Practical Information: MS Spitsbergen

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

Alcohol Policy

Guests are respectfully reminded that only beverages purchased from the ships’ restaurants and bars can be consumed on board. Alcoholic drinks purchased in ports-of-call and from our on-board shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your cabin on the last day of the sailing.


Announcements will be made over the public address system. Those cabins with a TV may set to the specific channel number. 

Bar service

These ships have a bar with an excellent selection of spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks and a lounge with coffee service.


There is a wide range of comfortable cabins on board. Please note that check-in at reception may open before your cabin is ready for use. You will be informed at check-in when your cabin is ready for use. You may expect some noise and vibration in some cabins. This varies depending on the location of your cabin. Please note that cabins on deck 6+7 on MS Spitsbergen may have passenger access to outside areas and possibly have an obstructed view due to other passengers walking past. 

Cruise card

A cruise card will be issued upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. The card serves as a control system on the gangway. This card, in addition to being the key card for your cabin, is also 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, American Express, Diners or Mastercard. The credit card must be valid for more than three months after your stay on board. Please note that when using your credit card on board the ship, your account will be debited in 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, and a receipt brought to your cabin. We regret that there is no facility for cash withdrawals or currency exchange on board.


The plugs in your cabins are all 220V/50hz. Suites have 110V for shavers. The plugs are continental two pin plugs. For which you will need to bring an adapter. 


The emphasis on board is on relaxation and discovery and not on commercial entertainment which is so often a part of conventional cruises. Occasionally there may be some musical entertainment on board in the evenings.

Fitness room, sauna and Jacuzzi 

On MS Spitsbergen deck 7 you can find a modern fitness room and comfortable sauna with a fantastic view of the landscape passing by. There are two outdoor Jacuzzis. 

Gratuity Policy

We at Hurtigruten have learned that many of our guests wish to give a special thanks to our service crew on board. This is at your discretion to honour service rendered by the crew in bars, restaurants and cabins. In order to provide some guidelines, we recommend 70 NOK (approx AU$12 / NZ$13) per guest per day as an average gratuity. Whatever amount you decide to give,
please fill in the form you will find in your cabin and give it to the receptionist two nights before the end of the cruise. The amount will then be debited from your cruise card account.

Information and services 

There are reception and expedition desk, where our staff are available to answer your questions.


Announcements, lectures and written information are given in English.


A laundry service is available on board MS Spitsbergen. No self-service or dry-cleaning is possible.


The ships’ experienced lecturers command an in-depth knowledge of the areas in which we sail. They will conduct, on a regular basis, lectures on topics such as biology, history and geology throughout the voyage. The lecturing schedule will be announced everyday in the onboard daily programme. 


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

Medical Certificate

A Medical Certificate needs to be submitted by all passengers joining our voyages crossing the Atlantic Ocean,due to the remoteness of these areas.

Observation Lounge

The observation lounges offer large panoramic windows, ample comfortable seats and on MS Spitsbergen there are even a pair of binoculars so you can view the wildlife and details of the ever-changing landscape.

Outdoor decks

Enjoy the views from the front or back of the ship. Both are perfect vantage points to sit back, relax and watch the world go by.


You can hand in your mail at reception, and for a limited amount covering service fee and stamps we will forward the post in every port where it is possible. The time from sending the postcard to when it gets to the receiver may be relatively long. Hurtigruten has no responsibility for lost mail.

Resident photographer 

Our resident photographer on board MS Spitsbergen will invite you to photography workshops and practical sessions out on deck to enable you to take the best possible pictures from your voyage.

Restaurant & cuisine

Your voyage includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. The open seating for the breakfast and lunch buff et creates a relaxed atmosphere. Dinner varies between buffets, set meals and barbeques. The type of dinner is announced in the daily programme. Our head waiter will assign tables prior to arrival. Information about table number and meal times will be in your cabin upon arrival. Please provide information regarding special requests for seating arrangements. On some voyages we may serve the dinner divided into boat groups. Where possible, we plan our menus around seasonal ingredients, taking advantage of local produce to satisfy healthy appetites stimulated by the fresh sea air. Regular coffee/tea is complimentary throughout the whole voyage. Other beverages and refreshments during the day are not included but may be purchased on board in the restaurant, cafeteria and bar.

Room service

Cabins are cleaned daily on board MS Spitsbergen. We regret that meals or drinks cannot be served in the cabins. The cabins will not be cleaned daily, but upon request. Fresh towels are available at all time. 

Rubber boot rentals

On board you may borrow a pair of high quality boots free of charge to wear during landings and hikes. These boots will be kept on the ship’s tender deck, and you will have your own pair during the whole voyage. We also offer binoculars, walking sticks and a small selection of warm thermo suits for rent.


Seasickness pills are available to buy in the reception. If you are prone to seasickness it is recommended that you bring pills that you are familiar with. You may also buy ‘sea bands’ on board. 


In our on board shop you may buy clothing suitable for Explorer voyages. Our Expedition Team will be happy to give you expert advice on how to dress properly in polar areas. We offer a range of both warm and practical clothing, using fabrics with natural fibres. We also offer souvenirs, handicrafts, and postcards. In addition we also stock a small selection of soap, toothpaste and other personal effects.

Shore excursions

A selection of shore excursions are available to pre-book. Where available we will supply you with excursion information in advance, otherwise you will receive full details and prices on board.


On board, smoking is only permitted in designated areas on deck. All cabins are non-smoking. 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 cabin, to cover the cost of cleaning linen and curtains to return it to a non-smoking standard.


The tap water in your cabin is drinkable, but we recommend buying bottled water or our self produced filtered water by the carafe in the restaurant for quality and freshness.

Walking on board

We kindly remind you to be careful walking on board while at sea, especially venturing out on deck. Look out for the signs for warning of wet and slippery decks. Be aware some doors the outer decks are difficult in windy conditions. Please adhere to the signs and announcements when it is not advised to go outside. While walking inside, hold on to railings but not door frames to avoid injury.

Welcome 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, along with an opportunity to meet some of the crew and be introduced to the key personnel on board.