Why aren’t the polar bears waving at us on arrival? Who turned off the northern lights? Where is all the snow gone? Svalbard is a unique place, especially when you consider the location, climate, weather and wildlife - and as a visitor you must be prepared for the fact that things do not always go to plan.
TRAVEL WITH A RESPECTED TOUR OPERATOR
When you plan your trip to Svalbard, you will see that there are many companies offering accommodation and activities. We at Hurtigruten Svalbard are proud of our three accommodation options, and believe that each and every person will find a favourite amongst them. When it comes to activities, Svalbard is unlike other destinations. You can’t go more than a couple of hundred metres past the last houses before you risk running into a polar bear, and that means that visitors are more or less unable to leave the town without a guide. When you do head out on a trip, choose a respected tour operator who is familiar with the local conditions. Hurtigruten Svalbard is a local company, based in Longyearbyen. Our team live and work here, we have a great network of excellent guides and local partners and we know the local conditions well. For example, our guides head out on recon tours in September, to plan the ice cave trips for the following spring. We do not trust the fjord ice just because it was thick enough last week, and we do not hesitate to make changes to our plans if the conditions require it. Our team never leaves thing to chance, and the only luck we hope for is that you might see a polar bear through our binoculars, or experience the northern lights dancing through the sky. Everything else is planned to the smallest detail, to ensure you the best - and safest - wilderness experience!
Ask most people who have visited Svalbard before, and they will say that their expectations were exceeded. The stunning white plains are more impressive that they could have imagined. The thoughts that you go through your head when you see a big polar bear through the binoculars are unexpected. The northern lights, dancing through the sky, make you feel like a little kid who has seen a gigantic ferris wheel for the very first time. Svalbard is amazing, but we cannot guarantee the experiences for you. Sometimes the wind and weather is extreme, but even then we believe you will have a fantastic stay in Longyearbyen, with excellent food and tax-free drinks, and an engaging visit to Svalbard Museum or a wander into Mine 3.
CHANGE OF ROUTE
We are situated in a part of the world where all human activity is depended on the environment around us. All planned routes and activities may have to be adjusted due to the weather, ice conditions and other issues. We will not take any chances if the forecast mentions possibility of avalanches, and will choose safer alternative routes if the weather is inclement. For you as our guest, this means that a planned trip to Barentsburg may end up at Tempelfjorden. We will strive to provide you with information on any changes as soon as possible, and will always do everything we can to provide you with an exciting and enjoyable adventure in the beautiful wilderness of Svalbard.
We are also subject to both written and unwritten rules regarding mutual assistance, should we be made aware of anyone who requires help. The planned route may be changed if required so that we can provide such assistance, or a tour may need to turn back due to illness or injury amongst our own participants. Such conditions are a result of the fact that mother nature rules here, and will not be defined as a shortcoming.
INFORMATION FOR PREGNANT TRAVELLERS
Longyearbyen Hospital advises pregnant women to not participate in activities which may lead to a blow to the stomach. There is always a chance that an accident may occur, and cause an injury to the pregnant person or their unborn child. The risk should be understood and considered carefully before heading out on any trip. In our tour assortment, this is especially important for snowmobiling, trips in open boats and dog sledding tours. We have other less physically demanding tours that we recommend during pregnancy, and suggest that it might be better for you and your children to come back in a few years time to enjoy one of the more adventurous experiences. Maybe you could take them along on a snowmobile tour to the dog yard? That trip is a great favourite with big and small visitors!