Credit: Swan Hellenic

Discover a day in the life cruising the Arctic with Swan Hellenic

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Swan Hellenic is the ultimate adventurer’s getaway with a winning combination of cutting-edge ships and intimate, in-depth itineraries – discover just how good a day onboard SH Vega can be.

Sit back, relax in the elegant environment of SH Vega and let the motion of the ocean sweep you away to your next adventure.

Swan Hellenic offers an unrivalled experience of the Arctic – what better way to experience the northernmost part of Earth than by polar-class vessel?

SH Vega makes for the perfect base. If an intimate 152 fellow passengers, unobstructed onboard views and a stylish stateroom sound like a bit of you, then get ready to learn more about your dream expedition cruise.

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Your morning onboard SH Vega

Wake up to the sounds of seabirds, open your curtains and drink in the view of the deep blue sea framed by a snowy mountainous landscape – perfection.

You’ll only have to momentarily tear your eyes away from the spectacular scenery as you make your way up to the Swan Restaurant, which also features large windows. Take a seat and fuel up with fresh fruit, omelettes, cereal, cooked items or pancakes.

If you are on a Swan Hellenic ‘Svalbard’ itinerary to the Arctic, then you’ll be sailing towards the one and only, the Svalbard archipelago.

- READ MORE: Swan Hellenic unveils 2023 season of cultural expedition cruises -

After you have finished breakfast, head back to your room to change into your swimwear and get on up to SH Vega’s Alfresco outdoor pool, don’t worry – it’s heated!

Experience the unusual contract of admiring an icy landscape of incoming Svalbard with polar bears roaming around while soaking in a steamy hot tub – the new experiences are endless.

If you just can’t get enough of the water, then finish your morning by opting to embark on one of Swan Hellenic’s Zodiac boats where you can get up close and personal with some ginormous glaciers, tundra and small beaches. Keep your eyes peeled for the Svalbard reindeer, arctic foxes and seals.

Explore the picturesque town of Longyearbyen. Credit: Shutterstock

Afternoon adventures

The thrills aren’t over yet – but before you start exploring the Arctic landscape further – indulge in a delicious lunch.

You can either eat again at the Swan Restaurant for cuisines such as fresh seafood, made-to-order pasta and carved meats or head over to the Club Lounge on deck seven for a casual dining experience where you can order pastries, and afternoon tea, pizza or burgers.

With menus designed by two well-known executive chefs, you can be sure you are in safe hands. Not to mention the open seating policy meaning you can mingle with fellow adventurers.

With a full stomach, hop offboard to traverse Longyearbyen, the world’s most northerly town. Ensure you visit the North Pole Expeditions Museum where you can learn the extent to which previous explorers reached the pole by air.

As always when exploring the Arctic, make sure you keep an eye on the water, as a wide variety of whales immensely populate these waters.

Admire adorable puffins. Credit: Shutterstock

Whales are not the only unique animal you might see on an Arctic cruise with Swan Hellenic, also look out for birds such as puffins, black-legged kittiwakes and black guillemots.

Mammals include wolves, polar bears, reindeer and the arctic hare – see if you can tick all these animals off your list during your cruise.

Get back onboard SH Vega feeling amazed at all you have just seen and expand your mind further in the Observation Lounge with a range of enrichment activities.

Guest speakers and lecturers will cover every destination-based topic imaginable – such as wildlife, nature, history, climate and geology.

With your newfound knowledge, head over to gain an even deeper level of understanding (if you could even fathom!) in the Citizen Science Lab, where you can interact with real-life scientists and pose all your burning questions.

Experience the magic of the midnight sun in the Arctic. Credit: Shutterstock

Evening exploration

How do you know the evening is setting in? Of course, it is the gradual sunset before you welcome the darkness. Well, on a Swan Hellenic cruise to the Arctic you’ll be able to experience the truly magical midnight sun.

The midnight sun occurs around the summer solstice where the sun doesn’t set at the earth’s poles – so in Svalbard, the sun doesn’t set from 19th April to 23rd August. That’s around four months of the midnight sun, so travel within this time period for the ultimate Arctic experience.

Without the sun setting to signal dinner time, perhaps rely on the subtly waft of delicious cuisine to mark the beginning of dinner service.

After dinner, follow the sound of lilting piano music to the Observation Lounge where you can relax and be entertained throughout the entirety of the evening – you could also head over to the Swan’s Nest to appreciate panoramic views of the Arctic landscape.

Head back to your plush bed and take one last look at the impressive landscape from your spacious balcony. Ensure that you turn on your flame-effect fireplace in your cabin - cosiness guaranteed.

Finally, drift off to sleep, content that you will be waking up in a new destination awaiting your discovery with Swan Hellenic.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.