SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER
SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER
12 Day Cruise from USD$7,095
SPITSBERGEN – SVALBARD, NORWAY
EARLYBIRD 2019 07 JULY 2019

AN IN DEPTH EXPLORATION OF SPITSBERGEN AND THE SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO

The Norwegian territory of Svalbard and the islands that make up the archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. The islands were first used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries and are now celebrated as a breeding ground for many seabirds, along with marine mammals and the elusive polar bear.

Our expedition vessel is perfectly suited for remote polar exploration. With her high ice classification, we are able to push further to the north along the edge of the ice pack. It is here we frequently encounter the icon of the Arctic – the polar bear – hunting for seals and other protein sources to sustain them through the Arctic summer.

Throughout our journey we enjoy a comprehensive series of presentations by polar experts, providing an excellent background to the expedition. Days are busy with shore excursions to places of historic interest, visits to wildlife colonies, viewing the exquisite native flora and soaking up the stunning landscapes. Short or long hikes on shore are another feature along with regular cruising in the zodiacs.

Sea kayaking is another popular option. Our voyage focuses on the western and northern coast of Spitsbergen, and as far north as the permanent pack ice. This area has the highest concentration of wildlife and places of historic and scenic interest in the archipelago.

Tour Highlights
  • The best place in the Arctic to see polar bears in their natural habitat
  • A 12-day expedition deep inside the Arctic Circle only 600 miles from The North Pole
  • Travel in the company of marine biologists, naturalists, historians and polar experts
  • Sail onboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and access Svalbard’s most spectacular sites

Tour Information
  • Where
    :

    SPITSBERGEN – SVALBARD, NORWAY

  • When
    :

    07 JULY 2019

  • What
    :

    CRUISE, NATURE AND WILDLIFE

ON THIS TRIP
  • Zodiac excursions
  • Onshore hiking options
  • Wildlife observation
  • Photographer-in-Residence
  • Sea kayaking available
  • Whale watching
  • Educational presentations
  • Active Cruising & Wellness
Itinerary

(SUNDAY, 07 JULY 2019)

Embark your expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov in Longyearbyen and sail through Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden then out into the Greenland Sea. So begins your Arctic cruise, 24 hours of daylight and hopefully some great photographic opportunites and memories.

We arrive at Bourbonhamna, known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. Head out in zodiacs for the first time in search of belugas. Adult belugas are pure white and the younger calves a mottled grey colour. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin – a diagnostic feature of whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead – and it has been postulated the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice.

At Bourbonhamna we enjoy a hike to Ingebrigstenbukta stopping to view the old hunting cabin and other artefacts along with piles of beluga whalebones, a reminder of Svalbard’s hunting past. It is also a great place to see reindeer.

Coming around the most southerly point of Spitsbergen, we push into the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given the latitude of 70° North. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers, however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable.

Some 400 years ago, whales were hunted almost to extinction in the waters surrounding Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculpted them into works of art, covered in blankets of green moss and grasses, black and orange lichen, and framed with purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort flowers. They are fascinating photographic subjects. Now, even after death, the noble whale supports life by robustly protecting the delicate flora from the harsh winds and providing nutrients to ensure their survival.

Returning to the west coast, explore the glacier-filled bay leading into Hornsund. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and our on-board guides will explain the formation of this fantastic landscape during hikes and zodiac excursions. Hornsund is home to the Polish Polar research station and a good place to see reindeer and arctic foxes.

The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. The ship will anchor in a protected harbour, launch the zodiacs and cruise along the bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier. Bearded and ringed seals are known to frequent the waters here and we watch out for them in the dark waters of the fjord. Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, is an incredible sight.

The glacier face stretches just over four miles and has a height of around 80 metres – viewed from the zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of your surroundings. Large colonies of birds inclusing kittiwakes and ivory gulls can be seen diving at the front of the glacier when chunks calve off stirring up the nutrients in the water. Polar bears can often be seen patrolling here because of the number of seals on ice.

Sailing out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, you may be fortunate enough to see the historic airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Ålesund. This remote outpost earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a starting point for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators including Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all passed through Ny Ålesund.

Nearby, Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen. A wander along the beach looking at the blubber cookers, or an hour behind a tripod shooting landscapes on your camera might be on the schedule, all the while looking for wildlife that can appear anywhere in Svalbard.

This trip starts in Longyearbyen, the principal town in the Svalbard archipelago. Longyearbyen is easily accessed with several daily flights from Norway’s stylish capital city – Oslo. Flights are also available from Tromso in northern Norway.

We recommend you arrive in Longyearbyen at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. An airport transfer shuttle to your hotel is provided upon arrival.

At the conclusion of the trip a transfer to the airport for your onward flight is included, or to your local hotel if staying in Longyearbyen.

Full joining instructions are provided in your final travel documentation. If you have questions before this time, please ask us.

Continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80° north parallel. Approaching the ice-edge the ship slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or out on the outer decks scanning for wildlife. Bearded seals, ringed seals and walruses may be found hauled-out on the edges of the ice.

Harp seals swim in herds of 10 to 20 through the open water channels in the ice. A buttery coloured lump miles away on the ice metamorphosizes into a polar bear as we slowly work our way through the ice toward it. The Vavilov is perfectly designed for near silent approach and the captain takes great pride in bringing you in as close as possible to the wildlife without disturbing it for some great photographic opportunities.

At 81° degrees north latitude, Phippsoya – one of the Seven Islands – 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 viewings. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the ship’s GPS showing this incredibly high polar latitude near the top of the world.

Trivia: The archipelago of seven islands is the northernmost land in Svalbard. Named in 1780s by an English sailing party. The smallest and least significant island being named Nelsonøya, after the lowly midshipman, who was promoted over the years to the rank and title of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson.

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. The huge basalt cliffs and skies are thick with birds as they hurl themselves off the rockface.

Polar bears are common in the Hinlopen area and there are a few different walrus haul-outs Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as the ship navigates the waterways between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here up to high points with spectacular views and further opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife.

Enter Leifdefjorden and slowly cruise towards the Monaco Glacier. This vast sweep of ice more than four miles wide provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise. Ice caves and tumbling seracs are an impressive sight 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. The geology is fascinating and it is a great chance to see reindeer and Arctic foxes.

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breath-taking views and an incredible tundra walk. Arctic foxes can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the site is a hornshaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes.

This evening, celebrate the 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.

(THURSDAY, 18 JULY 2019)

Arrive back into Longyearbyen this morning and disembark after breakfast. Transfer back into town with a chance to visit the museums and buy a few last-minute souvenirs before transferring to the airport for your return flights.

Pricing and Inclusions
Pricing and inclusions

     

    << EARLYBIRD PRICES >> BUY BY 31 AUGUST 2018

    CABIN TYPEPER PERSON*ONE CLUB MEMBER**
    Triple ShareUSD $7,095
    Twin Semi PrivateUSD $8,095USD $6,386
    Twin PrivateUSD $9,395USD $7,286
    SuperiorUSD $11,395USD $8,456
    Shackleton SuiteUSD $12,595USD $10,256
    One OceanUSD $14,495USD $11,336
    Charter FlightNO INCLUDEDNO INCLUDED

    * USD$1,000 discount included in the price.
    * 10% discounts on all cabins apply for booking by 15 August 2018.
    ** ONE CLUB MEMBERS 10% discount + USD$1,000 included in price. UPGRADE included in price.

    Single travellers can choose to share with another traveller (matched based on gender and age) and pay the above prices.
    Sole use of a cabin has a 50% surcharge, and 100% for Suites.

     

    INCLUSIONS

    • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip in the Canadian Arctic
    • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation
    • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
    • High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin
    • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
    • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in-cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily
    • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
    • Daily off-ship excursions by zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
    • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
    • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
    • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
    • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
    • Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
    • An emergency trained medical physician onboard every voyage
    • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
    • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
    • Sea Kayaking programme available (additional charge of $695pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
    • Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
    • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
    • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

     

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
    • Visa and passport expenses
    • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
    • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
    • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
    • Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
    • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
    • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – US$12-15 per day)
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