Northern Norway

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Tall Ship Noorderlicht has almost 30 years of experience in Northern Norway. Only with us, you can really experience the Arctic wilderness. Beautiful fjords, encounters with Arctic animals, the enchanting Northern Lights and a dive into the history of Northern Norway.

We offer several voyages in Northern Norway. They take place from November to January, during winter. Experience a life-changing journey with Swan Expeditions on Tall Ship Noorderlicht. 



Yes, only with a sailing ship you can discover the real Northern Norway on a voyage of 7 or 8 days. Larger and only motorized ships are increasingly banned from the most beautiful and vulnerable places.

Smaller Ship - Better Expeditions

In the past 30 years that we execute sailing expeditions in and around Northern Norway, we have seen mass tourism increase. Fortunately, the Norwegian government is making rules to protect vulnerable areas from the larger, motorized ships of up to 200 passengers. Our ship, Noorderlicht, with only 20 guests is still allowed to visit those places.

Tall Ship

The characteristic appearance of our Tall Ship Noorderlicht makes our expeditions a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Staying on our traditional, comfortable ship with its majestic masts and rigging creates a wonderful atmosphere.

Sailing ship

If there is wind we will travel under sail as much as possible. Gliding through the Arctic waters driven by the wind is a unique experience. If you want, you can even help with the sailing of the ship. And of course it’s possible to take the helm and steer the sailing ship to the next special landing.

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We anchor in the most beautiful and remote fjords and bays of Northern Norway. With an expedition zodiac we will take you ashore. Our certified guides will always ensure a landing you will never forget. With our relatively small sailing ship, we are able to enter the real untouched nature. A shore-expedition lasts from a few hours to a maximum of half a day.

Experience wildlife in Northern Norway


When we go on an shore-expedition, the Noorderlicht is usually anchored near where we will go ashore. You and the other guests board the expedition zodiac with outboard motor. You will then drive close to the water away from your Tall Ship. The image of the magnificent Tall Ship at anchor in the beautiful bay is always a feast for the eyes. The journey with the zodiac is an experience in itself. The zodiac moors against the ice or slides a bit on the snow plate or on the beach. Then you get out and you are in a new place for a new adventure.


Northern Norway

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Our Tall Ship Noorderlicht is the most famous sailing ship in the world that is sailing to Northern Norway and Spitsbergen. We are proud to welcome guests from all over the world in all age categories. 


We welcome guests of all ages. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. A certain level of being physically fit is important. We are on an adventurous expedition where you will get in and out of a zodiac, hike in spectacular terrain over different soils such as sand, stone, rock and snow. Also on board there are stairs and somewhat higher thresholds.

Alone or Together

The guests we take on board are mostly individuals, couples or two to three friends. Everyone who wants to visit Spitsbergen with a Tall Ship has an adventurous mindset. Thanks to the adventurous appearance of our sailing ship  it is easy to quickly connect with the other travelers. There is almost always some form of contact that remains among the guests afterwards. They often exchange photos and sometimes these connections even turn into lifelong friendships.


Our guests arrive from various countries. There is usually not one predominant nationality on board. Our crew also comes from different countries. The ships language is English.


We are proud that we are a sailing ship and we try to use our sails to reach the expedition areas under sailing. Only that aspect already makes the Noorderlicht unique in and around Northern Norway. Most other ships are motor ships with all its consequences.

We also need electricity on the Noorderlicht. But compared to the big ships up to sometimes 200 passengers, our footprint is very low. We get the energy that we need from our Powerpacks. We have 3 generators on board. Two small and ones and one larger one. This way we can always choose which one needs to be running for what we are doing. This way we always have the configuration with the smallest impact on the environment.




The Arctic Spring starts at the end of May. The boundary of the impenetrable Pack Ice pulls further north away. The first trips are still 8 days and take place on the west side of Spitsbergen. But from June we can get further northwest and the trips last 11 days.


From mid -April to the end of May there are Ski & Sail Expeditions. This is the period that conditions of snow, daylight and temperature are best for these unique trips. We then sail in the west of Spitsbergen. A Ski & Sail Expedition takes 8 days.


Do you have any questions regarding our voyages? Ask them during our free online Webinar.


What immediately stands out is the warm and cozy atmosphere in the ship. There are pleasant common areas that can be heated well for the Arctic areas. There are also 10 comfortable double cabins. Living together on board is a fantastic experience, regardless of your age. The group process is one of the most important parts of an expedition.

Do you want to know more about life on board? Visit our webinar >


Noorderlicht has 10 cabins for 2 people. The cabins are spacious and comfortable. Some cabins share a shower and toilet with one other cabin. Other cabins have the shower and toilet in the sanitary room. A double bed on a sailing ship is not a good idea. As soon as there is some heel, this is not pleasant. We therefore have two single beds in a bunk bed arrangement.

Private cabin

If you want more privacy, you can choose to book one cabin for one person. We only have a limited number of this option.


Every day our chef and crew will prepare a delicious breakfast with various cereals, fresh bread, sweet and savory spreads with coffee, tea, juice and milk. At the coffee and tea moments, something tasty is usually provided.

Lunch is an important meal with bread where something extra or warm is often served. Dinner usually consists of three courses and is prepared with great care.

Because we have a relatively small group of passengers, our cook can always add a personal touch to the food for our guests. Our crew and our guides join in with our guests. This ensures that we are all really sailing the expedition together.

If you have any questions regarding diets and allergies, please send us an email.

Daily routine

After breakfast usually follows the first expedition or landing of the day. Lunch on board is after the first landing/expedition, between 12 noon and 2 pm.

Sailing / second landing

Depending on what Northern Norway offers, we will then sail to the next expedition area. Sometimes we use the whole afternoon for that and other times we go on a second expedition or landing. Dinner takes place between 6 and 8 pm. In the evening there is room for a lecture or briefing from the guides and of course to chat, play games or to read a book. Sometimes we are still sailing in the evening or at night and it is nice to participate in helping with the sailing of the ship.

Learn more about our daily routine in our online webinar.


Our ships are sailed by an international professional crew. On board we have a captain, mate, cook, deck crew, and 1 or 2 guides. Total maximum, 5 crew members and 2 guides. They are together responsible for a safe trip and are therefore trained and certified on the basis of internationally applicable regulations. Our cook provides daily breakfast, an extensive lunch (often hot) and dinner. Dietary preferences can also be taken into account, such as meatless and allergies.


Our guides are fully certified and have extensive experience leading landings and expeditions. They have different areas of expertise. One knows a lot about flora and fauna, the other knows more about history and we have guides that know a lot about the impact of the changing environment in the polar regions for instance. 

Customized experience

Because we have one guide for every 10 guests, we can provide customized expeditions and landings. Some guests simply have different wishes than other guests. Our guides will give briefings about the expeditions before and after the various expeditions. They will also give lectures and presentations about their various fields of expertise. With a maximum of 20 guests and two guides, these are pleasant and informative moments.

The crew and guides usually sleep in their own part of the ship. They eat and live in the same areas as our guests. That gives a pleasant informal atmosphere on board. That way we are really experiencing the expedition together.



As soon as the Noorderlicht is a few miles out to sea, a sense of calm descends on the ship: there is no longer a cell phone connection. Can you imagine? A day without your mobile? This is your life aboard the Noorderlicht. There is no contact with the outside world.

Of course there are other ways in which the Noorderlicht can be in contact with the outside world 24/7. For example, we have an iridium LT 3100 satellite telephone connection which we can always use to call and be called in case of emergency.


During the voyage, the captain provides updates at least once a day about what is going on, where the ship is sailing and what the plans are. These are always pleasant moments.

And there is always, 24/7, someone you can ask questions or discuss matters with.

Curious in what part of the world our ships are sailing right now? View live location >


The history of the Noorderlicht begins a century ago as the lightship Kalkgrund II. The ship was originally rigged as a three-masted schooner and not equipped with an engine. The ship already has a really beautiful hull.

From lightship to houseboat

After being used as a lightship for a while, the ship is converted into a houseboat. Unfortunately, it fell into a bad condition… But the rusty hull was refitted into an expedition ship in 1992. We are then one of the first ships to take guests to the still unknown Spitsbergen.

Frozen in Spitsbergen

After years of wonderful expeditions in and to Spitsbergen, the ship was frozen during the whole winterperiod of 2003, as a kind of ‘hotelship’ to house researchers with sled dogs. Due to the rising temperatures, this has come to an end in 2015. By this time the ship started a new period as an expedition ship to unique destinations. In total we have almost 30 years of experience in Northern Norway and Spitsbergen. 

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The Noorderlicht meets all safety requirements set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The crew and guides are well trained in dealing with emergencies, but especially in preventing them. Every year, the entire ship and crew are inspected by various government agencies.

Do you have specific questions about safety on board?



Although our expeditions on our sailing ships are the most unique of all the voyages you can make around Northern Norway, they are still very affordable. A 7/8 day expedition costs about 3000 euros (VZR garant has secured the paid travel money. Read more about it here).

Full board

That is based on full board, coffee, tea, juice, etc.. Only your personal (alcoholic) drinks are for your account. The flight and your transfer from Longyearbyen airport to your ship (15 min) is not included.


Payment for the expedition is always in advance by bank transfer. You pay for your drinks on board the day before departure by (credit)card.

When you have found your expedition of choice, you can start booking. For expeditions of more than 3000 euros that are booked more than 60 days in advance, you only pay 30% first. If the expedition is already within 60 days of booking or for less than 3000 euros you pay the entire travel sum directly.


We have a number of unique items for sale on board. Think of sweaters, polos, caps and more. A lovely reminder of your Noorderlicht expedition. Bring it with you as a souvenir for yourself or as a gift for your friends and family back home, where everyone is excited to hear about all your stories.


It is customary for guests to tip the crew. This can be arranged when paying for your drinks and merchandise on the last day. For example, consider 5% of the travel sum.

Personal account

With your booking you will receive a link to your personal account. There you will find all information about your expedition. We also ask you to complete your personal information in your account. Do you pay in parts? Then you will also find the second invoice in your personal account 2 months before the trip.

Schedule a call with Christian, our expedition manager

Do you have any questions regarding our expeditions? Schedule a 15 minute call with our expedition manager.

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