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Zodiac tour to see glacier and the arctic landscape.

Spitsbergen Explorer

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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Begin your exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Following embarkation of the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, your home for the next nine nights, sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin your polar exploration down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principal islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. From the moment you throw the lines and start your voyage you are in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife on this exciting Arctic expedition.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Days 2-3 : Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen
Days 4-5 : Seven Islands and the Polar Ice Pack
Days 6-8 : Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet
Day 9 : Leifdefjorden
Day 10 : Alkehornet
Day 11 : Disembark in Longyearbyen


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Zodiac tour to see glacier and the arctic landscape. A view of Svalbard's coast. A polar bear stares back at the camera from the shore. A zodiac tour to see the beluga whale. A walrus swim in the deep arctic waters.

Day 1 Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to the dining room for your first meal aboard.

Day 2-3 Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. Anchor off one small harbor and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. Keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of Krossfjorden, is a sight to behold. Whether by zodiac or onboard ship, time is made to experience this incredible view. Later in the day, as you sail out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, you may be fortunate enough to see the airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Alesund. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd, and Nobile all used Ny Alesund as a jumping off point for their Arctic expeditions.

Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen. A wander along the beach looking at the blubber cookers or an hour behind a tripod shooting landscapes might be on the schedule all the while looking for wildlife that can appear anywhere in Svalbard.

Day 4-5 Seven Islands and the Polar Ice Pack

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80th parallel North. Bearded seals, ringed seals, and walrus may be found hauled out on the ice. Harp seals swim in herds of 10 to 20 through the open water leads in the ice. A buttery-colored lump miles away on the ice metamorphoses into a polar bear as you slowly work your way through the ice to get a closer. The ship is perfectly designed for a near-silent approach to the wildlife on the ice and the captain takes great pride in bringing you in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it.

At 81 degree north latitude, Phippsoya, one of the seven islands, is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude - or better yet, bring along your own handheld GPS and mark this extreme waypoint.

Day 6-8 Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From the ice edge, head south into the strait separating Svalbard's two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. In Hinlopen Strait the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet are home to more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich's guillemots as well as thousands of kittiwakes and blake guillemots. A spectacular sight to behold and a challenging one for our zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as the ship navigates the waterways between islands. Short hikes take you to high points with great views - be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Arctic wildlife!

Day 9 Leifdefjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you sail into Leifdefjorden and towards Monaco Glacier, keep a look out for beluga whales along the coast. The adults are pure while and the younger animals are mottled grey. They are the only whales that can articulate their heads to nod and turn sideways. It is estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population.

Monaco Glacier provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise. Miles of ice face broken up by the odd ice cave or tumbling serac with perhaps a thousand black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow.

A morning of cruising in the ice is best followed by a hike on the tundra. Red phalaropes, purple sandpipers, and vibrant tundra provide plenty of viewing and photography opportunities. As you walk, the remains of fox traps and sun-bleached seal bones speak of both human interaction and wildlife predation.

Day 10 Alkehornet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At the mouth of Isfjord, Alkehornet offers stunning views and an incredible tundra walk to perfectly wrap up your adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Rearing up above the landing site is a horn-shaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes. This evening celebrate your journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

Day 11 Disembark in Longyearbyen

  • 1 Breakfast
Enjoy a hearty breakfast on your last morning on board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and prepare to disembark. Transfer to town if you are staying additional days, or if you are departing today transfer to the airport to continue your travels.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
The Triple Cabins.
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Triple Share
Bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared and there is a washbasin in the cabin, writing desk, porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
1 lower berth, 1 sofa bed and semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) facilities. Writing desk, window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
1 sofa bed, 1 lower berth and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Superior Cabins.
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2 lower berths, sofa and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.


- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

An important note about itinerary changes:
Safety is first and that means weather, ice, wildlife, political or other conditions may require your ship to modify the itinerary en route - half the intrigue of Polar exploring. In every expedition, each undertaking is a little different. It may mean certain shore excursions may be cancelled if conditions are not suitable, but other fun things to do are always found. Polar exploring is not predictable which is one of the many reasons it is so special.


  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners
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Kevin M

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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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