Set sail on this 16-day Arctic expedition on the two-mast sailing vessel the Noorderlicht. Discover the region's rugged terrain and the multitude of wildlife that inhabit the tundra, cliffs, beaches, and Arctic waters. Visit former whaling and hunting settlements showcase the treacherous history of past Arctic expeditions.
Day 1 : Longyearbyen | Embark Day 2 : Trygghamna | Alkhornet Day 3 : Fuglefjorden | Ytre Norskøya Days 4-15 : Exploring Svalbard Day 16 : Longyearbyen | Disembark
Enjoy strolling around the historic mining town of Longyearbyen
Visit the remains of 17th and 18th-century whaling and hunting station
Look out for birdlife, Arctic foxes and reindeer
Visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island that serves as a Dutch whaling lookout
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. In the evening you sail for Trygghamna, where you see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station, both of which you can visit the next morning.
From Trygghamna you walk to Alkhornet, a large seabird cliff where the birds are scouting outbreeding places. Below the cliffs is a common place to spot Arctic foxes, and you may also see reindeer grazing on the lush vegetation if there’s not too much snow.
You sail into Fuglefjorden amid views of Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta, both breeding areas for great skuas as well as likely spots to see a polar bear. On Birgerbukta you can see 17th-century Basque ovens once used for cooking whale blubber. The aim next is to visit Ytre Norskøya, a small island that served for many years as a Dutch whaling lookout. Here you can still follow the whalers’ tracks to the summit of the island, passing popular bird cliffs on the way. Onshore are the remains of more 17th-century blubber ovens, while Arctic skuas and common eiders breed among the graves of some two hundred Dutch whalers.
Today you start by sailing either to Sorgfjord or Murchison Bay, on the north side of which lies an extensive polar desert that is home to numerous reindeer as well as a Swedish research station. You then continue through Hinlopen Strait, surrounded by lofty ice caps.
Over the following days, you may visit the following sites:
Lomfjord – This is a beautiful fjord fringed by towering mountains offering a great opportunity for a hike.
Wilhelmøya – A tundra landscape in which polar bears can possibly be seen, Wilhelmøya is also a good area for shoreline, inland, and altitude-gaining hikes.
Svartknausflya – You may take an excursion to this stark polar desert, which is almost devoid of vegetation but rich with invertebrate fossils and whale skeletons along its raised beaches.
Heleysundet – A narrow but picturesque waterway between Spitsbergen and Barents with this route can only be made against the current.
Freemansundet – Depending on conditions, you may also sail through this waterway. A walk at Kapp Lee may introduce you to a few new reindeer and walruses, and you might also visit a large colony of kittiwakes nesting in a canyon in Diskobukta. Arctic foxes and polar bears with their young often roam this canyon, scavenging for birds that fall from the ledges. Sub-fossilized whale bones are scattered across the raised beaches.
Hornsund – You continue your Spitsbergen voyage by sailing into the labyrinth of side fjords around Hornsund. At Brepollen rests a large glacial deposit at the head of the fjord. Sailing along the glacier front will afford you good chances of spotting bearded seals and polar bears. The geological formations in this area are vibrant and mesmerizing.
Bellsund – En route to Longyearbyen, you may reach Ahlstrandhalvøya. More fascinating geological formations can be seen here, as well as the remains of 20th-century beluga hunting. (This is still a good area to see beluga.)
Barentsburg – If time allows you could then pay a visit to Barentsburg, the only inhabited Russian settlement in Spitsbergen. A side option is Colesbukta, an abandoned Russian coal mining settlement.
Day 16 Longyearbyen | Disembark
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.
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Twin Non Private
The ‘Noorderlicht’ provides accommodation for 20 travellers in comfortable twin cabins.
All cabins have upper and lower berths, a cupboard and wash basin with hot and cold water. Shared shower (4) and toilet (5) facilities are conveniently located.
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Noorderlicht - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
Included in this voyage
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.
Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
AECO fees and governmental taxes.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded from this voyage
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.
The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board a historic sailing vessel. Important information about the sailing program: The boat is equipped with sails to be used in good conditions (based on open sea, water depth, wind, and time). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or the other propulsion method. If sails are used, the crew operates them. Guests must follow the safety instructions of the team. The average cruising speed for s/v Noorderlicht is 6 knots
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.