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Homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

North Spitsbergen, In Search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard MV Janssonius
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Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearben, then join our 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.
Walruses huddled together on the iceGlass-still waters around SpitsbergenArctic fox during spring in SvalbardPolar bears in the ArcticHomes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
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 bearded seals, ringed seals & 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 | 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

  • 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: At Sea

  • 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 | St Johns Fjord

  • 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

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 Janssonius

MV Janssonius
MV Janssonius
MV Janssonius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,000
MV Janssonius Quadruple Porthole cabin
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Quadruple Porthole
Quadruple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins). Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
MV Janssonius
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Triple Porthole
Triple cabins with bunk beds and private facilities. These cabins are spacious with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.
MV Janssonius
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Twin Porthole
Twin cabins with portholes, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.
MV Janssonius
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Twin Window
Twin cabins with windows, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
MV Janssonius
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Twin Deluxe
Superior cabins with lower birth twin beds, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin
MV Janssonius
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Superior
Suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two windows per cabin.
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Junior Suite
Suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Spacious outside cabins with windows.
MV Janssonius
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Grand Suite with private balcony
Suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. Spacious outside cabins with 4 windows and a private balcony.

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 programme.
  • 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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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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