Longyearbyen is the main settlement of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Located at 78° north, this town is one of the world’s northernmost communities. It has approximately 2000 inhabitants and is a modern town center with a wide range of facilities such as a supermarket, outdoor shops, several pubs, and hotels.
Before embarking have an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden.
Heading north along the west coast, arrive in Krossfjorden, where you can board a Zodiac to cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier a colorful variety of flowers bloom while large numbers of kittiwake and Brünnich’s guillemot nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting Arctic fox (who patrol the base of the cliffs in case a chick falls from its nest) and bearded seal, who also cruise this fjord.
In the afternoon sail to Ny Ålesund, the world’s northernmost settlement. The mountains around here are covered by snow, and the scenery presents a rather stark picture. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway, which can still be seen, Ny Ålesund is now a research center where a small community of scientists from all over the world conduct a variety of research in the fields of atmospheric studies, glaciology, biology and related subjects. A short walk takes you into the center of this historic village, where one highlight is a visit to the local souvenir shop and the northernmost post office, from which you can send jealous friends and family a postcard. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration may want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile before their flights to the North Pole.
Visit the remains of Smeerenburg (loosely translated as “Blubber Town”), the largest 17th century whaling settlement on Spitsbergen. Blubber ovens and whalers’ graves can still be seen in many places. In Virgohamna see the remains of expeditions that began from this point and learn more about the amazing individuals who pursued their Arctic dreams. In Hamiltonbukta cruise via Zodiac along the ice edge of the bay and observe cliffs filled with bird colonies.
This morning plan to visit Lagoya ("Low Island"), and uninhabited island off the northwestern coast of Nordaustland in Svalbard. A flat island covered with glacial moraine, Lagoya is perfect for walrus to haul out and rest at its shore. The island serves as a summer resort for walruses - sometimes they are so plentiful they appear like a field of rocks.
Also plan on landing at Phippsoya in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here, find yourself at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. The island is named after the English explorer Constantine John Phipps, who commanded two bomb vessels on an expedition to Svalbard in 1773. Polar bears inhabit this region, along with walrus and ivory gull. You can sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in these spectacular surroundings.
Depending on weather conditions, the capable crew decides the best location for an approach to the ever-changing Arctic ice shelf.
Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to cruise as the ship navigates the waterways between the islands. Short hikes take you to high points with unparalleled views. On the way, be sure to keep your eyes open for Arctic wildlife. Alkefjellet is home to nesting Brünnich's guillemots.
On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, breeding ivory gulls, and walruses.
Torellneset is a great place for walrus photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget. But the natural wonder of this area alone is enough of a draw: the ice cliff of Brasvellbreen is about 180 km long, making it the longest glacier front of the northern hemisphere.
Kapp Lee, located near the northwest corner of Edgeoya, has been a focal point for hunting and scientific expeditions for centuries. There are traces of the ice age in this area consisting of ancient whalebones and driftwood from several thousand years ago.
Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen. Majestic peaks and dramatic fjords make this a special visit. The highest summits are often shrouded in mist, but if you are lucky you might get a glimpse of Hornsundtind mountain, peaking at 1431 meters. Hornsund is the southernmost fjord in Svalbard located in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park. Traces of human activity spanning 400 years can be found at almost any possible landing site. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and a very good chance of encountering seals and polar bears.
Weather permitting, you may have the opportunity to go ashore at Pulepinten. Nearby you may be able to glimpse a walrus haul-out.
Your adventure ends in the port of Longyearbyen. Disembark after breakfast and go to the airport for your flight home.
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NOTE: In case fuel prices significantly increase, a fuel surcharge may be applied for all bookings.