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polar bear photography trip

A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE ARCTIC, Svalbard, its animals and nature up close. North of Norway, not far from the North Pole, we find Spitsbergen and the mythical archipelago of Svalbard. Visiting the high Arctic with its untouched nature is a magical experience. The adventure of a lifetime?


JOIN FREDRIK GRANATH, MELISSA SCHÄFER AND EXPEDITIONSRESOR on an expedition into the extreme wilderness of Svalbard. The goal of our expedition is to experience the dramatic scenery and all the amazing wildlife around Svalbard. 

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arctic polar bear walrus photo expedition svalbard

JULY 25-AUGUST 4, 2025

IN LATE JULY AND EARLY AUGUST summer is blooming around Svalbard and the midnight sun shines around the clock. Most sea ice in the fjords is gone, which gives us possibilities to reach far to the north and east of the islands, to some of the most remote and unique areas. We can circumnavigate the archipelago and visit White Island, the magnificent Austfonna glacier, some of the impressive birdcliffs that are full of life this time of year and of course the North Pole pack ice.


This expedition is 11 days long, giving us time not only to travel far, but to show some patience once we’re out there. We hope to encounter whales, seals, walrus, reindeer, birdlife and of course the King of the Arctic - the polar bear.


ON OUR CHARMING EXPEDITION SHIP M/S FREYA we are comfortably accommodated. During the days, when conditions allow, we leave the ship with our three zodiacs to cruise around for even closer contact with the amazing life and nature, like ice bergs and glaciers, or take a walk on land or the ice. The meals onboard are prepared by our Swedish chef, and when it’s possible we can also enjoy a late-night barbeque on land or on deck. If someone would like to take a cool swim in the Arctic Ocean there’s a sauna on board where you can get warm afterwards.


M/S FREYA IS THE BEST EXPEDITION SHIP IN THE ARCTIC in our opinion. She is small enough to get close to animals and nature without disturbing, but she also has the strength and power to force her way through close drift ice in a safe way. The ship is newly renovated with spacious twin cabins, a comfortable lounge, a large upper deck with an amazing 360° view of our surroundings, and everything we need for a relaxing and exciting expedition.


WHEN WE ARE NOT EXPLORING THE NATURE outside the ship, we enjoy the comfort on deck, looking for polar bears, whales, seals and other animals, or relax in the cozy lounge.​


The adventure of a lifetime?

Melissa Schäfer motherbear arctic
All photos by Melissa Schäfer from our expeditions with M/S Freya in 2016-2023.
Expedition north pole map
svalbard spitsbergen glacier cruise
polar bear photography expedition



July 25-August 4, 2025

Departure Longyearbyen at 4 pm first day. Return Longyearbyen last day at 9 am.


TRIP LENGTH: 11 days

GROUP SIZE: maximum 12 people


PRICE per person:

Superior cabin US$ 10,900/EUR 9800


Shared twin cabin. All cabins have separate, lower beds, private bathroom/shower and a window to the ocean. Single cabins are available on request at an extra fee.


Price includes:

- All activities, transportation and fees/permissions on Svalbard.

- Guiding in English by Fredrik Granath and two guides.

- All meals on board M/S Freya. (Dietary requirements like vegan, vegetarian, lactose, allergies etc are not a problem - let us know).

- Local transport to and from airport and the ship in Longyearbyen.

- Large format photo book with memories from our journey.

- 120% Climate compensated trip including your flight.


Not included in the price:

- Flight to/from Longyearbyen

- Travel insurance

- Optional tip for the ship crew


Payment terms: A deposit of 20% after making your reservation. 

The rest is due two months before departure.

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walrus arctic cruise freya svalbard
For booking requests and questions, please send us a message here.

Thanks for your message! We will get back to you!

This expedition is produced in collaboration with the Swedish travel agency Expeditionsresor, one of the best adventure travel operators in the world. They handle all reservations. After making a booking request, they will get in contact with you by email to finalize your reservation.  

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ms freya deckplan cabins layout
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Freya Spitzbergen eisbär
Freya cabin polar arctic travel
ship cruise travel svalbard



M/S Freya is in our opinion the best expedition ship in the Arctic. She was originally built for the Swedish Maritime Administration in 1981 and was later taken over by the Swedish Coast Guard. She has been used as an environmental protection vessel as well as for research and science expeditions. In 2015 she was converted to an Arctic expedition ship and came to Svalbard for the first time in the summer of 2016. In 2018 Freya was acquired by Edvin Vidarsson and the Skattegården farm in Sweden. 


Freya is built to Lloyd’s class for unrestricted trade and has the highest ice class 1A. She has capacity for up to 26 passengers in seven newly built twin cabins and four triple cabins. On this expedition we only bring 12 passengers, to make it as spacious and comfortable for everyone as possible. We also have three zodiacs (small rubber boats) on the ship, which we use as often we can when conditions allow it for exploring the surroundings more closely.


M/S Freya has a spectacular deck with a 360-degree view, a large dining room, a nice lounge and a cozy sauna where you can warm yourself after the day’s adventures. Travelling with only 12 passengers makes it feel more like being on a private yacht rather than a bigger expedition ship. We have an experienced crew of eight people plus three guides on board, everyone ready to assist and make the most out of our expedition. 

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ARRIVAL IN THE ARCTIC In the afternoon we board our ship at the harbor in Longyearbyen. We meet the crew and have a safety briefing while we begin cruising out of Adventfjorden via Isfjorden out into the Arctic wilderness. We settle in on the ship and in our cabins. During the evening we eat a welcome dinner, socialize and enjoy the magnificent glaciers and mountains pass by as we travel towards the land of the polar bear. Magic is ahead.


DAY 2 - 10

EXPLORING THE ARCTIC WILDERNESS Travelling around the islands of Svalbard, our exact route will be decided by ice and weather conditions. Our goal is to explore and experience as much as possible of what the Arctic has to offer and encounter the impressive wildlife, of course hopefully also the King of the Arctic: the polar bear. When conditions allow, we get into our zodiacs to cruise around and perhaps go on land or ice. We will most likely travel to the north and east of Svalbard, visiting Hinlopen, the White Island, the Austfonna glacier and explore the North Pole pack ice. If ice and weather permits, we might circumnavigate the archipelago, and also visit Storfjorden on the east coast of Spitsbergen, as well as Hornsund.

DAY 11

BYE BYE ARCTIC After a last breakfast together on the ship it is time to leave. There is time to explore the village some more and perhaps shop some souveniers for friends and family back home.

Please note: Our exact route and travel plans are depending on weather and ice conditions and where we expect the best opportunities at the time of our expedition. We will do everything possible to make the most out of our Arctic adventure. Flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!


During our expeditions we typically encounter polar bears and other wildlife, such as seals, walrus, foxes, as well as in summer-autumn also some whales. And of course always the magical scenery of Svalbard. There are never any guarantees for anything up here though. But we do know one thing: it will be amazing. It always is, and every expedition is unique and unlike the others.

Nature is the boss. And that is what makes this a true adventure.

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The far north is an ecosystem in perfect balance when it has the cold and the ice it needs, but every single degree of warming has huge consequences, and this makes it extremely vulnerable. The high Arctic offers some of Earth’s most extreme conditions and it inhibits some of the strongest, most powerful wildlife. At the same time it is the most fragile place you can imagine.


All human activity leaves footprints, also this trip. On our expeditions everything happens on the terms of Svalbard’s environment and wildlife. If anything we do comes at a cost for these, we do all we humanly can to avoid it. We never disturb wildlife knowingly. If an animal seems affected by our presence we always back off and retreat. When an animal changes its behaviour because of us, we have failed. Being quiet and avoiding disturbance is a much easier task on our small ship with only 12 guests than the big ones, with dozens or hundreds of passengers.


By visiting the Arctic we leave footprints. And travelling with a ship, we can not avoid emitting greenhouse gases. We and the owners of M/S Freya are completely committed to minimizing our emissions. We look at all aspects of these operations, big and small. All from what fuel is used to the products used on board and what food is served. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our operations.  

Respect and responsibility are at the heart of our expeditions.


M/S Freya is owned by Edvin Vidarsson and his family who also are running Skattegården, a beautiful farm in Sweden. They have an amazing focus on environmentally friendly production and work for a sustainable future. The ship and the farm is part of the same concept. For example, the goal is to have as much as possible of the food served on board produced by the farm. Locally produced and served in the north! This way of working and forward way of thinking makes us very proud to work with Edvin, M/S Freya and Skattegården. 


We also calculate all carbon emissions created during this trip, not only from the ship, but from our guests’ flights to Svalbard as well. And we carbon offset (climate compensate) everything connected with this expedition. Our goal is to over-compensate up to at least 120% - to give more than we take to our planet. This is not a perfect system, but it does help. 


We follow all national and international laws and regulations as well as the guidelines set up by The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). But we also have our own guidelines to follow in situations when they are more strict.


The number one priority for this expedition is to safeguard the place and life we are here to observe. The goal is to learn about the Arctic, its environment and wildlife by experiencing it close at firsthand. 

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Fredrik Granath Fred Motherbear Productions mother magazine

Fredrik Granath


Expedition leader and producer Fredrik Granath works together with his partner, photographer Melissa Schäfer, and their Motherbear Productions, documenting the nature and wildlife of the Arctic. The focus is on the life of the polar bear and its role in a changing climate.


Fredrik is a leading expert on field work and production in the polar regions. He has assembled a unique expertise of working under the most extreme conditions and is specialised in polar bears. Since 2001 Fredrik has been working around the Arctic on his own projects, and also as a producer for other film- and photographic projects, including work for film studios and the National Geographic. He has been published in the New York Times, GEO, Vanity Fair and many others, and co-authored the book “Polar Tales” with Melissa Schäfer.


Together, with their Motherbear Productions, Fredrik and Melissa organise expeditions in the Arctic with the ship M/S Freya since 2016.

Melissa Schäfer Schaefer Motherbear Mother magazine

Melissa Schäfer


From her early childhood days in Hamburg, Germany, Melissa has viewed the world through her camera lens. With a background in creative and portrait photography she has always had a unique eye for the surroundings. A deep love for the Arctic and polar bears as well as a strong commitment to nature and the environment is a foundation for all her work.


In 2020 Melissa and Fredrik published their book “Polar Tales” worldwide in English. It has also been published in German as “Das Königreich der Eisbären”, Swedish as “Bortom isbjörnens rike” and Chinese. Melissa is the founder and editor in chief of the “Mother” magazine, which launched in 2023. She has been published by The New York Times, National Geographic, GEO and many others.

Melissa and Fredrik live outside Stockholm, Sweden with their two dogs, Nanuk and Pingo, who is an adopted sled dog from Svalbard.

Lianna Nixon Evans Arctic Svalbard Motherbear

Lianna Nixon


Lianna Nixon is an award-winning conservation storyteller, environmental science educator, and expedition guide. 

Her work explores how storytelling impacts learning about climate science and intersectional environmentalism. Today she works for Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) to help scientists communicate their work to the public. Lianna's work has been published in magazines such as GEO, CBS, ABC, Stern, Nature, PM, and many academic journals. Lianna also worked at the MOSAiC expedition, drifting through the North Pole pack-ice for months, studying the changing sea ice.

She is specialised in the Arctic region and has vast experience of working around Alaska and Svalbard. She has worked as expedition leader and guide on many expeditions around the Arctic, in Alaska and on Svalbard since 2017.

Lianna, her husband, and her dog live in Vancouver, Washington, U.S.A.

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Melissa Schäfer on Svalbard
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Come watch the tones of changing light. From starlit days to sun-filled nights

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