Summary : After embarking Ocean Atlantic in bustling Reykjavík, venture north towards the enigmatic and isolated island of Jan Mayen with its standout volcano of Beerenberg. Cruise north with approaching summer, migrating birds and 24-hour daylight until you reach the snow-covered mountains of Svalbard. Sea ice will still cover many fjords. After a full day in Longyearbyen, continue further north into Kongsfjorden and Ny Ålesund, to Smeerenburg and hopefully into Hinlopen in the far northeast corner of Spitsbergen Island. Weather and ice conditions will often dictate the course, but each landing with Zodiac-boats will still be unique and adventurous.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$4,700 to $12,200
In the afternoon, board the Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavík and set course northbound through the Denmark Strait towards the remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen.
During your voyage your lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.
Listen to a lecture from your experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.
Approximately in the middle of the North Atlantic lies the enigmatic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. And if not exactly in the middle, at least it is located precisely on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the reason for its volcanic existence. And enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog that hover above it. Jan Mayen belongs to Norway, and the mountain Beerenberg is one of the higher of Norway’s 300 summits.
The island is inhabited by only 18 people, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defence. Attempt to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus board the Zodiacs to return to the Ocean Atlantic to continue your voyage nor
Lectures, movies or maybe a game are some of the activities on this sea day.
Approaching the islands of Svalbard, it should be possible to spot the largest island, Spitsbergen during the afternoon.
The route for this day and next are much depending on conditions. Not least the pack ice coming from Arctic Sea as well as from calving glaciers, and also solid winter sea ice. Keep your eyes out for polar bear hunting for seals. During the night the ship will sail towards the main town of Svalbard, Longyearbyen
Early in the morning the ship arrives in Longyearbyen. After breakfast you will have a short sightseeing excursion to the see the city including the museum of Longyearbyen and there will also be time for shopping before going back to the ship.
During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), you will have passed Prins Karls Forland and have arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. Your visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give you the best opportunities to look for polar bears hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of the year, the migrating birds have just arrived. They are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months.
Your first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history.
You have now entered Northwest Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production.
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow, you’ll make a landing on Fuglesongen, the largest colony of little auks in Svalbard. The arctic fox has noticed this as well and can often be seen roaming the base of the bird cliffs.
During the night the ship will have steered far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target is just the ‘edge’, possibly at 80 degrees north! This is the kingdom of the polar bear! As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seals - resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find. A hard life indeed!
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed on board in the Viking Theater. Should the ship be able to get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged.
Most likely the northeastern coast of Spitsbergen Island and Hinlopen Strait will still locked in by coastal ice. The ship will try to sail as far east as possible. Should this fail, Wood Fjord and Liefde Fjord could be excellent alternatives for the day. In this case, you will circumvent the bird rich Andøya in Zodiacs, and make a landing on Reindyrflya. Other interesting landings in this fantastic fjord system could be Mushamna and the oddly named ‘Texas Bar’. In the afternoon, a Zodiac cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs.
In the morning the ship will have reached the west coast of Spitsbergen and Kongsfjorden. Ocean Atlantic will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. As you will immediately see, the name is a bit misleading. Blomstrand is now an island - the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. Cruise through this via Zodiac and make a landing on the island. Strong hikers might want to scale Irgensfjellet for a nice view of ‘The Three Sisters’, Nunatak mountains far into the Kongs Glacier, as well as enjoy a view down to Ny Ålesund.
After lunch, continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, you may do a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front… or enjoy a lecture.
The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so winter ice should now have melted. This allows you to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on this last full day of exploration.
Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.
Stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. Tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks, which the Svalbard reindeer love to graze. Go for a nice walk along the beach – and spot remains from early industrial eras.
During lunch, cross the fjord along the narrow island of Akseloya. Make a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord. Coal was extracted here in the early 1900s, but the enterprise never attained full production. Today, Calypsobyen offers an exciting landing that gives visitors a glimpse of the era of Neo-Industrialism, when all opportunities for profit were tried out. A pleasant walk can be made on the tundra behind the buildings.
Disembark the ship after breakfast.
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:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Onboard Expedition Photographer:
Each voyage has a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and Zodiac cruises. Svalbard is filled with mesmerizing landscapes and amazing wildlife; and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
All guests interested in Kayaking need to participate in Kayaking information meetings and safety briefing on day one. After the briefing they need to be approved by the Kayak Master. If they are not approved by the Kayak Master they are not allowed to participate. All kayaks are double kayaks (no single), and there are 6 of them on board. 12 guests per outing. They try to get 2-3 kayaking outings on one Expedition (subject to weather conditions). Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The Antarctic region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate when and where kayaking may be possible in order to ensure your safety and improve your experience. Kayaking is weather dependent.
Shipboard accommodations; gear on loan (boots); digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship; coffee and tea onboard the ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; accommodations other than the ship; transfers; passport and visa expenses; optional excursions; kayaking; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature such as spa and laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions