Encounter a pristine landscape of glaciers and fjords, see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat, and learn about the environmental challenges to the Arctic while cruising Norway’s Svalbard aboard the L'Austral. 

Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Polar bears in Svalbard. Credit: Dominic Barrington  Polar bears in Norway's arctic landscape  Traffic sign in Svalbard. Credit: Tori Hogan  Travelers exploring Svalbard  Picturesque scenery around Norway's Svalbard  Colorful houses in Svalbard's Longyearbyen

An Arctic Cruise of Norway’s Svalbard

Home of the Polar Bear, "King of the Arctic"

11 days | Full tour details to be announced soon

Encounter a pristine landscape of glaciers and fjords, see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat, and learn about the environmental challenges to the Arctic while cruising Norway’s Svalbard aboard the L'Austral. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails). Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Ship

L'Austral

The highly acclaimed L'Austral, launched in 2011, represents the newest generation of five-star small ships, featuring state-of-the-art design, distinctive sophistication, and only 110 staterooms.


Spacious Ocean-View Suites and Staterooms, most with Private Balconies

Each large, deluxe suite and stateroom (200 to 484 square feet) features a private bathroom with shower and luxurious five-star hotel amenities. Most accommodations have two twin beds that convert to one queen bed, individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, plush robes, and slippers.

Chic and Casual Dining

International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious Le Coromandel dining room in single, unassigned seating; alfresco in the casual indoor-outdoor Le Rodrigues Restaurant; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Spacious Public Areas and World-Class Service and Facilities

Inviting and spacious public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances and film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath-style steam room, full range of fitness equipment and two elevators. The infirmary is staffed with a doctor and nurse. The highly trained and personable, English-speaking, international crew provides attentive service.

Respect for the Environment

The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage by minimizing vibration and engine noise. The ship’s Clean Ship status offers an extreme rarity among ocean cruising vessels, showcasing the paramount importance of and commitment to energy efficiency and environmental protection of marine ecosystems. The ship has 10 Zodiacs.

L'Austral

The highly acclaimed L'Austral, launched in 2011, represents the newest generation of five-star small ships, featuring state-of-the-art design, distinctive sophistication, and only 110 staterooms.


Spacious Ocean-View Suites and Staterooms, most with Private Balconies

Each large, deluxe suite and stateroom (200 to 484 square feet) features a private bathroom with shower and luxurious five-star hotel amenities. Most accommodations have two twin beds that convert to one queen bed, individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, plush robes, and slippers.

Chic and Casual Dining

International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious Le Coromandel dining room in single, unassigned seating; alfresco in the casual indoor-outdoor Le Rodrigues Restaurant; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Spacious Public Areas and World-Class Service and Facilities

Inviting and spacious public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances and film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath-style steam room, full range of fitness equipment and two elevators. The infirmary is staffed with a doctor and nurse. The highly trained and personable, English-speaking, international crew provides attentive service.

Respect for the Environment

The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage by minimizing vibration and engine noise. The ship’s Clean Ship status offers an extreme rarity among ocean cruising vessels, showcasing the paramount importance of and commitment to energy efficiency and environmental protection of marine ecosystems. The ship has 10 Zodiacs.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes on-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engages travelers in the wide-ranging mission of the Smithsonian. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy) 
  • The expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Travel Director(s), and local guides throughout the tour.
  • Meals, including special Welcome and Farewell Receptions, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; R-reception; D-dinner).
  • Complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • All on-tour transportation unless otherwise noted.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for all participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only).

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à la carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Gratuities to ship and hotel staff.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • International airfare between home city and Paris and departure taxes.
  • Taxes.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included. 
  • Optional Travelers’ Protection Plan: Unexpected events before or during a trip may leave you with canceled plans, lost luggage, or unforeseen medical expenses. This optional plan offers an affordable package of benefits and services that can provide coverage and assistance for the unexpected. Visit TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys to learn more.

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.

To complete your request, the following information is required:
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following: Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a passport different from that originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $1,000/$500 per person for a cruise/land tour reservation, and $200 per person for the pre-program option and/or $200 per person for the post-program option, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour. All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator. Deposits are applied to the final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure unless otherwise noted. Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation fees apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within 95 days of departure for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Reservations Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in oil prices on e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc., a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee, but after final payment, no surcharges except for increased governmental taxes will be imposed. Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Waitlist

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. Individuals on the waitlist will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns regarding crime, terrorism, or health issues, etc., will be deemed a cancellation.  Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking: Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95/120 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95/120 days before departure: No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys: Full Refund or Credit

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  If you have scheduled your own air and your flights are delayed, if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.  Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, or otherwise because of a flight delay, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tours that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time.  If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high fees for changes. We urge you to check airline cancellation fees before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation fees related to domestic or international airline tickets.

Travel Insurance Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Smithsonian Journeys provides the following travel coverages with Travel Guard as part of your trip.

Limit (Maximum per person)

·   Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains up to $100,000

·   Emergency Medical Expenses up to $25,000

·   Emergency Dental Expenses up to $500

The Evacuation/Repatriation provides coverage for emergency air and ground transportation due to a serious illness or injury.  You also have worldwide access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline if you need help with lost documents, cash transfers, and other travel-related problems.

IMPORTANT: Smithsonian Journeys offers an optional, travel insurance plan which will cover you for trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness, medical expenses, and accidental death. To learn more, visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call 800-208-6142. Please consider this or other coverage.  Many insurance and HMO/PPO plans offer reduced benefits when traveling internationally and Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the U.S. 

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If you are a U.S. citizen and your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For certain international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and/or with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State no longer will add visa pages into U.S. passports. Applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we strongly recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we strongly recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, itinerary changes, speakers, experts, places visited, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation use, hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants when they are available; however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

This paragraph relates solely to the tour operator (Thomas P. Gohagan & Company). You agree that any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) concerning, relating or referring to these Terms and Conditions, the brochure or any other literature concerning your tour, or the touritself, shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16, either according to the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or pursuant to the Comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures of the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS). Such proceedings will be governed by substantive (but not procedural) Illinois law and will take place in Chicago, IL. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute between you and the tour operator (but not between you and the Smithsonian Institution) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contract is void or voidable. By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you (and we) are waiving our right to a trial by jury.

Any action or legal proceeding against the Smithsonian Institution in connection with your trip shall be brought only in a United States federal court of competent jurisdiction.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals in certain hotels or aboard ship. There is no smoking aboard the ship, and some hotels may not allow smoking anywhere on the property. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator books services of independent suppliers for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator is liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited to inappropriate or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Thomas P. Gohagan & Company and its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors or trustees, successors and assigns (“Gohagan”) and Smithsonian Institution and its  Regents, officers, employees, representatives, agents, successors, and assigns (“Smithsonian”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your tour including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel, or other transportation companies, guides or guide services, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service or entertainment providers, etc.  All such persons and entities are independent contractors.  As a result, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person or entity or of any other third party.

  

In addition and without limitation, neither Gohagan nor Smithsonian is responsible for any injury, loss, death, inconvenience, delay, or damage to persons or property in connection with the provision of any goods or services whether resulting from, but not limited to, acts of force majeure, acts of government, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, bites from or attacks by animals, insects or pests, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, sickness, illness, epidemics or the threat thereof, the lack of availability of or access to medical attention or the quality thereof, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations, mechanical or other failure of airplanes, vessels, or other means of transportation, or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart timely or safely. 

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The reader has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation including the Dispute Resolution paragraph as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour as well as the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The reader further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to acts of force majeure, the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, other criminal conduct, illness, inadequate medical facilities and difficulty in evacuation to same, and damage to persons or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of the Smithsonian, the United States, and/or Gohagan. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.