Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the surrounding area of Longyearbyen. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
On the offshore island of Ytre Norskøya, visit a 17th century Dutch whaling site, whose large graveyard is a reminder of the hardships and dangers of life here at that time. The island’s bird life is prolific, with colonies of Little Auks, Black Guillemots, Brünnich’s Guillemots, Puffins and Arctic Skuas accessible to visitors. Eastwards, visit Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies. In the evening sail by the island of Moffen where a big herd of Walrus can be found.
Sail through Beverleysundet named by Parry in 1827 and also sailed by the Swedish-Russian Arc-of-Meridian Expedition in 1898. Today you will reach your northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here you will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls.
Push east to reach the area of Nordaustlandet, where the Nobile expedition drifted around in 1928 and where the Italian Sora tried to come to the rescue. There hope to get to Alpinøya, reached by Sora in 1928, and then to the mouth of Finn Malmgrenfjord, and Albertinibukta and to climb Soraberget (205 M) from where you will have a fantastic view on the ice-cap of Nordaustlandet. Alternatively land at Storøya, where again you may meet a group of Walruses.
Today hope to get to the rarely visited Kvitøya farthest to the east, close to the Russian territory. The island is dominated by an ice-cap, which leaves a small area bare of ice and snow. You will land at the western tip at Andréneset, where the Swedish explorer André and his companions perished in 1898. You will also try to get to Kraemerpynten in the east, where an enormous group of Walruses resides.
South of Nordaustlandet try to land at Isispynten a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers. Later sail along the front of the Brasvell Glacier, the longest glacier front in Spitsbergen. In Olga Strait you have chances to spot the elusive Greenland Whale.
Sail through the seldom visited area of Kong Karls Land, which is a Polar Bear reserve, where you are not allowed to land, but can make zodiac cruises. Alternatively land in Blafjordflya at the east side of Edgeöya, a vast tundra area with a lot of reindeer.
In Freemansundet plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer and Barnacle Geese. Later cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. You can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kitttiwakes, together with Black Guillemots and piratical Glaucous Gulls. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Foxes and Polar Bears, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.
Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name ‘Spitsbergen’ - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bears. You may visit the Polish research station where the friendly staff will give you an insight into their research projects. Behind the station the mountains are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auks.
Today land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of Beluga skeletons (the Beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter, are yet another reminder of the consequences of thoughtless exploitation.
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.