Practical Information: MS Nordstjernen

From passport and VISA requirements to general on-board information - get to know MS Nordstjernen before you embark on your explorer voyage.

Alcohol Policy

For your own and your fellow Spitsbergen Travel and Hurtigruten guests' safety, it is not allowed to consume alcohol that has not been purchased on board, neither in the public areas nor in your cabin.

Please note that it is permitted to transport alcohol from port to port, as long as it remains un-opened.


It might be difficult to hear all announcements in the cabin. Important updates to our programme and emergency information will be announced via speakers, and the TV screen in the aft saloon. 

Bar service

The ship has a bar with a wide selection of spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks and a lounge with coffee service.

Cabins / Check in

There is a wide range of cabins on board, some with private bathrooms. Please note that check in hours in reception may open before the cabin is ready for use. You will be informed at check-in when your cabin is ready for you. You may expect some noise and vibration in some cabins. This varies depending on the location of your cabin. Also, noise affects people differently and what may be a problem for one person may not be a problem for others. Please note that cabins on deck C with passenger access to outside areas may sometimes have an obstructed view due to other passengers walking past. Please ask our reservation team for advice on the best cabin location for you.

Changes to the itinerary and the excursions

We are sailing in waters where the elements rule, and weather, sea and ice conditions may affect the itinerary. This is why routes and excursions are provisional and subject to change. Excursions may also be subject to minimum/maximum number of participantss. We reserve the right to change the content of excursions without prior notice.


There is no age restriction on our voyages to Spitsbergen. For safety reasons, children under 12 years of age will be individually considered on each landing. It is entirely at the Captain’s discretion to allow or refuse children to go on shore.

Cruise card / Payment / Credit card

A cruise card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. All our guests are requested to wear this card when disembarking the ship in all ports of call and landings. The card serves as a control system on the gangway enabling the ship to know which of our guests are on board and ashore at any time.  This card is also to be activated as your payment card on board. The card is the only means of payment for the on board facilities.  To activate the cruise card account you must have a Visa, Diners or Master Card. Please note that when using your credit card on board the ship, your account will be debited in Norwegian Kroner (NOK). The rate of exchange will be the one validated by your credit card company.  The evening before the voyage ends the account will be totalled and settled on board. We regret that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board.

Disabled cabins / Mobility

The ship is not suitable for wheelchair users. Persons in need of special assistance must travel with a companion.


The plugs in your cabins are 220V/50hz. The plugs are continental two pin plugs. Please bring an adapter/converter if you should need it.

Environment and green navigation

Our Captains take pride in route planning that minimises the load of the engines and reduces emissions. All waste is stored on board until it is deposited for treatment ashore. We never dump waste in the sea and we ask you not to leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. In populated areas there are containers for depositing waste, please use them. We ask you to respect the saying: “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.”

Expedition team

The on board Expedition Team is composed of an Expedition Leader, an Assistant Expedition Leader and several expedition guides. Your Expedition Leader will regularly update you on the progress of the trip as well as the different points of interest and wildlife sightings that may occur.

Gratuity policy

It is not common practice to tip on Hurtigruten ships on the coastal voyage, but if you feel that individual crew members or guides should be rewarded for providing exceptional service, this is entirely at your discretion.

Guide dogs on board

Guide dogs are accepted on board and can be booked in dedicated cabins. The guide dogs can stay in all public areas on board except for the restaurant, where the blind/visually impaired guest will be assisted by one of the crew members. Assistance by the crew is offered at all times when this is required by the blind or visually impaired guest.


The languages on board are English and Norwegian. Announcements, lectures given by the guides on shore and written information are also given in German. On specific departures with French or Italian guides, this information will be given in French and Italian as well.


The ship has a small selection of books on different topics that is available to guests while on board.

Lifesaving equipment, life vests and safety on board

The ship complies with all safety requirements and is suitable for sailing in icy waters. Upon arrival on board all passengers will be instructed in safety procedures, and the use and location of the safety equipment. There is a safety plan situated on the inside of the cabin door. We stress the importance of becoming acquainted with the ships safety plan. Special safety regulations will apply on landings with the Polarcirkel boats. Please follow the instructions given by the Expedition Leader and crew/staff. Special lifejackets for use during landings will be handed out to all passengers. A mandatory briefing regarding the safety guidelines will also be given.

Medical emergencies and medication

In the event of a serious emergency, our Safety Officer on board will contact the hospital in Longyearbyen. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s captain must be followed


Your voyage includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Regular coffee/tea is complimentary throughout the whole voyage. Other beverages and refreshments during the day are not included but can be purchased on board in the restaurant, cafeteria and bar. Still water is available for all meals. 

Passport and VISA requirements

Please take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the required travel documents you will be asked to provide prior to boarding the ship. It is the sole responsibility of the guest to identify and obtain all required travel documents and have them available when necessary. We regret we are unable to accept any liability if you are denied access to a flight or entry into Spitsbergen or are otherwise affected by difficulties or costs resulting from your passport not being approved or if you have not obtained the required visa or other documentation.

Small boat landings

Our sturdy boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You will need to be fairly agile to board these but there is otherwise no need to worry about travelling in them. The crew will show you what to do and as long as you follow their instructions, after a few days it will become second nature. On all landings in Polarcirkel boats guests are expected to wear proper footwear. 


You can hand in your mail at the reception, and for a limited amount covering service fee and stamps, we will forward the mail in Longyearbyen. Please be prepared for your postcard to take some time before it arrives! Spitsbergen Travel and Hurtigruten cannot accept responsibility for lost mail.

Restaurant services

On board we serve a buffet breakfast and lunch. Dinner varies between set meals, buffet and barbeques. The type of dinner is announced in the daily programme. Our Head Waiter will assign tables upon arrival. If you have special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, diabetic or gluten free, please inform your sales office/travel agent as early as possible, and contact the Head Waiter when on board. The Chefs will do their best to meet your dietary requirements. Beer, wine, on board produced water and soft drinks are sold in the restaurant during lunch and dinner.

Room service

We regret that meals or drinks cannot be served in the cabins. Fresh towels will be available.


Seasickness pills are available for purchase at the reception. If you are prone to seasickness it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. 

Ship’s security

MS Nordstjernen complies with the ISPS-regulations (International Ship and Port Security System) which states that the entire luggage could be subject to X-ray/metal detector inspection upon arrival in port. You are kindly asked to keep this in mind packing your luggage for the voyage. The ISPS regulations could also include a hand baggage scan in Longyearbyen.


A limited assortment of warm clothes, local souvenirs, handicrafts and postcards are for sale in the shop on board. In addition we also stock a small selection of soap, toothpaste and other personal effects.


You are welcome to smoke in the designated areas outside on the aft deck. Please do not smoke in your cabin. To show respect for the environment, please use the provided ashtrays when smoking. Throwing cigarette ends overboard is strictly prohibited. A cleaning charge of 1500 NOK will be applied for smoking in your non-smoking cabin, to cover  the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard.

Special requests

If you have special requests (e.g. dietary or medical) please inform us at time of booking. We will do our best to meet such requests but cannot guarantee to do so and under no circumstance will any such request be accepted by us so as to form part of a contractual agreement. 


None of the cabins have a telephone and the ship has no Internet connection while outside Longyearbyen and Barentsburg.


The tap water in your cabin is potable. Complimentary still water is served for all meals.

Weather conditions

The planned itinerary may change and landings may be cancelled due to changing weather conditions. We reserve the right to change the itinerary due to weather conditions and other unforeseen events.

Walking on board

We kindly remind you to be careful walking on board the ship while at sea, especially  out on deck, where surfaces may be slippery and wet. Be aware that the doors toward the outer deck C are potentially dangerous in windy conditions. While walking it is advisable to hold on to railings, but not to door frames.

What to wear

On board dress is informal. Although some passengers choose to change for dinner the dress code is casual rather than formal. The weather can vary during the course of each voyage or even during the day. To cater for these variations we recommend the layered dress approach that enables you to adapt to changes in temperature, wind and precipitation conditions easily. For all voyages we advise you to take breathable rain and windproof clothing. A warm hat, gloves, scarf and thermal clothing can be useful, together with thermal underwear. On land where it may be icy, sturdy shoes are important for shore excursions and a walking stick/trekking pole may be useful. See our What to Pack page for more information.

Welcome meeting/information meeting / Safety meeting

Upon arrival on board, there will be a mandatory passenger safety drill before departure. There will also be a welcome meeting where security information as well as practical information about the cruise will be given, and an opportunity to meet your fellow explorers.