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Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen Photography: Domain of the Polar Bear

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Ultramarine
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Cruising along the coast, ice edge and inner fjords of Spitsbergen, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun as you pursue your quest to photograph arctic wildlife: the polar bear as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on its perpetual hunt for food; the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; cliff-dwelling Arctic birds in the thousands; and small herds of reindeer loping across the colorful tundra. Plus, there will be snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra waiting to be photographed. Exploring this awe-inspiring region never ceases to impress visitors with its raw beauty.
Zodiac cruising in SvalbardPolar Bears in SpitsbergenArctic ReindeerSpitsbergen sightseeing aboard the shipArctic birds in SvalbardSpitsbergen
Highlights
  • View iconic arctic wildlife, like polar bears, walrus and arctic fox
  • Enjoy continuous daylight, perfect for photography buffs
  • Cruise in a Zodiac for closer views of glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
  • Learn techniques and tips from onboard photographers
Places Visited
Activity Level: Easy Active
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki, Finland

Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.

Day 2: Embarkation Day | Longyearbyen, Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

Day 3-13: Exploring Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners
Spitsbergen is graced with an unspoiled beauty that’s just waiting to be discovered. On this one-of-a-kind cruise, you’ll sail along the west coast of this magical island, exploring the coastal fjords and smaller, outlying islands. Each day will be a surprise, treating you to spectacular new sightings and experiences.

Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but the cruise hopes to visit a few of the favorite landing sites, which will be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no itinerary (unusual amongst polar cruises), the main goal will be to sail in a constant search for polar bears on the prowl. This means the ship may not move every day as on regular voyages, especially if abundant wildlife in one place is found. Like true explorers, let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide the route! The small expedition ship allows to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas frequented by the elusive polar bear.

Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that await, and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears you find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife you hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.

Day 14: Disembark in Longyearbyen | Fly to Helsinki

  • 1 Breakfast
Your adventure ends in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, you'll be transferred to the airport for your return group charter flight to Helsinki.

Ship/Hotel

Ultramarine

Ultramarine Dining Room
Ultramarine
Ultramarine Cabin

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$11,495
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Solo Panorama
Located on Deck 6, approximately 132 sq. ft. Features a single bed, floor-to-ceiling window, desk, refrigerator, TV, a private bathroom with shower and heated floors.
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Explorer Triple
Located on Deck 3, approximately 285 sq. ft. Features three single beds (two of which can be combined into a double bed), sitting area, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors.
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Explorer Suite
Located on Deck 3, approximately 285 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors.
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Balcony Suite
Located on Decks 4 and 6, with approximately 226 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors.
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Deluxe Balcony Suite
Located on Decks 4 and 6, with approximately 299 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors.
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Terrace Suite
Located on Deck 6, with approximately 350 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private extra-wide balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors.
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Penthouse Suite
Located on Deck 7, with approximately 369 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors.
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Owner's Suite
Located on Deck 6, with approximately 446 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional closet, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors and separate powder room.
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Ultra Suite
Located on Deck 6, with approximately 563 sq. ft. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional walk-in hallway closet, private balcony, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom.
Included
  • 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Coffee, Tea and Cocoa Available Around the Clock
  • Leadership throughout the expedition by our experienced Expedition Leader
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Official Expedition Parka to Keep
  • Select Beer and Wine During Dinner
  • Photographic Journal Documenting the Expedition
     
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
     
  • Comprehensive Predeparture Materials, Including a Map and an Informative Antarctic Reader
     
  • Luggage handling from the airport to the ship on the day of embarkation.
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Transfers Between Longyearbyen Town Center and Port on Embarkation and Disembarkation Day
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
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Mandatory Waterproof Pants for Zodiac Cruising & Any Other Gear Not Specifically Mentioned
     
  • Mandatory Transfer Package fees not included, prices vary by departure

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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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