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Polar bears in the Arctic

Circumnavigating Spitsbergen: In the Realm of the Polar Bear

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard MS Spitsbergen
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Take this epic voyage to attempt to find a way through the Arctic’s ever-changing sea ice and venture above the 80th parallel north. If the ice allows, complete a circumnavigation of the island of Spitsbergen, and visit some other highlights of the Svalbard archipelago. Spend time exploring the North West Spitsbergen National Park and Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve, and keep a watch for the king of the Arctic: polar bears.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Oslo | Longyearbyen
Day 2 : Longyearbyen | Embark
Days 3-4 : North West Spitsbergen National Park
Days 5-7 : Expedition days at Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve
Day 8 : South Spitsbergen National Park | Bellsund
Day 9 : The Isfjord
Day 10 : Longyearbyen | Disembark

Highlights

  • Attempt to sail north of the 80th parallel
  • Look out for polar bears, the king of the Arctic
  • Explore beautiful fjords, glaciers, and icebergs
  • Admire the highlights of the Svalbard archipelago

Ship

MS Spitsbergen

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar bears in the Arctic Walruses huddling together in Svalbard. Glass-still waters around Spitsbergen Walking through vast arctic landscapes. Sailboat in Svalbard, Norway
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Day 1 Oslo | Longyearbyen

Your trip starts with a flight from Oslo in the evening. Before your flight, enjoy the museums, parks and cafés of the Norwegian capital. On arrival in Longyearbyen, you will set foot in an entirely different world: a tiny town perched on the edge of the Arctic wilderness. Transfer to your hotel and overnight.

Day 2 Longyearbyen | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After an overnight stay, join an excursion to get to know this unique town after lunch. The mighty Arctic wilderness dominates life here, but Longyearbyen maintains a lively cultural life and serves as a prime destination for adventure travelers. Enjoy the atmosphere of this colorful frontier outpost before boarding your ship in the afternoon.

Day 3-4 North West Spitsbergen National Park

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The North West Corner is scattered with lovely islands, fjords and beaches, but such majestic sights can be blocked by heavy sea ice. The expedition team will use their expertise and 120 years of experience in these waters to try and navigate the ice in order to access areas for you to explore. One such site is Kongsfjorden, one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by stunning mountain formations. Also plan to call on the former mining settlement of Ny-Alesund, now an international center for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings. There will likely be many other exciting landings and scenic kayaking opportunities if we the ship is able to move past the ice and go further north.

Day 5-7 Expedition days at Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago. You will also be exploring the area in summertime, which is when polar bears and their cubs will be out hunting for seals on the ice floes. You can therefore have high hopes that you’ll spot one or more during this journey, though of course, wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
The Arctic Ocean in this part of Svalbard is also full of drifting ice and its frozen seascape changes constantly. Being modern-day explorers, the captain and the Expedition Team will be carefully analyzing the density and movements of the sea ice using advanced sonar and live satellite imagery. They will then discuss together and decide where the ship can safely sail or land. This is what makes this cruise an expedition: it is a true, suspense-filled adventure into the Arctic’s great wilderness, negotiating and adapting to whatever elements nature presents. Ultimately, it is the sea ice that will determine whether we can cross the 80th parallel and head further north to Sjuøyane (Seven Islands) at the extreme of the Svalbard archipelago. Again, depending on sea and weather conditions at the time, we will sail through the Hinlopen Strait, before continuing towards Edgeøya, the third largest island in the archipelago.  

Day 8 South Spitsbergen National Park | Bellsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Our aim for these days is to navigate any sea ice and reach the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. The varied geology here at Hornsund has created a dramatic and photogenic landscape. Ice pushed into the fjord early in the season also attracts polar bears that hunt on the floes, so with a bit of luck, look for this magnificent predator.

Day 9 The Isfjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the day exploring the Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. In the inner parts of Isfjorden, the landscape changes constantly. The immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of the Svalbard reindeer.

Day 10 Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Our return to the colorful town of Longyearbyen marks the end of a remarkable voyage that brought us just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.
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MS Spitsbergen

Longyearbyen

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Per person starting at
$8,250
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YA (Inside Cabin)
Outside cabin, 193 sq ft. With limited/ no view, queen bed, kettle, TV, bathroom with shower. Accessible to guests with limited mobility
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I (Inside Cabin)
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AJ (Outside Cabin)
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J (Outside Cabin)
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A (Outside Cabin)
Upper and lower berths, shower/wc
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N (Outside Cabin)
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O (Outside Cabin)
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P (Outside Cabin)
Some cabins have a double bed, some have separate beds, where one can be turned into a sofa, kettle, coffee/tea, shower/wc
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QJ (Outside Cabin)
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U (Outside Cabin)
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Q (Mini Suite)
One room with a double bed, some with seating area, some with 3-4 beds that can be upper beds, TV, mini bar, kettle, coffee/tea, shower/wc, view
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MG (Grand Suite)
One or two rooms with seating area, double bed, TV, stereo, mini bar, kettle, tea/coffee, shower/wc, some with bathtub, most with private balcony or bay window
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MX (Owner's Suite)
Two rooms with a double bed, seating area, dining table, TV, mini bar, kettle, coffee/tea, stereo, shower, w/c, private balcony

Notes

Included:
  • Return flights in economy class between Oslo and Longyearbyen 
  • Overnight in Longyearbyen before the expedition cruise
  • All transfers in Longyearbyen including an excursion before the expedition cruise  
Expedition Cruise   
  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that you'll sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported. 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and accompany activities onboard and ashore 
  • Range of included excursions 
Onboard Activities 
  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes 
  • Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna,and indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come  
Landing Activities 
  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats while in Antarctica 
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographer's help with your camera settings before landings
Excluded:
  • International flights  
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team   
  • Optional treatments in the wellness and spa area  
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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