Welcome to our guide to Expedition Micro Cruises. We believe that the best way to experience the Arctic is on a small expedition vessel. We started  Secret Atlas to offer a lower impact alternative to the increasingly larger cruise ships that visit the polar regions. We have put this guide together to give you an in-depth overview of why smaller ships are not only better for the environment, but also offer a richer experience for the visitor looking to explore a polar region.

What is an Expedition Micro Cruise?

An Expedition Micro Cruise is a voyage with just 12 guests on a purpose-built expedition vessel. The style of the trip is an expedition and the emphasis is on exploring and learning about the natural environment. We are led by 2 expedition leaders who share their knowledge throughout the trip. The vessel is equipped with Zodiac landing crafts to make shore landings on a daily basis.

The vessels we use offer a good level of comfort, and allow us to visit places the larger ships can’t access. Our trips are designed for those who wish to escape the crowds on larger ships and experience the nature in a small, friendly group.

svalbard small ship cruise

5 Reasons to do an Expedition Micro Cruise

1. We take only 12 guests per voyage

Travelling with a small number of explorers ensures a more personal and intimate voyage than a larger ship can offer. We have one expedition leader for every 6 guests, the best ratio in the industry.

Average Number of Passengers per Voyage

Expedition Vessel

expedition vessel cruise

Cruise Ship

expedition cruise


‘The micro cruise experience felt like being on your own private boat. The crew were fantastic’



‘The vessel was comfortable but the real luxury was experiencing nature in such a small group’

2. A small group offers a richer experience

Shore landings are the essence of an expedition cruise. On our voyages, there is no waiting to go ashore as there is space in the Zodiacs for everyone.  You will be going ashore with a small group of like-minded guests where you will experience the wilderness in an unhurried way.

Average Number of Passengers per Shore Landing

Expedition Vessel

expedition micro cruises

Cruise Ship

longyearbyen cruise expedition
Secret Atlas Offer 250
3. Expedition Micro Cruises get you closer to what you came to see

A huge benefit of an expedition vessel is that it takes you closer to the fantastic nature you came to see.

Expedition vessels have increased manoeuvrability than larger ships and can get nearer to glacier faces, enter shallow bays and provide a more intimate platform for wildlife watching.

micro cruise in the arctic
micro cruise in svalbard
expedition cruise to svalbard
4. A smaller vessel allows us more flexibility

An expedition vessel has greater flexibility than a large ship. We can change plans depending on the conditions and we don’t follow a prescribed itinerary. We spend less time waiting and more time exploring.

Expedition Vessel vs Cruise Ship
expedition motor yacht compared to a cruise ship
5. Reduced Environmental Impact

Due to their more compact size, expedition vessels create less disturbance to the wildlife.

Expedition vessels offer lower emissions than larger vessels. We offset all our emissions via tree planting.

Landing 12 guests at a time reduces our footprint in comparison to a large ship.

Expedition Micro Cruise Video

Join an Expedition Micro Cruise Today

Is an Expedition Micro Cruise for me?

If you would like to visit and learn about the Arctic in a low impact way with a small group of people then the answer is yes. Our vessels are warm inside and feature cabins with comfortable beds. We offer tasty, freshly cooked food onboard for breakfast lunch and dinner. Our vessels feature a passenger lounge to relax in during the evenings.  

Our cruises are suitable for people with a basic level of fitness and mobility. When ashore we will be hiking on uneven terrain. We have 2 expedition leaders on every trip and can divide the group if there are some guests that would like to do longer hikes. 

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