Spitsbergen Explorer Cruise

Adam Riley
A humpback whale breaks the surface
David Schultz
A curious arctic fox
Travelers set out to explore the wildlife more closely in zodiacs
Polar bears lounge in the sun
A walrus gathering
Joao Franco
Relax in the ship's hot tub
Daisy Gilardini
Shared Lounge on the Vavilov
Explore the Svalbard Archipelago - a region by its very nature rich in both wildlife and history on this 10-day Arctic cruise aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov.Beginning in the capital city of this Norwegian Territory, from the moment the ship's lines are thrown, enter into the land of the polar bear, beluga whale, walrus, and reindeer.

Day 1

    Embark in Longyearbyen

    Embark on your expedition cruise vessel, the 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


      A fjord cutting deep into the mountains of Spitsbergen, Krossfjorden offers an abundance of wildlife and scenery for your first morning on the ship. Whether it be cruising by ship or zodiac in front of the 15-kilometer-wide face of Lilliehookbreen (glacier), tramping across the tundra in search of a World War II German weather station, or searching for Atlantic puffins on the cliffs near 15th of July Glacier, this is a worthy welcome to the Arctic.

      Day 3

        Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

        As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of nesting birds on the island. Home to a large dovkie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony.

        As you hike the shoreline of the former whaling station of Smeerenburg (literally translated as "Blubber Town"), learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The sole remaining testament to this harsh industry in an equally harsh environment are the blubber ovens found on site.

        Day 4

          Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

          No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and it often a great place to spot polar bears.

          Days 5-6

            Into the Ice

            Your journey lives up to its name of "expedition" when the ship works its way into the ice edge. Senior officers on your capable vessel are experienced ice navigators who examine the ice edge and, when conditions allow, move the ship into the ice in search of wildlife. A day or even two days spent on the ice requires all hands on deck. Warm jackets, binoculars, and spotting scopes are standard and all eyes are engaged in looking for wildlife. Perhaps you can catch a glimpse of a herd of harp seals splashing through the leads between ice flows, a solitary bearded seal soaking up the sun, maybe a walrus and - of course - the mighty polar bear.

            Day 7


              Dividing the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago from the western side, Hinlopen Strait is full of wildlife. The water that flushes through the strait each day is rich in phyto and zooplankton, nourishing the Brunnich's guillemot colony at Aklefjellet on the western shore of Hinlopen Strait. More than 120,000 pairs of guillemots nest on these cliffs each summer. The water moving through Hinlopen Strait each day also brings sea ice, which dictates the ship's access into the area. Exploring the sea ice generally brings you into much closer contact with polar bears and your captain works with the expedition team to maximize the viewing potential.

              Day 8


                Tucked into the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen, Raudfjorden offers an excellent place to hike, zodiac cruise, or kayak. Your excursion takes you on a search of reindeer ashore and ringed and bearded seals adrift. For those interested in the tundra vegetation, especially the wildflower, select spots along the shoreline of this fjord make for excellent hiking and interpretation.

                Day 9

                  Alkehornet and Tryghamna

                  Alkehorney, of "The Horn," is an incredible horn-shaped mountain close to the entrance of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord). Home to a massive colony of Brunnich's guillemots and black legged kittiwakes, and host to reindeer and Arctic fox, this is an incredible summary of your Arctic visit. A lust tundra slope below the bird cliffs is rich in Arctic flora - and to top it all off, this site has a rich history that unfolds as you hike around the headland.

                  Day 10

                    Disembark in Longyearbyen

                    Enjoy a heart breakfast on board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov before you disembark in Longyearbyen. Transfer to airport to continue your travels.

                    - 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 regarding itinerary changes:
                    Safety comes first and that means weather, ice, wildlife, political or other conditions may require the itinerary to be modified 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.
                    Arctic, North America, Europe, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Svalbard, Canada, Longyearbyen, Hinlopen Strait (Hinlopenstretet), Smeerenburg, Fuglesangen, Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier), Raudfjord, Krossfjorden, Trygghamna, Western Europe, Scandinavia
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