Sandy beaches and beautiful nature
From Lisbon, we'll take in the picturesque beaches and scenery of Porto Santo before sailing on to Madeira to admire its verdant landscapes. We'll then head to the beautiful Canary Islands, making stops in La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
Scan for hundreds of different bird species and rare saltwater hippos, manatees, turtles and more in the Bissagos UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Discover Cape Verde’s culture, fascinating geology and volcanic landscapes when we visit Boa Vista, Santiago, Fogo and Santo Antão.
Cultural flavours of Africa
Your expedition cruise ends in Dakar, the buzzing capital of Senegal and the most vibrant, affluent and influential city in West Africa. After you disembark MS Spitsbergen, we'll take you on an included city tour to explore further.
• 21-day expedition cruise from Lisbon to Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, the Bissagos Islands and Senegal
Begin your grand expedition cruise in Lisbon
Your expedition cruise begins in Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is rich in history and culture, and if you have time, take a stroll through the classical districts of Baixa and Bairro Alto, Chiado, and Alfama – the old Islamic quarter – where there are the remains of a Roman theatre and Moorish fortress.
You can also visit the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos a little further from the city centre, where you'll also find delicious pastéis de Belém. Then it’s time to board MS Spitsbergen and begin your adventure at sea.
To give yourself time to explore the city, why not arrive early and extend your stay an extra night to do some sightseeing. Join our optional Lisbon Pre-Programme for a sightseeing tour of the city and surrounding areas.
Unwind and learn during a relaxing day at sea
Enjoy a leisurely day at sea as we sail towards Porto Santo, north of the Madeira archipelago.
Soak in a hot tub, work up a sweat in the gym, enjoy a sauna or take in ocean views from our Explorer Lounge & Bar. Or if you want to improve your camera skills, get some pointers on landscape composition from our expedition photographer.
Don't miss our Expedition Team's fascinating lectures on Madeira's history and wildlife, and learn about important conservation projects, like how locals are working to remove invasive plant species from Madeira Natural Park.
Witness natural beauty on a small, golden island
As we approach Porto Santo, keep your binoculars handy for dolphins and seabirds, including Cory’s Shearwaters, Northern Gannets and Bulwer’s Petrels.
In Vila Baleira, why not walk to the palm-lined square, Largo do Pelourinho and enjoy a glass of vinho do Porto Santo in one of the bars, before visiting the Christopher Columbus House Museum.
Join us on a panoramic coach tour to visit Ponta da Calheta, Pico do Castelo and Fonte de Areia, whose waters are said to guarantee eternal youth. If you prefer a nature walk, join a hike to spectacular Pico Branco, where much of the endemic flora on the island can be found.
Experience Funchal's Old-World charm
Enveloped by swathes of humid laurel forest, Madeira rises majestically out of the Atlantic in riotous shades of green. Funchal is its quaint and cosmopolitan capital, and it’s filled with Old World charm.
Visit the historic old town and see the beautiful cathedral. Dating back to 1485, its wooden ceiling is a classic example of Manueline architecture. Sample Madeira's fortified wines and try the sweet ananas-banana fruit that looks like a giant gherkin.
For glorious views, take the cable car to the picturesque village of Monte. If you dare, slide the mile back down to Funchal in a carro de cesto, a wicker sled on wooden skis. It’s a truly fun and memorable experience!
Learn about the Canary Islands as we sail
With volcanic landscapes and a rich history, you may want to learn more about the Canary Islands before we arrive. Our Expedition Team are on hand to teach you all about these remarkable islands.
Enjoy life onboard, edit your photos and relax on deck while looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds. Dine on delicious meals prepared in our onboard restaurant and watch the sunset from the Explorer Lounge & Bar.
Or why not head over to the Science Center and take part in Citizen Science projects that support marine conservation. We believe everyone can make a difference in protecting the world's most precious habitats.
Discover vibrant Santa Cruz
Known as La Isla Bonita or ‘The Pretty Island’, La Palma is home to unspoiled pine and laurel forests, banana trees and palm groves. Santa Cruz, its capital, is considered one of the most attractive towns in the archipelago.
Lined with magnificent Renaissance-era buildings with lavishly adorned plants and flowers, Santa Cruz displays a fantastic example of Canarian architecture. Don’t miss the eccentric La Palma Island Museum set inside an old convent.
In the districts of La Canela and San Telmo, you'll see signs of faded colonial grandeur. Walking in La Palma is superb, with some walks starting right in Santa Cruz. Farther afield, you can join a walk to experience the spectacular Caldera de Taburiente National Park.
Explore lush national parks and laurel forests
La Gomera is the second-smallest island in the Canaries, and the nature is largely untamed. You’ll find island life here at its most authentic.
In San Sebastian’s historic centre, you can visit the Baroque church, Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción, where Christopher Columbus and his crew are said to have prayed before setting sail. You can also visit the archaeological museum to learn about the mysterious Gaunche people who first settled these islands.
Or why not hike through the beautiful laurel forests and idyllic palm-covered valleys of the mountainous Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
See the unique geology of this UNESCO biosphere
With lava-sculpted rocks and flower-filled fields, remote El Hierro is a truly remarkable island – in fact this young oceanic shield volcano is classified as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Our port for the day is Puerto La Estaca, just over four miles away from Valverde, the only landlocked capital in the Canaries. Stroll the streets of this easy-going capital and soak up its traditional atmosphere.
Choose a panoramic drive tour or explore the island's photogenic forests, meadows and volcanic formations on a hike. These varied landscapes are all connected with criss-crossing trails.
Enjoy life at sea as we sail to Cape Verde
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea as we head towards the Cape Verde archipelago. The islands are known for their magnificent volcanic landscapes, dramatic valleys and towering volcanoes, with the highest point, Pico de Fogo –literally meaning ‘peak of fire’ – rising 9,250 ft above sea level.
As we cruise, you’ll learn more about the geology and history of Cape Verde through lectures from our Expedition Team. There’ll also be opportunities to participate in scientific projects in our Citizen Science programme, and you can take it easy and relax on deck in the tropical sun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heading towards Africa
We leave Cape Verde and set a course for Guinea-Bissau. Your Expedition Team will brief you on what lies ahead as we sail.
Learn about the extraordinary biodiversity found on the Bissagos Islands, the traditional culture of the Bijagós people, and the historical impact of Portuguese exploration and the slave trade.
You can participate in our Citizen Science projects and contribute data to ongoing research projects. Or why not brush up your photography skills with our onboard photographer in readiness for the sights to come.
Take in the nature and wildlife of this UNESCO wonder
Over the next four days, you'll explore a maze of islands and channels, seeking out mangroves, tropical forests, savannah woodlands and coastal lagoons. Our small expedition boats will take us down the smaller channels and on shore landings with the Expedition Team, and we may launch our kayaks.
You'll meet and learn more about the local Bijagós people, a tribal society organised in clans. Practising a life that’s in balance with nature, they hold the world around them sacred, and have retained their ancestral traditions.
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.
End your adventure in Senegal's vibrant capital
Your expedition cruise ends 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.
09 October, 2024 to 29 October, 2024
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• All meals while on board
• On board lectures
• Post-Programme in Dakar after the cruise
• Dakar City Tour, day room at hotel in Dakar, including lunch
• 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