Spitsbergen Odyssey Cruise

Al Bakker
Kayaking through the arctic waters.
Jane Turnbull
Reindeer feeding in the arctic.
Chrissie Goldrick
Travelers walking across the beaches of Spitsbergen.
An arctic fox searches the rocks of the Arctic
Chrissie Goldrick
A polar bear walks across the arctic landscape.
Polar Pioneer's dining room.
Polar Pioneer's bar and lounge.
The High Arctic summer brings a sense of urgency, and the best way to experience its wonders is on an exciting expedition Arctic cruise. Like the Inuits and Vikings who preceded you, this Arctic trip is an exploration by sea. High above the Arctic Circle, explore deep fjords, polar deserts, tundra tinged with wildflowers, and vast glaciers calving into the sea. On foot and by Zodiac, visit abandoned whaling settlements, search for walrus, Arctic fox, and reindeer, and revel in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots and puffin. The seas are alive with whales, bearded and possibly ringed seals. Kayaking is available on this voyage.

Day 1

Longyearbyen / Embark

Arrive in Spitsbergen and enjoy a tour of colorful Longyearbyen. Late afternoon sees you warmly welcomed on board Polar Pioneer and enjoying your departure under the Midnight Sun.

Days 2-3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

North Spitsbergen

Early morning reveals the spectacular aqua-blue ice cliffs of the 14th July Glacier or perhaps the Waggonway Glacier in Magdalenefjorden. The itinerary depends on weather, snow and ice conditions, and the presence of wildlife. Thanks to the nutrient rich Gulf Stream, temperatures on the rugged west coast are relatively mild, ideal for the many Atlantic puffins and Brünnich’s guillemots that fill the cliffs. Look for bearded seals, with their precious curling whiskers. Up Kingsfjorden you may visit Ny Ålesund, a mining town turned polar research center and at Amsterdamoya, hike the tundra, alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Explore remains of a 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement and learn of an ill-fated ballooning attempt over the North Pole.

Days 4-6

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arctic Ocean

Beluga whales, pack ice and maybe even polar bears feature as you round Spitsbergen’s northwest coast into the Arctic Ocean and turn south into Woodfjorden. Search for ringed, bearded and harp seals and ashore, trappers’s huts, reindeer and Arctic fox. In Leifdefjorden, breeding eider ducks, terns, skuas, glaucous gulls and black-legged kittiwakes attract polar bears with cubs. Offshore, walrus feed on clams or haulout on beaches, especially on Moffen Island, a walrus sanctuary. With 24-hour daylight, there’s plenty of time to admire many of the tundra’s 164 species of flowering plants, including purple saxifrage, exquisite yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. If ice conditions allow, attempt to cross latitude 80° North – a cause for celebration.

Days 7-8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arctic Exploring

Welcome to the wild side! Frigid Arctic currents sweep around Spitsbergen's northeast corner, lowering air and sea temperatures, and creating a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar the way. Attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, between Spitsbergen and austere, ice-capped Nordaustlandet. Your Russian crew and expedition staff use their considerable expertise to reach the region's highlights. Zodiac cruise beneath Alkefjellt, sheer basalt cliffs rising more than 250 meters and literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brünnich's guillemots, possibly with Arctic fox scavenging below. On Torrellneset, approach dozens of sleeping walrus. A true polar desert, the east coast offers walks among stunted glaciers, exposed fossil fields, and tundra, where you will watch for Arctic fox, eider ducks and the elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. Sailing between Barentsøya and Edgeøya, cross polar bear migration routes and perhaps visit Sundneset, a fertile plain covered in green mosses and delicate flowers, including the yellow marsh saxifrage.

Days 9-10

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

South Cape

This is true expedition cruising, where plans are dictated by ice conditions and a desire to explore. If pack ice allows, round South Cape, returning to the world of open water and rugged coastal mountains, and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords with remarkable glaciers and wildlife. If ice stops the ship's progress on the east side, your captain will adjust the itinerary, backtrack and delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts, including a visit to colonies where hundreds of thousands of little auks nest, darkening the sky as they commute to their fishing grounds.

Day 11

  • Breakfast

Longyearbyen / Disembark

A midnight cruise of Isfjorden returns you to Longyearbyen, the end of your spectacular voyage and a transfer to the airport for flight to Oslo.
Please note that all of Polar Pioneer itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. These itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate

Included in cruise fare:
- Sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen and transfer to ship.
- Transfer from ship to airport.
- Ship's accommodation. All public areas are open to all passengers.
- All meals on board ship.
- All shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs.
- Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.
- Medical services. There is a resident doctor and well-equipped clinic on board.
- Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.
- Pre-departure information and briefing.

Not included in cruise fare:
- Air transport to and from the ship.
- Visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.
- Hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary.
- Optional excursions not included in the ship cruise itinerary.
- Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls.
- Emergency evacuation charges.

Pre and Post Voyage Package Available:
A pre & post voyage package is available at an additional cost. The package includes overnight in Oslo hotel with half board (D,B), transfer to the Oslo airport with English speaking guide, flight to & from Longyearbyen in economy class.
Asia, Arctic, North America, Europe, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Canada, Longyearbyen, Hinlopen Strait (Hinlopenstretet), Hornsund, 14th of July Glacier, Woodfjorden, Bellsund
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