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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.
Walruses huddling together in Svalbard.Glass-still waters around SpitsbergenWalking through vast arctic landscapes. Sailboat in Svalbard, NorwayPolar bears in the Arctic
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
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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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

  • 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 3-5: North West Spitsbergen National Park

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 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 6-7: Expedition days at Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago. You also explore 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, 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.

Ship/Hotel

MS Spitsbergen

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$10,843
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B (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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K (Superior Inside Cabin)
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AJ (Outside Cabin)
Upper and lower berths, shower/wc, limited/no view
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J (Outside Cabin)
Some cabins have a double bed, some have separate beds, where one can be turned into a sofa, or upper or lower berths, shower/wc, limited/no view
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A (Outside Cabin)
Upper and lower berths, shower/wc
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N (Outside Cabin)
Some cabins have a double bed, some have separate beds, where one can be turned into a sofa, or upper or lower berths, shower/wc
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O (Outside Cabin)
Some cabins have a double bed, some have separate beds, where one can be turned into a sofa, or upper or lower berths, shower/wc
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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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U (Outside Cabin)
Some cabins have a double bed, some have 3 or 4 beds, some have a seating area, kettle, coffee/tea, TV, mini bar, shower/wc, limited/no view
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QJ (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
Included
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board ship
  • Coffee and tea are included throughout the day. Beverages (beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water in all ship restaurants)
  • Complimentary Reusable Water Bottle 
  • Photography Guide on Expedition Team
     
  • Complimentary Expedition Jacket
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with very limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Loan of Boots, Trekking Poles, & All Equipment for Activities
  • Photos & Film/Video Footage from the Voyage Shared in The Expedition Logbook
  • English-speaking tour leader on board
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • One Pre-Expedition Hotel Night in Longyearbyen
  • All Transfers in Longyearbyen, Including an Excursion Before the Expedition Cruise
  • Flights in Economy Class Between Oslo - Longyearbyen
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Luggage Handling 

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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