. The vessel's fresh Scandinavian design reflects a colour palette derived from the sea. She is modern and environmentally progressive, and we plan further improvements that will reduce emissions and fuel consumption even more. The new ship’s maneuverability and optimal size make her quite suitable for exploring polar waters.  Expedition team on board MS Spitsbergen has its own on-board Expedition Team and serves as a university at sea. Interesting lectures inside the ship as well as out on the sun deck make this an exciting and educational journey. Topics depend on the season and the waters we sail in. The Expedition Team host a lecture programme and evening gatherings daily. Out on deck you can participate in live points of interest to learn more about the nature, culture and other phenomena we encounter along the coast. In addition, the Expedition Team will introduce you to the uniquely Norwegian notion of `friluftsliv´ (outdoor life), and encourage you take part in `friluftsliv´ hikes and activities during the journey. Our dedicated Expedition Teams have one mission: to enhance your experience by engaging you and interpreting the nature, wildlife, and culture you encounter during the voyage. Read more about our Expedition Teams here.  Ship facilities Expedition Team - Explorer bar - Panoramic lounge – Explorer lounge - Compass Service Centre - Brygga bistro - Shop - Torget main dining - Wi-Fi - Sauna - Fitness room - Lift - Hot tub - Guest launderette - Panoramic deck 8 - Outside bar for events, decks 7 & 8


Day 1 - Day 1 Bergen, Norway
Our journey begins. Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PMEven before we set sail, you’ll find plenty to whet your appetite for exploration in Bergen – gateway to the fjords.Bergen´s historic harbour area provides a prelude to your expedition, and exploring before you sail is highly recommended. Pay a visit to famous Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO-protected site full of independent boutiques where you can buy handicrafts made by local artisans.The funicular railway, which has transported visitors to the top of nearby Mount Fløyen for over 100 years, will give you a bird’s-eye view of Bergen. Looking across this picturesque city, you’ll be drawn to the blend of colourful homes, mountain scenery, and clear blue water. As you scan the port area you may even spot our ship, MS Spitsbergen, docked below and ready to set sail.Once aboard our small expedition ship, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin and then attend a mandatory safety drill before we set off. Locate the Science Center, the Explorer Lounge & Bar, our onboard restaurant, and the observation deck – you’ll be frequenting these areas. After the welcome dinner, during which the Captain will toast our expedition cruise, you can sink into an armchair in the Explorer Lounge with a glass of wine – your expedition is underway!
Day 2 - Day 2 Hjørundfjorden
Fjord landscapes. Our foray into the Norwegian fjords gives a rare glimpse of the kind of terrain that early pioneers, such as William Cecil Slingsby and Roald Amunsden, would have encountered as they explored this vast area. The majestic peaks of the Sunnmore Alps cast their shadows over the still waters of the fjord, providing a dramatic backdrop to the stunning scenery.Cultivating the land here is a challenge due the steep terrain, but you’ll see a few, tiny, isolated farms dotted about the shoreline as we sail by. How do the local farmers cope under such challenging circumstances? The Expedition Team can inform you about the traditional methods that have been used here for centuries, handed down from generation to generation.We’ll anchor close to a settlement in the fjord, and head ashore. Take time to enjoy the crisp autumn air and scenic landscapes, and perhaps set off on foot to explore the area.
Day 3 - Day 3 At sea
Sailing north. We’ll spend the day at sea sailing north towards the picture-postcard beautiful Lofoten Islands. The Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures ahead with lectures and talks in the Explorer Lounge. These informative and interactive sessions give you an insight into the upcoming destinations, including crossing the Arctic Circle, and reveal some of the myths and legends from the areas we sail through.If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to try out MS Spitsbergen’s amenities. Soak your body in the hot tubs or work up a sweat in the gym or the panoramic sauna. What could be better than sitting in a warm sauna as the majestic autumnal landscapes of mountain and fjord slowly pass by outside?The next few days may provide an opportunity to see the Northern Lights for the first time on our cruise. The Expedition Team will be on hand to offer tips and tricks on how to get the best photos of the mesmerising colours.
Day 4 - Day 4 Svolvær
Majestic beauty of the Lofoten Islands. The combination of dramatic peaks, sheltered coves, and pristine waters is simply beautiful beyond compare. Lofoten is also known for its picturesque villages and sandy beaches. You’ll never forget your first approach to Lofoten, seeing the massive wall of mountains rising up out of the sea.Harvesting the seas has been a way of life here for centuries, and you’ll be delighted by the fishing villages, with their photogenic cabins – or rorbu – which are set out in rows along the shore. Originally built to house those who would migrate here seasonally to fish for cod, these cabins give the villages a truly old-world feel.Svolvær, the biggest town on the archipelago, is close to Lofoten’s many magnificent sights and provides easy access to activities such as kayaking, hiking and expedition boating. You’ll also find interesting shops, galleries, cafés, and restaurants throughout the town.
Day 5 - Day 5 Sommarøy
A picture-perfect island. Our cruise further north brings us to Sommarøy, set in an archipelago of small islands, with white, sandy beaches, and a lively fishing industry. Sitting just above sea level, the village delights the eye as you sail into port – a scattering of small dwellings, nestled into the hillside. During the summer, these islands experience 68 full days of sunlight, and 48 days of complete darkness in winter.[hn1] Around 400 people live on the islands, and visitors are always welcome. Inside the local shop you’ll find the locals’ Kaillkråa, a corner reserved for simply hanging out, where islanders chit-chat with friends – they even have their own hooks on the wall on which to hang their mugs. The hooks may be reserved for the regulars, but you’re welcome to pull up a chair and spend a few moments hearing what life is like here.In Sommarøy, we’ll offer a variety of excursions, such as hiking in the hills and kayaking in the clear, blue waters that surround the island. You may also take the opportunity to visit nearby Tromsø – the so-called ‘Gateway to the Arctic’.You’ll revisit Tromsø later on in your cruise, so a visit here will offer a sneak peek at what this colourful Norwegian city has to offer. Set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains Tromsø is also a great place to browse small shops. As the days become chillier, why not treat yourself to a traditional knitted jumper, which you’ll see on sale all over the city. It will stand you in good stead for the colder days ahead, as we venture even further to the north.
Day 6 - Day 6 Skarsvåg
North Cape – Europe’s most northerly point. Today we’ll spend a full day exploring Skarsvåg, a small fishing village on the island of Magerøya. Nestled in Risfjorden, on the north side of the island, Skarsvåg is the ideal place to make landfall and explore some of the stunning scenery to be found here. Brightly coloured houses, built just below the steep mountainsides, come into view as we approach the small harbour – a contrast to the deep greens and blues of the hillsides and sea.We start the day by taking a scenic bus ride from the landing site at Skarsvåg. This brings us past small bays and tiny villages, then across a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, North Cape – also known as Nordkapp – is just 1,304 miles away from the Geographic North Pole. Standing at the edge of the cliff you can gaze out onto the Barents Sea with only the Svalbard archipelago separating you from the North Pole.Standing at North Cape means you are now at the northernmost point in Europe. Get that must-have photo of yourself beside the famous metal globe sculpture and leave enough time to visit the cinema here, where you can view a short film about the North Cape Plateau and see exhibits showcasing the history of the island.Our Expedition Team will lead an optional walk to Kirkeporten view point, a naturally-formed arch that sits on the mountaintop. As you look back at North Cape, you’ll get the perfect camera shot of so-called hornet, an unusual rock formation that juts out of the cape and looks remarkably like an animal’s horn. Here is also an ideal place for a moment of quiet reflection as you look out on the beautiful scenery.
Day 7 - Day 7 Vardø
Pomor traders and witchcraft trials. We have one more stop before entering Russian waters. Today we’ll explore Vardø, which is the easternmost settlement in Norway. Along with Hammerfest, Vardø received its charter in 1789, giving these two towns the distinction of being the oldest in northern Norway.After 1850, the town saw a marked expansion. The fisheries grew in importance, and so did trade with Russia's White Sea region. Due to its close proximity to Russia, the city is often referred to as Norway’s ‘Pomor capital’, as it was an important centre for trade between the Pomor people of northwest Russia and those of northern Norway.Pomor hunters and fishermen were likely already active in Arctic waters during the 16th century, building settlements on the various islands. You’ll learn more about these hardy people, and the economic and cultural connection between northern Norway and northern Russia at the Pomor Museum. Vardø has a rich and also somewhat dark history. In the 17th century, it was the centre for a number of witchcraft trials in which more than 90 people, Norwegian and Sámi, were given death sentences. The Vardøhus Fortress took centre stage during the trials, and the alleged witches were kept here to await their fate. These days it houses a museum where you’ll learn all about the its fascinating history.Join the Expedition Team on a nature walk in the area, or visit the Vardøhus Fortress and the witch monument. Next stop – Russia!
Day 8 - Day 8 Murmansk, Russia
Into Russia. Welcome to Russia! Murmansk, founded in 1916, is the largest city found north of the Arctic Circle. The origins of Murmansk lie in the Soviet Union’s need for a northern sea port, and you can still see the maritime influence here.Once we are cleared into Russia, we’re able to explore some of the city sights, and learn more about life in this northern seaport. You’ll see monuments celebrating the city’s history, many of them commemorating its military importance during the Second World War, as well as its maritime heritage.Overlooking the port is a 115 ft. statue of a Russian soldier, known as Alyosha. Opened in 1974, this memorial to the soldiers who fought in the Second World War stands resolute as if defending the city from invaders to the west. The imposing figure is the second tallest statue in Russia, and you’ll learn more about the lives lost to the war by studying the inscriptions on its pedestal.Murmansk is home to the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ship, named Lenin. Commissioned in 1959, it spent four decades clearing ice for the cargo ships that traversed the Arctic coast. This nuclear pioneer has been turned into an interactive museum dedicated to the history of the icebreaker fleet.Our expedition into Russia’s frozen north has just begun. From here on in we’ll be heading further into the cold waters of the Arctic. The ever-changing conditions make each cruise a unique one, and our experienced Expedition Team will use this to our advantage as they adapt to the challenges sailing here can bring and spot opportunities for unique experiences.
Day 9 - Day 9 Barents Sea
Journey to the White Sea. Continuing our journey further east, we’ll sail along the trade routes taken by the Pomor, with Arkhangelsk as our next port of call. Our Expedition Team and their Russian colleagues will prepare you for our destinations ahead with a series of briefings. Lectures might be about life in the far north of Russia, the history of trade in the region and insights into the cultures of the Sámi and Pomor people.We’ll follow the coastline through the Barents Sea until we reach the inlet that flows into the White Sea. This area is almost completely land-locked, and for decades it was forbidden to sail here. Despite being rich in history and natural beauty, its remote geographic location means that it remains an area of mystery to many. Our next port of call will be Arkhangelsk – northwest Russia's cultural capital.
Day 10 - Day 10 Arkhangelsk
Russia’s Cultural Capital. The first place we visit in the White Sea is the city of Arkhangelsk, considered to be the cultural and historical capital of the Russia’s north.Arkhangelsk, was founded in 1584 and became important as a seaport, as well as a trading, and shipbuilding centre. The city was the chief port of medieval and early modern Russia until it was replaced by St. Petersburg. Considered to be Russia’s ‘Pomor capital’, it was from here these White Sea people brought grain products and timber to northern Norway in return for fish. Arkhangelsk has also been the gateway to the Arctic for several notable expeditions and played a crucial role as a supply point during both world wars.The city remains a major seaport, and is also a centre for the fishing and timber industries. In fact, the availability of so much timber means wood is still heavily used in buildings you’ll see in the city. To learn more about the region’s traditional wooden architecture, visit the open-air museum of Malye Korely. Beautifully preserved architecture, mansions, chapels, and churches showcase the talents of the skilled artisans who have been inspired by the local scenery down the ages.As you stroll along the banks of the Northern Dvina, try the local gingerbread, called kozoola, originally a Pomor Christmas speciality, and a treat not to be missed. You’ll also see the many monuments to history from the Soviet era, and going back to Peter the Great. At the Lore Museum you’ll learn more about the remarkable history of the region. The museum is located in the Merchant Yard, Gostny Dvor, the oldest building in Arkhangelsk.
Day 11 - Day 11 Solovetsky Islands
The Pearls of the White Sea. Located just below the Arctic Circle in the western part of the White Sea, we find the Solovetsky Islands – sometimes just called Solovki. A rarely-visited archipelago, it consists of six islands and numerous skerries.The Solovetsky Islands are sometimes called the ‘pearls of the White Sea’, and when you see their natural beauty it’s not difficult to understand why they were given this name. We’ll visit the largest of the islands, Bolshoy Solovetsky, home to one of the most famous and powerful monasteries in Russia, and now a historical and architectural museum.During the 15th century, the monastery extended its commercial activities and grew to become an economic and political center of the White Sea. It was at this time that it became an enormous fortified citadel with high defence towers around it.During a particularly dark period in history, this monastery was turned into one of Stalin’s prison camps. In his book The Gulag Archipelago, Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, described Solovki as so remote that “a scream from here would never be heard.” As you explore the area, you’ll get a feel for what it must have been like for those unfortunate souls exiled here.The monastery, along with the Solovetsky islands, are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A museum here tells the story of Solovki’s history and will give you an insight into the strategic importance of the region.
Day 12 - Day 12 White Sea coast, Kola Peninsula
Exploring the Kola Peninsula. As we head back out of the White Sea towards the Barents Sea, we pit our wits against the changeable nature of the season. Depending on tides and weather conditions, we aim to spend a day exploring the remote Kola Peninsula. We may come ashore on the southern side, and if so, you’ll get to visit a local fishing village as well as enjoy an exploratory nature walk.The Kola Peninsula sits between the White Sea and the Barents Sea. This vast area has many natural harbours and the whole region is sparsely populated, home to only a few scattered settlements. Your Expedition Team may take you to the small villages of Chapoma or Pyalitsa.Here you’ll discover traditional settlement with houses made from wood and other natural materials. People still live traditional lives here, relying on methods of fishing and hunting used by the original settlers. If conditions allow, and you do get to set foot in this beautiful area, you’ll get to appreciate the daily challenges of those who call this harsh area home.This wild, remote peninsula has much to offer us as we explore. Bring your camera and capture the delicate beauty of the landscapes as well as the delightful views out over the White Sea.
Day 13 - Day 13 Barents Sea
Sailing to Murmansk. After an enjoyable few days exploring some of the secrets that the White Sea has to offer, today gives you an opportunity to rest and watch the world go by as we sail in a westerly direction towards the Norwegian border.The Expedition Team will summarise the journey so far, answer any questions you may have about the region and prepare you for the coming days’ landings. Why not take the opportunity to simply relax and use your time enjoying the onboard facilities.
Day 14 - Day 14 Murmansk
A Second Look at Murmansk. Our return journey brings us back to Murmansk. This city has much to offer – more than can be discovered in just a day. You’ll have some more time to explore and learn about life in the largest city north of the Arctic Circle.Pay a visit to the Church of the Saviour on the Waters, built only in 2002. This gold-domed church, with striking sky-blue steeples, overlooks the harbour area. Public donations funded this construction project, and it forms part of a complex dedicated to the memory of Murmansk's seamen who perished in peacetime. Take time to explore this unique memorial.The Lighthouse Memorial also forms part of the same complex, and serves as a reminder of all those who have been lost at sea, both military and civilian. A book, listing those who have lost their lives in this way, can be found here, as well as a memorial plate with the names of submariners lost during peacetime.For something a bit more upbeat, Murmansk is a modern Russian city and there are many bars, restaurants and cafes for you to explore. Here, mingling with the locals will give you a real feel for what life is like in Russia’s northernmost city. As it’s your last day in Russia, now’s the time to buy a souvenir or two to remind you of your time here.In the evening, after border clearance is completed, the Captain will set our course for Norwegian waters.
Day 15 - Day 15 Troms og Finnmarken coastline, Norway
Exploring the Barents Sea. Being out here in one of the most remote corners of Europe gives us the opportunity to get up close to the landscapes of this rugged coastline. We’ll explore the area of Troms og Finnmarken and find a suitable fjord, island or bay to anchor in. Your expedition cruise so far has been all about experiencing different conditions, and here we have another chance to do just that.The windswept landscape facing the Barents Sea is in stark contrast to the sheltered fjords cutting deep into the land. The landscape varies greatly, from the barren coastal areas facing the sea, to more sheltered fjord areas and river valleys with gullies and trees. About half of the terrain is above the tree line, and large parts of the other half is covered with small downy birch.There are many fjords and possible landing sites to choose from in the area, and we’ll seek out the most suitable.The ship will anchor off one of the islands or shelter in a small bay, and expedition boats will bring us ashore so that we can explore the terrain.Remember, the coastline can be uncooperative at any time of the year, and if the weather doesn’t permit landings at one place, we’ll find an alternative spot, or even a port. Our Expedition Team will use their knowledge and experience of this area and adapt to these changing conditions.
Day 16 - Day 16 Havnnes
The awe-inspiring Lyngen Alps. This morning we’ll sail into a fjord at the base of the magnificent Lyngen Alps. Havnnes is our first stop, a charming seaside town with only a few dozen inhabitants. The old, white-painted houses at this trading post peek just above the waterline, framed by the triangular peaks of the mountains that loom above.Havnnes will send you back in time a century or more to the days of steam and sail. Traditional drying methods are still used here to cure stockfish, which have been exported from Norway for centuries. Once a job done by the fishermen, it was taken over by the locals here when the fishermen stopped doing it themselves. This method of drying and preserving fish has been passed down from generation to generation.Strike up a chat with the friendly residents here and pay a visit to the vintage general store. You can also explore the local museum, an old wooden building on the pier. It features a photo exhibition about the life of Annie Giæver, who took photographs of the area during the first half of the 20th century. The Giæver family have had a huge influence on the settlement throughout the years, and generations of them have managed this trading post since 1795.If weather conditions are kind to us, the spectacular surroundings of Havnnes provide great opportunities for enjoying nature by way of walking or kayaking. This penultimate stop on our journey is sure to delight.
Day 17 - Day 17 Tromsø, Norway
End of the expedition cruise. As your expedition cruise comes to an end, you’ll find Tromsø a fitting place to conclude the journey. It may seem as if the time flew by all-too quickly as we travelled where few others go.Tromsø is a small city with many great attractions, but it’s also easy to escape into the surrounding countryside if you feel like it. One way is to take the Fjellheisen Cable Car to the mountain ledge Storsteinen, where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the city, mountains and fjords. Built in 1961 it bears the logo of the local shipping company that built it – a polar bear and a seal.If you are still on the hunt for the Northern Lights this may be the last opportunity to grab a photo of the magical Aurora Borealis. Perhaps, after the excitement of the last two weeks, you just want to sit down and relax. Tromsø offers you many venues to sit and contemplate your experiences with new friends.The oldest pub in Tromsø, Ølhallen, is the perfect place to enjoy a post-cruise round of drinks. Sample beers brewed by Mack, the northernmost brewery in the world – a fitting conclusion to your Norway and White Sea adventure!
Day 18 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
06-10-202222-10-2022AUD $10,171Polar Inside. From
06-10-202222-10-2022AUD $11,333Polar Outside. From
06-10-202222-10-2022AUD $12,593Arctic Superior. From
06-10-202222-10-2022AUD $17,750Expedition Suite. From


    • Majestic beauty of the Lofoten Islands
    • a picturesque archipelago that will take your breath away! This group of untamed islands have cultural roots deeply associated with the Vikings
    • Visit The Solovetsky Islands, sometimes called the ‘Pearls of the White Sea’
    • The origins of Murmansk lie in the Soviet Union’s need for a northern sea port and you can still see the maritime influence here.