Summary : Begin your exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin your exploration up the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the larger of the two main islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. From the start the voyage, you are in the land of the polar bear, the beluga, the walrus and the reindeer, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Along the journey, you will see Ny Alesund, Monaco Glacier, Prins Karls Forland, and bird colonies that showcase Brunnichís guillemot, pink-footed geese and the Arctic tern.
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark aboard the expedition cruise vessel in Longyearbyen. Sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, you will meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to the dining room for your first meal aboard.
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. The ship will anchor off one small harbour and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As you cruise these waters, you will also keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.
During the afternoon you will 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.
Tucked into the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen, Ruadfjord offers an excellent place to hike, Zodiac cruise and kayak. Whilst here you will search for reindeer ashore and ringed and bearded seals adrift. For those interested in tundra vegetation and especially wildflowers, there are select spots along the shoreline of this fjord offering excellent hiking and interpretation.
Dividing the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago from the western side, Hinlopen Strait is full of wildlife. The water that flushes through this strait each day is rich in phyto- and zooplankton, nourishing the thick-billed murre colony at Aklefjellet on the western shore of Hinlopen Strait. More than 120,000 pairs of murres nest on these cliffs each summer.The water moving through Hinlopen Strait each day also brings the sea ice and our access into the area is dictated by the ice conditions of the day. Exploring the sea ice generally brings you into much closer contact with polar bears and your captain will work with the expedition team to maximize the viewing potential.
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.
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 paddling and Zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.
As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it will become apparent that there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony the formation of this 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 here you will learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. A harsh industry in an equally harsh environment and, as a testament to this whaling site, all that is left is the blubber ovens.
There is something about the sight and sound of a walrus haul out that spells Arctic in a way that not many other sites do. You will visit this well-known haul out on Prince Charles Island and hope to see the walrus ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that the walrus are ashore as the odour of a haul out is without equal.
You will 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: $675 per person
Pre-booked option for up to 16 guests. 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. Provided equipment includes full Gore-Tex drysuits, kayak specific PFD's, neoprene booties, a waterproof deck bag, pogies and many other vital paddling accessories.
Accommodations on board; meals; shore excursions; guides and naturalist staff; transfer from meeting point/ship in Longyearbyen.
Airfare; 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 ($675 per person).