Summary : Look for polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife as you explore the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands of Svalbard. Sail as close as safely possible to the polar ice edge, where polar bears stalk the frozen sea in search of food. Search ice floes and fast ice for several species of seal. Hike the tundra. Scout for grazing reindeer, Arctic fox, walrus, and whales. Visit Ny Ålesund, one of the world's nothernmost settlements and home to an international community of Arctic researchers. The days are filled with memorable excursions, educational presentations, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and delight your senses.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$6,195 to $14,595
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Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Svalbard and starting point of your Arctic expedition! At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be greeted by staff and transferred to your included hotel. You are then free to explore the charming, walkable town center.
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy in Longyearbyen. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier and warmly welcomed aboard the vessel. Settle into your suite and explore the ship that will be your home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After dinner, step out onto the open decks to admire the gorgeous scenery in 24-hour daylight as the ship passes through the wildlife-rich waters of Isfjorden.
The itinerary for this voyage focuses on the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands of western Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago. This area contains Svalbard’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. The exact schedule and route will be shaped by the weather and ice conditions encountered.
One of the pristine natural areas on this itinerary is South Spitsbergen National Park, a vast region of varied landscapes including polar deserts and impassible mountain ranges. The centerpiece of this park is Hornsund, a picture-perfect fjord where countless mighty glaciers cascade from soaring mountaintops into icy inlets. At this time of year, it is likely you'll encounter fast ice—that is, sea ice that is fastened to the shore. This situation offers an excellent chance of observing polar bears on the hunt for ringed seals. The park also includes the southern shores of Bellsund, a picturesque bay where you'll find the remains of historical whaling operations, including wooden boats, cabins, and thousands of whale bones—a scene from the distant past, literally frozen in time. This area also offers great hiking opportunities through landscapes rich with Arctic flora and birdlife, as well as fascinating geology.
Also on the route is Northwest Spitsbergen National Park, the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here you'll find deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain peaks and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into turquoise waters. The whole area is alive with migratory Arctic seabirds. On this voyage, witness the return of millions of murres, guillemots, and little auks to the small islands, mountainsides, and sea cliffs where they breed within the park. This is also a great area to encounter marine mammals, including various kinds of whales and Arctic seals. Set among this incredible scenery and wildlife activity, you'll also find evidence of Svalbard’s earliest sealers and whalers.
The area of exploration also includes gorgeous Forlandet National Park. Here you'll find Prins Karls Forland, one of the best places in Svalbard to observe herds of walrus hauled out on land. Also along the route is North Isforden National Park, where you'll have the chance to observe endemic Svalbard reindeer grazing and Arctic fox romping in lush tundra meadows.
Human habitation along the route can be found at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town and airship base that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements and it has a museum, gift shop, and post office.
In addition to exploring the terrestrial environment and inshore waterways of western Spitsbergen, the expedition will make a special effort to reach the edge of the polar pack ice. At this dynamic boundary between solid sea ice and open ocean, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to witness the dramatic interplay between polar bears and seals. The captain and crew will take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and constantly shifting ice floes in hopes of observing polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat. At this time of year, the ice edge is not far from mainland Spitsbergen and the sailing time in open seas will be relatively short.
Every day offers something new and exciting with opportunities to encounter amazing Arctic wildlife, witness incredible polar scenery, and walk in the footsteps of historic expeditions.
After breakfast on board, bid farewell in Longyearbyen. A transfer is provided to the airport or the town center in case you plan to stay longer in Svalbard. By this time, you may already be making plans for your next polar adventure!
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.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to carry adequate travel insurance that must contain medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage. Passengers must ensure that their purchased insurance includes cruise travel in the polar regions, and has evacuation and repatriation coverage of no less than $200,000 per person. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Pre-booking required; space is limited. Weather permitting, experience the thrill and tranquility of sea kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage, in good health with appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Children who are 16 to 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate if they are accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.
Photography Program: Included
Learn and practice your photography skills alongside an experienced professional. An expert photographer will be available to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of onboard lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
One night pre-voyage hotel in Longyearbyen; group transfer airport/hotel on day prior to embarkation; group transfer to ship on embarkation day; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; welcome and farewell cocktails on board ship; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leader and Expedition Team; scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions); Wi-Fi on board ship; digital voyage log; photography program; gear to keep (wind- and water-resistant parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station on board ship; all port fees. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers to/from hotel if arriving prior to Day 1 of the program; visa and passport fees; emergency evacuation insurance to a minimum benefit of $200,000 (required); luggage and trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended); excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunications charges; gratuities; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Poseidon Expeditions