Trip Summary and Itinerary Map
- 10 days exploring Spitsbergen's most spectacular sights
- 'This ship’s 1A ice rating makes it ideal for this type of Arctic expedition
- Optional sea kayaking available
- We like the fact that this ship loans full wet weather gear (incl. trousers)
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Today, leave from Longyearbyen. With almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, enjoy the views from the outer decks of the ship as you sail through Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden. Entering the vast expanse of the Greenland Sea, the ship heads south, hugging the main island of Spitsbergen.
Day 2: Bourbonhamna
Arrive at the southerly Bourbonhamna - well known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. Search for belugas from the ship and the zodiacs and plan the first shore excursion at Bourbonhamna. An old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during the hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody's attention. While wandering amongst these relics, hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.
Day 3: Storfjorden
Coming around the most southerly point of Spitsbergen, push into the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given you are at 70 degrees north in latitude. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers; however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculpted them into works of art that make fascinating photographic subjects.
Day 4: Hornsund
Returning to the west coast, glacier-filled bays surround you as you sail into Hornsund. With good ice conditions, you are able to navigate close to the glaciers that are a feature of the area. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and the onboard guides will use hikes and zodiac cruises to explain the formation of this fantastic landscape.
Days 5-6: Krossfjorden and Ny Alesund
The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. The ship is anchored in a protected harbour, launch the zodiacs and cruise along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. Watch out for bearded and ringed seals in the dark waters of the fjord. Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometres and is around 80 meters high. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of the surroundings.
Later in the day as you sail out, you might see the historic airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Alesund. This remote outpost earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a starting point for North Pole aviation exploration. Nearby Smeerenburgfjorden has a four-hundred-year history of whaling.
Days 7-8: Phippsoya
Continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80 degree north parallel. As you approach the ice edge the ship slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or out on the outer decks as you start scanning for wildlife. Bearded seals, ringed seals, walrus, and polar bear may be found hauled out on the edges of the ice. The ship is perfectly designed for near silent approach and the Captain takes great pride in bringing you in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it. At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the permanent pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. You have enjoyed excellent encounters with them in recent seasons in this area.
Day 9: Hinlopen Strait
From the ice edge, turn south into the main strait separating Svalbard's two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. In Hinlopen Strait, the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet are home to more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich's guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots. It is a spectacular site and a challenging one for the zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. The nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as you navigate the waterways between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here which take you up to high points affording staggering views and further opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife.
Day 10: Monaco Glacier
Entering Leifdefjorden, slowly cruise towards the Monaco Glacier. This vast sweep of ice more than seven kilometers wide provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise. Miles of ice face broken up by ice caves and tumbling seracs are a sight to behold as are the thousands of black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of rich nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow. A morning of cruising in the ice is best followed by a hike on the tundra. Red phalaropes, purple sandpipers and vibrant tundra provide plenty of viewing and photography opportunities. As you explore the landscape on foot, the remains of fox traps and sun bleached seal bones speak of both human interaction and wildlife predation.
Day 11: Alkehornet
Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as you near the end of your adventure in Svalbard. Arctic foxes can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the site is a horn-shaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes. Only as you approach and stop to listen will you hear the chorus of thousands of birds, all singing at the same time. This evening you celebrate your journey with a special dinner attended by the ship's Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.
Day 12: Return to Longyearbyen
Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, you disembark after breakfast and say farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, you have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.
- Biologist Monty Hall and photographer Sue Flood will be guest lecturers on the 7-Jul-2018 departure.
NOTE: This itinerary is for guidance only as each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.
About The Ship
Purpose built in Finland in 1993 for polar expedition, this safe, 1AS ice-class vessel also delivers on comfort and space. This ship provides the perfect setting for an Arctic experience with spacious cabins and panoramic public areas, and an outstanding expedition staff.
Prices, Departures and Inclusions
Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.
* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $8195
Single Supplement And Child Policy
There is no single supplement for passengers willing to share a cabin. For those who want their own cabin, the single supplement in a twin cabin is 1.7 the cost of sharing with another passenger.
- Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- Accommodation during the voyage on full board basis
- All shore excursions and zodiac activities
- Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
- Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
- Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port taxes and any entry fees to historic landing sites
- Flights to & from points of embarkation/disembarkation
- Any additional services before & after your voyage
- Transfers not specific to the itinerary
- Travel insurance
- Optional adventure activities
- Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Items of a personal nature: laundry, beverages, etc
- Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
- Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)