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Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard on board Ocean Albatros

Waterproof Expeditions' Anu traveled to Svalbard on board a brand new expedition ship

Anu from Waterproof Expeditions had the opportunity to take part on a voyage to the kingdom of polar bears – Svalbard onboard a brand-new expedition ship Ocean Albatros. Below you can read more of her experience on the ship and its different facilities.

After we arrived to Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, got on the ship and had the mandatory safety briefing, it was time to head to the unknown! Soon after the Ocean Albatros started to sail we headed for our first dinner onboard. After the dinner, we explored around the ship and started to get to know better our home for the following 10 days whilst we would explore the beautiful Svalbard Archipelago.

Ocean Albatros specifications

As mentioned, The Ocean Albatros is a brand-new ship, and the 2023 Arctic season has been its first on the sea. The ship was purposely built for expedition cruising, and in many ways, it offers the expedition feeling – however, also offers a bit of extra comfort that one might look for whilst on a longer voyage in the Polar regions. It has the highest Polar Code 6 and Ice class 1A, and it is therefore an ideal vessel for small-ship cruising due to her sturdy construction and X-Bow®-Infinity class, which provides high stability in rough weather and allows for the smoothest movements on high waves.

On the ship there are total of 94 staterooms, which comfortably accommodate approximately 170 passengers when fully booked. There are many staterooms for several types of travellers; single cabins or sharing options for solo travellers, double -, triple – and joint cabin options for families or friends travelling together, and larger suites with separate living space and bedrooms. Most of the staterooms have a balcony, which is a nice addition, when you want to quickly pop outside to admire the views of Svalbard or take some photos. I stayed in a Double cabin with a balcony, small lounge area with sofa and desk, two separate beds, plenty of storage space and ensuite bathroom. My stateroom was on the 4th deck, which was very convenient, as it was the embarkation level and access to the mudroom and zodiac platforms was at the end of the hallway. In the mudroom we all had our assigned lockers by the cabin numbers. In the lockers we could store our life vests and dry any wet clothes we might had after the day outside. From the mudroom there is also the access to the zodiac platforms, for smooth entry and exit procedures.

Delicious food

Onboard the Ocean Albatros there are two restaurants Jens Munk dining room and Fridtjof Nansen restaurant, in which you can enjoy buffet breakfast and lunch. In the evenings first of the restaurants offers A la Carte menu, which changes daily with delicious options of cuisine all around the world. The other restaurant changes to Black Rock grill with a special menu with different options, served on a steaming hot rock, on which you cook your own meal to your liking.

Water, tea, and coffee are always on offer on the 5th deck Vitus Bering lecture hall and on the 8th deck Knud Rasmussen observation lounge with some small snacks like cookies or fruit. Both spaces have big windows, which offer plenty of light and of course the possibility to admire the spectacular scenery from inside, with a cup of coffee while comfortably seated.

Extra comfort for your expedition

Next to the Vitus Bering lecture hall, there is also a small library that offers plenty of literature regarding the Polar regions and wildlife. For wildlife watching and admiring the scenery of Svalbard, there are also many outside decks that provide good opportunities for it, and as the railings on most of the decks are made of glass and therefore the views are nearly completely unobstructed. When there is something special in sight i.e., polar bears, there are also extra observation decks on deck 5 that are opened.

All the lectures and presentations were held in the lecture hall, sometimes evening entertainment with live music was offered in the Roald Amundsen lounge. From its bar you could purchase a tasty cocktail to enjoy while sitting by the (electric) fireplace or whilst looking out from the big windows to the Svalbard lanscapes. Also, the bar on the 8th deck observation lounge is open throughout the day, where you could enjoy a beverage with panoramic views. Finding your way around the ship is easy after bit of exploration. For the ones with limited mobility or the ones who have walked enough during the days, there is also an elevator in the middle of the ship that takes you smoothly between different levels.

As a Finnish person, there is a feature on the ship that I particularly enjoyed! And that was the sauna of course. I have been sitting in many saunas with beautiful views during my life, however never before while sailing on the Arctic Ocean amongst pancake ice, and that was pretty special! There are also two outside jacuzzies, that you can warm up in after a day outside and a gym with different equipment for doing some sports. Onboard the Ocean Albatros there is also a Spa, in which you can pamper yourself for example with a massage or a facial treatment. For the unlucky, there is also a small medical facility and a doctor present for emergencies. For the ones who like to do some onboard shopping and get their souvenirs ready, the polar shop offers opportunity to do some purchases daily.

Based on my experience in Svalbard on board the Ocean Albatros it is a wonderful ship, that provides smooth sailing even in rougher conditions and offers easy, comfortable, and enjoyable life onboard in the Polar regions, with many great facilities that add a bit more to the experience yet keeping the exciting and adventurous atmosphere of an expedition vessel.

Want to read more about expeditions to Svalbard? Read my about my experience regarding the expedition from the blog post: Expedition Life in Svalbard.

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Expedition life in Svalbard

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