Summary : Cruise the unspoiled landscapes of this extraordinary region and scout for polar bears, observing plethoras of seabirds along your way. Sail into peaceful fjords and, weather permitting, jump into a kayak to really get a first-hand feel of the icy waters. With spectacular views guaranteed, we challenge you not to fall in love with the Arctic.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Arrive in Tromso and embark the ship.
Gjesværstappan Islands is a group of steep-sided islands located near the northernmost point of Norway and includes three main islands: Stortstappen, Kjerkestappen and Bukkstapen. These three islands dramatically jut out of the ocean, covered in as much grass as they are occupied by birds. Extreme in its varied beauty and wildlife on land and sea, Gjesværstappan Nature Reserve (which makes up most of the Gjesværstappan Islands) is one of Europe’s most accessible and largest nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. On Storstappen, the largest of the islands, some varieties of birds that can be found include European Shags, Common and Brünnich’s Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, White-tailed Sea-eagles and Europe’s largest Atlantic Puffin colony.
Almost half way between Tromso and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna. Because of the large numbers of birds and the isolated location, Bear Island has been recognized as an Important Bird Area. It was once a hotspot for whaling and walrus hunting, and at one stage even mining. Bear Island received its name because of a polar bear encountered by early explorer Willem Barentsz. Today polar bears rarely visit the island and its only settlement is a meteorological station manned all-year round on the north side.
Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Northern places like Magdalenefjorden and Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.
There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the northern hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.
Disembark the ship after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 7/30/2021
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Utilize the ship's new Photo Studio as a hub for the multifaceted enrichment program. With both private and group lessons, guests can learn to master the art of digital photography through the Academy, which provides an array of specialty workshops for both beginners and pros.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a lottery system. Guests cannot pre-book the kayak tours. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent. Minimum age 16. Guests should know how to use a rudder on a kayak.
Shipboard accommodations; Wi-Fi onboard ship (1x device per guest for Vista-Deluxe Veranda; 2x devices per guest for Medallion-Owner's suites); kayaking (lottery system); parka; backpack; one voyage highlights USB per cabin; most meals onboard ship; butler service onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; gratuities onboard ship (except spa). Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites also include: receive laundry service throughout the voyage, 1x dinner for two in La Dame, and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals onboard at La Dame Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; boot rental; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, Daniela Plaza, Pablo Bianco, Bruno Cazarini