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Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales

Winter Whales of Norway © Tyler Wang

Join us on a unique whale watching expedition, where you can see hundreds of orcas and humpback whales up close in their natural habitat. During the winter months in northern Norway, we observe the animals’ feeding and hunting behaviour in a responsible manner while snorkeling.

Snorkeling with Orcas and Humpback Whales in Norway

During five full days, our expedition takes you into the majestic fjords of Northern Norway, in search of pods of orcas and humpback whales. Our two Expert Guides will share their knowledge and teach you how to watch for whales. When the weather conditions and the whales allow, you will get a chance to go into the water for a look into their world. On board, we provide specially designed Waterproof® snorkeling drysuits and snorkeling equipment. Snorkeling is ofcourse not mandatory. Whale watching from the ship, and up-close in the zodiac, is as fascinating!

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Highlights of our expedition

  • Responsible whale watching
  • Snorkeling package included
  • Small groups
  • Luxury expedition yacht
  • Experienced wildlife guides

The combination of wildlife encounters, the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian fjords and the amazing Northern Lights, makes our ‘Winter Whales of Norway’ expedition a one of a kind experience. From many years of experience, we know the best time of the year for spectacular wildlife encounters is from the end of October to mid-January, when the balance between light and presence of the whales is at it’s best.

Programme

The success of our Winter Whales of Norway Expeditions very much depends on the whales and weather conditions. Two things which are beyond our control. Our itineraries are flexible and will be altered according to weather, wildlife behaviour, daylight, and other elements which may vary from day to day. We count on your realistic expectations and personal flexibility.

DAY 1 | Arrival & boarding - Tromsø

Your expedition starts in Tromsø, above the Arctic Circle in Norway. We recommend you arrive at least one day prior to embarkation, just in case your flight or luggage is delayed. Boarding takes place late in the afternoon on the first day and the ship departs during dinner time.

Be prepared for cold but rewarding days out at sea with good chances for seeing whales, orcas and northern lights. Bring a good portion of adventurous spirit. You never know what the day will bring!

DAY 2-6 | In search of Whales and Orcas

Whale Watching & Snorkeling with Orcas

For the next five days, we will follow the schools of herring, in search of orcas and humpbacks in the protected surroundings of the Norwegian fjords. Make sure to spend lots of time out on deck and on the bridge, so you can take in the amazing scenery and watch for whales.
Two expert wildlife guides will accompany you on your orca snorkeling expedition. They are constantly on the look-out for whales and orcas. Whenever the conditions are right, they give the sign to put on your drysuit while they lower the zodiacs in the water. These small boats will bring you within a safe distance of the whales. Approaching whales will always be done cautiously, at a low speed towards the side of the pod. Our guides are specialists in whale behaviour and have experience in zodiac driving around orcas. They know how to approach the animals cautiously in order not to disturb them or make them deviate their course.

When your guide gives you a ‘go’, gently slide into the water and observe the orcas and whales while they swim underneath you. The time you get to spend in the water depends a lot on the behaviour of the whales. Keep in mind, you may need to climb in and out of the zodiac several times before finally getting a good look at them under water. It’s sometimes hard work, but you will enjoy every moment of it!
Of course, you can also choose not to snorkel and watch the animals spy-hopping and jumping from the surface. This is just as beautiful and special!

Enjoying the darker hours

During the darker hours, we usually stay at anchor in a quiet bay where you can enjoy the warm comfort of the expedition ship. Our guides offer educational lectures about whale behaviour, wildlife conservation, research and other interesting topics. Since we are in a remote region out in the fjords, don’t expect nightlife or shopping possibilities, but we may go ashore  one or two evenings.

Northern Lights in Norway

You’ll have good chances of seeing these amazing Northern Lights. If the ship is docked in a harbor, the guides may take you out for a hike to find a good spot to photograph the aurora. Northern Lights watching from the ship can be equally spectacular!

Winter Whales of Norway Snorkeling with Orcas
Winter Whales of Norway
Snorkeling with Orcas

DAY 7: Disembarkation - Tromsø

The ship will arrive back in Tromsø the night before disembarkation. Farewell is after breakfast, but if you have an early plane to catch, you can disembark at an early hour if you prefer.

Activities

Snorkeling with Orcas and Whales

Our main goal during our Winter Whales of Norway expeditions is to go snorkeling with orcas and whales as often as possible. You don’t have to be a diver to participate, we do suggest you try snorkeling before joining our expedition. The water is cold and the use of a dry suit might be a new experience for you. On board, we provide high-end snorkeling drysuits, specially designed by our partner Waterproof International in Sweden.

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Waterproof®  Snorkeling Package – included

  • D9 Snorkel Drysuit by Waterproof
  • High Visibility Hood by Waterproof
  • 7 mm Mittens by Waterproof
  • Marine Boots by Waterproof
  • Fins, Snorkel and Mask

Photography and Whale Watching in Norway

Our expedition is a unique opportunity for everybody interested in orcas, humpback whales, white-tailed eagles, Arctic winter, Northern Lights and breathtaking landscapes. It offers a rare opportunity to photograph whales in their natural habitat. If you choose not to go snorkeling, the zodiac excursions offer great opportunities for topside whale watching and photography.

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Supporting Norwegian Orca Survey

Waterproof Expeditions is a proud partner of Norwegian Orca Survey, a non-profit organization, dedicated to researching and monitoring orcas in Norway. To support their research, we donate an amount for each person on our Winter Whales of Norway Expeditions.

Read more

Ship

The advantages of travelling on board our comfortable small expedition ships are numerous. Most importantly, we don’t have to return to port each night. This means we can maximise our time looking for whales. The ship is our platform at sea from where we can provide you with the best possible snorkeling experience. With a maximum of 12 guests on board, you will be in the zodiac with a small group of only 6 persons.

Virgo

12 passengers
More info

Impression

Dates & Rates

Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
22 Nov - 28 Nov 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info

Other dates

Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
22 Oct - 28 Oct 2024 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
28 Oct - 03 Nov 2024 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
29 Oct - 04 Nov 2024 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
03 Nov - 09 Nov 2024 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
07 Nov - 13 Nov 2024 7 days
Vikingfjord 12 passengers

From € 5700 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
04 Dec - 10 Dec 2024 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
10 Jan - 16 Jan 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
26 Oct - 01 Nov 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
28 Oct - 03 Nov 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
29 Oct - 04 Nov 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
01 Nov - 07 Nov 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
03 Nov - 09 Nov 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
04 Nov - 10 Nov 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
07 Nov - 13 Nov 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
09 Nov - 15 Nov 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
10 Nov - 16 Nov 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
13 Nov - 19 Nov 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
15 Nov - 21 Nov 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
16 Nov - 22 Nov 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
19 Nov - 25 Nov 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
21 Nov - 27 Nov 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
25 Nov - 01 Dec 2025 7 days
Polarfront 16 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
27 Nov - 03 Dec 2025 7 days
Explorer 12 passengers

From € 5900 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
28 Nov - 04 Dec 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info
Winter Whales of Norway

Winter Whales of Norway

Snorkeling with Orcas & Humpback Whales
Dates and duration
04 Dec - 10 Dec 2025 7 days
Virgo 12 passengers

From € 4800 per person
More info

FAQ

From October until January you have the best possibilities to see whales and orcas. They usually come to the fjords of northern Norway during this period, however we can’t guarantee any wildlife sightings.

Please note that days are short during the winter months. At the end of November, the polar night sets in. From mid-December until the second week of January it’s too dark for us to go out on the water. Therefor, we don’t offer any trips during this period. Have a look at the following website for the amount of daylight during our expeditions: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/norway/tromso

Our voyages take place during the winter months, far above the arctic circle. We might have calm and sunny weather, but rain, snow and even storms are not uncommon. Expect temperatures to be slightly below freezing during the day.

The starting point of our Winter Whales of Norway voyages is Tromsø. This small city is situated on the island Tromsøya, high above the arctic circle at 69° north. From here, you embark on an adventurous expedition cruise in the fjords of Northern Norway.

Our ships usually dock very close to the city center and are easy to reach from your hotel. It’s definitely worth spending a few days in Tromsø. There’s a long shopping street that runs right through the center of town, and lots of cosy bars and restaurants for you to try out. Be certain to visit the Polar Museum, which gives you a good insight in the history and culture of Arctic Norway. You can also cross the bridge to the mainland for a visit to the iconic Arctic Cathedral, or a ride up Fjellheisen, the cable car that will bring you up to 420m above sea level.

Embarkation/boarding usually starts around 4.30 pm on the first day. We will gather at a hotel near the harbour in the center of Tromso. From the hotel we will either walk to the ship or we will arrange transport if the ship is not docked in the city center.
You will receive an email with the exact details for your trip several weeks prior to your departure.

Disembarkation is after breakfast on the last day. If you wish to leave earlier due to an early flight or excursion we are able to arrange early check-out.

The snorkeling activity is intended for persons in reasonably good health. You need to have a certain level of fitness and strength in order to participate. Putting on your snorkeling gear, actively swimming in cold water and getting in and out of the zodiac can be challenging. You have to be able to lift yourself out of the water, with the help of small ladder, and into the zodiac.

You are free to give it a try, if you decide not to go snorkeling you can still join the zodiac for wonderful topside whale watching.

You don’t need to snorkel and can enjoy the close whale encounters from the zodiac. You will also have an excellent view on spy hopping and tail waving from the ship. Plus the beauty of the scenery and twilight are amazing topside experiences.

For this trip we provide you with a complete snorkeling package from our partner Waterproof Sweden. This includes a dry suit, hood, gloves, fins, boots, mask and snorkel. You are also welcome to bring your own snorkeling equipment.

Special thermal overalls are available for rent, make sure to reserve these when making your booking.

Please note that we only have a limited range of drysuit sizes available on board.
We offer the following sizes: S – M – L – XL -XXL

If you are uncertain of a fitting size, we strongly recommend to bring your own drysuit which you have tried out prior to the trip!

We offer thermal overalls for rent. These overalls have been specifically
designed to wear under your drysuit and to keep you warm while snorkeling
in cold water. They are very comfortable and easy to put on, and can also perfect for wearing as a wind proof outer layer for example while whale watching on deck.
It will save you a lot of space in your luggage as you don’t have to pack multiple layers of insulating clothing.

Book your thermal overalls when making your reservation for only € 80 per person for the entire voyage. Available sizes: S – M – L – XL – XXL

When you’ve travelled to colder regions, maybe Antarctica, the Arctic or a skiing trip, you can most likely wear similar clothes. We recommend wearing several layers of thermal (wool) clothes to keep you warm and cosy inside the dry-suit.

We don’t offer diving or free diving activities, because we don’t want to disturb the animals, make them deviate from their course or interfere with their feeding behaviour. We only carefully observe them from the surface by snorkeling. We are much more flexible getting in and out of the water with only snorkeling gear. The whales are often seen at the water surface, therefore it is not necessary to dive deep to see them. Weights and belts are available on board for those who would like to use them.

The minimum age for children on our expedition cruises in Northern Norway is 12 years old. Due to the nature of our expeditions, they must be under constant parental supervision and must share a cabin with their parent.
Please note that our polar snorkeling activity is accessible for passengers from 16 years and older but only when a drysuit is available in their size. The drysuits provided on board start from size extra small, similar to a EU women’s size 34. It is also allowed to bring your own drysuit.

In Norway, you are generally allowed to fly in the open category if you are registered as an operator. However, it should always be in accordance with the expedition leader and captain before use to avoid disturbing the wildlife. Please notify us when making your booking in case you would like to bring a drone.

General rules for flying a drone in Norway:

  • Use of drones is regulated by guidelines known as regulations A 7-1, for unmanned aircrafts.
  • For drones up to 2.5 kg, the maximum speed limit is 60 knots (111 km/h) and for aircrafts up to 25 kg the maximum speed limit is 80 knots (145 km/h). Maximum altitude is 120 metres.
  • Stay at least 50 metres from the whales.
  • Only 1 drone is allowed to film a whale or group of whales at any one time.
  • Keep the drone in sight at all times and only fly in daylight.
  • You are required to have a responsibility insurance.

More info about flying a drone in Norway

We sometimes have WIFI onboard, however this is not always stable. We are usually close enought to shore the have cell phone reception and data roaming network.

We have no fixed itinerary for these expeditions, instead, we look at the weather and wildlife to determine our direction. We might go ashore once or twice for a hike and some northern light photography.