Some highlights

  • We will be on cruise for 9 days. Price from 74 900 SEK
  • We travel on board the traditional m/s Origo, perhaps the most charming ship up here and at the same time rebuilt for the best comfort
  • No more than 12 participants, means a lot of space in zodiacs and onboard
  • We have photo focus throughout our cruise, where we have a great chance to see polar bears in magnificent landscapes and at the edge of the pack ice
  • Visit to walrus beaches which at this time of the year are fully packed walruses
  • Arctic foxes and Svalbard Reindeer
  • Fantastic winter landscapes as Svalbard, perhaps is at its most beautiful time the year
  • At this time of the year there is midnight sun at Svalbard. This gives us many 24 hours a day of good light to photograph in
  • Good season to see the “Phantoms of the Pack ice” – the white, high arctic ivory gull
  • Fulmars, skuas, auks and lots of other exciting bird species
  • Close encounters with bearded seals and harbor seals
  • Glaciers, drift ice and pack ice
  • The use of Zodiacs for going ashore and for getting better angles of photography
  • The tour leader will show you their best sites and provide photographic advice to a small like-minded group

SVALBARD
Between northernmost Norway and the North Pole lies Svalbard, often also called Spitsbergen, an arctic wilderness that fascinates, with sea ice, glaciers, mountains and polar tundra. Despite its isolated location in the Arctic Ocean, 657 km north of Nordkap in Norway and over 1,000 km from the nearest airport in Norway, Svalbard is the most accessible high arctic area in the world, thanks to the infrastructure that Norway has built around, above all, Longyearbyen. The archipelago has both fantastic glaciers that glisten in the sunlight, midnight sun from mid-April to late August, and pointy mountains – which have given Svalbard it’s other name – Spetsbergen. Further more we alos find exciting Arctic wildlife here. Polar bears are perhaps the best known animal of Svalbard, but here there are also walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and several species of whales and dolphins. In May, theres still lots of the snow, this gives us really nice winter conditions and in spring you don’t have to travel as far as in autumn. Most things are closer. And we may reach the pack ice in less than a day or two. Nature and wildlife are at the center of this tour, all those interested in nature can have an absolutely fantastic experience. The photo focus on the tour means that we spend the time we need to get good photos. We postpone meals when necessary; that is, if we have good subjects and light. Polar bears and walruses are of course top priority. The chances of seeing and photographing them are very high. At the same time: with nature and wild animals, you never know. You have to be aware of that.

Svalbard is also home to the small-grown and hardy Svalbard reindeer, a subspecies of its own, adapted to the extreme winter climate. In the summer, the arctic fox hunts where there are birds, and in autumn and winter it follows the polar bears. Along the northern shores, walruses forage for clams, and baleen and toothed whales hunt in the rich sea areas along the continental shelf, where ocean currents swell.

The bird life is very rich, with fulmars, Brünnich’s guillemot, little auk, Svalbard ptarmigan, long-tailed skua, pomarine skua, great skua, red phalarope, kittiwakes, pink-footed goose, barnacle goose, king eider, black guillemot and more. The exclusively high arctic ivory gull, the “Ghost of the Ice Pack”, is also often seen.

This time we have extended the tour to 9 days. Our ship, m/s Origo is a real veteran in Svalbard, with a high coziness factor and 12 passengers.

Arctic veteran Jan Gyllensten acts as expedition leader and Floris Smeets will be your photographic leader.

THE SHIP M/S ORIGO
For this tour, we charter the entire ship M/S Origo with 24 berths, but we limit the number of participants to 12. Origo was built in 1955 at Finnboda shipyard in Sweden, on behalf of the Swedish Maritime Administration, as an ice-reinforced pilot ship and lighthouse keeper. The ship has two zodiacs, each with room for 12 people. Although this is strictly a photography tour, of course non-dedicated photographers can come along and have an absolutely amazing arctic experience. The fact that it is a photo tour means that we spend the time we need to get a chance for good photos. Often this means a little more time with the motifs. We postpone meals if necessary; that is, if we have good subjects and good light, it takes precedence. Polar bears and walruses naturally have the highest priority.

The travel route is never completely decided in advance. Our tentative plan is to head northeast. Since we rent the whole ship, we have the freedom to plan the expedition as we want, based on weather, wind, current ice conditions and reports of polar bears in particular. Nature and wildlife are at the center of this trip. The crew, the captain and our guides on the tour have extensive experience in both the Arctic and photography under the special conditions that prevail. The crew is Swedish and English speaking and the participants can be from several countries. The ship is perfect for photography. The chef on board usually offers exciting and very good food. No one has to go hungry.

Lectures will be given by the tour guides. We will look at the participants’ photos and come up with positive photo criticism. And we, as leaders, will of course assist the participants with the necessary help and camera technical and photographic advice.

Main deck

1 superior double cabin (2 lower beds) up on deck with private WC / shower.

5 cabins (with upper and lower bunkbeds) with private WC / shower.

1 cabin (with upper and lower bunkbeds) with private WC and shared shower.

2 cabins (with upper and lower bunkbeds) with shared shower / WC.

Fotoresa med Wild Nature fotoresor. Foto Henrik Karlsson

Itinerary

Day 0  (30/4)
Arrival in Longyearbyen and transport to hotel on your own. NOTE: This is one day before the travel arrangement begins, to be sure not to miss the ship’s departure. We will organize and offer a guided tour in Longyearbyen’s surroundings in the evening or early in the morning the next day, for those who want, for an additional price.

Day 1  (1/5) (Dinner)
Pick-up at the respective hotel in time for check-out, transport of the luggage to the ship and then free time in Longyearbyen until it is time for the ship’s departure, after 16.00. Then we sail out of Adventfjorden, and via Isfjorden we probably head north, if we didn’t have better indications to reach polar bears on the eastern side via the southern route. Welcome dinner on board.

Day 2-8 (2-8/5) (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Crusing, with a schedule updated daily if necessary. We fully adapt to current and upcoming weather, ice conditions and wildlife sighting reports. We will most likely cruise north of Svalbard and the northeast. In addition to polar bears, we also hope to meet walruses, whales and seals.

Day 9 (9/5) (Breakfast)
Arrival back in Longyearbyen. The tour ends after breakfast.

More information

  • PHOTOGRAPHIC LEARNING
    On all our tours we have different theoretical photography workshops. These workshops are always related to the specific tour and can be anything from teaching different photography techniques or tips and tricks for image editing to talking about image composition or preparing for special photo opportunities on the trip.

    Throughout the trip, our photography leader provides active photography advice when we are out in the field. Everything for you to develop as a photographer and take fantastic pictures home with you.

  • PHOTO EQUIPMENT
    As we will be able to photograph a range of different subjects, from landscape, plants, people, mammals and birds, we recommend a range of lenses from wide-angle to telephoto. A wide-angle zoom, e.g. 24-70 mm and a tele-zoom, e.g. 70-200 mm, 80-400 mm or 200-500 mm will give the best opportunity for a range of subjects.
    A longer prime telephoto lens, e.g. 500 mm or 600 mm is very useful for bird and mammal photography. To ”increase” focal length, you might use a teleconverter, or a camera with a smaller sensor.

    It is important to protect your gear from snow, rain and saltwater splashes. Good waterproof covers for your camera bag or rucksack. Maybe a waterproof sack for all your gear whilst on the zodiacs?

    If you have two camera bodies, bring both. Tripods can be good for photography and film-making ashore. Bring plenty of memory cards and storage space, because more photos are taken on these tours than most people think.

  • CLOTHING
    Proper field clothing is necessary. Consider the conditions as similar to a Scandinavian winter. Hooded down-parkas are great. We will be borrowing insulated buoyancy overalls onboard, and these must be used when in the zodiacs. They are also great for watching from the ship, and everyone will have their overall hanging outside their cabin. Woolen sweaters (preferably) or fleece, with several layers (thin, mid and thick layer) will allow you to regulate your temperature. Large mittens, preferably with a woolen inner mitten are recommended. Warm, insulated boots (e.g. wool-lined Nokian boots), skidoo boots or warm winter-lined hiking boots (e.g. Sorel or Meindl) are great. Arctic boots can be purchased in Longyearbyen. Some landings can be so-called wet landings, stepping out of the zodiac into up to knee-deep water. A telescopic hiking pole can be useful ashore. A warm hat (or fur cap) and sun-glasses against the strong sunlight. Thermal underwear in merino wool are great and are strongly recommended. A double layer of woolen socks, one thick and one thin. No need for elegant clothing. Indoor shoes or slippers onboard. Swimwear – there might be an opportunity for an ice-bath!

  • ACCESSIBILITY
    Both the boat, use of zodiacs and the nature means that the nature of the trip is a bit limiting in the event of severely reduced mobility. Contact us at the slightest doubt.

  • PRICES AND CABINS

    Share in double cabin, shared shower / WC  74 900 SEK (1 SPOT AVAILABLE (MAN))

    Single cabin, shared shower / WC  84 900 SEK

    Share in double cabin, own WC, shared shower 79 900 SEK (FULLY BOOKED!)

    Single cabin, own WC, shared shower 89 900 SEK (FULLY BOOKED!)

    Share in double cabin with its own WC / shower 84 900 SEK

    Single cabin with its own WC / shower 99 900 SEK

    Share in superior cabin on main deck with its own WC / shower 99 900 SEK

  • INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
    Share in double cabin according to booking, meals according to program, photo lessons, special lectures, cruise where the exact route depends on ice conditions and weather.

  • NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
    Return flights to Svalbard, tips, insurance, cancellation protection, drinks (other than those served with the food) and things of a personal nature.

  • MEETING POINT
    We will pick you up at your hotel or the airport on the 1st May 2025 and drop you off on the 9th May 2025. Exact time will be given before the tour.

  • TERMS OF PAYMENT
    The registration fee, 30 % of the total price of the tour, is paid via invoice in connection with registration. The remaining amount is paid no later than 100 days before the trip. The terms of this and our other voyages when we charter an entire ship deviate from our usual terms in that the registration fee is slightly higher than 20% and the date for final payment is a little earlier (normally we have 60 days before departure).

    Payment will be in Swedish crowns (SEK). Amount in Euro and US dollars mentioned above are just reference amounts.

  • PASSPORT AND VISA
    If you are an EU citizen travel within the EU or to the Schengen countries Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein, you must always bring your passport. When checking in for a flight, a passport is required.

    For citizens outside of the EU please check if you need a visa to enter Svalbard.

  • INSURANCE
    Contact your insurance company about travel insurance and cancellation insurance. We always recommend travel insurance that covers medical transports both at the destination and for transport home.

  • HEALTH AND VACCINATIONS
    Contact your doctor for advice on vaccinations. Also check any requirements for medical tests for entry into the country.

  • THE GROUP AND LANGUAGE
    Our tours are open to all nationalities, which means that the group can be international.
    The tour guides on our trips speak Swedish and English.

  • TERMS AND CONDITIONS
    Terms and conditions

Photographic leader

Floris Smeets, born 1986 in the Netherlands. Living in Norway since 2010. Since 2014, Floris has been working full-time with nature photography, guiding and as a workshop leader.
He has a great passion for guiding and loves to share his knowledge with the participants at workshops.

Floris has a strong focus on the Norwegian nature and especially animals and landscapes. He always works with great respect for animals and nature and thinks it is very important that pictures are taken without disturbing the animals or changing the environment. With his pictures, he not only captures the beauty of nature, but in a way where the pictures tell a story.

Floris is the Sony Europe Imaging Ambassador. His images have been published in a wide range of magazines and exhibitions.

Floris is a licensed guide in Dovrefjell National Park and has many years of experience camping under really challenging winter conditions. Floris speaks English, Norwegian, Dutch and German.

Hemsida: www.florissmeets.com

    Book the tour

    The kingdom of the Polar bear - Svalbard 1st - 9th May 2025

    NOTE! When you have made your booking you will immediately get a confirmation e-mail. If you don´t get the confirmation e-mail please check your spam e-mails or contact us by telephone, +46705 89 13 18.

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    Share in double cabin, shared shower / WC 74 900 SEK (MAN)Single cabin, shared shower / WC 84 900 SEKShare in double cabin with its own WC / shower 84 900 SEKSingle cabin with its own WC / shower 99 900 SEKShare in superior cabin on main deck with its own WC / shower 99 900 SEK
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