Arctic Wildlife Safari: West Spitsbergen & Polar Ice Edge

Dates:
13 Jun - 22 Jun 2021
Days: 10

Embarkation: Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)
Disembarkation: Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)
M/v Sea Spirit

Not only a frozen wilderness, Spitsbergen is a place of precarious beauty and a stronghold of endangered Arctic wildlife.

Our Spitsbergen expedition departs from the far northern settlement of Longyearbyen on the Norwegian Arctic island of Spitsbergen in the famed Svalbard archipelago. We explore the island’s northwestern coast, home to dramatic mountain scenery, tidewater glaciers and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities.

On this Arctic wildlife cruise, we also venture to the jumbled edge of the north-polar ice cap in search of polar bears stalking their prey. Here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, the wildlife cruise presents the rare opportunity to experience raw nature and incredible events hardly ever seen. Whether it’s a calving iceberg, an incomparable sunrise or the otherworldly hush of a land where man is an infrequent visitor, a Svalbard cruise is one that you’ll remember — and savor — for a lifetime.

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Per person

Triple Suite Main Deck Suite Classic Suite Superior Suite Deluxe Suite Premium Suite Owners Suite
US$ 6 195 US$ 8 495 US$ 9 095 US$ 9 295 US$ 10 395 US$ 11 395 US$ 14 595
US$ 5 576 US$ 7 646 US$ 8 186 US$ 7 901 US$ 8 836 US$ 9 686 US$ 12 406

Savings of 10% for Triple, Main Deck and Classic Suites; 15% for Superior, Deluxe, Premium and Owner’s Suite for all bookings confirmed before October 31, 2020.

Cruise rates are quoted per person and based on passengers sharing a cabin. Single supplement: 1.7 for Main Deck and Classic, Superior Suite; 2 for Deluxe, Premium and Owner’s Suite.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Longyearbyen, Svalbard (hotel night)

Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Svalbard and starting point of our Arctic expedition! At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary. You will then be free to explore the charming, walkable town center.

We recommend starting your discovery of this fascinating Norwegian High Arctic territory at the excellent Svalbard Museum, where you can also purchase hard-to-find polar books and maps. Afterward, you can enjoy an excellent dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s many delightful restaurants. If you are still awake at midnight, you will notice the sun has not set. In fact, the sun will not set for the entire duration of our time in Svalbard.

Day 2: Welcome Aboard!

After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Longyearbyen. Take in the views of icy fjords and glaciated mountains surrounding this historic former coal-mining town. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship. For lunch, Longyearbyen offers quick and easy meal options including the most northerly pizzas and kebabs in the world.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable 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 the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the gorgeous scenery in 24-hour daylight as we pass through the wildlife-rich waters of Isfjorden.

Day 3-9: West Spitsbergen and Polar Ice Edge

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. Our exact schedule and route will be shaped by the weather and ice conditions we encounter. Polar bears and other iconic Arctic animals can be spotted at anytime, anywhere in our area of exploration.

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, we are sure to 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 we 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 our route is Northwest Spitsbergen National Park, the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here we 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, we are just in time to 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, we also find evidence of Svalbard’s earliest sealers and whalers.

Our area of exploration also includes gorgeous Forlandet National Park. Here we 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 we have the chance to observe endemic Svalbard reindeer grazing and Arctic fox romping in lush tundra meadows.

Human habitation along our 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 where we find a museum, gift shop and post office.

In addition to exploring the terrestrial environment and inshore waterways of western Spitsbergen, we make a special effort to reach the edge of the polar pack ice. At this dynamic boundary between solid sea ice and open ocean, we have an unparalleled opportunity to witness the dramatic interplay between polar bears and seals. We will take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and constantly shifting ice floes in the hope of observing polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat. At this time of year, the ice edge is not far from mainland Spitsbergen and our sailing time in open seas will be relatively short.

The West Spitsbergen and Polar Ice Edge route offers a stunning variety of Arctic landscapes and animals with minimal sailing time between excursions. Every day offers something new and exciting. We will not miss a single opportunity to encounter amazing Arctic wildlife, to witness incredible polar scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of historic expeditions that came before.

Day 10: Disembarkation in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

After filling up with one last buffet breakfast on board, we bid you farewell in Longyearbyen. We provide transfers to the airport or to the town center in case you plan to stay longer in Svalbard. By this time, you may already be making plans for your next amazing trip with us into the polar worlds!

Itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

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