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Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief

Arctic Svalbard Cruise Information

Summary : Pack in all the excitement of an epic Arctic cruise into only seven days. In just a week, you’ll cruise through the pack ice up to 80° North along the west coast of Spitsbergen like an explorer of long ago, on a constant search for wildlife. Though this rocky island is covered in mountains and glaciers, the towering cliffs and fjords play host to a surprisingly thriving and varied ecosystem. Exploring as much of the area as possible will provide optimal opportunities to spot the most iconic of Arctic wildlife, the polar bear.

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

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Itinerary
Day 1
Olso, 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 great vistas of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for the historic town.

*See Additional Costs for mandatory transfer package information.

Day 3 – 6
Exploring Spitsbergen

You’ll sail around the shores of this magical island, constantly searching for polar bears and other natural wonders. Covering western Spitsbergen, your expedition will afford ample opportunities to view immense glaciers, deep fjords, soaring mountains and unique flora and fauna. Sailing north into Krossfjord, have your camera handy, ready to capture some of the best glacier calving in Spitsbergen. Deep in the fjord, the highly active Lilliehöök Glacier awaits. Listen in awe to the growling as big chunks break off into the icy waters below. A Zodiac excursion to nearby Ny London, an abandoned mining settlement, provides an ideal place for a guided walk. Encounters with wildlife, such as the indigenous Svalbard reindeer, are possible here.

After cruising overnight, wake up to the stunning sight of the magnificent Monaco Glacier, another prolific iceberg producer. Help your expedition team scan the shorelines and ice edge for marine mammals. Possible landing sites include Texas Bar, Worsleyneset, and the Andoyane Islands (where polar bears have been known to roam). At 80° North, you’ll reach a walrus sanctuary on the tiny, crescent-shaped Moffen Island. Watching from the water as large groups of these lumbering giants jockey for space is an unforgettable experience, so be ready with your binoculars. At Smeerenburg you can see the remains of an abandoned settlement that was established by Dutch whalers nearly 400 years ago. Here, at one of Europe’s most northerly outposts, you’ll have time to explore ashore and learn about Spitsbergen’s whaling history. Afterwards, cruising to Magdalenafjord rewards you with panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains and massive glaciers reflected in the crystal-clear waters.

During the last full day of your Arctic adventure, you may visit the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, home of the world’s northernmost brewery. Hope to round out the day in Alkehornet, taking in the towering cliffs teeming with nesting seabirds, such as fulmars and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Encounters with reindeer might be possible here too. Later, in the evening, swap stories with your shipmates and crew one last time at the captain’s dinner.

Day 7
Longyearbyen / Disembarkation / Oslo

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.

Bilingual Departure: English/German

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must carry a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The travel insurance policy should also cover trip cancellation insurance, trip delay, interruption or after departure coverage, baggage and repatriation. 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 you select a travel protection plan that includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage and at least $200,000 in medical evacuation coverage. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.

Kayaking:
Pre-booking required. A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the paddling excursions described below. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Paddling:
Pre-booking required. If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something less in-depth than the full kayaking program, you can still enjoy an on-water experience with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time, one-hour paddle on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

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; expedition parka and reusable water bottle; gear on loan (waterproof expedition boots for shore landings, walking poles); comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informational Arctic Reader; 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; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; daily housekeeping; pre-departure materials; 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; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; any beverages that are not in the complimentary selection; any meals ashore unless otherwise specified; 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; any 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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