Summary : Discover the Arctic's wild and beautiful terrain, vast remoteness and indigenous flora and fauna which have awakened travellers’ sense of wonder. With an outstanding expedition team to accompany and guide you, every day will bring a new adventure. Cruise amidst pristine landscapes of glaciers and icebergs. Explore deep fjords lined with rugged mountains. Search for polar bear, walrus, reindeer, Arctic fox, and bearded seals. Watch for whales including minke and beluga and explore ruins of long-defunct whaling operations. Trek along the tundra, cruise by zodiac and observe birds such as eiders, terns, skuas, sandpipers, auks and puffins among the cliffs on this Arctic trip of a lifetime.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$9,250 to $23,150
Embark the vessel, meet the Expedition Team and receive a Zodiac briefing. Attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party in the evening.
Meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with amenities found onboard such as spa treatments, the Fitness Center and exquisite dining experiences. Gather in the theater to hear fascinating tales of adventure and to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable staff are experts in a variety of scientific fields.
Approaching Bear Island (Bjørnøya), whale watching is a priority as they are known to frequent this area. Approach the island by zodiac witnessing a kaleidoscope of thousands of sea birds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. Explore Bear Island's rugged coastline and, if weather conditions are favorable, make a landing. Encounter an amazing flurry of life on this remote island, now a nature reserve. Expedition Team members enhance the visit by providing insights into the environment, terrain, and wildlife that exist in these extreme conditions.
Enjoy a journey into an expansive archipelago of the Arctic Ocean woven between the North Pole and Norway. Svalbard is one of the last major European wilderness areas with pristine mountains, fauna, deep fjords, picturesque icebergs, and massive ice sheets. Explore breathtaking Svalbard and dramatic Spitsbergen Island. Locate wildlife and spend the maximum amount of time possible hiking on the tundra. Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000 polar bears and the hope is to encounter a good number of them during the trip.
Travel along the same routes as famous polar explorers such as Andrée, Nordenskiöld, Amundsen and Nobile. Trek along beaches blanketed with walruses, get to know the indigenous reindeer, and maybe even spot an Arctic fox or bearded seal. Admire the playfulness and grace of seabirds such as ivory gulls, auks and puffins. Watch for minke and beluga whales.
The flexible itinerary takes advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions. Search for walruses, seals, reindeer, Arctic foxes and polar bears. Enjoy shore walks and Zodiac landings to mystical settings while passing icebergs. Each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course, depending on changing weather, ice conditions and the wildlife encountered. In the true spirit of adventure cruising, your Expedition Leader will provide daily updates. Here is a list of places you may visit:
Ice Cruising –The Silver Explorer’s strengthened hull provides the perfect platform to search for walruses and polar bears, devoting at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, cruise by Zodiac for an even closer look.
Bellsund – Pushing about 50 miles into Spitsbergen is the more than 12-mile wide Bellsund. At the entrance of the fjord, encounter eiders, Arctic terns, and skluas. Snow bunting and Purple sandpipers are also common in the area. Explore the seldom-visited Van Keulenfjord, witnessing awe-inspiring landscapes on a trek along the tundra.
Prins Karls Forland – Off the west coast of Spitsbergen, encounter the island home of Forland National Park with cragged mountains, massive glaciers and remarkable wildlife. The entire island and the surrounding seas make up Forland National Park. Explore Poolypnten, a well-known walrus haul out, while a marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures.
Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Listen for the crash of white thunder as huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. Amidst floating icebergs jewels, watch for bearded seals, rare beluga whales and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favorite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting auks. Visit the Polish research station or the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts.
Edgeøya – Enter the realm of the polar bear on the third largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Conditions permitting, go ashore at the hard to get to Diskobukta, and discover interesting fauna and flora while walking amongst thousands of Kittiwakes and Arctic foxes. The coastal waters often provide fantastic opportunities to see walrus and polar bear on the ice floe.
Barentsøya – Just north of Edgeøya lays the fourth largest island in Svalbard. Surrounded by the wide tundra landscape, choose a long hike or short walk. Discover the ruins of 15th-century Russian Pomors and possibly encounter polar bears.
Faksevågen – Off Lomfjorden is the smaller Faksevågen and on its northern side the hill Faksefjellet. Go ashore for a tundra hike and to climb part of Faksefjellet. A gradual slope will lead up past beautiful tundra-vegetation, mountain avens and white artic bell-heather and will permit views across Faksevågen and the surrounding valleys.
Fjortende Julibreen – The 14th of July Bay is located at the entrance of Krossfjorden. Go ashore for a hike up to the 14th of July Glacier – conditions permitting, climb onto the glacier, or, alternatively walk to the “hanging gardens”, a beautiful plant oasis underneath a bird cliff.
Zeipelodden – At the entrance of Palanderbukta, hike across an arctic polar desert. Despite the designation as a desert, see Arctic poppy, purple saxifrage, spider saxifrage and yellow whitlow-grass. Encounter some Arctic Terns and Arctic Skuas, even reindeer have often been seen in the area.
Bråsvellbreen – If ice conditions permit, venture along the immense Bråsvellbreen, part of the huge Austfonna ice cap. Bråsvellbreen has several waterfalls coming off its top and witness awe-inspiring ice-scapes as you cruise by ship or Zodiac along the longest glacier front in the Northern Hemisphere.
Alkefjellet – On the northern side of Lomfjordhalvøya (Lomfjorden Peninsula) is one of the most dramatic bird cliffs Svalbard has to offer. Depending on ice conditions, cruise along the cliff by Zodiacs or by ship. In either case, the view of tens of thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot breeding pairs, Black Guillemots, with the odd Glaucous Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes, plus the occasional Arctic fox along a cliff of several kilometers in length make this one outstanding experience. Even if there were no birds, the 100 meter high cliff with its dolerite intrusions in the Permian limestone would make for excellent viewing.
Disembark the vessel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your charter 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.
Reverse Itinerary: 7/19/2017 (Oslo/Longyearbyen to Tromsø)
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.
Ship accommodation; all onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; complimentary beverages (select wines, champagne, spirits, bottled water, specialty coffees, juices and soft drinks); onboard gratuities (except spa and salon); 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 Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; government fees and taxes; transfers and luggage handling; passport and visa expenses; travel insurance; items of a personal nature; air charter package one-way between Longyearbyen and Oslo (or reverse); Wifi; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Daniela Plaza (walrus), © Richard Sidey (puffin, passengers and polar bear, polar bear on broken ice), © Elliott Neep (polar bear with reflection, gull, Bear Island)