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Polar bears in the Arctic

North Spitsbergen, In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard MV Hondius
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Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearben, then join this 8-day expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear. This voyage aboard the MV Hondius connects you with expert guides to enhance your experience of the stunning Arctic landscapes and uniquely hardy wildlife species that call this harsh habitat home. 
Walruses huddled together on the iceGlass-still waters around SpitsbergenArctic fox during spring in SvalbardHomes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, NorwayPolar bears in the Arctic
Highlights
  • Explore the north coast of Spitsbergen to admire unique wildlife
  • Prepare to be face to face with the precipitous Monaco Glacier
  • Discover Hinlopen Strait, home to seals and polar bears
  • Visit St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen, Norway | Embark

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.

Day 2: Raudfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Day 3: Monaco Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depending on the weather, sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Day 4: Hinlopen Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. You can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

Day 5: Seven Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

Day 6: Kongsfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Day 7: Forlandsundet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. Arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.

Day 8: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. Disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Ship/Hotel

MV Hondius

MV Hondius
MV Hondius
MV Hondius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$3,850
MV Hondius
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Quadruple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 upper & lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Triple Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 1 upper berth & 2 lower berths, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Porthole
Located on deck 3. Approximately 129 to 194 sq. ft. 2 portholes, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin Window
Located on deck 4. Approximately 129 to 151 sq. ft. 1 window, 2 single beds, Small sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Twin deluxe
Located on deck 6. Approximately 205 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 2 single beds, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
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Superior
Located on deck 6. Approximately 215 to 226 sq. ft. 2 windows, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
Select a Date
Junior Suite
Located on deck 7. Approximately 205 to 215 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.
MV Hondius
Select a Date
Grand Suite with balcony
Located on deck 7. Approximately 291 sq. ft. 1 double window, 1 double bed, Sofa, Private shower & toilet, Flatscreen TV, Desk & chair, Telephone and WiFi, Refrigerator, Coffee & tea maker, Hairdryer, Cabinet, Wardrobe.

Notes

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

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.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • 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 program.
  • 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.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • 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).

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