Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden.
Sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to ringed and bearded seals, seabird colonies, and a surprisingly rich vegetation. You have good chances to see polar bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more near the head of the fjord. From there continue to Moffen Island on which walruses haul out.
Approaching Greenland sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making your first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for polar bears and arctic foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by musk oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. Sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where you can see musk oxen from the ship.
Land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with great northern divers and their young. In the afternoon sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ø and perhaps land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
In the morning enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. Land on the south side of the fjord in an astounding place where the ancient sedimentary geology is literally at your feet. A hike takes you near a small lake with good chances to see musk oxen, arctic hare, and ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship ventures into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. You may embark on a long Zodiac cruise around the Gully Glacier which once blocked the access to the interior of the fjord and venture deep inside to the very end. Adventure at its finest!
Spend the first half of the day in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where you also could see groups of musk oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colors of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons. Here enjoy zodiac cruises along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have your first landing near Maane Glacier.
Later land on Danmark Ø where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening continue sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing musk oxen. You may also spot rock ptarmigans and great northern divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the dwarf willow and dwarf birch change color. Arctic blueberry and crowberry add their own colorful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colors of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land, encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometer in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. Land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. You may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
Today you make a tundra landing on Liverpool Land, in Hurry Inlet. The afternoon stop is Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement in Scoresbysund at about five hundred inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and musk oxen. In the afternoon you sail south, passing the picturesque landscapes of the Blosseville Coast.
Spend the whole day at sea and have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 14: Akureyri | Disembark | Reykjavik, Iceland
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Akureyri, where on request you can transfer by chartered bus (a six-hour drive that you must book in advance) to the Reykjavik city hall, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to Longyearbyen.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
AECO fees and governmental taxes.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
Pre- and post- land arrangements.
Passport and visa expenses.
Government arrival and departure taxes.
Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
Transfer supplement for bus shuttle between Akureyri (ship) and Radhus Reykjavikur / city hall in Vonarstraeti (6 hours).
The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Please note: It is agreed that if fuel prices will exceed US Dollar $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure MV Plancius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!