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Ivory Gulls on the pristine snow

East Spitsbergen, Seals and Polar Bears in Sea Ice

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard MV Hondius
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Experience the high Arctic summer with an expedition that visits some of the top sites of eastern Spitsbergen. Our goal is to take you to amazing glaciers, fascinating historical sites, bountiful seabird colonies, and sprawling fjord systems in which there is a good chance of spotting whales, seals, and possibly 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
0

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 make for 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
We 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 we 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, we 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 we sometimes see harp seals, we land in northwest Edgeøya at the northern bank of Rosenberdalriver. Here on the raised beach, we have the opportunity of walking to Rosenbergdalen, which is teeming with grazing reindeer.

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

We can also see the remains of a 19th-century Pomor house, as well as the bones of walruses, hunted in previous centuries.

Day 4: Freemansundet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing into the waterway of Freemansundet, we plan to land at the tundra lowland of Sundneset, on the island of Barentsøya. Here we will 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. After that, we plan to go on a Zodiac cruise near Freeman Glacier and visit a kittiwake colony in a canyon close by.

In case of heavy ice in Freemandundet, however, we will instead sail to Negribreen, one of the most extensive glacier fronts on the east side of Spitsbergen. Here we 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 we sail to the east side of west Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden). Here we 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 we aim to land at the mountain of Stellingfjellet, near the largest colony of Brünnich’s guillemots in Spitsbergen. Later in the day, we will make landings at the rarely visited coast of south Spitsbergen, at the bay of Isbukta.

Day 7: Bell Sund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We continue our 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 into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod.

Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, we can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as 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

MV Hondius
MV Hondius
MV Hondius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

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.
MV 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 shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Comprehensive Pre- and Post-voyage Information Materials
     
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
     
  • Snowshoes Available on Loan for Shore Excursions on Designated Voyages
  •  Luggage Transfer from Pick-up Point to the Vessel on the Day of Embarkation in Ushuaia
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately

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