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Svalbard – Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers, and Wildlife

Arctic Svalbard Cruise Information

Summary : Get a taste of everything Spitsbergen has to offer, beginning in Longyearbyen, the island’s largest settlement. Geared toward optimum wildlife viewing, this expedition provides plenty of chances to witness polar bears, walruses, and reindeer. Hike, take in presentations by onboard experts, and learn from onboard photography guides—or opt to kayak or paddle. Opportunities to capture amazing photographs in continuous daylight are as bountiful as the landscape itself. While exploring the remarkable scenery and colorful tundra, you’ll also learn about the history and geology of the region.

Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Oslo, Norway

Your arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your airport hotel.*

*See Additional Costs for mandatory transfer package information.

Day 2
Longyearbyen, Svalbard / Embarkation

In the morning, your group will transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight* to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen's largest settlement, where you'll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island's rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

*See Additional Costs for mandatory transfer package information.

Day 3 – 9
Exploring Spitsbergen

You’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife.

Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places you may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet, and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.

The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Since most of Svalbard’s Arctic ecosystem is uninhabited and well-protected, this remote archipelago is one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears against stunning natural backdrops of mountains and ice.

The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.

If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can book optional sea kayaking or paddling excursions (additional cost).

In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in the summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is an ever-changing gallery of spectacular icebergs, a polar bear resting between hunts, or an abandoned historical site from centuries ago.

Day 10
Longyearbyen, Norway / Disembarkation / Oslo, Norway

The time to say goodbye to your expedition team and shipmates has come. Your Arctic adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, you’ll transfer to the airport for your return group charter flight* to Oslo.

*See Additional Costs for mandatory transfer package information.

Notes

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 is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers are to carry a minimum of $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. All guests are strongly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.

Kayaking:
Limited availability; pre-booking required. A small group of kayakers will attempt multiple outings per voyage in lieu of shore landings. The number of opportunities is weather dependent; kayaking will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior experience is required. Participants must be capable of a wet exit in order to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the Paddling Excursion described below.

Paddling:

If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something less in-depth than kayaking, consider a Paddling Excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddle using a stable, unencumbered sit-on-top kayak—perfect for anyone with little to no kayaking experience. Rotating groups will venture out on calm days with expert guides to connect with the sea. Space is limited. Pre-booking required.

Included:
Transfers between Longyearbyen town center and port on embarkation and disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; all shore landings per the daily program; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; experienced Expedition Leader; formal and informal presentations by Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal; gear to keep (expedition parka and reusable water bottle); gear on loan (waterproof expedition boots for shore landings, walking poles); all meals on board ship; snacks, soft drinks, and juices on board; beer and house wine during dinner; coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock; daily housekeeping; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person*. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:

Mandatory Transfer Package (see Additional Costs); international airfare; arrival and departure transfers in Oslo; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; any beverages not mentioned in inclusions; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; emergency medical coverage (required); baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage, and other personal charges unless specified; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at end of voyage for shipboard staff and crew; Adventure Options such as optional kayaking and optional paddling; additional overnight accommodation; fuel surcharge may apply.

*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.


PHOTOS: © Acacia Johnson, © David Merron, © Nicky Souness, © Quark Expeditions

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