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Polar bear in the Arctic

North Spitsbergen, in search of Polar Bear and birds- Summer Solstice

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Ortelius
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Sailing along the pack-ice of North Spitsbergen, this Arctic voyage offers the best opportunities to spot the King of the Arctic, the polar bear. Sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by the ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. 
Walruses huddled together on the icePolar bears in the ArcticColorful houses of SvalbardExplore the ArcticPolar bear in the Arctic
Highlights
  • Search for the King of the Arctic, the polar bear
  • Enjoy Zodiac excursions to get a closer look at the incredible landscapes
  • Watch for minke whale and the elusive Greenland whale
  • Navigate through pack ice and ice floes
Activity Level: Relaxed
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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 make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant 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: Raudfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Day 3: Liefdefjorden | Monaco Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Day 4: Hinlopen Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. You can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

Day 5: Seven Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Day 7: Forlandsundet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.

Day 8: Disembark | Longyearbyen

  • 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

Ortelius

The Ortelius
Dining area aboard the Ortelius.
Ortelius' dining area.

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$4,000
Twin porthole cabin
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Quadruple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with 2 portholes, 2 upper / lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, Ample storage space.
Twin porthole cabin
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Triple Porthole
4 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins). Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
Twin Porthole on the Ortelius
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Twin Porthole
23 twin cabins with 2 portholes, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Twin Window on the Ortelius
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Twin Window
10 twin cabins with 2 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Twin Deluxe on the Ortelius
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Twin Deluxe
6 superior cabins with 3 windows, 2 lower berths, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Small sofa, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Hairdryer, ample storage space.
Superior Suite on the Ortelius
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Superior
1 suite with 2 windows (minimum), 1 double bed, 1 single (sofa) bed, Private shower & toilet, Desk & chair, Flatscreen TV, Telephone & WiFi (supplemented), Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, ample storage space.
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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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!
Meyer Smolen

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