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A polar bear climbs glacial ice in the Arctic

Svalbard Circumnavigation

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Colorful homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Highlights
  • Look for polar bears, reindeer, foxes, and more polar wildlife
  • View hundreds of thousands of seabirds along the sea cliffs
  • Visit Longyearbyen and Ny Alesund, the northernmost towns in the world
  • Cruise through striking fjords and past calving glaciers
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embark

Arrive in Longyearbyen, capital of Svalbard and the northernmost town in the world. Your ship is docked close to the town center. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The Captain then takes the ship out of Advent Fjord and your Arctic adventure commences!

Day 2: Ny Ålesund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night, the ship will have passed Prins Karls Forland and arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. This early summer visit provides both the challenge and gift of the voyage: winter ice might block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will provide the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of year the migrating birds have just arrived, and they are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months. 

Make the first landing at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, but not considered a "town," as it consists of a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours. Make a short landing here to meet the scientists and wander through the tiny town center.

In the afternoon, continue further north into the fjord system. If ice and weather conditions permit, enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front.  

Day 3: North West Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise toward North West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production. 
 
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow, make a landing on Ytre Norskøya, where whalers had their lookout posts. 

Day 4: Monaco Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night, cruise to Wood Fjord and its branch, the Liefde Fjord.  Plan to embark on a Zodiac cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen. This gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs. The ice front is named after Albert I of Monaco, who was a major sponsor of Svalbard research. 

During the afternoon the ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target is just the "edge," possibly at 80 degrees north! This is the kingdom of the polar bear: as the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seal - resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not "catch" the ice moving north are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find. 

Day 5: Eastern Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed on board in the Viking Theater. Should the ship get into the pack ice where the sea is usually calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged. 

The part goal of the day is to reach the island Nordaustlandet and its smaller islands in the far north of Svalbard. The rocky, almost vegetation-free islands are located around 1000 km more northernly than mainland Norway’s famous Nordkapp.

Weather permitting, land and walk these most northern landmasses. These high Arctic islands are quite barren, with moss and lichens covering the stones. The birdlife is rich in this area and some of the rarer gulls frequent these islands, so bring your binoculars. 

At the end of the day, start cruising towards the Hinlopen Strait that divides Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. 

Day 6: Alkefjellet | Torrelnesset

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, arrive and cruise slowly by the famous Alkefjellet. If the weather is clear, enjoy a good view of the steep cliffs. The whole area is home to a dense congregation of Brünichs guillemots: there are so many birds that scarcely an inch is free! During the summer the breeding pairs offer a wild view of frantic activity, both along the cliffs and in the sea in front.  

More wildlife awaits when you land at the polar desert landscapes of Torrelnesset. The beach here is home to a host of walruses that lay amongst each other. They feed on the clams and any other mollusks that they can find in the shallows of Svalbard’s waters.  

Day 7: Hinlopen Strait | Edgeøya

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The main issue that can halt a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen is the ice condition along Hinlopen Strait. If the ice is passable, the ship can make it through the southern edge of the Strait and cruise through Freemansundet that separates Barentsøya and Edgeøya. Enjoy the views of the massive Kapp Lee on the way and pass through into Storfjorden.  

Plan to make a Zodiac landing along Edgeøya’s coast. Edgeøya is the third largest island in Svalbard with an area of more than 5000 square kilometers.  
During the night, cross the southernmost part of Svalbard, called Sørkapp. From here the ship continues up the western coast. 

Day 8: Hornsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Once the ship has passed the southern edge of Spitsbergen, arrive at the entrance to Hornsund. Look for buildings around Isbjørnhamna on the northern shore. This is a Polish research station that has been here since 1957, researching geophysics, seismics, meteorology and the ionosphere.

The fjord is almost 30 kilometers long, with countless glaciers that calve into the waters as well as towering mountains along the shores. The mountaintops are most often covered by dense clouds, and the east Spitsbergen current often leads pack ice into the fjord's mouth. 

Day 9: Bellsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so winter ice should now have melted, allowing the ship to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on this last full day of exploration. 

Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled. 

Stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff, where tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks. Watch for Svalbard reindeer grazing on the tundra. Enjoy a walk along the beach – and spot remains from early industrial eras. 

During lunch, cross the fjord along the 4 km long island of Akseloya. Make a Zodiac landing at Calypsobyen in Recherche Fjord. Coal was extracted here in the early 1900s, but the enterprise never attained full production. Today, Calypsobyen offers an exciting landing that gives visitors a glimpse of the era of Neo-Industrialism, when all opportunities for profit were tried out. A pleasant walk can be made on the tundra behind the buildings. 

Day 10: Poolepynten | Isfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night the ship will have entered Forlandssundet, which separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. The destination is Poolepynten (Poole Point), a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by herds of walruses who can be seen (and smelled!) from a distance. The large mammals flaunt their tusks and whiskers, as well as their considerable bulk. 

After the visit, turn southbound toward the entrance to the Isfjorden. 

On the way toward Longyearbyen, get your last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard. 

Day 11: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Early in the morning the ship has returned to the starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the expedition team and crew, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport to head home.

Photo Gallery

Colorful homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard Walruses huddling together in Svalbard. A polar bear climbs glacial ice in the Arctic Incredible ice in Svalbard Arctic fox during spring in Svalbard

Map

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Atlantic

Theater
Coffee Lounge
Mudroom

Dates & Prices

Per person starting at
$4,990
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Category F
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Category A
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Category B
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Category C
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Category D
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Category E
Category G
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Category G - Single
Size 9-10 m². Cabins feature a single bed, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
Category F
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Category F
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Triple Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, and a fold-out single bed, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub, and a porthole. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category E
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Category E
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category D
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Category D
Size 11-12 m². Featuring two single beds, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on the Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
Category C
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Category C
Size 12-13 m². This Standard Cabin has two single beds, private bathroom, and a window. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category B
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Category B
Size 20-23 m² Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a sofa bed that enables triple accommodation, a relaxing sitting area, private bathroom and windows. Partly obstructed view. Located on the Magellan and Hudson Deck (Deck 7 & 8).
Category A
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Category A
Size 19-24 m². Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, a private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Premium Suite
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Premium Suite
Size 35 m². These 2-room suites are designed with a large double bed or two twin beds, an elegant living room, a large private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).

Notes

INCLUSIONS
  • Charter flight Oslo-Longyearbyen-Oslo 
  • 11-day/10-night cruise with Ocean Atlantic in a shared outside/inside double cabin with private bathroom/toilet in the selected category 
  • English-speaking expedition team 
  • Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary 
  • Near-port town walks with expedition team 
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team 
  • Full board on ship 
  • Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship 
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails     
  • Taxes, tariffs and AECO fees  
  • Special photo workshop 
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails 
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more! 
EXCLUSIONS
  • Hotel accommodation in Oslo
  • Travel insurance
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 15 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned under "Inclusions"
  • Required Emergency Evacuation Insurance of at least $200,000. Please let us know if you need help arranging this.

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