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Polar bear in the Arctic

Polar Bear Quest: A Voyage Through Svalbard

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Adventurer (ZE)
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Journey to Svalbard and experience its Arctic summer on this 13-day cruise aboard the Ocean Adventurer. Watch for seals, walrus, whales, Arctic foxes, and the ultimate goal—polar bears. Discover an abundance of breeding seabirds such as kittiwakes, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, and rare ivory gulls. Explore and photograph dramatic landscapes, including lush tundra blazing with purple saxifrage and moss campion. Step back in history as you visit former whaling stations and sites that recall the exploits of famous explorers. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Oslo, Norway
Day 2 : Oslo | Svalbard | Embark Ocean Adventurer
Days 3-11 : Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago
Day 12 : Longyearbyen | Disembark | Oslo
Day 13 : Oslo

Highlights

  • Search for Svalbard Archipelago’s legendary wildlife
  • Photograph dramatic scenery, including chiseled fjords, glittering glaciers
  • Explore by Zodiac to discover hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds
  • Visit former whaling stations and sites that recall famous explorers

Ship

Ocean Adventurer (ZE)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar bear in the Arctic Take unforgettable photographs on your polar cruise An Arctic fox scouts the terrain Kittiwake bird in flight Walking through vast arctic landscapes.

Day 1 Oslo, Norway

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Oslo this afternoon and walk to your airport hotel. Lunch is on your own and the day is at leisure to explore this charming capital. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner at your hotel.

Day 2 Oslo | Svalbard | Embark Ocean Adventurer

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Longyearbyen. Explore this Arctic mining town and capital of Svalbard; the brightly colored buildings house a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as the Svalbard Museum. Embark the Ocean Adventurer in the late afternoon.

Day 3-11 Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners
Spend nine days exploring the rugged coastline, spectacular narrow fjords, and offshore islands of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The primary goal is to locate wildlife, which is found here in abundance during the short summer season. Many varieties of seabirds nest in great profusion along the steep cliffs surrounding the islands. In addition to walrus haul-outs, bearded, ringed, and harp seals can be seen basking on ice floes. Keep a watch out for polar bears. The nature of polar expeditions requires flexibility regarding the daily schedule of activities, and landings may be dependent on weather, tide, and ice conditions. Though specific stops are not guaranteed, the following are places visited on past expeditions:

Poolepynton - Part of Forlandet National, this area is known for great walrus viewing and photography. Though sightings are never guaranteed, this area is known as a popular haul-out for these lumbering giants. They often create quite a rowdy scene, as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.

Liefdefjorden - Liefdefjorden is a dramatically scenic fjord, where rugged mountains rise from the permanent ice cap and Monaco Glacier spills into the sea at the deepest part of the waterway. It is named for Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer of oceanography, who led an expedition to Svalbard in 1906. His team used sophisticated photographic techniques to understand the shape and position of several glacier fronts, and the Monaco Glacier honors the expedition, and the prince. This is a favored feeding ground for thousands of kittiwakes, and whales and seals are also common sights.

Moffen Island - A small, atoll-like island just a few feet above sea level, Moffen is a protected walrus sanctuary. Photographic opportunities abound with these massive creatures hauled out on the gravel shores. Polar bears and the rare Sabine’s gulls may also be found on this island.

Lågøya Island - Zodiacs bring you to Lågøya to search for the elusive polar bear, which has been spotted hunting here in the past.

Hinlopen Strait - Glaciers, chiseled fjords, and icebergs hallmark this desolate and exquisitely beautiful region. Board Zodiacs to watch for, and photograph, bearded, harp, and ringed seals.

Alkefjellet - These impressive, sheer basalt cliffs are a haven for breeding seabirds. Tens of thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) raise their young here, as well as glaucous gulls and kittiwakes. Keep an eye out for opportunistic Arctic foxes hunting for eggs at the base of the cliffs.

Phippsoya Island - At the far northern edge of the Svalbard Archipelago, Phippsoya Island boasts a classic High Arctic environment—a barren, rocky landscape with some coastal plains, but otherwise mountainous, with steep slopes. The lowlands support mostly lichens mosses, some of which are quite colorful, and small patches of Svalbard poppy and saxifrage are scattered among the jumble of rocks. There are also small colonies of seabirds including Atlantic puffins, dovekies, and rare ivory gulls.

Edgeøya Island - Edgeøya is the third largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago and home to large herds of reindeer, which in turn supports a healthy population of predators, including polar bears.

Day 12 Longyearbyen | Disembark | Oslo

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark this morning in Longyearbyen and explore this Arctic mining town and capital of Svalbard. The brightly colored buildings house a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as the Svalbard Museum. In the afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Oslo, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 13 Oslo

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, board your independent flight homeward.

Ocean Adventurer (ZE)

Per person starting at
$9,980
Sea Adventurer's Category 1 and 2 Cabin.
Select a Date
Cat 1
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, porthole window, 119-143 sq. ft
Sea Adventurer's Category 1 and 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, porthole window, 117-153 sq. ft.
Ocean Adventurer Cabin 3 and 4
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Cat 3
Two twin beds, shower, two lower berths, double window, 115-142 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Category 3 and 4 cabin.
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Cat 4
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, porthole window, 121-161 sq. ft.
Ocean Adventurer Category 5
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Cat 5
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, double window, 121-161 sq.ft.
Ocean Adventurer Category 6
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Cat 6
Two lower berths, two twin beds, bath or shower, two windows, 121-161 sq.ft.
Sea Adventurer's Category 7 Cabin.
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Cat 7
Two lower berths, two twin beds, en suite bathroom, two windows, 160-165 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Category Suite.
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Suite
Suite, two lower twin beds, bath with shower, four windows, sitting area, 221 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Owner's Suite.
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Owner's Suite
Owner’s Suite, two lower berth twin beds, shower/ bathtub, four windows, sitting area, 273 sq ft.
Sea Adventurer's Single Category 2.
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Single Cat 2
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, porthole window, 117-153 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Single Category 3 Cabin
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Single Cat 3
Two twin beds, shower, two lower berths, double window, 115-142 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Single Category 4.
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Single Cat 4
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, porthole window, 121-161 sq. ft.
Sea Adventurer's Single Category 5 Cabin
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Single Cat 5
Two lower berths, two twin beds, shower, double window, 121-161 sq.ft.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, a roommate will be assigned to you whenever possible.
- Additional singles may be available at 1.6 times the share rate.

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore and walk one to three miles over sometimes rough terrain such as uneven, rocky beaches and occasional snow. We have designed shore excursions to accommodate both those who would like moderate strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. In July, temperatures will range from the low 50sº to mid-60sºF, cooling slightly as you travel north. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent. Knee-high, waterproof boots with good tread are essential. 

Included:
  • Daily activity options including Zodiac cruises, nature walks, and cultural tours
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Excluded:
  • Airfare from your home city/Oslo/Tromsø and Longyearbyen/Oslo/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Callie W

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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