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Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears.

Spitsbergen - Off the Beaten Track

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. Your expedition ship, the renowned Akademik Sergey Vavilov, is perfectly suited for such remote exploration as you will encounter on this 10-day voyage. Join this cruise to experience an in-depth encounter with the region through extended hiking opportunities ashore, snow shoeing, and full day photography excursions, as well as all-day sea-kayaking adventures.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2 : Hornsund
Days 3-4 : Bellsund
Day 5 : Krossfjorden and Lilliehookbreen
Day 6 : Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg
Day 7 : Polar Pack Ice
Day 8 : Liefjorden and Monacobreen
Day 9 : Alkehornet
Day 10 : Disembark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears. A beautiful arctic glacier. A walrus gathering Kayaking through the icy waters. View polar bears in their element

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 this time of year, enjoy the view 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 Hornsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Glacier-filled bays surround your ship as your sail into Hornsund. With good ice conditions, your captain is able to navigate close to the glaciers, which dominate the area. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a giant lesson in glacieology and your onboard guides explain the formations of this fantastic landscape on your hikes and zodiac cruises.

Day 3-4 Bellsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Heading south overnight, arrive this morning in Bellsund, a fjord system that extends 40 nautical miles inland. With extensive and varied terrain, plan to spend at least a day in the area paddling, joining the photography program, and hiking. Excursion highlights include a beluga whale bone yard at Bamsebu, marvelous raised beach patterns at Fleur de Lys Harbor, abandoned coal carts at Rechergefjorden, and exceptional mountain views all around!

Sea kayaking is spectacular near the mouth of Van Keulenfjord and into Recherfjord, where glaciers tumble down into the sea or have receded back from the shoreline - leaving fabulous terminal and lateral moraines to paddle along.

It is often said that polar bears fall from the sky in Svalbard, and while no one has ever actually witnessed this, they can appear in the most unlikely places and at the most interesting times. Your guides can help you find the bears as well as keep you safe while you view them.

Day 5 Krossfjorden and Lilliehookbreen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. Anchor the ship in a small harbor, launch the zodiacs and cruise beneath towering bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. While cruising the dark waters here, be on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, as both species are known to frequent this fjord.

Day 6 Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As your zodiac approaches the shores of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent that thousands of birds are nesting on the island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting the perimeter of the colony.

Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as "Blubber Town." As you hike the shoreline near the old whaling station, learn about the importance of the whaling industry in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The rusting blubber posts stand as harsh testament to a tough industry in an equally hard environment.

Day 7 Polar Pack Ice

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue north and east, moving up into the ice and hoping to cross the 80 degree north parallel. As your ship approaches the ice edge, it slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or out on the outer decks scanning for wildlife. Bearded seals, ringed seals, and walrus may be found hauled out on the edges of the ice. Harp seals swim in herds of 10 to 20 through the open water channels 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 toward it. Your ship is perfectly designed for near-silent approach and your Captain takes great pride in bringing you in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the ship's GPS as it shows this incredibly high polar latitude - welcome to the top of the world!

Day 8 Liefjorden and 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 fee on nutrient-rich bird's eggs.

Day 9 Alkehornet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as you near the end of your adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the landing site, listen for a chorus of thousands of birds - all singing at the same time. This evening, celebrate your journey with a special dinner attended by the ship's Captain. It is 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 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.

Your crew puts safety first and that means weather, ice, wildlife, political, or other conditions may require modifications to the itinerary as you sail. This is considered half the intrigue of Polar exploration. Every expedition is a little different. It may mean having to cancel certain shore excursions if conditions are not suitable, but the crew always finds other fun things to do. Polar exploring is not predictable which is one of the many reasons it is so special.


  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
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Erin Correia
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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
Karen Snider

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