Svalbard – Spitsbergen Explorer

Arctic Svalbard Cruise

  • Akademik Sergey Vavilov
  • Research Ship
  • 92 Capacity
  • 10 Days
  • 2014 View Departure>
    • 2014
    • Jul 14 Mon
  • Price from
  • $4,795

Summary : Begin and end your exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Following embarkation of the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin exploration down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principle islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. Discover glacier-filled bays in Hornsund, cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier, and spot polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer. This voyage features an onboard wellness program, excellent cuisine, and a kayaking option.

Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking


Prices from
$4,795 to $9,595

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Day 1
Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to the dining room for the first meal aboard.

Day 2

Beluga whales often transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. The adults are pure white and the younger animals a mottled grey color. They are the only whales that can articulate their heads to nod and turn sideways. It is estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature of other whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice.

Search for the belugas and then hope to go ashore at Bourbonhamna. A hunter’s cabin, grinding wheel and two overturned boats are points of interest a short walk away at Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. The bones and all the artifacts are protected by the Svalbard Government and cannot be removed. While wandering amongst these bone relics, you may also expect to glimpse dozens of reindeer in the area.

Day 3
Kapp Lee

Landing at Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, remark on the lush vegetation of this region, although in the high 70’s of latitude. This site has a large scattering of reindeer antlers, but it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the landing memorable. Some 400 years ago, whales were slaughtered here and were hunted almost to extinction in the waters of Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculptured them into works of art. They are painted with luxuriant blankets of green mosses and grasses, spattered with blotches of black and orange lichen, and framed with purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort. 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.

Day 4

Glacier-filled bays abound in Hornsund! Sail into one of these bays for a close-up view of the glacier. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and your onboard guides will use hikes and Zodiac cruises as classrooms for continued enlightenment on the formation of this fantastic landscape.

Day 5
Krossfjorden / Ny Alesund

The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. Anchor off one small harbor and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As you cruise these waters, keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.

During the afternoon, cross Kongsfjord from Krossfjorden to the town site of Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community. Founded by the Kings Bay Kull Company A/S in 1916, Ny Alesund operated as a coal mine sporadically until coal mining was ended in 1962. Since then, the community has become the site of numerous international polar science institutes. Ny Alesund earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a jumping off place for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund, and the airship anchor pylon for Amundsen and Nobile is still in place today.

Day 6
Fuglesangen / Smeerenburg

As your Zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent that there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony.

Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the former whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as Blubber Town. As you hike the shoreline of this former whaling station, learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago.

Day 7

At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint.

Day 8
Liefdefjorden / Monacobreen

No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and Zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.

Day 9
Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland

There is something about the sight and sound of a walrus haul out that spells Arctic like no other site can. Visit this well-known haul out on Prince Charles Island and hope to see the walrus ashore.

Day 10

Prepare to disembark in Longyearbyen after breakfast onboard your vessel.


Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.

Medical Documentation: Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned no later than 90 days prior to departure.

Sea Kayaking Option: $695 per person
Pre-booked option. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand.

Mandatory Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance which must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter) and personal liability. It must cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if requested by expedition staff. The expedition team reserves the right to cancel or suspend your participation on a trip or in certain activities that comprise part of a trip, at any time, including after the commencement of your tour, with no right of refund, if you are unable to provide proof of insurance when requested.

Accommodations onboard; meals; complimentary tea and coffee 24 hours per day; shore excursions; services of guides and naturalist staff; access to multimedia room and download stations; use of onboard expedition rubber boots; use of wet weather gear; transfers as applicable.

Not Included:
International airfare; pre- and post-cruise hotel nights; passport and visa fees; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; travel insurance; all gratuities; extra meals; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks; medical expenses; optional activities and trips; kayaking supplement ($695 per person).