Wild Norway & Svalbard
Before You Go
For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore and walk one to three miles over sometimes rough terrain such as uneven, rocky beaches and occasional snow. We have designed shore excursions to accommodate both those who would like moderate strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. In July, temperatures will range from the mid-40sº to mid-60sºF, cooling slightly as you travel north. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent. Knee-high, waterproof boots with good tread are essential.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore and walk one to three miles over sometimes rough terrain such as uneven, rocky beaches and occasional snow. We have designed shore excursions to accommodate both those who would like moderate strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. Many of the landings will be “wet” and require that you wear waterproof, knee-high boots. Zodiac cruising can last for two to three hours depending on the weather. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent.
Should you have any physical limitations, please notify your Expedition Advisor in advance of your departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your international flight to Bergen, Norway three hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport, important medications, or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain that the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to your final destination, if allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates. However, if you are arriving prior to the group arrival day and have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, a transfer from the airport to the hotel will be provided.
For guests arriving a day early, May 17th, you will be able to witness Norway’s holiday, Syttende Mai, the country’s Constitution Day. As a result, those receiving a transfer from the airport to the group hotel may experience delays due to road closures in Bergen. If you would like some more information about the national holiday, please feel free to contact Zegrahm Expeditions.
Airlines change flight times frequently and our air department will send you any updates for flights booked through Zegrahm as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
If you are booking your own flights or accommodation, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flights to Bergen and from Oslo, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm.
PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries and prescription medications on board the flight, as well as a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.
Internal Air Baggage Restrictions
Due to baggage restrictions on internal group flights, passengers are limited to one checked bag weighing no more than 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and one carry-on bag weighing no more than 18 pounds (8 kilograms) per person.
In May, temperatures will range from the high-40sºF to mid-60sºF while in mainland Norway, cooling more as you travel north. Please be advised that we will be visiting remote areas that are prone to cold temperatures and extreme weather conditions. A warm parka is required for this voyage. We also highly recommend thermal layers, gloves, and waterproof outerwear. Temperatures will feel colder than they are when spending time on deck and Zodiac cruising due to the wind-chill. Consider your own internal thermostat and personal comfort when packing as temperatures will vary.
The following are average high/low temperatures in May for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Bergen, Norway||58ºF (14ºC)||39ºF (4ºC)|
|Reine, Norway||49ºF (9ºC)||38ºF (3ºC)|
|Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen||35ºF (2ºC)||16ºF (-9ºC)|
|Oslo, Norway||64ºF (18ºC)||37ºF (3ºC)|
The U.S. dollar is the standard currency on board the Ocean Adventurer. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your Visa or MasterCard credit card. The Ocean Adventurer will charge your credit card in U.S. dollars and your bank will convert the charge to the currency it honors.
In the Svalbard Archipelago and in mainland Norway, the appropriate currency is the Norwegian Krone.
As of December 2018, the exchange rate is as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||8.77 Norwegian krone (NOK)|
ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, although access to ATMs will be limited in the more remote areas we visit. Please have some cash available as back-up. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs. Please note that some vendors require your credit card PIN number in lieu of a signature.
Most of your expenses have been paid for; therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your money in smaller denominations.
You will receive your pre-departure information—including a complete packing list and gear certificate—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to departure.
The electrical current in Norway runs at 230V/50Hz and the electrical current on board the Ocean Adventurer runs at 220V. Both use round, 2-pin European outlets (electrical outlet types C & F). If you are bringing standard, North American appliances, please bring a converter and an adapter.
PLEASE NOTE: Most modern electronics (cell phones, computers, and tablets) are dual voltage and don’t require a converter and adapter. Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
International flights are not included in the cost of expedition; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Bergen, Norway and Oslo, Norway/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house air department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
Please note there is also a charter flight required on June 1, Longyearbyen/Oslo. An updated invoice for airfare will be sent to you within the next few months.
At this time, no inoculations or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition. Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as we will not have access to pharmacies while in the remote areas of this expedition.
We suggest that you contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history. Your doctor may recommend a flu shot, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and other routine vaccinations. This will vary by guest and can only be advised by a medical professional.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty as this can help prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of our expedition includes $100,000 of emergency evacuation cover and $25,000 cover for medical expenses. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
The Ocean Adventurer has computers with Internet access as well as Wi-Fi in the main lounge. Vouchers to access the Wi-Fi can be purchased at reception. Please note that Internet connections aboard the ship are low-bandwidth and intermittent at best.
Your final documentation will include contact information for the ship and group hotels.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 a.m. on the North American west coast:
|7:00 a.m.||Seattle, WA (PDT)|
|10:00 a.m.||New York, NY (EDT)|
|4:00 p.m.||Norway & Svalbard (CEST)|
Should you have any particular dietary needs, or life-threatening allergies, please let us know on your Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered as temperatures will drop during the nights and evenings. Wash-and-wear, lightweight fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and adjust accordingly.
Laundry service is available and by using it you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.
Clothing on Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended. Normally, there are two shipboard occasions when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: the captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties, followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate attire, and men may choose to dress business casual. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.
The weather will be cold; multiple warm, thermal base layers will be essential. Bring comfortable clothing appropriate for the variable conditions you will encounter. Being out early in the morning or later in the evening will result in cooler temperatures, so dress accordingly. As a reminder, a parka is essential for this voyage and warm socks and gloves are highly recommended. Also, keep in mind that waterproof gear will keep you comfortable during excursions, as we may encounter rain showers or ocean spray during our Zodiac cruises. Bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, including a hat or visor and sunblock, as we will be out for extended periods of time.
Waterproof, knee-high boots are essential on wet landings, as you will be stepping from the Zodiac onto the shore in wet conditions. If your feet get wet, they will lose heat rapidly, so your boots need to be waterproof. Muck Boot brand, Arctic Sport model are highly recommended. Do not bring “moon boots” or leather boots. Once ashore, excursions can involve a fair amount of walking and hiking over uneven terrain and on trails where paths may be damp or even icy. We do not recommend NEOS for this expedition as they do not provide adequate traction during the treks.
Please Note: Waterproof, knee-high boots will be available on board the Ocean Adventurer for guests. However, we would recommend you bring your own boots for best comfort and fit if you require a unique size or fit.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six (6) months after you return home, through December 2, 2019. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of two blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport and secure additional pages, if necessary.
As of January 1, 2016, the U.S. State Department no longer allows additional pages to be inserted into passports. If your passport is nearly full, and you have insufficient pages for this expedition, then a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information pagewhen you travel.
A visa is not required of U.S. nationals for entry into Norway, including the Svalbard Archipelago.
PLEASE NOTE: Citizens of countries other than the U.S. should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in U.S. dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. A gift certificate to our Zegrahm Store will offer you the opportunity to purchase essential trip gear from our store. The certificate will be emailed to you approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificate for more details.