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Ivory Gulls on the pristine snow

East Spitsbergen, Home of the Polar Bear - Summer Solstice, Including Long Hikes

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard MV Hondius
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Embark on an 8-day expedition aboard the MV Hondius to witness the high Arctic summer solstice, exploring key sites in eastern Spitsbergen. Encounter stunning glaciers, rich historical sites, bustling seabird colonies, and expansive fjord systems. With favorable conditions, anticipate sightings of whales, seals, and even polar bears.
Walking through vast arctic landscapes. A walrus relaxes on the snow.A mother polar bear and her young relax on the Arctic landscapeReindeer feeding in the arctic.Ivory Gull in SpitsbergenTravelers find a walrus on a zodiac trip through the arctic.Admire the colorful houses of LongyearbyenIvory Gulls on the pristine snow
Highlights
  • Look out for whales, seals, and possibly even polar bears
  • Sail through amazing glaciers and fascinating historical sites
  • Explore Longyearbyen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago
  • Experience breeding places for ivory gulls in Agardhfjellet
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embark

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum are fascinating attractions.

Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plants have been recorded in it. In the early evening, the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Day 2: Hornsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Start the day by quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area in southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. The mountain of Hornsundtind rises to 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), while the peak of Bautaen testifies to why early Dutch explorers gave this island the name Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.”

There are 14 magnificent glaciers in the area, and you have a fair chance of encountering seals and polar bears.

The nearby cliffs of Sofiakammen are also home to thousands of pairs of nesting kittiwakes and little auks, and in the evening, you might see thousands of harp seals rutting on ice floes at Sørkapp.

Day 3: Diskobukta

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After navigating the drift ice of Storfjorden, where you sometimes see harp seals, land in northwest Edgeøya at the northern bank of Rosenberdalriver. You can walk to Rosenbergdalen on the raised beach, teeming with grazing reindeer.

Afterward, you can plan to walk by a cliff with nesting black guillemots on your way to Stretehamna, where you often find a herd of walruses on the beach near an octagonal trapper’s cabin built in 1905.

You can also see the remains of a 19th-century Pomor house and the bones of walruses hunted in previous centuries.

Day 4: Freemansundet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing into the waterway of Freemansundet, you plan to land at the tundra lowland of Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya.

Here, visit the hut of a German scientific expedition (Würzbugerhütte) from sixty years ago, then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle geese. Afterward, you plan a Zodiac cruise near Freeman Glacier and visit a kittiwake colony in a nearby canyon.

However, in case of heavy ice in Freemandundet, you can sail to Negribreen, one of Spitsbergen's most extensive glacier fronts on the east side. Here, you can take a Zodiac cruise and land on Walrus Island, which became ice-free at the end of the last century.

Day 5: Agardhfjellet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, sail to the east side of West Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden).

Here, you plan to walk to breeding places for ivory gulls in Agardhfjellet, which stands about 300 meters (980 feet) high.

The valley leading to the outcrops that house the nests is littered with fossils of belemnites and ammonites.

Day 6: South Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, you aim to land at the mountain of Stellingfjellet, near the largest colony of Brünnich’s guillemots in Spitsbergen. Later in the day, you can land on the rarely visited coast of south Spitsbergen, at the bay of Isbukta.

Day 7: Bell Sund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue your voyage in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation.

Here, there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife.

A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted to extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod.

Alternatively, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed and rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 8: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Ship/Hotel

MV Hondius

M/V Hondius
MV Hondius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Deals

$1000 Travel Credit Arctic 2024
Book your Svalbard 2024 cruise  and take advantage of the $1000 travel credit per person, which will be deducted from your cabin price on select June-July departures. This promotion is valid for new bookings only (not for existing reservations) and cannot be combined with other promotions. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.

Code: ARCTIC2024
Applies to Jun 17, 2024 departure

Per person starting at
$4,000
MV Hondius
Select a Date
Quadruple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 upper & lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Triple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 1 upper berth & 2 lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Window
Located on deck 4. Approximately 129 to 151 sq. ft. 1 window, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin deluxe
Located on deck 6. Approximately 205 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 2 single beds, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Superior
Located on deck 6. Approximately 215 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Junior Suite
Located on deck 7. Approximately 205 to 215 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
Grand Suite with Private BalconyMV Hondius
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Grand Suite with balcony
Located on deck 7. Approximately 291 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private balcony, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.

Notes

Single supplement - Single occupancy of a twin cabin is available at 1.7 times the twin occupancy rate.
Child discount: Children aged 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

  • Transfers and Baggage Handling between the Airport, Hotels & Ship Only for Those on the Group Flights to/from Longyearbyen.
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • Meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • Medical travel insurance, including emergency medical attention and evacuation coverage with a minimum of $100,000 of evacuation coverage is required.
  • Transfers to/from the Vessel Outside Spitsbergen
  • Parkas are not provided on your cruise. Please bring your own windproof, waterproof, insulated parka with you. You will want to make sure it is roomy enough to fit warm layers underneath. Click here for information about parka rental.

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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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