Silver Explorer: Oslo, Norway to Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Day 1 Embarkation: June 22, 2015

Northern latitudes: Reporting from Silversea Expeditions in the Arctic.


Getting to Silver Explorer

I took a United flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Gardermoen Airport in Oslo, Norway where I would overnight at one of the hotel options available from Silversea. My transfer to the hotel was pre-arranged by the cruise line, which was very convenient. I enjoyed a 45-minute ride to the city in the comfort of a new Lexus (other guests were chauffeured in new Teslas).

My expedition mate and I were able to check in early at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia. It was Sunday so a lot of the stores were closed, but we managed to explore quite a bit of Norway’s capital despite a light drizzle.

After the overnight pre-cruise stay in Oslo (mandatory for inbound US guests that are headed to Longyearbyen to meet the ship) our small group boarded a bus and headed back to the airport. Logistically, there is no way that anyone wants to miss the airplane connection to Longyearbyen because Svalbard is very remote and the places Silversea Explorer visits are off-the-beaten path (to say the least) and there are no ferries, planes, taxis, trains, cars, or daily transport options from the outside world that would ever be able to take a passenger to meet the ship.

Jet Time



Meanwhile, back at the airport….

We were met with other passengers of our cruise who stayed at other hotels are had easy connections to make an 8:15 am flight on Jet Time, the charter flight company. In total we had 98 passengers who were on the chartered flight and everyone had plenty of room on the plane. The flight to Svalbard took almost three hours from Oslo Gardermoen Airport. The 737 looked like it was newly refurbished and I appreciated the Silversea branded headrest covers. I was impressed that we had an escort from the ground operations company who met us at the airport and flew with us the entire way.

Headed to Svalbard from Oslo
Headed to Svalbard from Oslo


Exactly where am I?

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard

We embark Silver Explorer far above the Arctic Circle in Spitsbergen (the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago) in the “northernmost town on earth” called Longyearbyen, which is halfway between Norway and the North Pole.


We arrived to the settlement of Lonyearbyen where we gave our bags to porters who were standing by to transfer our luggage to the ship. Passengers got onto busses and were treated to a tour of the town and a visit to the Arctic museum documenting polar explorers such as Amundsen, Andrée, Nordenskjold, and Nobile.


Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Longyearbyen, Svalbard

I got a good taste of what life is like for those that call Svalbard home, including details about the impact of nature-based-tourism in the area and the commitment of the locals to sustainability and taking care of the delicate Arctic eco-system. After the three-hour guided tour of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, we were dropped off at Silver Explorer.


Welcome aboard

Welcome aboard Silver Explorer
Welcome aboard Silver Explorer

Onboard we had little time to rest. We had a safety drill, got an introduction about expedition cruising and met key crew members and our expedition staff. Guests were reminded about expedition cruising and the flexible nature of the itinerary. After the introduction and safety briefing we were treated to a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party.


Silver Explorer – First impressions

Silver Explorer Suite 701
Silver Explorer Suite 701

I am staying in one of the best suites on the ship – Cabin 701. The spacious suite has ample windows to enjoy views from the starboard side as well as the bow of the ship. The walk-in closet and spacious bathroom with soaking tub are welcome touches.


I have been impressed with how consistent Silversea’s brand standards are on this small expedition vessel that has a capacity to accommodate 132 guests. All the amenities I like (including Hot Rocks dining) are available: a fabulous butler (ours is named Romeo from the Philippines), Haute cuisine, Bvlgari bathroom amenities, luxurious bed linens, a wide-range of pillow options, elegant interior designs, and a great wine menu are just a few of my favorite things.


In addition to adherence to brand standards, this ship’s crew and officers exude a high level of service integrity. I believe the brochure calls what I am trying to describe as “Italian warmth” and it is about as good as it gets when it comes to setting the bar in the cruise industry. Guests considering a small ship expedition on Silversea will be happy to know that the same level of exceptional service found on other Silversea vessels is the same on Silver Explorer.


Voyage: At-A-Glance

7 days of expedition cruising around Svalbard and Bear Island enroute to Tromso, Norway.

  • Day 1- Arrival from Oslo via chartered flight to Svalbard
  • Day 2 – 8 Expedition cruising and exploration of Svalbard
  • Day 9 Cruise & Explore Bear Island, Norway
  • Day 10 Tromso, Norway
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