MS spitsbergen

MS Spitsbergen - Practical information

From entry requirements to onboard Wi-Fi - here's everything you need to know before travelling with MS Spitsbergen.


Guests are reminded that only beverages sold and/or provided in the restaurants, bars, cabins, and suites can be consumed on board. Any alcoholic beverages purchased in ports-of-call will need to be stored separately on board the ship by our crew. Your purchases will be returned to you and delivered to your cabin on the last day of your sailing.

There are a wide range of comfortable cabins on board for you. You may experience some noise and vibration in some of the cabins. This varies depending on the location of your cabin. Noise affects people differently and what may be a problem for one guest may not be a problem for others. Please be aware that some cabins on decks with passenger access or lifesaving equipments may have an obstructed view.  

The tap water in your cabin is potable. 

You will be issued a cruise card upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. All our guests are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in all ports of call and landings. The card serves as a control system on the gangway, enabling the ship to know which of our guests are on board or ashore at any time. This card, in addition to being the key card for your cabin, is also your payment card on board. The card is the only means of payment for the onboard facilities. To activate the cruise card account, you must have a Visa, Diners, or MasterCard.

The evening before the cruise ends, the account will be totalled and settled on board and a receipt will be emailed to you. Please note that when using your credit card on board the ship your account will be debited in Euros, the official currency on board the ship. Credit cards that are used to make payments on board must be valid for at least three months after the journey has ended. The rate of exchange will be the one stipulated by your credit card company. Please note that there are no money exchange services or facilities for cash withdrawals on board.

The daily programme is shown on the information screens around the ship and on the TV in your cabin with each day’s port calls, landings, lectures, meals, and activities on board. All our published plans are subject to change. 

Please note the use of passenger-operated drones is not permitted during your voyage. This is for general safety as well as the protection of the vulnerable wildlife and other guests’ personal security.

The plugs in your cabins are all 220V/50hz. Suites have 110V for shavers. The plugs are continental two pin plugs, which may require an adapter. 

On many of our expedition cruises we are landing in areas covered with snow. Terrain might be muddy, uneven, wet, and very slippery. The weather may be inclement and cold. This is part of being an explorer.  

In several of our remote landing areas, it is mandatory to use rubber boots for all landings. For nature landings in other destinations rubber boots are recommended. A pair of special purpose boots can be borrowed on board free of charge for the duration of your cruise, and we will make sure that they are rinsed and declared clean from seeds and other biological material after every landing. This is to avoid unintentionally spreading invasive species into fragile environments. We carry sizes from 32 to 50. If you need a smaller or larger size than this, or prefer to wear your own boots, you are welcome to bring private rubber boots, but please be advised that our Expedition Team will have them checked before going ashore, to make sure they are suitable for landing.     

We also lend out walking sticks on board. If you are more comfortable using your own walking sticks, bring them along with you, but bear in mind that they must be properly cleaned and disinfected after every landing. 

The Hurtigruten APP is your digital guide onboard, it is recommended to download it before you come onboard, To be able to follow the activities on board, make restaurant reservation, book tours and find A-Z info here from the minute you step onboard. The App will only work while you are on board as it is connected to the ship’s Wi-Fi.  

We offer Wi-Fi on board, but on expedition cruises to remote destinations, coverage and speed will be very limited. Internet will be provided through a satellite connection (if in sight), except when we’re close to mobile communication infrastructure on land. Due to capacity limitations, the included Wi-Fi is limited to browsing and not streaming. Please contact the reception desk if you have any questions related to the Wi-Fi usage. 

On expedition cruises to Svalbard, there is no mobile/internet connection or it is very limited on board, except while at port in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. 

The working language on board is English. Announcements and written information are also given in German, and may also be given in French and Chinese on selected departures. In order to be able to accommodate lectures in a language other than English, we offer an “in ear” translation into German. Lectures will be streamed into the cabins. 

This service is free of charge for all suite guests. There is no self-service laundry for guest. Instead, you will be provided a laundry form that you need to fill out. Prices are listed on this form.  

The ship complies with international safety requirements, and is a modern vessel suitable for sailing in the respective destinations, including icy waters.  

All guests will be instructed in safety procedures and the use and location of the safety equipment before departure. There is a Safety Notice posted on the inside of the cabin door which we encourage all guests to read carefully. 

During the sailing, special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Expedition boats. Please follow the instructions given by the Expedition Leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be provided to all passengers. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given. 

You can hand in your mail at the reception, and for the cost of stamps we will forward the post in every port where possible. The time needed for delivery of mail may be relatively long. Hurtigruten Expeditions accepts no responsibility for lost mail.  

On board, we serve a delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all in accordance with your daily programme. Mealtimes will be announced in the daily programme. Due to Covid Regulations, we have limited Capacity in the Restaurants and we are working with time slots. We are asking kindly all guests to book their time slots with the Headwaiter, Restaurant Manager or via our APP. Please provide information regarding special requests for seating arrangements and dietary requirements to your sales office/travel agent before your cruise.  

Soft drinks, beer, and the ship wine are included for all meals in our restaurants. Coffee, tea, and potable water that has been purified on board is included throughout the day. There is complimentary still and sparkling water for all meals. An upgraded beverage package is also available. 

Seasickness pills are available in reception. If you are prone to seasickness, it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. You may also buy “sea bands” on board. 

Hurtigruten complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Security System) where all luggage is subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival at the port facility or ship. The ISPS regulations also include hand baggage scans in all ports of call throughout the course of the cruise.

Prohibited Items List:

  1. Illegal drugs, narcotics and illegal substances
  2. All firearms including replicas imitations, non-firing weapons, starting pistols and their components (including but not limited to the following items: Guns, operational or replicas, ammunition of all types, BB Guns, Compressed Air Guns, including Paint Ball Guns, Flare Guns, Gun Lighters, Gun / Firearms Parts, Pellet Guns, Spear Guns, Starter Pistols, Realistic Replicas of Firearms)
  3. All Explosives and replicas (including, but are not limited to, the following items: Blasting Caps, Dynamite, Fireworks, Pyrotechnics, Hand Grenades, Plastic Explosives, Bomb Making Components, Gun Powder)
  4. Pointed weapons and sharp objects (including, but not limited to, the following items: throwing stars, flick- or gravity knifes, daggers, knifes or scissors with blade longer than 7 cm (including folding pocket knives), open razors, Spears or Spears gun, archery equipment, crossbows, crossbow bolts and long bow arrows, sabers, swords, Skean Dhus or Kirpans, axes)
  5. Blunt weapons (including, but not limited to the following items: knuckle dusters, brass knuckles, clubs, coshes, batons, flails or nunchaku and other items adapted or intended for use as an offensive weapon)
  6. Restraining Devices (including, but not limited to the following items: handcuffs, leg or head restraining straps)
  7. High voltage stun devices and items containing incapacitating substances (including, but not limited to the following items: tazers, gas guns, tear gas spray, mace, phosphorus, acid and other dangerous chemicals that could be used to maim or disable, poison)
  8. Flammable  substances unless carried in limited quantities (including, but not limited to the following items: petrol, methylated spirits, lighter fuel, paints, thinners, large batteries etc.)
  9. Candles or incense
  10. Compressed gas tanks, bottles, cylinders (including, but not limited to the following items: dive tanks, propane tanks, large aerosol cans)
  11. Items containing heating elements (including, but not limited to the following items: Immersion Heaters, Heating blankets, infrared heaters, flat irons, water heaters, coffee machines, etc.)
  12. Remote-controlled or independent flying devices (including, but not limited to the following items: drones, toys, kites of any kind)
  13. Self-balancing hover boards, air wheels, scooters, Segway’s
  14. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), ham radios, satellite phones,  transformers, laser and laser pointers, signaling jamming devices

The above list is not exhaustive. The SSO/Captain are authorised to make a professional judgment as to the legality of any item declared, detected or discovered on board.

In our on-board shop you can buy clothing suitable for expedition cruises. Our Expedition Team will be happy to give you expert advice on how to dress properly according to the destinations. We offer a great range of both warm and practical clothing, and we focus on fabrics with natural fibres. We also offer souvenirs, handicrafts, and postcards, in addition to a small selection of soap, toothpaste, and other personal effects. 

We offer a rich and varied programme of optional shore excursions. In many ports, we offer an included excursion, which can be reserved for no additional charge. In many cases, the included excursion can be combined with other optional excursions in the port. Most excursions can be pre-booked, but may also be bookable onboard if capacity remains. 

We advise that you book well in advance in order to avoid disappointment due to the excursion being fully booked. Please note that registration is binding, and once on board the Expedition Team will advise you of booking deadlines for excursions still available. Our excursions have English speaking guides unless otherwise indicated and other languages cannot be guaranteed unless specified. Excursions are subject to change and possible cancellation due to weather conditions. They are also dependent on the number of participants.  

In addition, the Expedition Team also arrange a variety of activities during the cruise. These will depend on location and season, but may include hiking, snowshoeing, and kayaking. These activities are booked on board and subject to availability. 

Guests are respectfully reminded that only our stable expedition boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You will need to be fairly agile to board these, but there is otherwise no need to worry about travelling in them. The crew will show you what to do and as long as you follow their instructions, after a few times it will become second nature. On all landings in expedition boats, guests are expected to wear proper footwear. For additional information about the footwear, see separate point “Equipment loans”. Landing operations depend on favourable conditions. 

On board, smoking is only permitted in designated areas on outside decks. Smoking is not permitted in cabins or private balconies. Throwing cigarette butts overboard is strictly prohibited. A cleaning charge of approximately 150 EUR will be applied for smoking in the cabin, to cover the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard. E-Cigarettes, according to Norwegian law, are the equivalent of tobacco cigarettes and therefore smoking these is only permitted in the designated smoking areas.  

When the ship is refuelling smoking is prohibited. Announcements will be made on board accordingly.  

Smoking is not allowed during nature landings in AECO and IAATO areas, except for city landings. 

If you have special requests (e.g. dietary or medical), please inform us as soon as possibleand no later than 8 weeks prior to your cruise departure. We will do our best to meet such requests but cannot guarantee to do so, and under no circumstance will any such request be accepted by us so as to form part of a contractual agreement. 

Suite check-in 

An exclusive welcome snack and refreshment is made available for our suit guests.

Welcome greeting 

On embarkation day, the suite guests will find a carabiner watch, a bottle of champagne and a welcome greeting from the captain inside their suite after check-in.  

Turn-down service 

Suite guests will receive a daily turn-down service, including fresh towels and chocolate or similar on the pillow.  

Laundry service  

This service is free of charge for all suite guests. There is no self-service laundry for guest. Instead, you will be provided a laundry form that you need to fill out. Prices are listed on this form.  


Bathrobes and binoculars will be available with a possibility to purchase them. 

We kindly remind you to take care when walking on board the ship while at sea, especially when venturing out on deck, observing the signs for warnings of wet and slippery decks. Be aware the doors toward the outer deck are potentially dangerous in windy conditions. Please adhere to the signs and announcements when it is not advised to go outside. While walking inside, hold on to railings but not to door frames, to avoid injury. 


The information and descriptions have been checked by our staff and/or local agents to ensure they are correct. However, changes may occur after the date of publication, and there may be occasions when Hurtigruten or local suppliers may withdraw some facilities or additional measurements made by the ship management to comply with covid restrictions. Should we become aware of any significant change, which may be considered to have an effect on the enjoyment of your holiday, we will do our best to advise you. Many areas we visit are very remote and affected by prolonged cold weather or difficult terrain. The facilities on offer will be subject to local conditions. 

Every expedition cruise is unique. All routes and excursions are provisional and subject to change as weather, sea and/or ice conditions may affect the itinerary. Excursions may also be subject to minimum/maximum numbers. Hurtigruten Expeditions reserves the right to change the itinerary and the content of excursions without prior notice (see terms and conditions). 

For safety reasons, children under 12 years of age will be considered for participation in excursions at each landing. It is entirely at the captain’s discretion whether or not to allow children on shore landings. 

The MS Spitsbergen is suitable for wheelchair users. Persons in need of special assistance must travel with a companion. Please note that the gangway must be used for wheelchair users to embark and disembark. In ports where tidal conditions or other circumstances require the use of a portable gangway, or during landings with expedition boats, it is not possible to use/take wheelchairs. Longyearbyen is not suitable for wheelchair embarkation or disembarkation. Guests who use a wheelchair must bring their own standard size, foldable chair. 

Scheduled flights 

The airfares offered are special package tour fares, which cannot be altered or cancelled without charge. All flight package prices are based on specific booking classes. If the relevant booking class is not available, a supplement may apply. On most intercontinental flights and some continental flights, drinks, meals, and snacks are included in economy class. If not included, drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. We can offer upgrades to business class on some routes. Depending on the airline, this may also include seats with more legroom. Upgrades are not available on all flights. Luggage allowance varies between airlines, and charges may apply if you exceed this limit, or carriage may be refused. As a general rule, each guest can carry a piece of hand luggage weighing approx. 6-8 kg (dimensions and weight depend on the respective airline) on board. Your baggage allowance is set to 1PC (23 kg), but may vary depending on the flight connection; please check with your airline. Further transport guidelines can be found in the respective terms and conditions of our flight partners. If you are planning to take a wheelchair, or need assistance at the airport, please advise us at the time of booking. Flights may be scheduled early in the morning or late in the evening, as they are adapted to our travel arrangements and cruises. Please note that some flights may require transfers or stopovers. Times and/or route changes, as well as a change of aircraft type, are reserved. Our common flight partners are Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM/Air France, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines, LATAM, Iberia, and Iceland Air. Please note that rebooking or reimbursement of an already issued ticket before departure is only possible for a fee. A transfer or refund of a ticket after departure is not possible. Any flight times advised at the time of booking are provisional and subject to change; please check before you travel. 

Included flight Oslo-Longyearbyen 

The flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen and vice versa are operated by a renowned airline. Flights usually depart from Oslo in the evening and arrive at Oslo around lunch time upon return.  

Only economy class is available on these flights, and no upgrades in higher booking classes is possible. A light meal and non-alcoholic drinks will be served during the flight. You can travel with checked luggage at a maximum weight of 23 kg, and bring one carry-on bag on board with a maximum of 8 kg. 

Please note that this luggage allowance can differ from the airline you use for your feeder flight to/from Oslo. We kindly ask you to check your flight baggage terms and conditions, and confirm you are within all luggage allowances.  

We are unable to accept responsibility if you miss your own booked flight to/from Oslo in the event of a delay of the flight between Oslo and Longyearbyen. 

The standard of the hotels we use is equivalent to 4-5 stars, centrally located or if more convenient for your booked arrangement, close to the airport. There is no official hotel rating in Norway and local hotel categories apply. All rooms have private facilities. Single rooms may be smaller and less conveniently situated, and may be double rooms for sole occupancy or purpose-built single rooms. Hotels may charge for some facilities, e.g. saunas. The price for the overnight stay includes breakfast, unless otherwise stated on your confirmation. 

Hurtigruten offers a choice of optional Pre- and Post-Programmes that can be added to your Hurtigruten journey. This can be a half or full-day excursion, or an overnight tour. Please note programmes are subject to change, and a minimum number of participants applies. For guests who are not fully mobile, Pre- and Post-Programmes are on request. 

Explore Pre- and Post-Programmes here

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board always. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and medication to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage, properly labelled, and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital medication, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival. Illness on board can lead to quarantine, and orders from the ship’s physician and captain must be followed.

Please take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the required travel documents you will be asked to provide prior to boarding the ship. It is the sole responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain all required travel documents, and have them available when necessary. A passport is the only valid identification. For some destinations, your passport must be valid for more than six months after you return to your home country. At check-in on board, passports will be collected in order to clear immigrations and customs. It is the responsibility of each guest to ensure they comply with any visa travel document requirements at the time of travel. Please pay special attention to the ESTA/ETA regulations for our North America and Canada cruises. See details here.

On some expedition cruises, vaccinations can be recommended or may be required (e.g. vaccine against yellow fever). All passengers are responsible for ensuring they comply with any requirements at the time of travel. See details here.

A Health Declaration Form is required for some of our expedition cruises and expedition destinations. Please see our Entry Requirements page for full details.

Transfers are included as shown in your booked arrangement (please see your booking confirmation). Hurtigruten offers bus transfers from the airport to the pier and some hotels.  The transfer times are set according to the ship’s arrival and departure times, and your arrival and departure times. Delays at the airport are possible. The duration of the airport transfer can vary depending on the destination, but it takes usually between 20-45 minutes (depending on traffic). With your travel documents you will receive further information on your transfer. 

For guests who are not fully mobile, wheelchair accessible transfers are available on request.  

On board dress is informal. For all expedition cruises, we advise you to bring breathable rain and windproof clothing. A warm hat, gloves, scarf, and thermal clothing including thermal underwear can be useful, when sailing to cold destinations.. Sturdy shoes are important for shore excursions and landings, and a walking stick/trekking pole may be useful.  For additional information about footwear, see separate point “Equipment loans”. 

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