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Polar bears in the Arctic

Spitsbergen Explorer

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Explore Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago - regions rich in wildlife and birdlife, glaciology, and history on this 12-day Arctic cruise aboard the RCGS Resolute. Beginning in the capital city of this Norwegian Territory, from the moment the ship's lines are thrown, enter into the land of the polar bear, beluga whale, walrus, and reindeer. Throughout the journey enjoy a comprehensive series of presentations by polar experts, shore excursions to places of historic interest, visits to wildlife colonies, exquisite native flora, and stunning landscapes, and sea kayaking. This voyage focuses on the western and northern coast of Spitsbergen, and as far north as the permanent pack ice, an area with the highest concentration of wildlife and places of historic and scenic interest in the archipelago.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2 : Bourbonhamna
Day 3 : Storfjorden
Day 4 : Hornsund
Days 5-6 : Lillie Hock Glacier | Krossfjorden & Smeerenburgfjorden
Days 7-8 : Phipps√łya
Day 9 : Hinlopen Strait
Day 10 : Liefdefjorden and Manaco Glacier
Day 11 : Alkehornet
Day 12 : Disembark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Highlights

  • Watch for beluga whales in the narrow strait near Bourbonhamna
  • Zodiac or kayak near massive glaciers along the coast
  • Learn about the importance of whaling near Smeerenburg Station
  • Encounter polar bears in Phippsoya, 540 nautical miles from the North Pole

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Europe
  • Norway
  • Scandinavia
  • Svalbard
  • Alkehornet
  • Bourbonhamna
  • Hinlopen Strait (Hinlopenstretet)
  • Hornsund
  • Lilliehookbreen
  • Longyearbyen
  • Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier)
  • Phippsoya
  • Seven Islands (Sjuoyane)
  • Smeerenburg
  • Spitsbergen
  • Storfjorden

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar bears in the Arctic Travelers walking around the arctic landscape. Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears. A view of Svalbard's coast. A walrus gathering

Day 1 Embark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Today embark your expedition ship in Longyearbyen. Sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight during this time of year, enjoy the views from the outer decks. Meet your expedition team during an introductory briefing and then enjoy a welcome dinner in the ship's comfortable dining room.

Day 2 Bourbonhamna

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a feature of high Arctic whale species such as the narwhal and bowhead. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in frequently ice-covered waters.

On the first shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artifacts are points of interest during a scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whale bones that catch everybody's attention. The bones and all artifacts are protected by the Svalbard Government and cannot be removed. While wandering amongst these relics, you can hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

Day 3 Storfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Coming around the most southerly point of Spitsbergen,  push into the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given we are at 70° North in latitude. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers; however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculpted them into works of art that make fascinating photographic subjects.

Day 4 Hornsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Returning to the west coast, glacier-filled bays surround us as you sail into Hornsund. With good ice conditions, the ship may be able to navigate close to the glaciers that are a feature of the area. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and your onboard guides will use hikes and zodiac cruises to explain the formation of this fantastic landscape.

Day 5-6 Lillie Hock Glacier | Krossfjorden & Smeerenburgfjorden

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. Anchor the ship in a protected harbor, launch the zodiacs and cruise along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. Watch out for bearded and ringed seals in the dark waters of the fjord. Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometers and is around 80 meters high. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of our surroundings. Sailing out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, you may be fortunate enough to see the historic airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Ålesund. This remote outpost earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a starting point for North Pole aviation exploration. Nearby, Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen.

Day 7-8 Phipps√łya

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
At 81° north latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Your ice-strengthened expedition ship allows you to approach the edge of the pack ice in safety and comfort. Because of its proximity to the permanent ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. The crew has enjoyed excellent encounters here with the bears in recent seasons. Be sure to get up to the ship’s bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint as you are so close to the North Pole!

Day 9 Hinlopen Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From the ice edge, turn south into the main strait separating Svalbard’s two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. In Hinlopen Strait, the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet are home to more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich’s guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots. It is a spectacular site and a challenging one for your zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or cruise as your ship navigates the waterways between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here which take you up to high points affording staggering views and further opportunities to encounter Arctic wildlife.

Day 10 Liefdefjorden and Manaco Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Entering Liefdefjorden slowly cruise towards the Monaco Glacier. This vast sweep of ice more than seven kilometers wide provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise. Miles of ice face broken up by ice caves and tumbling seracs are a sight to behold as are the thousands of black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of rich nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow. A morning of cruising in the ice is best followed by a hike on the tundra.

Day 11 Alkehornet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as you near the end of your adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the site is a horn-shaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes. Only as you approach and stop to listen will you hear the chorus of thousands of birds, all singing at the same time.

Day 12 Disembark in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Longyearbyen this morning. Disembark after breakfast and say farewell to your expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, you have a few hours this morning to explore the town before transferring to the airport for your onward flights.

RCGS Resolute

Per person starting at
$8,195
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
Located on Deck 3 these cabins feature the option for a double or two single beds and a third Pullman berth, which can fold out from the wall if required. A sectional lounge is placed by the portholes with a writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. A flatscreen entertainment system is also included. These cabins provide easy access to the expedition room and gangway.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Twin Private Cabin
Twin Private cabins are located on Deck 4 and have the option for either a queen or two single configured beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Cabin
Located forward on Deck 5 the Superior cabins have the option for either a queen or two single beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Plus Cabin
Superior Plus cabins are located midships on Deck 5. They are spacious and well appointed with the option for either a queen or two single beds. A comfortable lounge is placed by the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Shackleton Suite
The Shackleton Suites are situated on Deck 6. Suites include the comfort of a sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor to ceiling cabinetry, and washroom facilities with shower. A flat screen entertainment system is also included. Sleeping quarters feature the option for either a queen or two single beds with upgraded linen/ pillows.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
The One Ocean Suites are situated on Deck 6 and offer an indulgent amount of space. Sleeping quarters feature a queen size bed with upgraded linen/pillows. Included is a comfortable sectional lounge with matching club chairs, a large desk, expansive floor to ceiling cabinetry, and spacious washroom facilities with both a shower and bathtub.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.  

Please note: Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.

This itinerary includes:
  • Extensive pre-departure information package
  • Onboard Information Folder
  • Educational presentations from experienced guides such as ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammals experts
  • Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer. Extended photography workshops available on select departures
  • All zodiac and landing excursions
  • Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
  • All meals during the voyage prepared by One Ocean Expeditions chefs
  • Welcome reception & welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
  • Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
  • Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
  • Access to the wellness area
  • Natural essential oil amenities
  • Services of English speaking medical officer
  • Use of multimedia room to download images. Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers
  • Windproof / waterproof jacket and bib pants
  • Comfortable insulated rubber boots
  • Water resistant binoculars
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Trekking poles available on shore
  • Transfers from/ to designated meeting points to/from the ship
  • Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
This itinerary does not include:
  • International and national airfares
  • Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
  • Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities
  • Meals & transfers in arrival / departure cities
  • Personal expenses
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Massages from a registered therapist
  • Personal laundry charges
  • Postage, telephone calls & email set up
  • Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
  • Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
  • Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
  • Gratuities to staff and crew
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

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