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Expedition Svalbard and Norway

Arctic Svalbard Cruise

Summary : From the pretty painted houses of Lonyearbyen to the spectacular beaches of Kristiansund, this is a journey of mighty mountains, rare fauna, deep fjords, picturesque glaciers and massive ice sheets. So much more than a sum of its parts, a flexible itinerary allows for unprecedented wildlife spotting opportunities in the mythic Fjords, which are to be enjoyed in the midnight sun.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking

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Itinerary
Day 1
Oslo/ Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the biggest settlement in Svalbard. Seat of the Norwegian administration, it also has the best services and infrastructure in the archipelago. Located deep in the Adventfjord, a sidearm of the Isfjorden (Icefjord), Longyearbyen’s airport can be used all-year round, but its harbor is blocked by ice in winter. Most shops, hotels, restaurants and a hospital are within easy walking distance of the port. One of the most prominent buildings in town is the UNIS center, where several Norwegian universities have joined forces to operate and offer the northernmost higher education to both Norwegian and international students.

Day 2 – 3
Svalbard Northern Region

There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the northern hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.

Day 4 – 5
Svalbard Southern Region

Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea.

Day 6
Bear Island

Almost half way between Tromsø and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna. Because of the large numbers of birds and the isolated location, Bear Island has been recognized as an Important Bird Area. It was once a hotspot for whaling and walrus hunting, and at one stage even mining.

Day 7
Harstad

Norway's raw beauty and cultural curiosities attract a steady stream of eager visitors to Harstad, which is superbly positioned on the country's biggest island, and offers unrivalled access to some of Norway's most spectacular northerly scenery. Enjoy long, bright days of endless sunlight, or velvety dark winters of ethereal Northern Light shows, as you take a journey to this ethereal land of the north. With mountain hikes, and trips out to sea on the trail of whales and dolphins, Harstad is a natural playground with something for every taste. Rugged peaks, crisp mountain lakes, and stomach churning cliffs, which drop away to smooth ocean await, as you dive into the heart of the area's fjords and mountain scenery.

Day 8
Tysfjord

The morning will be used to explore the area of Tysfjord by land or Zodiac. A long hike might lead to a gigantic waterfalls, while others might simply walk up to a beautiful cascade in this “alpine” area. This is the narrowest part of Norway and was formerly used by Sami reindeer herders of Sweden and Norway.

Day 9
Cruise Norwegian Fjords

You will be introduced to your Expedition Team and important members of the other departments. You will also have to attend a Zodiac briefing to be able to go out and explore the fjords and Svalbard.

Day 10
Norjord and Melfjord

Enter the arctic circle in Nordfjord and Melfjord, which are part of the impressive and scenic county of Nordland. Here you will discover narrow fjords flanked by steep, beautiful mountains. This region is the home of the Saltfjellet-Svaristen National Park, named for the Saltfjellet mountain range and Svaristen, one of mainland Norway’s largest glaciers. The Svartisen National Park extends to the bottom of Nordfjorden, a branch of the Melfjord, and contains many Saami cultural landmarks.

Day 11
Vega Archipelago

"The Vega Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a myriad of islands scattered in the Norwegian Sea and home to one of Norway’s largest eider duck colony. Of the 6,000 Vega islands, 59 were once inhabited by families that made their living from fishing and from eider down harvesting. Today, there are no year-round residents, but the population returns in the summer to continue the 1,500-year-old tradition of caring for the eider ducks and harvesting their precious down. The eider ducks return to their breeding ground in the Vega Archipelago every year and lay their eggs from May into June.".

Day 12
Strofjord and Sunnylvsfjord

Surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps, Storfjord inspires awe with its natural beauty. These fjords make up a region full of raw beauty of white-capped mountains, flowering fruit trees, impressive granite walls, mountain-ledge farms, and small bays that protect hidden, quaint villages. Storfjord cuts deep into the mountains of Sunnmøre where it divides into the smaller fjords, including Sunnylvsfjord (the innermost fjord) and finally the magnificent Geirangerfjord. Sunnylsvsfjord ranges from 600 to 2,000 meters (2,000 to 6,600 ft.) wide and the fjord reaches 452 meters (1,483 ft.) below sea level at its deepest point before it branches off to the west to Geirangerfjord.

The Geirangerfjord, which made the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005, is Norway's most spectacular and perhaps best-known fjord. The 16-km-long (10-mile-long), 960-foot-deep Geirangerfjord's most stunning attractions are its roaring waterfalls—the Seven Sisters, the Bridal Veil, and the Suitor. Perched on mountain ledges along the fjord, deserted farms at Skageflå and Knivsflå are being restored and maintained by local enthusiasts.The village of Geiranger, at the end of the fjord, is home to fewer than 300 year-round residents, but in spring and summer its population swells to 5,000 due to visitors traveling from Hellesylt to the east.

Day 13
Kristiansund

The biggest inside joke in Kristiansund is the mighty waterfall on the city’s coat of arms. There’s nary one to be found among the four low-lying islands that make up the city. There is, however, a thriving community of 23,000 which prides itself on a strong cultural life, ecological purity, natural beauty, and excellent fish. Ever-increasing numbers of tourists are discovering this as well and are taking full advantage.

Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions – and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. 

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

Included:
Cabin accommodations, meals, and entertainment aboard the ship; butler service; complimentary beverages (select wines, champagne, spirits, bottled water, specialty coffees, juices and soft drinks); onboard gratuities (except spa and salon); expedition gear including backpack, water bottle, and parka; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Expedition, Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; government fees and taxes; transfers and luggage handling; passport and visa expenses; travel insurance; items of a personal nature; fuel surcharge may apply.



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