Welcome to Norway, your expedition cruise starts here
Our Norway cruises are the perfect way to explore incredible coasts, lesser-visited places and remote islands. Secret Atlas takes small groups of just 12 passengers on cruises to Norway from the winter splendour of Tromsø to the Arctic wilderness of Svalbard, an archipelago of nine islands that sits halfway between mainland Norway and the north pole.
We’re a team of passionate explorers, conservationists, and photographers who share our dream of making Arctic cruises more personal and sustainable. People travel from all over the world to experience one-off voyages to remote places to discover Norway’s incredible nature, history, and wildlife.
Visit Beautiful Destinations
Svalbard is an archipelago to the north of mainland Norway, filled with Arctic wildlife, polar wilderness, and home to the northernmost settlements on Earth. Our micro-expedition cruises to Svalbard are a chance for adventure and escapism to remote and unspoilt places, ethical wildlife watching and capturing photographs of stunning polar landscapes. There are very few roads on the archipelago, and smaller expedition vessels like ours can reach remote places that larger ships can’t access such as the narrow, winding fjords.
Svalbard landscape by Chase Teron. You can join a photo tour with him here.
Expedition Cruises to Explore Svalbard During the Summer Months
Travelling in groups of 12 led by an expedition leader and expert guide means more time exploring ashore. There’s plenty of space on the Zodiac landing crafts, and you can experience the unique Arctic silence away from crowds. It’s one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in the wild and we’re frequently lucky enough to encounter walruses, Arctic foxes, and humpback whales too. You’ll also get to follow in the footsteps of great explorers, visit settlements, and grab a drink in one of the most northerly bars in the world.
Secret Atlas cruises to Svalbard take place between April and September, the early part of the season is the chance to see the archipelago emerge from the long winter, from mid-May, the 24-hr daylight arrives with more opportunities for wildlife watching, and the sea-ice open ups which makes it possible to reach more pats of the archipelago. But every month of the season offers a different experience.
All our cruises depart from Longyearbyen, the largest settlement on Svalbard. There are daily flights to Longyearbyen from Oslo on Tromso, which take around three hours.
Seeing polar bears in the wild is one of the many highlights of a Svalbard cruise.
Tromso in Northern Norway
Tromso is city in northern Norway surrounded by Arctic wilderness, where locals and visitors can hike up mountains like Tromsdalstinden. It’s perfect for a city getaway with a sense of adventure, particularly in the winter months as its latitude of 70° north and relatively low levels of light pollution make it one of the best places in the world to witness the wonder of the aurora borealis, aka the northern lights.
As well as snowy mountains, you don’t have to travel far out of the city to see more stunning nature including beautiful fjords like crisp-blue waters of Ullsfjord where you’ll also find glaciers and unspoilt wilderness. Winter in Tromso is also a good time or whale watching, when the orcas (killer whales), and humpback whales in the fjords.
Northern Lights and Whale Watching Cruises During the Winter Months
Our winter Norway cruise season takes visitors to Tromso, in the north. The city of Tromso is one of the best places in the world to witness the northern lights. It sits in an area known as the auroral oval and has a latitude of almost 70° north, and there’s also very little light pollution. Of course, we can’t guarantee sightings, but the probability of witnessing the aurora borealis aka northern lights is high on any given night.
The fjords surrounding Tromso offer a perfect place to witness the northern lights as there is little to no light pollution.
The fjords surrounding Tromso offer frequent whale and Orca sightings during the winter months.
By day, our expedition micro-cruise will head north of the city, through beautiful fjords in search of orcas (killer whales). The waters surrounding Tromso are home to an abundance of orcas, and they spent 40 per cent of their time travelling, so there’s a good chance we’ll spot some. Smaller ships are less disruptive to them too, as they’re quieter than larger ships. We following strict rules laid out by The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), Soto make sure our Norway cruises don’t harm wildlife. A winter cruise to Tromos also offers the opportunity to explore and hike in beautiful, remote villages.
Five Reasons to do a Norway Cruise with Secret Atlas
1. Exciting expedition itineraries with our Norway Cruises
Joining an expedition cruise is the opportunity for one-off exciting experiences, flexible itineraries. Visiting Svalbard on a micro-expedition cruise is the chance to explore the polar wilderness and encounter astounding wildlife with a good chance of seeing polar bears, walruses, puffins, and Arctic foxes. As the sea ice retreats, our cruises can circumnavigate Spitsbergen, the largest of Svalbard’s nine islands for more opportunities for wilderness hikes and seeing stunning glaciers up close.
And taking a winter micro-expedition to Tromso in is the chance to witness the northern lights in an area of outstanding natural beauty surrounding by frozen mountains and crystal clear fjords with little light pollution in the north of Norway. By day you could be hiking in beautiful remote villages, and whale watching in the fjords.
A shore landing by Zodiac in Svalbard.
2. Smaller, more intimate and sustainable cruises
Our Norway cruises take just 12 guests, travelling as part of a small group offers an intimate, shared experienced with like-minded travellers – while experiencing some of the most beautiful, unspoilt nature on Earth. Smaller vessels and tour groups also leave a much lower impact on the vital polar environments we visit.
Expedition micro cruises are less disruptive to the incredible wildlife we’re lucky enough to encounter too including the ‘King of the Arctic’ – the polar bear, as well as walruses, Arctic foxes, and a vast array of birdlife. We are a member of AECO and abide by strict rules when viewing wildlife.
Experiencing the Northern Lights in the fjords of Tromso.
3. Explore remote and rarely visited places
Our Norway cruises are all about exploring and we visit rarely visited places. It’s an enriching experience where you’ll discover remote and uninhabited places. Every cruise is led by an experienced expedition leader and expert guide, with deep knowledge of these Arctic destinations.
Every trip is a chance to follow in the footsteps of great explorers, discover historic remnants, experience life in little-known settlements, and go hiking in the polar wilderness where you’ll encounter huge glaciers, ancient rocks, fossils, and mountains.
4. Our cruises are a real adventure
We founded Secret Atlas to take you on an adventure. Feedback from our previous guests is that our cruises are more like a private adventure than a commercial cruise. Large commercial expedition vessels can now take up to 350, but we believe smaller is better.
Expedition micro-cruise vessels leave less of an impact on the environment, and they’re also more flexible. Part of the adventure is that we can change course depending on conditions, so we’re not bound by our itinerary and can adapt for the best chance for wildlife watching and exploring ashore. Smaller ships can also reach more remote places that larger ships can’t access like areas with shallow anchorages and narrow fjords. Travelling with just 12 guests means there’s no hanging around to get ashore, so we can maximise our time exploring.
Whale watching against a snowy backdrop near Tromso during the winter months
5. Travel the Arctic waters in comfort
Our expedition vessel is built for safe and comfortable Arctic exploration. They’re ice-strengthened for smooth voyages to polar regions and are equipped wth Zodiac landing craft exploring ashore. Inside, you can experience incredible scenery from the comfort of a spacious lounge, or venture onto a large deck to capture photographs and videos.
You’ll be welcomed aboard with a safety briefing on arrival, and our veteran crew includes a chef preparing three fresh meals a day – to keep you energised for your Arctic adventures. Enjoy comfortable, and much needed rest in the en-suite accommodation and there is also plenty of communal spaces for unwinding in the evenings.