Location: Spitsbergen (Arctic Norway)
Destination: Spitsbergen Cruises
Starting at: $0
A TravelWild Expeditions exclusive charter to Spitsbergen! Our primary focus is finding polar bears as we cruise along the pack ice—prime habitat for bears as they hunt seals. Along the way we'll spend ample time taking in other wildlife and the majestic Arctic scenery of glaciers, fjords and soaring mountains. Travel with a hand-picked group of naturalist leaders who know the wildlife and the areas we visit.Contact us about this trip Share
We begin our journey in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest community. We embark the Polar Pioneer between 4 PM and 5 PM in the afternoon. As we steam west out of Isfjorden, we’ll encounter numerous seabirds, including dovekies, thick-billed murres, northern fulmars, black-legged kittiwakes and, perhaps, a puffin or two. (D)
These next nine days are dedicated to exploring the Svalbard Archipelago, especially the environs of its biggest and most spectacular island—Spitsbergen. Our exact day-by-day itinerary will remain flexible, depending on local weather, ice and wildlife conditions, but the ship is totally at our disposal to go where and when we please. At the top of our "to do" list is polar bear watching. We’ll head to the pristine pack ice to search for the great white bears and also hope to encounter them swimming, hunting and inquisitively inspecting our ship. In addition to searching for bears, we’ll spend our days discovering and learning about other wildlife, as well as the flora, geology and history of Svalbard. We are very likely to experience upclose meetings with Svalbard reindeer grazing along mossy banks, walruses on land and amid the ice floes, arctic foxes, bearded and ringed seals and, possibly, whales. Birdlife is abundant and throngs of wheeling seabirds, including millions of dovekies, are commonly seen. Other interesting High Arctic species include redthroated loons, barnacle and pink-footed geese, common and king eiders, long-tailed ducks, arctic terns, red phalaropes, purple sandpipers, ivory and glaucous gulls, long-tailed, pomarine and parasitic jaegers, great skuas, Atlantic puffins, black guillemots, rock ptarmigans and snow buntings. We will have a remarkable amount of time available for wildlife viewing, exploring and taking photos in the 24 hours of daylight. (BLD)
We arrive back in Longyearbyen during the night and disembark as a group after breakfast. Participants may disembark earlier to meet morning flights home. (B)
Our cruises are floating classrooms where we experience wildlife and natural history in the field and then interpret what we've seen through a series of informal lectures, discussions and presentations. Integral to this approach are the leaders we choose for your expedition. In addition to planning daily activities, guiding you safely to shore and making evening presentations, they will introduce you to the wonders of Spitsbergen, dramatically enriching each encounter with the island's flora and fauna. There is truly no better way to experience the splendor of the Arctic!
Wayne is a former emergency physician who has worked for more than 30 years as a full-time naturalist, science writer and photographer. We credit Wayne with introducing us to the wonders of Spitsbergen. After visiting the Svalbard Archipelago in 1997, he proclaimed it "the most beautiful Arctic destination he had ever seen." That is indeed high praise coming from someone who has traveled the world over—including much of the Arctic—and who has led more than 150 trips worldwide! With Wayne's knowledge, help and a little prodding, we developed our highly-successful Spitsbergen cruises. In addition to the fantastic work he does for TravelWild, Wayne is the author of award-winning books and television documentaries, a popular guest lecturer, and Canada's best-known and most widely-published professional wildlife photographer. His photo credits include hundreds of magazine covers and tens of thousands of images published in over two dozen countries. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Gary is widely regarded as one of the leading bear research biologists in North America. As one of our longest-tenured TravelWild leaders, Gary has introduced hundreds—if not thousands—of our clients over the years to his personal passion—bears. He has led trips in Spitsbergen, Churchill and Alaska and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of bears—particularly black, brown and polar bears. Gary entertains and educates our clients with many stories of his encounters with bears while conducting field research. His work has been featured in National Wildlife, People, Sports Illustrated and Reader's Digest, as well as a variety of national television programs. Gary's training in natural history consists of four ecology-related degrees, including a Ph.D., and extensive experience in the field. He has presented hundreds of educational and entertaining natural history lectures throughout the country, and has used wildlife photography in his work for years. Among our clients he is renowned for his amiable sense of humor.
Dennis is recognized throughout the nature and adventure travel industry as one of the most respected, trusted and sought-after expedition leaders in the business. By any standards his knowledge of, and experience working in, polar regions is impressive, spanning more than 20 years of planning and leading dozens of expedition cruises and land-based tours to remote destinations, including Antarctica, the Russian Far East, the North Pole, Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land, Greenland, Arctic Canada, Alaska and many more. With a degree in marine biology from the University of Hawaii and many years conducting marine-related research, Dennis is an excellent interpreter of nature as well. While he has traveled the world extensively, seeing and doing more than most, he still has a genuine enthusiasm for nature and wildlife that is sure to rub off on all who travel with him. Dennis is Sales Director for TravelWild Expeditions and lives with his family on Cortes Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands.
Wayne is Mass Audubon's Director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas (IBA) program. He has led tours, lectured, and conducted birding workshops across North America for over 35 years. His tour-leading experiences have taken him from the Arctic to South America, as well as Iceland, Svalbard, Africa, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. Wayne was a founding member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee, is a New England Regional Editor for North American Birds, and serves on the advisory committee for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. His writing projects include authoring the National Audubon Society's Pocket Guide to Songbirds and Familiar Backyard Birds (East), coauthoring Birds of Massachusetts and Birds of New England, coediting the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas, and contributing to The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding, The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, and Arctic Wings. In 2005, Wayne was the recipient of the American Birding Association's Ludlow Griscom Award for outstanding contributions in regional ornithology. He is especially interested in seabirds and shorebirds, and he derives great satisfaction from sharing his knowledge of the natural world with his fellow colleagues and traveling companions.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of expedition cruising, itineraries are subject to change due to weather, ice conditions, natural and cultural events, wildlife viewing opportunities and other logistical considerations. In general, a ship's crew will endeavor to complete the itinerary provided, but the ultimate decision lies with the ship's captain and expedition leaders.