Summary : Experience something exceptional by discovering the Far North and the immense open spaces of the polar Arctic and its ice floes that extend to the North Pole. During this expedition, your ship will sail to latitudes of 80° north. This journey will take you on the trail of walruses, which can be admired near the 14th July Glacier, as well as the polar bear, the Ambassador of the Arctic, which you may be able to admire in its natural environment. Over the 8 days at sea aboard Le Boréal, in the company of specialist teams, you will discover the exceptional flora and fauna that lives in these extreme conditions.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Board your flight from Paris to Longyearbyen. Embark the vessel and get acquainted with fellow passengers.
Welcome to Cross Bay’s décor of plutonic rocks and tundra. Admire the immense expanses of flowers that cover the mountain slopes, amidst 14 Alpine glaciers plunging majestically into the sea. In this setting of wild beauty, which endemic wildlife has chosen to call home, set off to discover the sublime Lilliehöök Glacier. Located in the fjord of the same name, it forms a kind of circle. As you approach it, you will fall under the spell of the icebergs floating around it, like jewels bedecking the magical waters of the Arctic. Walruses, sea birds, seals and Svalbard reindeer will perhaps accompany as you explore these unique places.
At the entrance to Cross Bay, between tundra, plutonic rocks and mountains covered with a surprising endemic flora, set off to discover the 14th July Glacier. It was thus named by Prince Albert I of Monaco, following an expedition that he led there at the beginning of the 20th century. The glacier’s surroundings are frequented by numerous birds (Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins…), as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. As you arrive in front of the glacier, admire the impressive wall of ice and the reflection of the cliffs in the water. It is quite common to see a section of ice come loose, or a bearded seal lounging on an iceberg.
Nestling in north western Spitsbergen, Magdalena Bay is one of Svalbard’s unmissable sites. In a spectacular landscape of snow-topped Alpine mountains, deep fjords, beaches and majestic glaciers, it offers multiple opportunities for wonderment. We will not be surprised to observe whales, walruses, seals, common eiders, terns, polar bears and Arctic foxes there. The site of Gravneset, located in Magdalenafjorden, is home to the remnants of a former whaling station used during the 17th century, as well as the graves of many sailors buried here up until the end of the 18th century. Not far from here, the Gully Glacier offers a magnificent view, a delight for photographers.
Welcome to a land of rich history! Virgohamna, or Virgo Bay, to the north west of Spitsbergen, was home to a whaling station in the 17th century. Above all, though, it is known as the staging area for many attempts to reach the North Pole by balloon. In 1896, Swedish balloonist Andrée set up camp here and lifted off a year later with two team members on a trip that would cost them their lives. A few years later, the American explorer Wellmann also attempted this crazy adventure, without success. During your visit, you will be able to see a pile of planks, rusty cans, pipes, debris from earthenware and all kinds of waste on the ground. Visitors are asked to respect these historic remnants, in homage to the conquerors of the poles.
Your captain will sail right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and state of the ice allowing, you will be able to go out in a Zodiac for a unique experience in the middle of these floating slabs of ice. In addition to this grandiose journey through the middle of these floes with their cut and blue-tinged edges, it is also often an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe: birds, seals, and polar bears.
Texas Bar is a former trapper’s hut that was used by Arctic fox and polar bear hunters in the past. The hut, still in place, has a rudimentary interior with bunkbeds and kitchen utensils. Located at the entrance to Liefdefjorden (the “fjord of love”), it stands peacefully in a landscape of hills covered with moss, lichen and flowers. The cliffs with their changing colors, very frequented by birds, complete the beauty of the panorama. Take a little hike up the slopes and admire the superb view over the Monaco Glacier, which is further south.
Located to the North-West of the Svalbard archipelago, the Monaco Glacier is probably one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful and majestic. Named in honour of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a sailor, it stands as an impenetrable, blue-tinged jagged wall, the last glacier before reaching a latitude of 80° North. Imagine the sound of the ice cracking as it breaks free and crashes into the transparent water. And to make the magical landscape even more perfect, you might be lucky enough to spot bears and whales, as these two animals have a special fondness for this area.
During your cruise, discover Ny Alesund, a former mining town that has been transformed into a scientific base. Founded in 1916, this small town was the departure point for many Arctic expeditions, including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. Don't miss a visit to the museum and its famous post office, considered to be the most northerly in the world!
At the northern entrance of Isfjorden, there is a small paradise for bird lovers: the Alkhornet Cliff. It is home to a very rich avifauna, made up of thousands of birds frolicking in a joyous tumult: gulls, guillemots, pink-footed geese, terns, seagulls, puffins, Arctic skuas… The Alkhornet Cliff, easily recognizable by its rhinoceros-horn shape, is also frequented by reindeer, which are not overly timid. Attracted by the tundra that covers the foot of the mountain, they come to graze in peace in a verdant setting covered with grass and moss. With a little luck, you will perhaps have the opportunity to see some seals and Arctic foxes, who are also regular visitors.
A real ghost town, Pyramiden was founded by Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century before being sold a few years later to the Soviet Union. Constructed at the foot of a mountain in the form of a pyramid, this former mining town, abandoned in 1998, has conserved all the buildings from its glory days, when it lived off coal mining. During your visit, you will be able to walk past a swimming pool, swings, a football pitch and a cinema. Even more unusual: reindeer like to wander the deserted streets of this dead town, the only companions for the handful of men who still live there in summer.
Situated deep inside Isfjorden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier is one of the very beautiful discoveries of your cruise. Its front of ice, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. The glacier, like a gigantic frozen statue whose sections of ice sometimes come spectacularly loose, is impressive. The polar bear, the king of the Arctic, will perhaps make an appearance in these parts, which are also frequented by reindeer and seals.
Conclude the expedition today and disembark in Longyearbyen. Transfer to the airport and board your flight to Paris.
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. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All departures are French/English.
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Round-trip flight in economy class between Paris and Longyearbyen; transfers between Longyearbyen airport and ship; meals and accommodation on board the ship; Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; coffee, juice, soft drinks and open bar (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); port and safety taxes; gratuities; luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa; 24-hour room service (special selection); butler service is included for guests staying on Deck 6; parka; boot rental. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than mentioned as included; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones included; visa and passport fees; travel insurance; personal expenses such as onboard medical consultations and drug prescriptions, spa, laundry and hair salon; other drinks not included in open bar; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Nathalie Michel, © Lorraine Turci