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Polar bears in the Arctic

Ice University aboard the Nanook

Longyearbyen - Longyearbyen - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard MS Nanook
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This 11-day expedition takes you to one of the most breathtaking locations on the planet. Join MS Nanook on this excursion from Longyearbyen and explore the archipelago's tundra landscapes, peaks, and glaciers, as well as the Northeast Land's frigid deserts and ice caps. Sail aboard to Spitsbergen, the polar gem, through drifting sea ice and into the vast universe of great silence and polar bears.
 
Glass-still waters around SpitsbergenWalruses huddled together on the iceWalruses huddling together in Svalbard.Incredible ice in SvalbardVisit the colorful town of Longyearbyen in the far northPolar bears in the Arctic
Highlights
  • Enjoy the Island of Moffen where whales and walruses dwell
  • Discover rarely-explored bays and impressive little auk colonies
  • Navigate through beautiful fjords to Monaco Glacier
  • Sail through the fascinating 7 Islands region
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embark

Depending on your arrival time in Longyearbyen, you’ll be able to enjoy some free time in town or be invited to board the ship upon arrival. To begin our adventure, we’ll navigate through Isfjorden, close to the Russian enclave of Barentsburg, the second-largest settlement in the archipelago.

Day 2: Krossfjorden and Magdalenefjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We’ll journey along Dei Sju Isfjella—once named The Coast of the Seven Icebergs by whalers—where a breathtaking glacier front extends over seven kilometers. Magdalenefjorden unveils an impressive setting of majestic mountains and glaciers, with scree slopes that are home to thousands of birds. The extended graveyard and remains of blubber ovens set in the Gravneset Peninsula bear testimony to the many whalers who used to find shelter in the fjord. Nowadays, the land welcomes a growing number of walruses.

Day 3: Ice floes and Monacobreen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We’ll navigate among the well-preserved ice floes in search of polar bears on the north coast. Monacobreen is a glacier reaching down into Liefdefjorden, whose landscapes and icebergs provide some of the most spectacular views in the whole archipelago. Tonight, we'll travel towards the island of Moffen where whales, walruses, and bears like to dwell, before proceeding beyond the 80th parallel north.

Day 4: Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We’ll reach Murchisonfjorden, as famous for its buildings from the 1958 International Geophysical Year research expedition as it is for its walrus colonies. One of the largest and most remarkable bird colonies on the archipelago is nestled among the steep cliffs made up of dark basaltic rock and bright limestone. Ice permitting, we’ll resume our search for polar bears as we continue northeast.

Day 5-9: North & Nordaustlandet

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
These four days will be spent navigating around Nordaustlandet, a 15,000 km² island lying almost entirely under thick ice caps. The area is brimming with unique sights such as Austfonna and Vegafonna—two ice caps forming a colossal glacier front—and Kvitøya, a majestic island covered by an ice cap with an hourglass-shaped dome. This polar desert offers a distinctive ecoregion where large glaciers, snow, and bare rock form a harshly cold environment that allows colonies of walruses and bears to thrive due to the melting of ice in the summer. This area inspired the bravest explorers and was witness to several tragically famous exploits such as Andrée's Arctic balloon and the Royal Navy’s first polar expeditions, as well as General Umberto Nobile’s flight aboard the Italia airship, which crashed approximately 120 km northeast of Nordaustlandet. This section of Svalbard is also home to Karl XII-øya and Storøya, the least-explored islands in the whole archipelago. Ice permitting, we’ll navigate through Wijdefjorden and catch a glimpse of its highest peaks and former trapper stations before moving on to Sorgfjorden. Also known as the “Bay of Sorrow”, it has been the scene of armed conflicts between different whaling nations as far back as 1693.

If the pack ice is too dense to navigate back to Longyearbyen via the east, we will either circle back through the south, passing the Freemansundet sound—a famous stop to witness polar bear migrations—and the spectacular Hornsund and Bellsund fjords, or travel through the north via Sjuøyane, the Seven Islands archipelago, Raudfjorden, Smeerenburgfjorden, and Kongsfjorden.

Day 10: Smeerenburg Fjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Once home to a busy whaling station and a starting point for major Arctic expeditions, this legendary fjord—where glaciers form a spectacular ice front against the sea—has now been claimed by wildlife. Walruses and seals are a likely sight, as bears wander about the slopes of steep, rugged mountains with beautiful ice-sculpted tops. We’ll discover rarely explored bays and impressive little auk colonies, the most populous bird species in Svalbard.

Day 11: Longyearbyen

You’ll disembark in Longyearbyen. This is the end of your adventure with Grand Espaces, and we wish you a pleasant journey home.

Ship/Hotel

MS Nanook

MS Nanook
MS Nanook
MS Nanook

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$11,665
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Superior cabin - Upper deck
cabins—ranging from 9 to 15 sq. m.—are all equipped with twin or double beds. Comfortable, bright, and comfy common areas welcome you after a full day of thrilling exploration.
Select a Date
Twin/Double bed cabin - Main deck
cabins—ranging from 9 to 15 sq. m.—are all equipped with twin or double beds. Comfortable, bright, and comfy common areas welcome you after a full day of thrilling exploration.
Select a Date
Single cabin - Main deck
cabins—ranging from 9 to 15 sq. m.—are all equipped with twin or double beds. Comfortable, bright, and comfy common areas welcome you after a full day of thrilling exploration.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change depending on the ice, weather, and wildlife. This cruise is meant to provide you with every opportunity to observe the local wildlife, and our stops and route could be adapted to better fulfill our goal. Please note that only the captain of the ship and the expedition leader has the authority to change the itinerary.

This rate includes
:
  • Direct Grands Espaces flights departing from Paris and returning
  • The full board cruise from dinner on the first evening to breakfast on the last day,
  • All the excursions mentioned in the program
  • French-speaking tour guides
  • Return transfers airport-platform in Longyearbyen
  • Repatriation insurance
  • Boots on loan.
This rate does not include:
  • Geneva departure supplement
  • Cancellation / multi-risk insurance
  • Drinks
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses.
  • Comfort class on direct flights.
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
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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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
Karen Snider
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