- Polar Pioneer
- Research Ship
- 54 Capacity
- 11 Days
- Price from
Summary : Spitsbergen Odyssey reveals the diversity of this island archipelago and takes you into the kingdom of the polar bear. Where warm Gulf Stream currents and Arctic pack ice collide, a wild archipelago features deep fjords, rugged mountains, vast glaciers, and polar desert. Visit Spitsbergen as perpetual soft summer light bathes the land, and stretch your legs across tundra alive with green moss and tiny flowers of brilliant hue. Zodiacs carry you to cliffs of breeding birds, while the seas are tumbled by whales, bearded seals, and walrus. Cruise the fjords and coast keeping watch for the mightiest inhabitant of all – the polar bear.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking
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$6,080 to $10,500
Enjoy a tour of colorful Longyearbyen before being warmly welcomed on board the expedition ship, Polar Pioneer, in the late afternoon. Pulse rates quicken on the departure along a wonderland of bird cliffs, sweeping glaciers, and majestic mountains.
Ice cliffs of the 14th July Glacier or perhaps the Waggonway Glacier greet you when you awake this morning, well north along Spitsbergen’s rugged west coast. As you soon learn, each day is action-packed, the itinerary dependent on weather, snow and ice conditions, and the presence of wildlife. Gulf Stream currents sweep up the coast, keeping temperatures relatively warm. Zodiacs carry you close to fantastic bird cliffs alive with guillemots, Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres. Look for bearded seals with their quaint, curling whiskers, and visit Ny Ålesund in Kongsfjorden, once a mining town, now a polar research center. At Amsterdamoya, stretch your legs with tundra walks, ever alert for reindeer, Arctic fox and musk ox; poke about the remains of a 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement and hear the tale of Swedish explorer Andrée’s ill-fated attempt to fly a balloon over the North Pole.
Enter the Arctic Ocean, searching for beluga whales, pack ice and polar bears as you round the northwest corner of Spitsbergen and make the way down Woodfjorden. Ringed, bearded and even small numbers of harp seals can be seen, both from the ship and Zodiacs. Stretch your legs on shore, searching for trappers’ huts and keeping a watchful eye for reindeer and Arctic fox. Polar bears with cubs often hunt for eggs on Leifdefjorden’s islands, the breeding grounds of eider ducks, Arctic terns, Arctic skuas, great skuas, glaucous gulls and black-legged kittiwakes. Just offshore huffing walrus feed on clams, or haul out on the beach in wallows, especially at Moffen Island, a sanctuary for these fantastic creatures. Along the pack ice edge stay alert for sightings of minke and other whales. The long days are perfect for relaxed wildflower walks, allowing time to photograph some of the tundra’s 164 species of flowering plants, including purple saxifrage, exquisite yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. If ice conditions allow, attempt to cross latitude 80° North – cause for celebration!
Welcome to the wild side! Frigid Arctic currents sweep around Spitsbergen’s northeast corner, lowering air and sea temperatures, and creating a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar your way. Attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, between Spitsbergen and austere, ice-capped Nordaustlandet, your Russian crew and expedition staff use their considerable expertise to reach the region’s highlights. Zodiac cruise beneath Alkefjellt, sheer basalt cliffs rising more than 250 metres, literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots, possibly with Arctic fox scavenging below. On Torrellneset, you could well approach dozens of sleeping walrus. A true polar desert, the east coast offers walks among stunted glaciers, exposed fossil fields, and tundra, where you watch for Arctic fox, eider ducks and the elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. Sailing between Barentsøya and Edgeøya, cross polar bear migration routes and you may visit Sundeneset, a fertile plain covered in green mosses and delicate flowers, including the yellow marsh saxifrage.
This is true expedition cruising, where plans are dictated by ice conditions and a desire to explore. If pack ice allows, round South Cape, returning to the world of open water and rugged coastal mountains, and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords with remarkable glaciers and wildlife. If ice stops the route on the east side, itinerary will be adjusted, and you'll delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts, including a visit to colonies where hundreds of thousands of little auks nest, darkening the sky as they commute to their fishing grounds.
A midnight cruise of Isfjorden returns you to Longyearbyen, the end of a spectacular voyage and a transfer to the airport for a flight to Oslo.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage, including coverage for emergency medical evacuation. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The policy provider, policy number and emergency contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Sea Kayaking Option: $995 per person (2013 departures). If you wish to take this option, please advise ExpeditionTrips.com at the time of booking. Please note that sound sea kayaking experience is essential.
Ship's accommodation; all public areas are open to all passengers; all meals on board ship; all shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs; lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services; medical services (There is a resident doctor and well-equipped clinic on board); port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities; pre-departure information and briefing; sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen; transfer from ship to airport; overnight accommodation in Oslo.
International airfare; economy flight between Oslo and Longyearbyen; visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes; hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary; optional excursions not included in the ship cruise itinerary; laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls; emergency evacuation charges; sea kayaking supplement; diving supplement; fuel surcharge may apply.