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Svalbard – Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

Arctic Svalbard Cruise Information

Summary : Cruise around Spitsbergen and explore all the aspects of this fascinating Arctic island. See the great eastern nature reserves and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. On this expedition you will journey well above the 80th parallel and get closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographic North Pole. The eastern part of Svalbard is barren and characteristically High Arctic. Enjoy expedition landings, hikes, kayaking, and other activities in the largest Arctic wilderness in Europe. Longyearbyen is a prime destination for adventure travelers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious and it is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan town. The Russian settlement, Barentsburg, is a ‘company coal-mining town’. Explore the exotic collection of old Russian artifacts and architecture, visit the Pomor Museum, or soak up the real Russian atmosphere in the local pub. Ny-Ålesund is situated at 78º 55’ N, and is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal-mining community, it is now an advanced High Arctic research station. During this voyage you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen. The eastern part of Svalbard is mainly divided into two large nature reserves. Combined, they represent one of the last large, mainly untouched wilderness areas in Europe. Traversing the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give you spectacular views of the island’s east coast with hundreds of glaciers and mountains. You may see some of Svalbard’s marine mammals such as seal and walrus, and wherever there is ice there is a great opportunity to see polar bears!

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking

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Itinerary
Day 1
Oslo / Longyearbyen

Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Norway’s capital, Oslo. Before departure, you can spend time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes, and hills. Oslo offers varied architecture, a lively café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, and endless shopping possibilities. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen a couple of hours later. Still, this very small settlement offers all the amenities of a modern town, in addition to its stunning location in a wild Arctic landscape.

Day 2
Longyearbyen / Barentsburg

After an overnight stay in a Longyearbyen hotel, you can join an exciting excursion in the unique little town of Longyearbyen and its surrounding areas. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious, but it is also surprisingly cosmopolitan with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, shops, and a small shopping center. While the town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventure travelers, the history and heritage of coal miners is evident everywhere. Barentsburg is a Russian settlement, known for its coal mines and Soviet architecture, and is very different from Longyearbyen. The museum, library, and newly opened brewery function as meeting places and a research station is under construction. See a colorful folklore show and visit the hotel and museum. Experience a different side of Svalbard, a little piece of Russia in the Arctic.

Day 3
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park

Kongsfjord is considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by characteristic mountain formations.

Day 4
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park

As you sail northwest you will reach Krossfjord and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see cultural remains from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs, and quite often Svalbard reindeer. Try traversing a glacier with your expedition team. You will also visit the former coal-mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international center for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings.

Day 5
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park

The northwest corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens, and other cultural treasures from when Svalbard was first inhabited. Raudfjord offers plenty of opportunities for great hikes. Hamiltonbukta is too shallow for your ship to navigate, but it’s perfect to explore by kayak. You will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in Liefdefjord.

Day 6
Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – hopefully you'll have the opportunity to see one on this journey! Today, you’ll explore Sorgfjord, the location of a famous 17th-century battle between the whalers, which borders the North East Svalbard Nature Reserve. Enjoy the view from on deck as you pass the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, one of the largest of its kind.

Day 7
Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Edgeøya is the third-largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. On its western shores the landscape is largely un-glaciated, unlike most other places on the east side of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.

Day 8
Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Continue to the South Cape – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. Hornsund has large variations in its landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears that hunt on the ice.

Day 9
The Isfjord

Isfjord is the most prominent and extensive fjord system in Svalbard. You will spend the day exploring both the outer and the inner parts of the fjord. One of the most striking features of the outer part is the Alkehornet peak, where thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots nest during the summer season. In the inner part of Isfjord, the landscape changes. The immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard reindeer. Later on you’ll find a scenic fjord arm and prepare a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings.

Day 10
Longyearbyen / Oslo

Every good explorer’s voyage comes to an end. You will probably sense that time has passed faster than expected. Lingering in the subtle exhilaration of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographic North Pole. An early morning transfer brings you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.

Notes

The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Travel Insurance:
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Arctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.

Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)

Deck Camping:

Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for deck camping during the voyage. Spend the night on deck and enjoy a magnificent view of the landscape and sky. Included: Sleeping bags, a welcome drink, and a fresh pastry and coffee in the morning. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Fishing:

Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for fishing during the voyage. Set out on a 2.5-3 hour fishing trip to try your luck as a fisherman. You will be joined by an officer and members of the crew. When you return to the ship, you will be invited to meet the chef, prepare your catch, and have it served for dinner. Max. Capacity: 3 passengers. Included: waterproof clothing and a fishing rod. Fishing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Glacier Walking:
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for a glacier walk during the voyage. Experience close encounters with nature on a 1-2 hour glacier hike with an experienced guide. Included: crampons and rubber boots. Max. Capacity: 12-18 passengers. Glacier walking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Hiking:

Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Kayaking:

Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for kayaking during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 2-4 hours. Due to popular demand, kayakers are chosen by a lottery system. Kayaking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Basic kayak experience required. Includes kayaking gear. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Science Center:
Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.

Small Boat Cruising:

Depending on the weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for small boat ‘Polarcirkel’ cruising excursions during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 1-2 hours. Included: Survival float suit, and a hot drink upon return. Small boat cruising is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Max. Capacity: 21 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Included:

Cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Expedition Suites (M + MG) include a cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
International flights to/from the U.S.; travel protection plan; luggage handling; optional excursions and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.

PHOTOS: © Dominic Barrington

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