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MS Nordstjernen Anniversary Cruise


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General Conditions

More information about the

MS Nordstjernen Anniversary Cruise

Check-in and registration at the Hurtigruten pier in Bergen. We sail out from the capital of western Norway, Bergen, and continue the journey to beautiful Flåm in Aurlandsfjord. After Flåm we will sail into Nærøyfjord, the most beautiful arm of Sognefjord.

From Geiranger to Vesterålen
The majestic Geiranger fjord is the next highlight on the cruise, including a visit in Ålesund before we are heading for Trøndelag and the regional capital of Mid-Norway - Trondheim. After visiting Trondheim, we are heading for the famous Lofoten Islands and we will sail slowly past Reine, a traditional fishing village in Moskenes. Svolvær is our next stop before we head north towards Trollfjord and the Vesterålen region.

Troms and Finnmark
The next day we will arrive at Bjarkøya, a small municipality which consists of 365 islands - all of them are varied and special in their own way. We will sail along the second largest island of Norway, Senja, before we arrive in Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic. The journey continues north, and we will enjoy the view of the spectacular mountains Lyngsalpene.

The next day we arrive in Honningsvåg, a fishing harbour and the capital of North Cape. Here we will offer an optional tour for those who would like to visit North Cape on a sightseeing trip.

Towards Svalbard
We're sailing around the North Cape, leaving the Norwegian coast, heading for Spitsbergen. The journey will take approximately two days. If the weather- and ice conditions allow us to, we will make a stop at Bjørnøya (the Bear Island).

We arrive in Longyearbyen on Sunday morning. We'll have a guided tour in town to learn more about the exciting history of Longyearbyen. We will have lunch at the historical Spitsbergen Hotel before we get some time on our own. Embarkation at the ship at 17.00.

The Northwest coast of Spitsbergen
MS Nordstjernen takes us out of the Icefjord via Barentsburg and northward along the coast of Prins Karls Forland. The next morning we will pass the mouth of the Kongsfjord and also sail along the exposed stretch of coast known as "The Seven Icebergs", before reaching the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. In this area several magnificent fjords, including the famous Magdalenefjord, is located. At Gravneset we'll do our first landing by tender boats, and our guides will tell us the exciting history of the place.

From hunting to research
The additional program for Monday and Tuesday is based on the existing weather- and ice conditions. Most likely we will get to se the walrus colony at Moffen Island, and we're trying to cross the 80th parallel. On Wednesday we will visit Ny-Ålesund and learn more about the history based on both coal mining and polar exploration.

Landings along the coastlines
On board MS Nordstjernen we will meet our expedition leader and a travel guide who will assist us during the whole cruise. The rest of our guide team will join us in Longyearbyen.
Along the Norwegian coastline we're offered optional sightseeing tours and activities, which we may register for and then join. We may also spend the time on land on our own.

On Spitsbergen we normally do one landing per day. We dock at the quayside at Barentsburg and Ny-Ålesund, and elsewhere we use tender boats. We make these landings where there are signs of hunting and other activities from earlier times, or where the natural history is of special interest.


Each evening you will receive the next day program including mealtimes, and excursions. As you sail, you are invited to the navigation bridge, which offers an excellent vantage point for spotting birds, marine mammals, and icebergs. The staff will be present to help you identify the various species you encounter.

The Staff that will guide you through your adventure were selected because of their knowledge, experience, and passion for the region. Many of these men and women return each year, always finding new elements to get excited about and share with passengers. Among the staff you will find explorers, naturalists, historians, biologists, and geologists.

There is frequently a need for the staff and officers of the ship to communicate with passengers. Announcements regarding items like daily itineraries, wildlife sightings, and weather changes are conveyed over the Public Address System. Please be sure to pay attention to these brief announcements as they may contain information that is important for your safety and enjoyment on the cruise. There will be times that announcements are also translated into other languages and we request that you remain quiet so that everyone has an opportunity to hear the information.

We will give you as much notice as possible about scheduled landings and excursions planned for the coming days. Your Expedition Leader will schedule briefing meetings as needed to update you on weather and ice conditions, and upcoming destinations.

So much of what you will encounter on your adventure will be new and there is no way to predict what delights Mother Nature will put before you on any given day. Informal recap sessions will be held to allow passengers and staff to discuss the events of the day. As everyone shares his or her experiences, usually just prior to dinner, the conversation is entertaining and exceptionally informative.

The ship's bridge provides a superior location from which to view wildlife. Due to new rules from Norwegian Marine Authorities for 2004, it is somewhat uncertain whether are allowed to visit the bridge. There may be times that the bridge is closed, generally for reasons of safety during rough weather or when the ship is in port. Please check with the officer on watch if you need confirmation as to whether the bridge is open.

The cabins have climate control system. As well, some of the cabins on C-deck have portholes that can be opened for fresh air. Because of the changeability of the weather, please do not leave porthole open when leaving your cabin. You can control the warm airflow into the cabin by adjusting the valve.

The ship is equipped with a satellite telephone (for emergency calls only). Note that although calls to and from the ship are usually reliable and remarkably clear, they are expensive, running about EUR/US$6 per minute. There are certain latitudes where such communication may not be available. Likewise, the Bridge Duty Officer will answer all incoming calls.

Toward the end of your journey, you may settle your shipboard account with Visa, AmEx, MasterCard or Diners (or NOK in cash). This includes your bar tab. All prices onboard MS ”Nordstjernen” are in NOK (Norwegian kroner).


On Mondays disembarkation is scheduled when MS “Norstjernen“ arrives Longyearbyen at 0200. Most passengers depart with the early morning flight SK4497 leaving Longyearbyen at 0440 (direct flight to Oslo) or SK4493 at 0505 (to Tromsø). Spitsbergen Travel provides transfer from harbour to airport for these flights.
Passengers leaving with afternoon flight SK4457 (leaving Longyearbyen at 1455) may keep the cabin until 0800 in the morning, and will then have transfer from harbour to Spitsbergen Hotel where they can buy breakfast (this is not included this last morning on board as the cruise ends in the night), and leave the luggage. Then for departure they may use the airport bus leaving the hotel 1,5 hours before departure. Airport bus cost NOK 40 pr person (pay cash to the driver).
On Thursday disembarkation is at 1000, immediately after arriving Longyearbyen. Passengers then follow the program with sightseeing and check in at Spitsbergen Hotel, and then dinner later in the afternoon. Spitsbergen Travel offers transfer for those departing Fridays with SK4497 to Oslo at 0440 or SK4493 to Tromsø at 0505. Those leaving with afternoon flight SK4457 to Tromsø and Oslo can use the airport bus from hotel to airport (as well as those having additional accommodation).
From airport to Spitsbergen Hotel it is about 5 km. The harbour is halfway between the airport and the hotel.

The electrical supply aboard ship is 220 volt. You may need an international adapter for your particular equipment.

There is no elevator aboard the ship.

To simplify the tipping process, gratuities are made as a blanket contribution at the end of the voyage, and then divided among the crew. The Expedition Leader will give you more details during the disembarkation briefing.

Please note that tipping is a personal matter and you are encouraged to use your discretion as to the amount you contribute. You may offer your gratuity in cash or charge it to your ship account.

Laundry service is NOT available,

International law requires that within 24 hours of sailing you participate in an emergency drill. When you embark, please take a moment to locate the life vest in your cabin and take note of where your lifeboat and muster station is located. During the mandatory lifeboat drill, the safety officer will brief you. You will then be instructed to don your life jacket and report to your muster station.

Included in your trip are all meals during the cruise. Table water is also included. Breakfast – buffet,
Lunch – luncheon buffet with warm and cold dishes Dinner – Three course dinner,

We strongly recommend that you purchase special travel insurance that will reimburse you for the cost of emergency medical services and evacuation, which can be prohibitively expensive in remote areas. It is essential that you bring your personal medication with you on this trip.


Mobile phones (GSM) can be used in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg only. There is no coverage for mobile phones during the voyage at sea.

Be sure to check the expiration dates on all credit cards you plan to take with you on your trip. Make certain the cards are signed on the back. Take note of the emergency services that come with the card, most particularly personal check cashing. A pocket calculator will also be helpful, especially for money conversions.

Passports are required and must be valid for at least six months beyond your departure date. If you do not have a valid passport, apply for it early. Your passport will be kept aboard ship or in the hotel safe.

Your safety is our utmost concern. While on the ship we urge your cooperation in following these important guidelines:
* Do not throw anything overboard
* When entering your cabin, turn on a light
* Wear non-slip shoes, walk slowly and carefully, and use handrails when walking on outer decks - they may be icy.

* Brace yourself wherever possible as the ship may move suddenly * During rough weather, avoid large open areas with nothing to hold onto

* Hold handrails as you move through passageways and stairways.

* Be sure that items in your cabin are secured and will not fall with the ship's movement.

* Keep doors latched securely. Do not hold a door by its frame; use door handles only.

Anticipate some rough water on the voyage. If you are prone to motion or seasickness, please consult with your physician on which medication is appropriate. We recommend you try out the medication first on dry land. Remember to take your medication early. Once you start to experience motion sickness, medications are of little help. To lessen the effects of motion sickness, avoid alcohol, tobacco, excess liquids and confined spaces. You might feel better lying down with your eyes shut or sitting on deck looking at the horizon. Food, like crackers or dry toast, can also help.

Smoking is not permitted inside, only in designated outside areas.

We use a 24-hour clock on the ship. Hours are numbered from 1 to 24. Therefore, if a lecture is scheduled for 3:30 P.M., the daily program will list it at 1530. If you are communicating via phone outside the ship, please check with the bridge or duty officer to determine the local time at the location you are calling.

Our means of transportation from ship to shore will be Polar Circle Tender Boats. They are very safe and we are able to bring the passengers right onto the landing beaches, although you often have to wade through shallow water in order to get to shore. During the orientation briefings when you first board the ship, you will receive complete instructions and information about the proper mode of dress and how to enter and exit the boats. Tender boat excursion Procedure:

• Prior to each landing, there will be a briefing to acquaint you with the wildlife, terrain, and shore activities you can expect, as well as the proper dress to ensure your safety and comfort.
• When departure is about to begin, an announcement will be made over the public address system. Please listen carefully as there will be important information about weather conditions, the order of

   disembarkation, and other pertinent details.
• Do not go to the disembarkation area until your group is called.
• Smoking is NEVER permitted when you are in or near the boats
• You must wear your life jacket at all times while you are in the boat
• Please place all equipment that you are taking ashore, including cameras, binoculars, etc., in a daypack so that both hands are free when you enter and exit the boat. Larger hand-carried items may be

   handed to the crew for transfer to and from the boat. We suggest that cameras be protected with a waterproof covering to shield them against sea-spray.
• When the staff member in charge at the disembarkation area indicates that it is your turn to board, move quickly into the boar using the assistance offered by the crew. Never jump into the boat. There will

   be times when the swell causes the boat to rise and fall in relation to the platform, so follow all instructions.
• Use the "sailor's grip" - meaning that you and the helper each grab the other's forearm - to ensure that your entry and exit from the boat is smooth and safe. This technique will be taught to you as part of

   your orientation.
• Once you are in the boat, sit down immediately and slide toward the stern. Do not stand.
• The driver is experienced in the safe use of the Tender boats, even in rough conditions. Therefore, it is essential that you pay careful attention to all instructions.
• Sometimes a group is fortunate enough to have a close encounter with a seal in the water or on the ice. The driver will maneuver the boat to allow you to get the best views and photographs possible. 

  Please do not stand up without the driver's permission. Sometimes, the best shots are taken from a kneeling position, with your arms braced on the pontoon.
• On occasion the engine may stall. This is not uncommon and there is no cause for alarm. Most often, the driver is able to restart the engine in a short time. Just remain calm and wait for further instructions.

   Note that the driver is also in contact with the ship via a VHF radio, and there are oars as part of the boat's equipment. Please do not attempt to help unless asked to by the driver.
• When you have reached the landing site, everyone will exit the boat in turn. Ease yourself down, never jump, as the water may be deeper than you anticipated.
• There will generally be a staff member to help you from the boat to the beach. The landing area may be slippery from ice or algae, and no one of any age or physical ability should be too proud to accept

   some assistance. It would be foolish to jeopardize the rest of your trip because you refused a little help.
• Please arrive back at the landing site promptly at the specified time to re-board the Tender boat for the return to the ship. There may be a continuous shuttle between the beach and ship so that you can

   return at your leisure, but we request that at the conclusion of the landing excursion you do not keep your fellow passengers waiting.
• If you hear the ship's horn while you are ashore, please return to the landing site immediately. This signal indicates that weather conditions are changing and it is necessary to return to the ship at once.
• When you have re-boarded the ship, please wash your boots thoroughly to avoid the accidental transfer of seeds or organisms from one landing site to another. Your cabin will also remain cleaner and

   sweeter smelling if you follow this ritual after each landing


Hints for tender boats travel (ship to shore)
When going ashore, place your camera and gear in a plastic bag inside a small backpack. You will need your hands free to enter the zodiac. You may also want to keep a small camera inside your jacket


A cold camera kept in a waterproof case or sealed plastic bag will not develop condensation once brought into a warm environment. Be sure to have an ultraviolet (UV) or skylight filter to protect expensive lenses from dust and damage. Remember to bring extra batteries in cold destinations as the cold may drain them more quickly.


We recommend that you bring a camera that you know well and have worked with before. If you have new equipment, experiment with it before the trip. If you are not a dedicated or advanced photographer, you can still get wonderful shots using a "point and shoot" camera. Simply be sure you hold the camera quite still. There is a wide range of automatic cameras available many of which are lightweight and have high quality lenses built in. For the more serious photographer, a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera will provide the option of changing lenses to get different types of shots. Many people will bring an SLR camera and a "point and shoot" camera, the latter for quick snapshots or a back up should your main camera fail. A newer option is the digital camera that takes photos that can be downloaded to your computer and even sent across the Internet on your home page.


With conventional cameras you can elect to takes prints or slides. Prints can be made from your slides, but that can be expensive. When selecting what speed film to purchase, you may want to experiment to see what produces the best results with your camera. The lower speeds tend to work best in bright daytime light. Higher speed films, like 200 and 400, work better in lower lighting conditions. Most professional photographers use lower speed film and switch to higher speeds only when the light is dim and no other film will work. With a range of possible light conditions, from bright sunshine to dark, overcast skies; you may want to bring a variety of film speeds for every eventuality.
Check with your local photo shop to see what new films have been introduced to the marketplace. Talk to them about your destination and get their recommendation for your specific camera.


"Point and shoot" cameras have a fixed or zoom lens that ranges 35 mm to 135 mm. For SLR cameras that give the option of changing lenses, a 50 mm lens is an excellent one to start with. In addition, you may want to bring a wide-angle lens (35 mm or less) and a telephoto zoom to capture wildlife that is some distance away. We suggest a zoom range of 80 to 200 or 300 mm or 28 to 200mm. Longer lenses used with a tripod, although heavy to carry around, will give you highly detailed images of wildlife (i.e. a 300 to 400 mm lens). A telephoto lens is helpful since there are restrictions about how close you can get to the wildlife. A wide angle lens will assist you in capturing the full panorama of the landscape.

Although not entirely necessary, if you want the finest quality pictures you will use a tripod. Holding the camera as still as you can on a tripod becomes particularly important when using a telephoto lens and slower speed film to capture wildlife. Landscape photography using a tripod allows you to give more consideration to your depth of field and to use higher f-stops, which will create images that have both the foreground and background in focus. Will I need filters? If you are going to choose one filter, it should be a polarizing filter that fits on the end of the lens. When you polarize the light you remove the glare caused by the water, resulting in bluer skies and whiter clouds. Keep in mind, however, that a polarizing filter will reduce the amount of light that strikes your lens.
To protect SLR lenses, be sure to have UV (skylight) filters to prevent costly scratches; it's much easier and less expensive to replace a UV filter. What kind of covering will protect my camera from sea spray and rain? Seawater, with its high salt content, can be very damaging to cameras. Your local camera store should be able to provide you with a yellow float bag or a special waterproof case that will keep your camera safe as you travel in the tender boats. These containers not only keep sea spray and rain off your camera but, if they fall in the water, they will also float. Some people use a plastic bag, but that can be unreliable. The best protection can be found in plastic hard cases that have foam padding. They offer the additional advantage of easy transport aboard an airplane.

For small "point and shoot" cameras, the small pouch case it came with is probably all you will need, along with some waterproof protection for the camera and extra film when it is packed in your daypack. Larger SLR cameras may require a padded case to protect extra lenses and the flash attachment. Be sure to include extra batteries, film, lens caps, and tissues to clean the lenses.

Keep in mind that you will be traveling to some of the most scenic and remote places on Earth. There will be no end of possible subject matter, from the wildlife to the terrain and even your fellow shipmates. Even the most amateur photographer will go home with pictures that will elicit "ooohs" and "aaahs" from friends and family.

More specifically:
• Know your camera equipment. After you've embarked on your trip is not the time to learn about your camera.

   Read the instruction manual at home and be ready to take pictures the moment you begin your voyage.
• Set your camera in the mid-range (f/8) to allow all parts of a sunny landscape to be in focus.
• Consider your composition as you look through the lens. Does it look like a painting that would capture your interest?
• When you shoot, hold the camera very still.
• If you have an SLR camera, be sure to use the right lens to do the job.
• The closer your subject, the more of a story your picture will tell.
• Include only the background elements that are relevant to your subject.
• Try to capture unique behavior, whether by animals or people.
• Fill-flash, used gently, can help is there is a lot of contrast between your subject and its background.
• When shooting in bright while snow or in an area with a lot of glare, over-expose your shot.
• If your subject is mainly dark, slightly under-expose your film.
• No matter what pictures you take...they're your memories. Enjoy them.

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