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Travelers walking around the arctic landscape.

Spitsbergen Encounter - Photographic Symposium 2017

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
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Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. This voyage focuses on the western and northern coast of Spitsbergen, and as far north as the permanent pack ice.

Onboard Photographic Symposium:
An additional highlight of this departure is the shipboard photography symposium open to all guests. The members of the photographic team each have a special area of expertise including wildlife photography, landscape, and composition, along with technical elements including gear and equipment and computer-based processing, file management, and storage. Make regular use of the ship's multi-media studio for breakout sessions and to review and critique your images throughout the voyage. For photography buffs, this trip is not to be missed!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2 : Bourbonhamna
Day 3 : Krossfjorden
Day 4 : Liefdefjorden | Monacobreen
Day 5 : Phippsøya
Days 6-7 : Hinlopen Strait | Nordaustlandet
Day 8 : Fuglesangen | Smeerenburg
Day 9 : Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland
Day 10 : Disembark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard


  • Take advantage of the on-board photography symposium
  • Zodiac among the massive glaciers along the coast
  • Encounter polar bears in Phippsoya, 540 nautical miles from the North Pole
  • Learn about the importance of whaling near Smeerenburg station


Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Europe
  • Norway
  • Scandinavia
  • Svalbard
  • Bourbonhamna
  • Fuglesangen
  • Hinlopen Strait (Hinlopenstretet)
  • Krossfjorden
  • Longyearbyen
  • Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier)
  • Nordaustlandet
  • Phippsoya
  • Poolepynten
  • Seven Islands (Sjuoyane)
  • Smeerenburg
  • Spitsbergen


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Travelers walking around the arctic landscape. Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears. A group of walrus relax in the sunshine A view of Svalbard's coast. A humpback whale breaks the surface

Day 1 Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Today embark your expedition ship in Longyearbyen. Sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight during this time of year, enjoy the views from the outer decks. Meet your expedition team during an introductory briefing and then enjoy a welcome dinner in the ship's comfortable dining room.

Day 2 Bourbonhamna

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a feature of high Arctic whale species such as the narwhal and bowhead. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in frequently ice-covered waters.

On the first shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artifacts are points of interest during a scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whale bones that catch everybody's attention. The bones and all artifacts are protected by the Svalbard Government and cannot be removed. While wandering amongst these relics, you can hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

Day 3 Krossfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden, is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometers and has a height of around 80 meters. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of your surroundings. The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. Anchor off one small harbor and cruise in the zodiacs along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. While cruising the dark waters, be on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, both species known to frequent this fjord.

Day 4 Liefdefjorden | Monacobreen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 is often a great place to spot polar bears who come here to hunt for ringed seals or feed on nutrient-rich bird's eggs.

Day 5 Phippsøya

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At 81° north latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Your ice-strengthened expedition ship allows you to approach the edge of the pack ice in safety and comfort. Because of its proximity to the permanent ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. The crew has enjoyed excellent encounters here with the bears in recent seasons. Be sure to get up to the ship’s bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint as you are so close to the North Pole!

Day 6-7 Hinlopen Strait | Nordaustlandet

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
From the ice edge, turn south into the main 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 black guillemots. It is a spectacular site and a challenging one for the zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as the ship navigates the waterways between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here as well, which take you up to high points that offer staggering views and further opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife.

Day 8 Fuglesangen | Smeerenburg

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 blubber ovens stand as a reminder to this harsh industry in an equally harsh environment.

Day 9 Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The sight and sound of a walrus haul-out embodies the Arctic like nothing else can. Visit the well-known walrus colony on Prince Charles Island and hope to see these odd-looking animals ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that walrus are ashore, as their smell is quite unique! Tonight, 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 10 Disembark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Longyearbyen this morning. Disembark after breakfast and say farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, you have a few hours this morning to explore the town before transferring to the airport for your onward flights.

Akademik Ioffe

Per person starting at
The Triple Cabins.
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3, bunk beds and a sofa bed. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, bathrobes & porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4, one lower berth and one sofa bed, a writing desk and ample storage. Semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins). Opening window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5. All cabins have two lower berths, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window.
Superior Cabins.
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Deck 6 these cabins have two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5, 1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, writing desk/chair, TV/DVD, IPod alarm clock. Private facilities, window & deluxe amenities.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5, 1 double berth, 1 sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, TV/DVD, IPod station. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow. Deluxe amenities.


- 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.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- 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.

Please note: Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions. Photographic goals on this departure are formed and led by the light available both onshore and on the water. With a varied and diverse itinerary and flexible plans, aim to make the most out of the beautiful Arctic light, even if outside conventional shore landing times.​


  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
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Jessica L

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

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