North Spitsbergen: In Search of Polar Bears and Pack Ice

Spitsbergen Cruises

Starting from $4,100

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Travel to Arctic Norway, the land of the polar bear, on this 8-day expedition cruise to Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

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Starting from $4,100

Rates & Dates Prices are per person and shown in USD.

QuadTwin Porthole Deck 3Twin Porthole Deck 4Twin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
Jun 5, 2020 - Jun 12, 2020$4,100
 
$5,700
 
$5,700
 
$6,200
 
$6,600
 
$7,450
 
Jun 12, 2020 - Jun 19, 2020$4,100
 
$5,700
 
$5,700
 
$6,200
 
$6,600
 
$7,450
 
Jun 19, 2020 - Jun 26, 2020$4,100
 
$5,700
 
$5,700
 
$6,200
 
$6,600
 
$7,450
 

Itinerary

Day 1: Largest town, biggest island

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening, the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, wherein the mouth of the fjord we may see our first Minke Whale.

Day 2: Route to Raudfjorden

We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bears are often seen here.

Day 3: The massive Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake. As well, Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

Day 4: Highlights of Hinlopen

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. At the entrance, there is the possibility to see Blue Whale. We'll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich's Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we'll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus.

Day 5: Stop at the Seven Islands

We will try to reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bears inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before turning west again.

Day 6: Sailing the continental shelf

Retracing our route westwards, our route takes us through and along the pack ice, keeping watch for Polar Bear and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 100 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whale forage in summer in the upwellings along the Spitsbergen banks. West of the mouth of the Kongsfjord we have also good chances to see Humpback Whale.

Day 7: Reindeer, foxes, and so many seabirds

We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs, and along the coast, we see Harbor Seal, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Here we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul-out place for Walrus. Alternatively, we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime, we arrive in Longyearbyen.

Day 8: There and back again

We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.

Highlights

  • Observe polar bears, reindeer, walruses and arctic fox
  • Journey to the world's most northerly settlement and be just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole
  • See extraordinary bird cliffs with puffins, nesting guillemots, kittiwakes and little auks, plus ground nesting barnacle and pink-footed geese, as well as arctic terns
  • Visit historic whaling sites and mining villages, even remains from the era of polar bear hunting

Included

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
  • Free use of rubber boots
  • On Spitsbergen voyages: Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
 

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.

 
 
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