Arctic | North Spitsbergen: In Search of Polar Bears and Pack Ice

Arctic | North Spitsbergen: In Search of Polar Bears and Pack Ice

About this trip

Our expedition begins with a night in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital, with time to rest and visit the city’s highlights. The next day fly to Longyearbyen and enjoy a walk around the historic town center. Then sail north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear. Visit during the region’s most desirable time of year, when the sun never sets. Enjoy Zodiac excursions to view the area’s unique wildlife including walruses, whales, reindeer and Arctic foxes. Hike, explore and enjoy the beauty of the Arctic on your visit to Spitsbergen. Engage in daily talks by your expert onboard naturalists complemented by daily wildlife viewing on land. This extraordinary voyage gives a taste of everything the Arctic has to offer, from polar bears to spectacular scenery.

Highlights

  • Explore the dramatic fjords, bays and shores of Spitsbergen in Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago.

  • Search in seldom-seen areas for the “King of the Arctic,” the polar bear.

  • Encounter remarkable wildlife including walruses, whales, seals, Arctic foxes, terns, and Svalbard reindeer.

  • Cruise in a Zodiac, led by a team of expert naturalist guides from diverse fields of study.

  • Sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears with a chance to spot blue whales.

  • Engage with shipboard talks and lectures on nature and wildlife.

16 Travelers

$6,650

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Depart US

Day 1

Fly US to Longyearbyen

Overnight at In Flight

Oslo

Day 2

Arrive in Oslo. Transfer to the hotel, day at leisure to rest.

Overnight at Hotel Thon Ronsekrantz

Lonyearbyen

Day 3

Transfer to the airport for flight to Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. Transfer to the ship and set sail out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage. Please note earliest boarding time is 4:00pm.

Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Route to Raudfjorden

Day 4

Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers - and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

The massive Monaco Glacier

Day 5

Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Highlights of Hinlopen

Day 6

Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich's guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. You can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Stop at Seven Islands

Day 7

The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Sailing the Continental Shelf

Day 8

While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea's surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Reindeer, foxes, and so many sea birds

Day 9

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at m/v Hondius

Arrive Longyearbyen, return home

Day 10

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Please note departure flights can be scheduled as early as 12:01am on June 24th. All passengers must disembark by 9:00am.

Breakfast- included