Summary : On this voyage you will sail above 80° N to the ice edge of the Arctic Ocean. This adventure will include several excursions, including hiking, kayaking, and other activities on land and on the water. Try 'brevandring' – the Norwegian way to traverse a glacier. Don’t mistake this for ice climbing. Brevandring occurs on relatively flat ice, but on some occasions you may have to navigate around small crevasses. Glaciers cover 60% of the land mass of Svalbard, so stepping out onto the ice is an essential and exceptional part of your Svalbard experience. Be on the look out for polars bears! Within the Svalbard Archipelago there are approximately 3,000 polar bears and 2,500 humans. Polar bears are solitary animals with no established territory – they simply roam wherever they can expect to find food. As polar bears are marine mammals, we are more likely to see one close to the water or even in the water, especially around drift ice, which they like to use as a platform. The more eyes there are scouting for polar bears through binoculars, the higher the chance of seeing the King of the Arctic!
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
$999,999,999 to $0
This Grand Svalbard Circumnavigation voyage starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Norway’s capital is often called ‘The blue, the green and the city in between’ because of its location between the fjord and the forest. Spend a day discovering the many museums, parks, and varied architecture, or relax in a café or bar. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen a couple of hours later. Still, Longyearbyen is a modern town with first-class facilities, charming architecture, an internationally renowned museum, and several bars and restaurants – all in the midst of the untouched Arctic wilderness.
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 to 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.
Kongsfjord is considered one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by characteristic mountain formations.
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 our 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.
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 our ship to navigate, but it’s perfect to explore by kayak. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in Liefdefjord.
Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago – providing you with a great 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 Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Enjoy the view from on deck as you pass the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, one of the largest of its kind.
Rossøya is less than 620 miles from the North Pole, and when you are here you can be quite sure that there is no one between yourself and 90° North. The barren landscape is considered high Arctic, with very little vegetation due to
the extreme weather conditions here for most of the year. Phippsøya is home to a large ivory gull colony, and there are many opportunities to see polar bears here.
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.
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.
Bellsund is the third-largest fjord system on Spitsbergen. Pass the majestic Klokkefjellet Mountain while sailing the southern entrance of the sound. Enjoy landings where you will explore old trapping stations, wonderful Artic flora and fauna, and fantastic views toward the vast expanse of this impressive fjord.
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 parts of Isfjorden, 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 arrange a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings.
Every good explorer’s voyage comes to an end. You will probably sense that time has passed faster than expected. What lingers is 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Economy flights between Longyearbyen and Oslo; one hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage, including breakfast; transfers in Longyearbyen, including lunch and excursion before the voyage; 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.
International flights to/from the U.S.; travel protection plan; luggage handling; optional excursions and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Dominic Barrington