Festive adventure
Your special Christmas adventure begins in the colourful streets of Dakar. You’ll travel to two island archipelagos filled with historic sites, contrasting cultures and stunning landscapes. Our final stop before returning to Dakar is Banjul, Africa's smallest capital city.

Island life
Explore the amazing volcanic landscapes of Cape Verde as we cruise to Santiago, Fogo, Santo Antão and Boa Vista. Watch for hundreds of different bird species as well as rare saltwater hippos, manatees and more in the Bissagos UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We’ll also meet the Bijagós people, who retain their nature-based spiritual beliefs and traditional culture.

Highlights


• 13-day Christmas expedition cruise from Dakar and Banjul to Cape Verde and the Bissagos Islands



Begin your festive adventure in Senegal's vibrant capital Your West Africa expedition begins with an overnight stay in colourful Dakar. Feel free to relax and use the amenities of your centrally located hotel or take in the sights and sounds of Senegal’s vibrant capital. If you want to explore more of the area before your expedition cruise, you can book an optional Pre-Programme excursion to visit the Bandia Nature Reserve. Ride an open vehicle safari through the African savanna for some exciting wildlife spotting. Keep an eye out for giraffes, buffalo, monkeys, gazelles, ostriches, rhinos and more.
Tragic history combined with natural beauty After breakfast you’ll visit the historical UNESCO site of Île de Gorée. The largest slave trading center on the African coast, this island of forts and museums is a memorial to the suffering of the countless enslaved peoples who passed through this tragic place. Learn more on a visit to the Maison des Esclaves museum – the Slave House. We'll also tour the baobab-shaded streets of the town, where local artisans sell their crafts. MS Spitsbergen will be waiting for you back on the mainland.
Get set for island adventures Today we head west to the Cape Verde Islands. There will be plenty of time to get acquainted with your fellow passengers and Expedition Team. Enjoy the onboard comforts – from delicious meals and drinks in the Explorer Lounge & Bar, to relaxing in the panoramic sauna or a hot tub out on deck. To learn more about what's ahead, join the Expedition Team for fascinating lectures in the Science Center and pick up pointers from our professional photographer as you watch for marine life and seabirds.
See Santiago’s eclectic mix of cultural influences Santiago embodies the spirit of the Cape Verde archipelago. Here you can enjoy a little of everything, from historical sites and bustling markets to lush valleys and craggy mountains. The capital of Praia is a dynamic city that attracts immigrants from the rest of Cape Verde and the African continent. Explore Praia’s vibrant culture on a city tour. Visit the museums and buildings around the Plateau, which displays artifacts recovered from the islands’ shipwrecks. Stop by viewpoints, the local market, and more.
A landscape of lava, craters and calderas Today's expedition day takes you to Fogo, an island dominated by a cone-shaped active volcano. Centuries of eruptions, the last in 2014, have left an incredible landscape for us to explore. Enjoy a tour of São Filipe’s cobbled streets and charming historic centre. Or why not discover the stunning lava fields of Chã das Caldeiras. Fogo doesn’t have any natural harbours, so we’ll only land if conditions allow us to launch our smaller expedition boats. Otherwise, you’ll take in the spectacular volcanic scenery as we cruise around the island.
Island paradise made for adventure Santo Antão's landscapes of peaks, gorges and canyons have benefited from their unsuitability for agriculture. Largely untouched, this wilderness sanctuary is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. We’ll land in Porto Novo, the island’s main port, which has spectacular views across to São Vicente. Enjoy a ride around the island, which takes you on a nature tour through the island’s ribeiras. These are deep, narrow canyons with near vertical walls. Or why not go on a nature walk and take in the local beauty spots up close. Walk along trails through mango and almond groves, punctuated by the delicious aroma of roasting coffee wafting through the villages.
Explore an island gem You've now reached Cape Verde’s easternmost island, Boa Vista. You’ll be awed by the rugged beauty of the Sahara-like desert formations and landscapes of this volcanic island. The sand dunes and oases found here are in stark contrast to the other islands we visit on this cruise. Stroll the streets of the island’s capital, Sal Rei, where you can explore its history and traditions, and visit Santa Isabel Church. The Ponta do Sol nature reserve is within hiking distance of the town, and a great way to enjoy the scenery.
Prepare to experience the Bissagos Islands We say goodbye to Cape Verde as our expedition cruise continues to Guinea-Bissau. As we sail, your Expedition Team will brief you on what lies ahead. Learn about the extraordinary biodiversity of this tropical region, the traditional culture of the Bijagós people, and the historical impact of Portuguese exploration and the slave trade. You can also participate in our Citizen Science Programme and contribute data to important ongoing research projects. Or why not brush up your photography skills with our onboard photographer in readiness for the sights to come.
A Christmas with a difference Over the next four days, you'll get to know Bissagos's maze of islands and channels. Renowned for diverse ecosystems, we'll explore mangroves, tropical forests, savannah woodlands and coastal lagoons. You'll meet the local Bijagós people. A traditional society practising a mostly subsistence lifestyle, they hold the natural world sacred; a belief that has helped protect this area from exploitation. Local conditions will determine when and where we can land and explore, but whatever we do you can be sure you’ll experience the rich diversity of the archipelago up close. A special celebration will be held on board the ship to celebrate the festive season in style!
Soak up the past and present in historic Banjul Today we reach The Gambia and its tiny capital Banjul. It may be a small city, but its location at the mouth of the Gambia River means it is an important trading hub. Banjul played a role in ending the slave trade, as its garrison was used by the British Navy to uphold abolition laws. Close by is the birthplace of Kunta Kinte, the protagonist of Alex Haley's famous book Roots. This city is easy to explore on foot. Visit the lively Royal Albert Market and the National Museum, which contains historical documents and displays about the country’s history. Back on board, you'll enjoy a cultural performance, introducing you to The Gambia’s music and traditions.
End your expedition in Senegal’s colourful capital Your expedition cruise ends back in Senegal’s kaleidoscopic capital, Dakar. After you disembark MS Spitsbergen, we'll take you on an included city tour to explore this fascinating city. Listen out for the many languages of West Africa, such as Wolof, Pular and Serer. Undoubtedly, seeing the diversity of local cultures here is a wonderful way to round off your trip. With the tour complete, you’ll be taken to a hotel for lunch, and spend the rest of the day relaxing in comfort at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your return journey home.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Polar Outside. From

$10,058 AUD pp
Polar Outside. From
Our Polar outside cabins are situated mostly on the middle or lower decks and all have bathrooms with shower/WC. Most have double beds, while others offer separate beds (one of which is a sofa bed) or upper berths. All the cabins have individual specifications.

Arctic Superior. From

$11,107 AUD pp
Arctic Superior. From
Relaxation and comfort are the hallmarks of our Arctic superior cabins. Situated on both the upper and middle decks, the cabins all have double beds, bathrooms with shower and WC. They are also equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities. All the cabins have individual specifications.

Expedition Suite. From

$14,337 AUD pp
Expedition Suite. From
Our Expedition suites are the most luxurious cabins on the ship. Situated on the upper deck of the ship, the cabins feature seating areas with TV, bathrooms with shower/WC, and all with double beds. Some of the suites have more facilities than others. An exciting welcome gift awaits all suite guests in their cabin.

Polar Outside. From

$10,736 AUD pp
Polar Outside. From
Our Polar outside cabins are situated mostly on the middle or lower decks and all have bathrooms with shower/WC. Most have double beds, while others offer separate beds (one of which is a sofa bed) or upper berths. All the cabins have individual specifications.

Arctic Superior. From

$11,846 AUD pp
Arctic Superior. From
Relaxation and comfort are the hallmarks of our Arctic superior cabins. Situated on both the upper and middle decks, the cabins all have double beds, bathrooms with shower and WC. They are also equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities. All the cabins have individual specifications.

Expedition Suite. From

$15,262 AUD pp
Expedition Suite. From
Our Expedition suites are the most luxurious cabins on the ship. Situated on the upper deck of the ship, the cabins feature seating areas with TV, bathrooms with shower/WC, and all with double beds. Some of the suites have more facilities than others. An exciting welcome gift awaits all suite guests in their cabin.

Spitsbergen

Vessel Type: Expedition

Length: 100 metres

Passenger Capacity: 335

Built / refurbished: 2009 / 2016

MS Spitsbergen is named after the crown jewel of Arctic Norway – the Svalbard archipelago and its biggest island, Spitsbergen. 

After complete reconstruction, MS Spitsbergen joined the Hurtigruten fleet in 2016. The ship features high technical standards as well as comfortable, modern public areas and cabins. The vessel's fresh Scandinavian design reflects a colour palette derived from the sea. She is modern and environmentally progressive, and we plan further improvements that will reduce emissions and fuel consumption even more. The new ship’s maneuverability and optimal size make her quite suitable for exploring polar waters. 

Expedition team on board

MS Spitsbergen has its own on-board Expedition Team and serves as a university at sea. Interesting lectures inside the ship as well as out on the sun deck make this an exciting and educational journey. Topics depend on the season and the waters we sail in. The Expedition Team host a lecture programme and evening gatherings daily. Out on deck you can participate in live points of interest to learn more about the nature, culture and other phenomena we encounter along the coast. In addition, the Expedition Team will introduce you to the uniquely Norwegian notion of `friluftsliv´ (outdoor life), and encourage you take part in `friluftsliv´ hikes and activities during the journey.

Our dedicated Expedition Teams have one mission: to enhance your experience by engaging you and interpreting the nature, wildlife, and culture you encounter during the voyage. Read more about our Expedition Teams here. 

Ship facilities

Expedition Team - Explorer bar - Panoramic lounge – Explorer lounge - Compass Service Centre - Brygga bistro - Shop - Torget main dining - Wi-Fi - Sauna - Fitness room - Lift - Hot tub - Guest launderette - Panoramic deck 8 - Outside bar for events, decks 7 & 8

Cabin layout for Spitsbergen

Inclusions


• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• All meals while on board
• On board lectures
• Transfers before the Expedition cruise
• Transfer from Dakar airport to the ship on day of embarkation
• Post-Programme in Dakar after the expedition cruise 
• Dakar City Tour, day room at hotel in Dakar, including lunch 

Exclusions


• International and domestic flights unless otherwise stated
• Passport and visa costs where applicable
• Travel insurance
• Transfers unless otherwise stated
• Optional Excursions
• Pre and Post voyage accommodation
• Beverages on board unless otherwise stated
• Meals while ashore
Spitsbergen
Atlantic Ocean ExpeditionExpedition
13 Days from
$10,058 AUD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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