Have questions? We're here.
Beautiful Hornsund, Norway

Around Spitsbergen, In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice

Longyearbyen - Longyearbyen - Example 10 Day Cruise aboard MV Plancius
Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your Arctic trip. 1.406.541.2677
Help Me Plan My Trip
Embark the MV Plancius for a 10-day expedition cruise around the Spitsbergen archipelago, where you'll likely see the mighty polar bears, walrus, reindeer, various bird species, and surprisingly beautiful flora. Wildlife walks and zodiac explorations will get you up close to the impressive fjords & glaciers and the wildlife that live around them. Embark in Longyearbyen, head north along the west coast to Krossfjorde, cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier, continue to Liefdefjorden, and sail within sight of the 5km-long precipitous Monaco Glacier. Stop at the Seven Islands, which are home to polar bears. Explore the highlights of Hinlopen, the many bounties of Barentsøya, and the flora and fauna of Bell Sund. 
Colorful homes in Longyearbyen, SvalbardA polar bear sniffs the Arctic airKayaking through the arctic waters.Hiking in SpitsbergenWalruses huddled together on the iceBeautiful Hornsund, Norway
Highlights
  • Spot the first minke whale of your voyage
  • Catch a glimpse of Arctic fox scouting or bearded seal
  • Discover the massive Monaco Glacier
  • Stop at the Seven Islands, which are home to polar bears
  • Enjoy Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embark

Embarkation at 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 plants 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: Cruising Krossfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.

In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).

Day 3: The massive Monaco Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depending on the weather, you could 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 4-5: Stop at the Seven Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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.

When the edge of this sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), you can spend a second day in this area. Alternatively (mostly in July) you may turn to Sorgfjord, where you have the chance to find a herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th-century whalers. A nature walk here can bring you close to families of ptarmigans, and the opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

Day 6: Highlights of Hinlopen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals as well as polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. As with Liefdefjorden, you can take an alternate west Spitsbergen route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you then view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. Near Torrelneset you can also visit the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third-largest ice cap. Here you may encounter walruses during a coastline hike over the area’s raised beaches. 

Day 7: Barentsøya’s many bounties

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee are a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

Day 8: Land of the Pointed Mountains

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Day 9: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 10: Longyearbyen | Disembark

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

Ship/Hotel

MV Plancius

MV Plancius
MV Plancius
MV Plancius

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$5,150
Quadruple Porthole
Select a Date
Quadruple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Quadruple Porthole
Select a Date
Triple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin porthole cabin
Select a Date
Twin with Porthole
9 twin private cabins with porthole. Two Lower berths. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin with window
Select a Date
Twin with Window
26 twin private cabins with window. Two Lower berths (ca. 15 m2)
Twin Deluxe
Select a Date
Twin Deluxe
2 twin private deluxe cabins. Lower berths - two single beds.(ca. 15 m2)
Superior
Select a Date
Superior
10 twin superior cabins. Lower berth - double bed. (ca. 21 m2)

Notes

PLEASE NOTE: N.B. The chances that we can complete a full Spitsbergen circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 1992 – 2019) are about 30% in the first half of July, 70% in the second half, 90% in the first half of August, and 95% in the second half. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may devise a program in northeast or southeast Spitsbergen. 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.
  • Transfers to/from the vessel outside Spitsbergen.
  • 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).

Map

Inquire

Travel Agents
Tanesia Brazington employee headshot
Tanesia B

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
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

Arctic Travel Guide

Favorite Arctic Cruises & Tours

More Reasons

Why Travel With Adventure Life

All News

Recognized By