Arctic Basecamp Adventure

Multi activities in the Arctic from a floating basecamp





From $4,420 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • Kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, photo-workshops in the Arctic
  • Multiple zodiac and shore excursions on this unique Polar Cruise
  • Spitsbergen scuba diving option available
  • Amazing Arctic wildlife and polar bear spotting around Svalbard

This is Polar cruising in the Arctic for those that want to do more than just sit and watch! The comfortable MV Plancius or MV Ortelius will be our base camp during the voyage around Spitzbergen and Svalbard.  We will have several different base camp locations in the various fjords and inlets during the voyage, from where we can head out in the zodiacs to get close to the wildlife or make shore landings to enjoy multi-activities which go beyond the normal polar cruise shore programmes. We can take the kayaks out and get off the beaten track with our expert guides, or enjoy some time on shore hiking or snowshoeing. Group members can also opt for a photo-work shop or a shore excursions to visit historical sites of Arctic exploration and the whaling industry. All these activities are led by qulified instructors and are included in the price of the holiday. Previous experience of any of these activities is not required. For the really intrepid there is also the option at additional cost to go scuba diving in Spitsbergen (previous experience is required for this activity). During our activities we intend to get as close as we can to the wildlife - a totally exhilarating experience. This is the Polar cruise holiday for wildlife lovers and outdoorsy people.

Is this holiday for you?

All activities from the ship are optional, and you can choose just to participate in the zodiac excursions. However if you are interested in the activities then you should have a reasonable level of fitness to participate. No previous experience is required (except for Scuba Diving). On each landing there will be a range of hiking and snowshoeing options from easy to moderately challenging lasting 2 - 4 hours. If participating in the zodiac excursions you must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. Also consider that you are travelling in remote areas without quick access to sophisticated medical facilities.

Please see our online Polar Guide for the differences between our departures, ships and more Polar information.  

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet in Longyearbyen and embark on MV Plancius or MV Ortelius
  • From Longyearbyen to Ny Alesund.
  • Exploring Ytre Norskoya.
  • At anchor in the Raudfjord System.
  • Cruising near the Monaco Glacier.
  • Exploring around Bockfjord and Woodfjord.
  • Into the Hinlopen Strait.
  • Heading north to the Phippsoya.
  • Return to Longyearbyen.
  • Departure day. Disembark. A single time transfer to Longyearbyen Airport is provided.
Wed 29 Jun - Fri 08 Jul Code PBC /01/16/ Adult$4,420 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • Arctic Basecamp Adventure
  • The departure reference for this tour is PBC /01/16/
  • This tour begins on Wed 29 Jun and departs on Fri 08 Jul
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of $2,800
  • Single Supplement $999
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Longyearbyen. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Longyearbyen Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

Final Balance

Full payment for all Polar Cruises is 14 weeks prior to departure. Early booking is recommended as flights  fill early and cabin choice can be more limited nearer to departure.

Free PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300 with every booking!

Everyone booking a cruise between now and the end of 2014 will receive a FREE PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300. Made with probably the warmest down in the world (grade 900), this quality jacket was designed to keep competitors warm at -35C during the Yukon Arctic Ultra sled dog race. Naturally, it's also perfect for spotting wildlife from the deck of your cruise ship. Jackets will be sent out on receipt of full payment.

Medical Form

Please note that for all our Polar Cruises you are required to complete a confidential medical form. This will be sent to you with your booking confirmation.

Upgrade Price per person and cabins

Our base price for this holiday includes accommodation in a quad cabin with porthole. It is possible to upgrade to cabins with triple or twin berth twin with porthole, or twin with window or superior/suite. If you are travelling on your own you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Please contact the office for further details on upgrade prices. All cabins and have private en-suite bathrooms.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet in Longyearbyen and embark on MV Plancius or MV Ortelius

    Meet in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago and the largest settlement on Svalbard. There will be a single timed transfer from the airport to the pier, where we board our ship and check in to our cabins. It is a 20 minute walk from the pier to the town and before embarking there may be time to stroll around this former mining settlement, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden. Tonight, before our safety briefing with one of the ships nautical officers, we will be welcomed by our expedition team and learn about the ships facilities. After some time to relax, explore the ship and enjoy the views, dinner will be served.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals d

  • From Longyearbyen to Ny Alesund.

    Heading north along the west coast of Spitsbergen, we arrive in Krossfjorden. Here, in the morning, we have our first opportunity to board the Zodiacs and cruise along the face of the 14th of July Glacier. Around the glacier are a variety of colourful flowers and large numbers of kittiwake and Brünnich’s guillemot can be seen nesting on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting arctic fox, patrolling the base of the cliffs searching for chicks unfortunate enough to have fallen from their lofty nests above, and bearded seal who can regularly be seen swimming in the fjord. In the afternoon we sail to Ny Alesund, the world’s most northerly settlement. Ny Alesund, now a research station, was once a mining village; served by the world’s most northerly railway. Close to the village is a breeding ground for barnacle goose, pink-footed goose and arctic tern. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will also want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the 1920s, during their balloon flights to the North Pole.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Exploring Ytre Norskoya.

    We visit the offshore island of Ytre Norskoya, a 17th century Dutch whaling site. The large graveyard here is a reminder of the hardships and dangers faced by the early settlers. The island’s bird life is prolific, with colonies of little auk, black guillemot, Brünnich’s guillemot, puffins and arctic skua to be seen. Heading Eastward, we visit Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen; a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by ringed and bearded seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving colonies of seabirds and, in sheltered areas, vegetation flourishes.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • At anchor in the Raudfjord System.

    Today the ship remains at anchor in the Raudfjord system on the north coast of west Spitsbergen and we have a day of optional activities. There will be ample opportunities for kayaking and hiking (with or without snowshoes) on short or long walks (easy, moderate and challenging hikes are on offer).

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Cruising near the Monaco Glacier.

    Another day of optional activities. Weather depending, we will sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore to explore the tundra island of Andoya. Many common eider and pink-footed geese nest here, and we may even catch a glimpse of the rare king eider. It may also be possible to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5 km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The water at the fore of the glacier is a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwake and on previous voyages polar bear have been seen strolling across the glacier, providing wonderful photographic opportunities. Throughout out the day we will have opportunities for kayaking, and short (easy) to longer (moderate to challenging) hikes and snowshoeing.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Exploring around Bockfjord and Woodfjord.

    Hiking and kayaking will be on offer on another day of optional activities. At Bockfjord, close to the shore and 10km inland, there are warm water springs with colourful sediments. We will have the option to climb a volcano, which has been dormant for over a thousands of year. This is one of the warmest areas on Spitsbergen and we see this reflected in the plant life, both cassiope (or arctic bell heather) and the alpine plant, dryas, can be seen here. The shores of Woodfjord are strewn with hundreds of large timber logs washed across from Siberia.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Into the Hinlopen Strait.

    Today we will sail into the Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seal, ringed seal, ivory gul and polar bear! Navigating the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvoya in our zodiacs we head to the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet; where thousands upon thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot swathe the cliffs. Heading on to the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet. Nordaustlandet is the second largest island in the archipelago of Svalbard and is home to reindeer, pink-footed goose, breeding ivory gull, and walrus.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Heading north to the Phippsoya.

    Phippsoya is one of the Seven Islands, situated north of Noraustlandet. At 81 degrees north, we are only 540 miles from the geographic North Pole! This could well be the northermost point of our journey. Polar bear inhabit this region, along with ivory gull. Our ship comes to rest in the pack ice, giving us a chance to take in the spectacular surroundings and perhaps see ross gull, before turning around to head south again.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Return to Longyearbyen.

    We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken. Seabirds nest on the cliffs and along the coast we may glimpse Spitbergen’s solitary pod of harbour seal. We will also see long demolished set guns and bear traps, remnants of a time when polar bear were hunted in the area. On the opposite shore it is possible to see walrus hauling themselves out of the water and onto the ice. Alternatively, we may sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on the cliffs here and we may also see Spitsbergen reindeer grazing the vegetation. The reindeer seem deceptively tame; in order to survive the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet and food is scarce, they preserve what energy than can and will only flee when absolutely necessary! In the afternoon we cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier front before returning to Longyearbyen.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Disembark. A single time transfer to Longyearbyen Airport is provided.

    We disembark and transfer to the airport for our flights home. KE Land Only package services end with a single timed transfer to the airport.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Expert Expedition staff
  • All accommodation on board
  • All meals whilst on board
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises with expert expedition team
  • All multi-activities and equipment including: Kayaking / snowshoeing / Mountaineering / Camping / Photo-workshops
  • Waterproof boots supplied (men's USA sizes 8-14 and women's USA sizes 3-9)
  • Single transfer on arrival and departure
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for staff
  • Airport transfers (other than single timed transfer) Any meals taken in Longyearbyen
  • Cost of scuba diving if selected - (previous experience required)
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.
On board the ship a diverse range of international dishes are available. Meals are prepared and catered by professional chefs and all meals are included in the holiday price. Special dietary requirements, including vegetarianism, can be accommodated with advance notice (please advise at the time of booking). Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included and can be prurchased in the dining room or the lounge areas.
All meals while aboard MV Plancius/Ortelius are included in the holiday price. If arriving early into or departing late from Longyearbyen, any extra meals required are not included in the holiday price.
The group will meet at the rendezvous point in Longyearbyen in time for the single timed transfer to the the M/V Plancius/Ortelius. Details of the rendezvous point and transfer time will be provided with your booking confirmation. Anyone unable to take advantage of the transfer can take a taxi from the airport to the pier at a cost of around $25. Land Only clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights.
During this trip the group will spend 9 nights on board the MV Plancius or the MV Ortelius. Standard cabins on the MV Plancius and the MV Ortelius are quad berth cabin with porthole. All cabins have en-suite facilities. All accommodation is on a sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Upgrades are available to triple or twin berth with porthole, twin berth with window, and superior/ suite. Depending on availability, it is also possible to arrange a single cabin. Please contact the office for upgrade and single cabin prices. Please note that if you wish to upgrade ensure that you book early to avoid disappointment.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The voyage will have an Expedition Leader who is assisted by an international team of professional naturalists, lecturers and guides for the multi-activities. Part of their goal is to provide an informed and balanced interpretation of the destination, accomplished through stimulating lectures, day-to-day briefings, and informal discussions. They will also ensure your safety and enjoyment on the various activities.
Prices on board are in Euros or US dollars. it is not practical to set a recommended amount for personal spending on a holiday like this. All meals while on board are included in the trip price. The main additional spend on board will be on drinks and this will vary greatly from person to person. A drink on board cost from €2.50. On board ship, bar bills can be put on a tab and paid at the end of the cruise by credit or debit card or in cash (Euro or Us Dollar). You will also need some money for any meals taken in Longyearbyen and for tips to your crew and expedition staff. It is possible to withdraw cash in Norwegian Kroner from ATMs in Longyearbyen, but we recommend that you bring a minimum of US$200 in cash for emergency situations where you are unable to withdraw money from the ATMs.
The customary gratuity to the ship's service personnel is made as a blanket contribution in one envelope at the end of the voyage, which is divided among the crew and staff. You will receive detailed guidelines on board. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. It is better for the crew and staff, if you can give them cash, either US Dollar or Euro. You may give individually and/or communally as a personal 'thank you' to one or more of the ship's personnel. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - $15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff.
There is no weight restriction on baggage other than that imposed by your carrier (please note that the baggage limit on the domestic flight between Oslo and Longyearbyen is 23kg). However, we ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag and a small daypack which can be carried on the plane as cabin baggage. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. We have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.


The day to day itinerary is for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. No two voyages are alike and flexibility is paramount on expedition cruises. During the trip the following optional activities will be on offer:


This is our core activity: guided shore excursions, walks and wildlife spotting and zodiac cruises are included in the fare and will be offered to all passengers during the voyages. Our voyages are primarily defined as explorations and we spend as much time ashore as possible. We can be flexible, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities by using our zodiacs for both landings and cruises. Our knowledgeable guides assist on these outings, providing detailed information. This is supplemented by lectures on board which covers topics such as wildlife and history.


We plan to offer 3-4 full days of kayak excursions parallel to all other activities (6-7 outings morning, afternoon or evening). Basic kayak experience, appropriate outdoor clothing and physical fitness is essential. The maximum number is limited to 14 kayakers per outing. Special kayak gear will be provided: single seat and double seat kayaks, neoprene wet suits, life vests. Kayakers will bring their personal warm and protective clothes. An expedition kayak guide will supervise the activity. The kayakers will be accompanied by a safety zodiac boat.

1 kayak excursion free of charge. Every passenger will be able to take advantage of at least 1 outing but it can be more availability allowing. Kayaking must be pre-booked and you will have the opportunity to do this when you receive your booking confirmation. There are no waitlists for any extra outings that may be offered.


During the voyage we offer on board photo workshops for beginners and advanced photographers under the supervision of a photo expert. Everyone is welcome to participate, no previous experience required. Our photo expert will then accompany the workshop group during activity on shore. The maximum participants per photo workshop is aimed at 20 participants per outing, per guide; so maximum attention can be paid to individuals. The workshop group will be taken on excursions on shore whenever opportunities arise. Participants with a special interest in photography will bring their own photography equipment. During cruising days everyone will be able to listen into the photography lectures in order to learn more about objects, exposures and photo composition. The intention of the workshop is not to instruct on how to use specific camera models, but more to give an insight on better photo results by respecting the basic rules of photography. Photographers can also take part in other activities of their choice.

The photo workshop must be pre-booked and you will have the opportunity to do this when you receive your booking confirmation.


We plan to offer several possibilities to become active ashore. There will be easy, moderate and more demanding walks on offer in the vicinity of the landing sites. There will be walks to suit everyone’s capability. In the Arctic we offer several full day walks of up to 5-7 hours (with packed lunch). Hikers are recommended to bring a proper pair of sturdy, waterproof, hiking boots and gaiters. Rubber boots suitable for hiking will be provided. Hikes will be guided by experienced expedition guides.


Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season when there are still snow covered areas. Snowshoes are easy to use and don’t require any technical skills. They make it easier and safer to walk on snow surfaces. They are available free of charge for everyone on board; they fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with the Oceanwide rubber boots.

Snowshoeing and hiking must be pre-booked and you will have the opportunity to do this when you receive your booking confirmation.


This is the only activity that requires an additional charge if you wish to participate. Divers must have experience and must be an expert with cold water and dry suit diving. We aim for 1-2 different dives per day; dives are entirely dependent on local ice and weather conditions. All dives are accompanied by dive masters and guides. Basic equipment is supplied (scuba tanks, compressor, weights and diving essentials), but divers should bring their own personal gear. Please contact the KE office for further details if you are interested in this activity. Pre-booking is essential.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Please restrict your baggage to one main bag (your KE Trek bag) and a small daypack. Dress on board is informal. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the synthetic fibers, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton.

You must bring the following items:

  • Causal shoes / Trainers or similar for onboard

  • Rubber boots (Wellington boots)*

  • Walking shoes

  • Socks (Warm, high wool or similar socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet)

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof trousers

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts / fleece

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Scarf and/or neck gaiter

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens (Thin polypropylene gloves under warm outer gloves is a good combination)

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre (1 Quart) x1

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep rucksack contents dry)

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

  • Small daypack

  • Warm jacket (down)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, and plasters. Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea

The following items are optional:

  • Warm Ski pants

  • Shorts

  • Spare gloves

  • Travel clothes

  • Camera (in a dry bag)

  • Binoculars

  • Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Seasickness remedy


*Rubber boots / Wellington boots:

Complimentary waterproof boots are supplied for the following sizes:


Men’s USA size 8-14 / UK size 7 to 13½ / Europe 41 to 48½

Women’s USA size 3 to 9 / UK size 1 to 6½ / Europe 33 to 40


If you have different feet sizes to these you should bring your own rubber boots. These should be rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knee with a strong, ridged non-skid sole.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Some of the optional activities require basic experience and equipment (see earlier in main section).

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Svalbard’s location within the Arctic circle is the biggest factor on climate but temperatures especially around the coast are moderated by the influence of the warm North Atlantic Current which keeps the waters navigable for most of the year and average summer temperatures at around 4 to 6°C (39 to 43 °F). However, on deck with a sea breeze, the wind chill can bring the real feel temperature below freezing. Precipitation is frequent, but falls in small quantities, typically less than 400 millimetres (16 in) in western Spitsbergen.

Spitsbergen, Andreas Umbreit – Bradt Guides

The Arctic - A Guide to Coastal Wildlife, Tony Soper

A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic, E.C. Pielou F

Flora of Svalbard, Olaf I Ronning

Birds and Mammals of Svalbard, Norsk Polarinstitutt

Ice Bears and Kotick, Peter Web

Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez

Polar Bears, Ian Stirling

Spitsbergen Explorer Ocean Explorer 1:1,100.000

The Svalbard archipelago, at 1:1,000,000 approx. on a tourist map with extensive additional information. On one side is a map of the whole Svalbard group showing settlements and various topographic features. The reverse side has biographies of 27 polar explorers plus colour photos and descriptions of several species of fauna and flora.

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