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Just launched: Arctic expedition cruise with Richard Dawkins, Svalbard, Norway



22 June 2025 – 12 days – From £12,236 – Save 15% early booking discount for the first 50 guests (see the price grid for cabin options and details)

We are excited to launch a brand new expedition experience with evolutionary biologist and highly regarded author Richard Dawkins!

Explore the northernmost region of Earth, the realm of the polar bear and the midnight sun, whilst travelling aboard the Greg Mortimer which is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. This cruise will be a truly enriching trip of a lifetime.

Enjoy a full programme of talks, shore visits and Zodiac boat safaris covering topics including glaciology, botany, marine biology, astronomy and the history of polar exploration, deepening your connection to this remote and rugged archipelago. Accompanied by and with talks from Richard Dawkins and speakers from New Scientist, along with the highly knowledgeable and supportive expedition team, experts in exploration, science and wildlife.

Witness polar bears on substantial ice flows (June is one of the best months to spot them) as well as a plethora of other wildlife species on land, sea and in the air. June is when Minke, humpback and fin whales arrive back to the Arctic having spent the winter in warmer tropical waters. During this time, the tundra and hillsides are in bloom as the ice melts away and endemic flowers begin to blossom. The towering cliffs and dramatic mountain ranges are teeming with millions of sea birds laying their eggs. 

Explore the Arctic town of Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost settlement, situated in a valley on the shores of the idyllic Adventfjord, surrounded by steep mountains and several glaciers. 

This unique cruise will be hosted aboard a new state-of-the-art polar expedition vessel, the Greg Mortimer, the first passenger ship to feature the revolutionary Ulstein X-BOW® allowing a sleeker cruising experience and reducing fuel consumption. You will experience the majesty of Norway’s Svalbard with its ancient glaciers, glass-still fjords, imposing pack ice and distinct landscape where wildlife thrives at nearly 80° north. With no more than 128 guests, amazing viewing space and a ship-build designed to minimise negative environmental impacts, the Greg Mortimer guarantees a far more enjoyable guest experience than the other older and larger expedition ships. 

Travel with like-minded people, who love to connect with the natural world and the wonder of science. An ideal environment for curious-minded couples, friends and solo travellers to relax.

In partnership with AE Expeditions and Polar Routes


Your expedition is a carefully curated mixture of daytime activity offboard, designed to immerse you in your polar surroundings, and talks whilst onboard. During the day the itinerary remains flexible as the captain and expedition leader will look at prevailing conditions and sightings, to give you the best opportunity for wildlife encounters.

The expedition team will help you experience a range of activities centered around daytime exploration via Zodiac boat safaris (investigating coves, glaciers and wildlife), guided hikes (exploring pristine beaches and stunning wilderness) and photography (helping you to improve your skills with a camera). They will aim to deliver two shore excursions every day.

In the evening, during ship relocation, on landing excursions and during Zodiac cruises, Richard Dawkins, the New Scientist experts and expedition crew will give informative lectures on board covering wildlife, marine biology, exploration, history, photography and research. As well as Richard’s three fascinating lectures, talk topics will include:

  • Arctic atmospheric phenomena.
  • Climate change and how to refreeze the Arctic.
  • Geology of Svalbard – ancient history, fossils and coal.
  • Physics and folktales of the Northern Lights.
  • Extremophiles – organisms that survive extreme conditions.
  • The largest land predator on Earth – the polar bear.
  • Polar whales and Arctic ecosystem engineering.
  • Arctic black smokers and the origin of life.
  • How to navigate in the polar environment.
  • Reading the weather patterns, the ice and the currents.
  • Underwater landslides and tsunamis.

Plus the expedition crew will give you introductions and commentary (both onboard and in the Zodiacs) on many of the Arctic phenomena you are experiencing.

If operational circumstances allow, we will take you in small groups for informative tours around the bridge and the engine room.

You will have the opportunity to participate in AE’s unique Citizen Science Program. It’s designed to be a hands-on, immersive and transformative experience that helps you to protect the beauty of our planet. Various sampling and data collection projects will be conducted on your voyage and a Citizen Science Coordinator will be on hand to introduce and assist you. 

Your expedition can be as active or as leisurely as you want it, and no activity or talk is mandatory.

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After touching down at Oslo airport, you will be met and take a short transfer to a nearby hotel. The New Scientist Discovery Tours team and AE Expeditions will be on hand to welcome you and discuss pre-embarkation procedures. We will make sure the next day’s flight to Svalbard and embarcation go as smoothly as possible.

If you have time, we recommend taking the short journey into the thriving capital city of Oslo. With innovative architecture, captivating landmarks and an inspired food scene. This very green city is covered with parks and forests, but it’s the fjord piercing into the city centre that sets this capital apart. Explore the Botanical Gardens, go island hopping or visit the new Munch Museum, dedicated to the life and works of artist Edvard Munch.


After breakfast, you will take a flight to Longyearbyen on Svalbard’s largest island, Spitsbergen. The  airport is overlooked by the Global Seed Bank and has views over the Isfjorden inlet, where whales are regularly spotted. 

Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost settlement (with a population of over 1,000) and only 1,316 kilometres from the North Pole. Due to the large amount of scientific research undertaken, the town has residents from 53 different countries. 

Before embarking on your voyage, you will visit Camp Barentz, a traditional ‘lavvo’ structure where you will hear about Longyearbyen’s fascinating history, meet the huskies and enjoy lunch. Whilst journeying out to Camp Barentz, you will get a sense of the steep mountains and glaciers that have inspired many including Philip Pullman’s depiction of Svalbard’s armoured bears in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

A visit to the Svalbard Museum is included back in town before embarking on the vessel in the late afternoon. The museum presents four hundred years of Svalbard’s history and reveals the close relationship between the land, sea and nation here. 

Whilst exploring the island, your luggage will be transferred to the ship and your cabin ahead of your arrival on board.

Late afternoon, you will transfer to the Greg Mortimer, to settle into your cabin, attend the safety briefings and enjoy the thrill of departure as the crew ‘throw the lines’ and set sail through the beautiful Isfjorden, escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. Find a spot in one of the observation areas to watch seabirds, including graceful ivory gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots.  

In the evening, you will get to know your fellow guests, the friendly New Scientist team and Expedition Team at an informal Captain’s Welcome Dinner. 


You will spend your next nine days exploring the Arctic wilderness at its best. 

Every day will include a mixture of activities including zodiac boat safaris (robust inflatable boats), walks and informal photography tuition. You will visit deep fjords, mountain ranges and a polar desert rich in fossils. You can even participate in a polar plunge. Not mandatory but such cold-water body immersion is proven to release a cocktail of invigorating chemicals. 

Once nature and the expedition leader have decided the days itinerary, the onboard talks from Richard Dawkins, New Scientist and the expedition crew will be slotted in.

The onboard expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions and wildlife encounters. 

You may see walruses hauled out on sea ice or on beaches. On land, stretch your legs on walks across tundra coming out in brightly coloured wildflowers. You will visit towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots and puffins, and scree slopes that hold Svalbard’s largest little auk colonies. Most memorable are encounters with the majestic polar bear on pack ice. Your expedition team is just as keen as you to find them— they will be on constant watch to spot these inspiring creatures. 

This expedition operates in remote and challenging environments, and in the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage you to adopt a flexible and adventurous attitude when joining this voyage. Plans will change daily but the expedition team are there to ensure you have the most immersive experience possible.

On the final evening aboard, the captain will host a Farewell Reception with a four-course dinner and cocktails.


After disembarking back at Longyearbyen, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to Oslo, from where you can return home or continue your adventure.

If you wish to see more of Oslo, our partner Polar Routes can arrange additional nights.

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