Summary : Embark Akademik Sergey Vavilov, your home for exploration, and sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) to begin an incredible exploration up the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen, the larger of the two main islands, makes up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. Throughout the voyage, you will be in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Visit numerous bird colonies showcasing Brunnich’s guillemot (also known as the thick-billed murre), little auk (dovekie), barnacle and pink-footed geese and the Arctic tern. This voyage features an onboard wellness program, excellent cuisine prepared by a culinary team, and a kayaking option.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
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$999,999,999 to $0
Embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, enjoy the views from the outer decks of the ship as you depart. Meet your expedition team during an introductory briefing and then enjoy a welcome dinner in the ship’s comfortable dining room.
Glacier-filled bays surround you the ship sails into Hornsund. With good ice conditions, you are able to navigate close to the glaciers that are a feature of the area. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a giant lesson in glaciology and your onboard guides will use your hikes and zodiac cruises to explain the formation of this fantastic landscape.
Heading south overnight, arrive at Bellsund, a fjord system extending 40 nautical miles inland. With extensive and varied terrain, plan to spend at least a day in this area paddling, photographing your surrounds and hiking. Excursion highlights of this region include the beluga whale bone yard at Bamsebu, the marvelous raised beach patterns at Fleur de Lys Harbour, the abandoned coal carts at Rechergefjorden and exceptional mountain views all around. Sea kayaking is spectacular near the mouth of Van Keulenfjord and into Recherchefjord where glaciers tumble down into the sea or have receded back from the shoreline leaving fabulous terminal and lateral moraines to paddle along. With abundant polar bear populations in Svalbard, the King of the North can appear in the most unlikely places and at the most interesting of times. Your guides will spot the bears with you and keep you and the bears safe while you view them.
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. Your ship anchors in a small harbor, before you launch zodiacs and cruise beneath the towering bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. Cruising the dark waters, you are always on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, as both species are known to frequent this fjord.
As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of birds nesting on the 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 old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as Blubber Town.
As you hike the shoreline near the old whaling station, learn about the importance of the whaling industry in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The rusting blubber posts stand as harsh testament to a tough industry in an equally harsh environment.
Continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80° north parallel. As you approach the ice edge the ship slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or on the outer decks as you start scanning for wildlife. Bearded seals, ringed seals and walrus may be found hauled out on the edges of the ice. Harp seals swim in herds of 10 to 20 through the open water channels in the ice. A buttery colored lump miles away on the ice metamorphoses into a polar bear as you slowly work your way through the ice toward it. Your ship is perfectly designed for near silent approach and your Captain takes great pride in bringing you in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the ship’s GPS showing this incredibly high polar latitude as you're near the top of the world.
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, who come here to hunt for ringed seals or to feed on nutrient rich bird's eggs.
Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as you near the end of your adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the landing site is a horn-shaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes. Only as you approach and stop to listen will you hear the chorus of thousands of birds, all singing at the same time. This evening, celebrate your journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.
Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, disembark after breakfast and say farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, enjoy a few hours this morning to explore the town before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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.
Expedition Field Photography: $45 per person
Pre-booked option for up to 18 people. Join the expedition team and specialty photographers for an extended shore excursion aimed at capturing specialty subjects with a remarkable backdrop. An onboard photographer is available to work with you throughout the voyage to help you improve your photography and encourage you to look at scenes or events in a different way in order to capture them digitally. Also available is an onboard multimedia download studio with computers, cables, and hard-drives for back-up storage and for creating DVDs of your images.
Expedition Snowshoeing: $45 per person
Pre-booked option for up to 12 guests. Snowshoes and trekking poles provided. Traveling by snowshoes offers a new view of the Arctic! Snowshoe hikes will be 1-3 hours in duration and will at times be on challenging terrain without the assistance of trails. Come prepared with warm socks and comfortable clothing. Also, it’s recommended to bring a small knapsack to carry water and an extra layer of clothing.
Opportunity to incorporate snowshoeing into the daily onshore program where snow pack is sufficient. Snowshoes and trekking poles provided. Traveling by snowshoes offers a new view of the Arctic! Come prepared with warm socks and comfortable clothing. Also, it’s recommended to bring a small knapsack to carry water and an extra layer of clothing. Available on a first come, first serve basis.
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.
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. 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.
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; adventure activities supplement.