Day 1 Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight, you are free to explore this small but fascinating settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants in the town center. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage.
Day 2 Longyearbyen | Embark
Spend the night in Longyearbyen. In the afternoon be welcomed aboard the expedition ship Sea Spirit; transfers from the hotel are included. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home-away-from-home for the extraordinary adventure to come. The long days of summer sunlight illuminate the surroundings as you slip your moorings and sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through Isfjorden on the first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
Day 3-4 Across the Barents Sea
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
From Isfjorden proceed straight to Franz Josef Land across the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by the expert staff prepare you for what lies ahead. In these far northern latitudes, it is possible to encounter sea ice even in summer. Along the way, remain vigilant for sightings of ice-dependent marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.
Day 5-11 Exploration of Franz Josef Land
- 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, your route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice. The experienced captain and expedition leader decide the best route and continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Between obligatory initial and final calls at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in Cambridge Bay, you are free to explore the many waterways and islands of this unique Arctic wilderness.
The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife, such as walruses and some rare whale species, can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and kittiwakes. Take advantage of the 24-hour daylight to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing.
Franz Josef Land is dominated by glaciation, which covers 85% of the archipelago. Immense tidewater glaciers and glittering icebergs provide a stunning backdrop to your voyage. Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by your expert lecturers.
Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.
Day 12-13 Along the coasts of Svalbard
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Following your week of exploration in Franz Josef Land, cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The crossing also gives the expedition team the opportunity to offer a final presentation or two in the Oceanus Lounge.
Day 14 Longyearbyen | Disembark
After breakfast you say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, where you started your expedition. Be transferred to the airport, or to the town center if you plan to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!