Tag Archives: cruise ship

A BLESSED SUNDAY FOR TRAVELERS AS COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS EASED: No virus test for vaccinated people going to Svalbard; coastal cruises and charter flights allowed


Sunday will be a blessed day for those traveling to Svalbard as several COVID-19 restrictions, including a mandatory negative test for the virus within 24 hours of departure, will be eased that day, Norway’s government announced Friday. People who can show proof they are fully vaccinated will be exempt from the test.

In addition, coastal cruises will be allowed “on certain conditions” – including up to 2,000 people on large ships if all are vaccinated – and charter flights from the mainland will be able to land in Svalbard.

A bit less crowded: Scaled-down cruise ship season gets scaled-down local welcome – until new visitor center can ramp things up


The first large cruise ship of the year docked in Longyearbyen early Wednesday morning and, unlike previous years, there was no welcoming party by locals to greet it.

But it had nothing to do with whatever frustrations some residents have had about the crowds of visitors arriving on increasingly large ships (although there will be notably fewer of them than last year). Rather, the welcoming is briefly on hold until a more personal one is possible when a new visitor center at the dock is finished.

Virtual voyage: NRK to film nine-day cruise around Svalbard this summer for ‘Minute By Minute” broadcast next February


Bad news : Travel companies soon won’t be able to say a cruise around Svalbard is something only an adventurous few experience as NRK is planning to film a nine-day voyage this summer for the latest installment of its famous “Minute By Minute” series that is scheduled to be broadcast next February.

A crew of 26 people will rig Hurtigruten’s M/S Spitsbergen with cameras on all corners and edges, establish a control center on the rear deck, and use drone cameras for the broadcast expected to last about 13,000 minutes. 

Tracking the attack: Bear that attacked cruise worker was skeletal, expert says; signs of its presence on beach should have been obvious, researchers who saw it the day before say


The cruise ship wasn’t trying to bring tourists ashore to look at a polar bear. The uneven landscape of the beach meant the animal could have been out of sight a short distance away – but a whale carcass and lots of bear tracks should have been a dead giveaway. The crew tried to scare the bear away before being forced to kill it. An expert researcher says it appears the bear was very thin.

A few more details were released Monday by officials and a lot more criticism was expressed –including from celebrities and other prominent people worldwide – about a polar bear that was fatally shot after attacking a cruise ship crew member in northern Svalbard on Saturday.

Fatally flawed: Polar bear attack on cruise ship employee revives debate about tourism in Svalbard’s remote areas


The injured cruise ship crew member is recovering and the polar bear inflicting the wounds is dead after being shot, but the attacks resulting from the encounter are just beginning.

Blown away: Biggest cruise ship ever in Longyearbyen makes huge waves for stores, tours – but strong winds nearly kept it from docking


As expected, the biggest cruise ship to ever dock in Longyearbyen meant a day of big crowds, big sales and big discussions. But another big – the wind – nearly made things very small.

DOING THE WAVE: Locals and passengers up early to greet each other from far and near as first large cruise ship of year arrives


Carsten Wuenscher, 41, knew nothing about Svalbard before arriving Wednesday morning, but clearly was eager to start learning as he was the first to disembark from the 2,100-passenger AIDAluna after it became the first large cruise ship to dock here this year. 

Ship shape: First cruise ship passengers of the year greeted with fewer snags organizing tours – but a few during them


A year ago the first cruise passengers in Longyearbyen were a couple merely planning to walk into town to discover possible activities. This year the first passengers were a couple expressing anxiety about being among the relative few taking that approach.

Shippy McShipface: First cruise ship of season arrives as tourism enters a new era in Longyearbyen


Tony Dunne obviously made an effort to get an early start since he was the first passenger to step off the first cruise ship docking in Longyearbyen this summer, but he didn’t sound like  someone scurrying to savor the sights and sounds of Svalbard.

“To be honest I have no idea why we’re here,” the resident of Kitzbühel, Austria, said as he walked past the security gate to where a half dozen buses, a lone trumpet player and a couple of people advertising day trips to Barentsburg awaited under drizzly skies at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. “It’s something to cross off the list.”