Location: Arctic Norway & Svalbard | Norway

Price guide: £££££ More than £500 per person per night

A former scientific research vessel which has been converted to take passengers on cruises around the Svalbard archipelago, a trip on M/V Plancius is one of the best ways to get a glimpse of the majestic King of the Arctic, the polar bear. The boat was renovated in 2009 and its cabins are simple but comfortable.
Perfect forSpotting polar bears.
In the know
  • Arctic cruises departing from Svalbard
  • Former scientific research vessel

Recommended for...

  • Setting & Views
  • Wildlife & Nature
  • Cruise
  • Eco-tourism

Hotel Overview

Sense of place

Svalbard, a desolate arctic wasteland of icebergs and glaciers populated by polar bears, is one of the world’s most unforgiving landscapes. Happily, you can enjoy the stark beauty of your surroundings from the simple, informal comfort of your boat.

Rooms at Plancius

M/V Plancius’ 53 cabins can accommodate 116 passengers, with the majority on a twin basis (there are four quadruple and two triple cabins). The boat was refurbished in 2009, and each of the cabins is comfortable and tastefully decorated, with private toilet and shower facilities. Artwork reflecting the icy landscapes outside your porthole adorns the walls.

Food and drink

The ship has a spacious and comfortable dining room, where delicious food is served three times a day. Breakfast is usually an extensive buffet, with lunches and dinners up to three-course affairs served to you at your seat. The dining room is lined on both sides with large windows so there’s no need to worry about missing any of the wildlife passing by while you eat. Snacks are available all day from the bar, located in the observation lounge, along with coffee, cocktails and soft drinks.


The observation lounge, with sweeping views on all sides, is a cosy spot where you can enjoy watching the wildlife and scenery outside your window with a drink from the bar in one of the comfortable lounge chairs. The lounge is also home to a library, reflecting the ship’s past as a research vessel, where you can read up on everything about the polar region, from wildlife to geology. There are also old sea maps and charts as well as non-polar related books for you to get lost in.  

Activities at Plancius

The restaurant doubles as lecture hall, where you will enjoy a programme of talks by noted naturalists on the wildlife of the area. While the expeditions are largely about viewing wildlife and scenery from the ship, efforts are made to spend as much time as possible ashore and snowshoes and boots will be provided for you for on-shore excursions like hiking, should you choose to disembark.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Best time to go

Hotel location

Expeditions embark from Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Svalbard, which receives flights from Oslo (3 hours) and Tromso (1.5 hours).

Stay at Plancius on these trips

More places to stay in Arctic Norway & Svalbard


call us on 020 7337 9010 to start planning your perfect trip

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Exsus Travel Limited t/a Exsus Travel. Registered in England and Wales at this address: 1 Burwood Place, London, W2 2UT. Company No. 3385363. VAT No. 719-221840.

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