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Tall Ship Noorderlicht has some years of experience in Northern Norway. Only with us, you can really experience the beautifull Norwegian fjords, encounters with Arctic animals and if you're lucky the enchanting Northern Lights.

We offer several voyages in Northern Norway. Depending on our schedule, they take place year round. Experience a life-changing journey with Swan Expeditions to Norway!

Norway by sailing vessel..?

Yes, with a sailing vessel you can discover the real Norway! Larger and only motorized ships are not able to sail into the hard-to-reach unique areas and most beautiful and vulnerable places.

Smaller ship = better experience

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

Characteristic vessel

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

Moved by the wind

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. Of course it is nice if you want to help with the sailing of the ship. And of course you can take the helm and steer the sailing ship to the next special landing.


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.

Zodiac experience

When we go ashore, the Noorderlicht is usually anchored near where we will leave the waters. 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.

Download our Expedition Manual

Receive our expedition manual with a clear overview of our scheduled voyages. Choose your next expedition and step aboard!

Our Guests

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.

Environmentally Friendly

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 Noorderlicht unique in Spitsbergen. Most other ships are motor ships with all its consequences.

Electricity aboard

We also need electricity on the Noorderlicht. However, still our footprint is very low compared to the big vessels of up to 200 passengers. 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, so we always have the configuration with the smallest impact on the environment.

Life on board

What immediately stands out is the warm and cozy atmosphere in the ship. There are nice 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.


Tall Ship 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. Therefore we 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 private cabins available.


Every day our chef and crew prepare a delicious breakfast with various cereals, fresh bread, sweet and savory spreads with coffee, tea, juice, 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 contact us.

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 the Spitsbergen offers, we will then sail to the next expedition area. Sometimes we use the whole afternoon for that. Another time we go on 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 or read a book. Sometimes there is still sailing in the evening or at night and it is nice to participate in the sailing of the ship.

Our team

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 a lot about the history of Spitsbergen or about the impact of the changing environment in the polar regions.

Customized experience

Because we have one guide for every 10 guests, we can provide customized expeditions and landings. One guest simply has different wishes than another guest. 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 our vessel. There is no contact with the outside world. Or, at least almost ...

Satellite telephone

Of course there are other ways in which Tall Ship 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 and can discuss anything.

History of Tall Ship Noorderlicht

The history of Tall Ship 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 the ice of Spitsbergen

After years of wonderful expeditions in to Spitsbergen, the ship is also frozen in winter in 2003 as a kind of hotel ship to house researchers with sled dogs. Due to the rising temperatures, this will come to an end in 2015, and the ship will start a new period as an expedition ship to unique destinations. In total we have almost 30 years of experience on Spitsbergen

Noorderlicht Details

Length 46,2 m

Width 6,5 m

Mastheight 43 m

Hullspeed 12 knots

Sailing plan 550 m2

Flag Holland

Homeport Enkhuizen

Built 1910

Rebuilt 1993

Certificates Worldwide

Crew 5-7 persons

Trainees 20 persons

Engine 340 HP Caterpillar D343 Diesel

Safety and certification

Safety requirements

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.

This already starts when you step aboard the ship. As a new crewmember you will be part of our safetydrills that take place during the start of our expedition. Do you have questions regarding safety aboard? Do not hestitate to ask one of our crewmembers about it during your stay.

Booking and Costs


Although our expeditions on our sailing ships are the most unique of all the voyages you can make on Spitsbergen, they are still very affordable. A 7-day expedition costs about 2500 euros and a 16-day circumnavigation towards 5.500 euros (VZR garant has secured the paid travel money. 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 direct.


We have a number of unique items for sale on board. Think of sweaters, polos and caps that you will either wear yourself and that remind you of your expedition on Noorderlicht. Or you can take it with you for your friends or family at home where everyone is curious 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 partially payments? Then you will also find the second invoice in your personal account 2 months before the trip.