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Cruising Arctic Norway: Glaciers, Ice Floes, and Polar Bears - with Smithsonian Journeys

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Discover the Far North and the immense open spaces of the polar Arctic and its ice floes that extend to the North Pole. Set sail south to discover Hornsund, one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful fjords. Learn about the history of the whalers at the Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park. Explore Ny-Alesund, the world’s northernmost small town, now an international research base and former mining city, and, more importantly, the departure point for many expeditions to the North Pole. Head on to the trail of walruses, as well as the traces of the polar bear, the lord of the Arctic, in its natural environment. Discover the unique feeling of having reached the top of the world at the Svalbard archipelago, the last islands before the North Pole.
Visit the colorful town of Longyearbyen in the far northAdmire the colorful houses of LongyearbyenHiking in SpitsbergenPolar bears in the ArcticPolar bear and cubSki tour in the ArcticIncredible ice in SvalbardA sow and her cubs
Highlights
  • Discover the exceptional flora and fauna of the Svalbard Archipelago
  • Explore Hornsund, Svalbard’s southernmost fjord
  • Learn about the world’s northernmost small town, Ny-Alesund
  • Admire stunning landscapes: ice floes, jagged mountains, icebergs, and huge glaciers
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearyen, Spitsbergen | Embark

Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

Day 2: Hornsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be it's most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.

Day 3: Bellsund, Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You will head to the Bellsund fjord to follow in the footsteps of the first explorers who came from the Norwegian coast, or those of the many fur traders seeking game and trophies. Boasting astonishingly rich wildlife, the arms of the fjord separate to form two lush valleys. Give free rein to your imagination in the heart of this majestic natural environment where time seems to stand still.

Day 4: Sailing towards the Ice Floes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your captain will sail right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and the state of the ice allowing, you will be able to go out in a zodiac dinghy for a unique experience in the middle of these floating slabs of ice. In addition to this grandiose journey through the middle of these floes with their cut and blue-tinged edges, sometimes over 2 meters thick, it is also often an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe: birds, seals, and polar bears.

Day 5: Makeoyane, Spitsbergen, Monaco Glacier, Spitsbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Måkeøyane is a small archipelago in the heart of the Woodfjorden, whose name is a reference to the large quantities of driftwood washing up on the beaches. It is located at the intersection between the Bockfjorden and the Liefdefjorden which leads to the Monaco Glacier, one of the most beautiful in Spitsbergen. As you sail around these little islands, you will be able to observe Arctic terns whose eggs sometimes attract polar bears.

Located to the North-West of the Svalbard archipelago, the Monaco Glacier is probably one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful and majestic. Named in honor of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a sailor, it stands as an impenetrable, blue-tinged jagged wall, the last glacier before reaching a latitude of 80° North. Imagine the sound of the ice cracking as it breaks free and crashes into the transparent water. And to make the magical landscape even more perfect, you might be lucky enough to spot bears and whales, as these two animals have a special fondness for this area.  

Day 6: Raudfjorden, Spitsbergen, Smeerenburg

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Raudfjorden means “red fjord”, from the color of the sandstone of the surrounding mountains. Along the west coast of this 20 km fjord, dissected by many shallow bays, you will be able to admire some of Spitsbergen’s most spectacular ice formations. At the extremity of the fjord, two offshoots lead to the magnificent glaciers of Chauveaubreen and Raudfjordbreen which is 3 km wide. To the east, Alicehamna Beach in Bruceneset Bay has seen trappers, fishermen, and explorers arrive for centuries, as evidenced by the “Raudfjordhytta” - the cabin of a Swedish trapper built in 1927.

Located at the far north-west of the Svalbard archipelago, at the intersection of oceanic and Arctic influences, Smeerenburg is a former Dutch whaling colony on the southern part of Amsterdam Island. In a landscape of hills with steep slopes, plateaux, lakes, and lagoons, you will anchor at a sandy beach. Dotted with driftwood and the remains of ovens that were used to melt the whale blubber, this is one of Spitsbergen’s most important archaeological sites. At the height of the whaling activity, 200 men worked here and several are buried here.

Day 7: Ny- Alesund, Spitsbergen, Kongsfjorden (King bay)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Very close to the former mining town of Ny-Ålesund, set off to discover Kings Bay. Your ship will sail in one of the most beautiful fjords in Svalbard: Kongsfjorden (the fjord of the King), a gateway to grandiose landscapes. Here, the snow-capped mountains are reflected in the water where superb icebergs try to outdo each other in their beauty, a delight for photographers. Seals, reindeer, barnacle geese, and black guillemots frequent these places that have a unique atmosphere. Once you arrive at the end of the fjord, admire the Kongsbreen (glacier of the King) and its three characteristic rocky points, which take their names from three Scandinavian countries: Svea (Sweden), Dana (Denmark), and Nora (Norway).

Day 8: Longyearyen, Spitsbergen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

Ship/Hotel

L'Austral

Enjoy a gourmet meal at the Gastronomic Restaurant.
Stunning views from the bar and lounge
Relax on the sun deck.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$10,330
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
  • Flights: Paris - Longyearbyen - Paris
  • Transfers Between Longyearbyen Town Center and Port on Embarkation and Disembarkation Day
  • Use of rubber boots for landings, and a polar parka
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions

Map

When to Go

Jan
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Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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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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