Summary : Experience the highlights of Spitsbergen while exploring the western edge of the island; home to polar bears, reindeers and walrus. The remarkable islands of the Svalbard archipelago are part of Norway, lying far to the north of the Norwegian mainland and high above the Arctic Circle. This remarkable island hosts an astonishing array of Arctic wildlife, protected within six national parks. The island itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll come across colonies of seabirds numbering into the thousands and watch for whales in the water. Packed with frequent shore landings and Zodiac cruises, as well as options for snowshoeing and sea kayaking, this is the perfect expedition for exploring the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.”
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$5,395 to $8,495
Board the expedition ship in Longyearbyen, the island's largest settlement. As you embark, you’ll get great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop to this seaside village.
The focus of this itinerary is wildlife and you’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for it. The expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as the 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, the captain and crew have some favorite destinations, including the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed with Hornsund being one of their preferred hunting areas and the towering cliffs of Alkefjellet providing many free bird egg meals for both polar bears and the arctic fox.
Poolepynton is great for walrus viewing and photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget. These lumbering giants of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.
If you’re itching for a more personal and intimate view of the arctic scenery, then taking an optional kayaking excursion to some of the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen is highly recommended. Smeerenburg is a great place for an optional snowshoeing excursion if conditions permit. You can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historical site honors the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme arctic conditions.
There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something new, whether it is a rare bird species, a polar bear on the hunt, or a century-old abandoned hut.
End the adventure as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. Disembark the vessel and transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
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.
Pre-booked option; minimum age 16 years. Available all departures. For experienced kayakers; please advise at time of booking; places strictly limited.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than sea kayaking, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time paddling on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Arrival transfer from Longyearbyen airport to your hotel if you arrive one day prior to embarkation; on embarkation day, transfer from hotel or Longyearbyen airport to the ship; on the day of disembarkation, group transfer from the ship to the Longyearbyen airport or downtown designated drop-off location; shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; meals on board; shore landings per the daily program; Expedition Leader; Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; photographic journal; waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; an expedition parka – yours to keep; coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; pre-departure materials; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person*; use of snowshoes (weather dependent); gratuities; beer and wine with dinner; soft drinks 24/7. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any beverages that are not in the complimentary selection; any meals ashore; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; phone and internet charges; the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for ship’s crew and Expedition Team members; optional kayaking; 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.