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Spitsbergen In-Depth

Arctic Svalbard Cruise Information

Summary : Embark on an extensive exploration of Spitsbergen while experiencing all the adventure the island has to offer. This is one of the best regions to see polar bears, walruses, and reindeer; plus, the impressive 14th of July Glacier and Alkefjellet cliff are both birdwatching utopias. Attempt a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen, taking in its natural beauty from tundra meadows to immense glaciers and scouting for the iconic polar bear along the way. You’ll also get a glimpse of 16th-century whaling culture at secluded landing sites. This route may include visiting the northernmost Svalbard island of Nordaustlandet if conditions allow.

Activities : Birding, Culture, 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 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 – 13
Exploring Spitsbergen

Expect a new adventure every day as you begin the circumnavigation by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. The plan is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, the captain will also attempt a circumnavigation of the whole Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but some of the places you may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet, and the seldom-visited Kvitøya. These names may seem strange to you, but each site has its own unique appeal.

There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful tundra meadows are complemented by immense glaciers. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns, while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

Always on the lookout for wildlife, be sure to have your camera ready to capture reindeer when visiting sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Searching for the iconic polar bear is a constant activity for your expedition team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are two of the bears’ preferred places for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to view and capture them in action.

A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry. You will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.

Day 14
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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