Boarding the SH Diana - Cruise Day 1

Our 3 hour charter flight to Longyearbyen from Oslo departed at 7 am. Upon arrival to Longyearbyen, we were escorted to the ship and were able to check in which was very helpful so we didn’t have to carry our checked in luggage around town. Our larger pieces of luggage were delivered directly to our room.  Once aboard, we learned that only approximately 50 guests would be aboard despite the capacity of the ship being 192. Very lucky. We heard from a crew member that they intentionally underbooked to make sure the crew were prepared for full capacity in the future.  As a very special surprise, we were upgraded to a balcony room!

Welcome Aboard

The rooms are quite simply beautiful as well as incredibly well appointed. The storage space inside is insane – there is so. much. room. I  have actually never been able to spread out all my toiletries so completely in a bathroom. The decor is elegant and simple with lux touches. The tech is excellent with a very slick digital room service button that you can set for do not disturb, clean the room, etc.  The desk has a pop up lighted vanity. The in room fridge is included with beers and soft drinks and there was a welcome snack tower with M&M’s and nuts. There is also a Swan Hellenic parka and waterproof backpack to use and keep post adventure. You’ll also be loaned a pair of waterproof knee high boots.  The ship itself is just gorgeous. To mention a few standouts, there is a long walkout area at the bow of the ship called “The Swan’s Nest” to allow viewing closer to the water. There are 2 modern spacious dining areas, a lounge area with grand windows for scenery viewing, a library with polar bear books galore, an expedition lab, sauna, gym, outdoor hot tub and pool. The most important part is on deck three, which is called basecamp…where you will leave this luxury ship for the reason you’re here…to explore Svalbard up close.

Exploring Longyearbyen

We had approximately four hours to wander the town of Longyearbyen. This was just enough time to check out several tourist shops, a very adorable Husky cafe (with some very friendly husky dog greeters), and the Svalbard museum. Admission to the museum was included with your ship card. We were slightly disappointed to learn the Svalbard brewery does not open until 6 PM so beer at a brewery this close to the North Pole was not possible. Though, worry not, they do you serve beer from this brewery aboard the ship. Finally, we found one not so shy reindeer for photographing. If we had more time, we certainly would have checked out some restaurants. Interestingly, Longyearbyen has a very extensive mining history so, most establishments still require you to remove your shoes, or wear shoe covers to protect their interiors from the dust. Cover those cameras while walking, the dust clouds from cars passing is everywhere. And very fascinatingly, you cannot leave the town without a guide carrying a gun. Polar bear safety! 

We were exhausted so no trouble falling asleep despite the midnight sun! Ready for Day 2 aboard the ship!

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