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The sun sets over polar mountains

The Best of Spitsbergen

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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L'Austral takes you on a spectacular 8-day route that brings you intimately close to the natural colors of the polar region. Between icebergs, ice caps, and the sea ice, your adventure is interspersed with unusual excursions, such as outings in Zodiac inflatables at the early light of dawn. Sail in some of the world’s most spellbinding waters, gliding between fjords from glacier to glacier, traversing the polar landscape that has, in all its diversity, so enamored the greatest adventurers of all time. Board the ship at Longyearbyen and follow on the trail of walruses, which can be admired near the 14th July Glacier, as well as the traces of the polar bear, the lord of the Arctic. Sail to the Svalbard archipelago and the last islands before the North Pole, reaching a latitude of 80° north.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Longyearbyen | Embark
Day 2 : Lilliehöök Glacier | 14th July Glacier
Day 3 : Magdalena Bay | Virgohamna
Day 4 : Sailing among Ice Floes
Day 5 : Texas Bar, Liefdefjorden | Monacobreen
Day 6 : Ny Alesund | Kongsfjorden
Day 7 : ​Alkhornet | Pyramiden | Nordenskiöld Fjord
Day 8 : Longyearbyen | Disembark

Highlights

  • Hike and Zodiac cruise in the company of a team of naturalist guides
  • Experience the beauty of sailing in Spitsbergen's fjords
  • Follow the path of the first explorers who came from the Norwegian coast
  • Encounter Spitsbergen wildlife, including polar bears and arctic foxes

Ship

L'Austral

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

The sun sets over polar mountains Arctic puffins Homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway Spitsbergen Compagnie du Ponant Bearded seal in Svalbard, Norway

Day 1 Longyearbyen | Embark

Embark L'Austral in Longyearbyen, the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to -20°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 Lilliehöök Glacier | 14th July Glacier

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Welcome to Cross Bay’s décor of plutonic rocks and tundra. Admire the immense expanses of flowers that cover the mountain slopes, amidst 14 Alpine glaciers plunging majestically into the sea. In this setting of wild beauty, set off to discover the sublime Lilliehöök Glacier. Located in the fjord of the same name, it forms a kind of circle and its front is 7 km wide. As you approach it, fall under the spell of the icebergs floating around it, like jewels bedecking the magical waters of the Arctic. Walruses, sea birds, seals and Svalbard reindeer perhaps accompany as you explore these unique places.

Set off to discover the 14th July Glacier. It was thus named by Prince Albert I of Monaco, following an expedition that he led there at the beginning of the 20th century. The glacier’s surroundings are frequented by numerous birds (Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins…), as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. As you arrive in front of the glacier, admire the impressive wall of ice and the reflection of the cliffs in the water. It is quite common to see a section of ice come loose, or a bearded seal lounging on an iceberg. 

Day 3 Magdalena Bay | Virgohamna

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nestling in north western Spitsbergen, Magdalena Bay is one of Svalbard’s unmissable sites. In a spectacular landscape of snow-topped Alpine mountains, deep fjords, beaches and majestic glaciers, it offers multiple opportunities for wonderment. Observe whales, walruses, seals, common eiders, terns, polar bears and arctic foxes there. The site of Gravneset, located in Magdalenafjorden, is home to the remnants of a former whaling station used during the 17th century, as well as the graves of many sailors buried here up until the end of the 18th century. Not far from here, the Gully Glacier offers a magnificent view, a delight for photographers.

Virgohamna is one of Svalbard's most important cultural heritage sites. On the beach are remains of blubber ovens and a Dutch whaling station. There are also graves from the whaling period. But Virgohamna is most famous for being the starting place of many an expedition attempting to reach the North Pole. Both Andrée (1896, 1897) and Wellman (1906, 1907, 1909) built bases here, consisting of a balloon shed, airship hangars, and gas production works. The place was named after Andrée's steamship and transport vessel, the Virgo. All the areas with cultural remains in Virgohamna are protected. To disembark here, one must have written permission from the Governor of Svalbard.

Day 4 Sailing among Ice Floes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your captain sails right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and state of the ice allowing, you can 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 Texas Bar, Liefdefjorden | Monacobreen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Despite the name given to the place, you are neither in Texas nor in a bar; it is actually an unusual place in the High Arctic. Texas Bar is a former trapper’s hut that was used by arctic fox and polar bear hunters in the past. The hut, still in place, has a rudimentary interior with bunkbeds and kitchen utensils. Located at the entrance to Liefdefjorden (the “fjord of love”), it stands peacefully in a landscape of hills covered with moss, lichen, and flowers. The cliffs with their changing colors, very frequented by birds, complete the beauty of the panorama. Take a little hike up the slopes and admire the superb view over the Monaco Glacier, which is further south.

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 Ny Alesund | Kongsfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your cruise, discover Ny Alesund, a former mining town that has been transformed into a scientific base. Founded in 1916, this small town was the departure point for many Arctic expeditions, including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. Don't miss a visit to the museum and its famous post office, considered to be the most northerly in the world!

The area of Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden boasts magnificent natural scenery. The spectacular mountain formations reflect different geological periods. The island of Brøggerhalvøya lies within an area along the west coast of Svalbard, which is characterized by abundant thrusts that formed in the early Tertiary when Greenland was pressed obliquely against Svalbard The result is that layers of older bedrock lie on top of younger strata.

Day 7 ​Alkhornet | Pyramiden | Nordenskiöld Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Alkhornet, at the northern entrance of Isfjorden, is a striking landmark. The landscape around this large bird cliff is lush and beautiful. East of Alkhornet you can find a deep and several kilometer-long bay with an exciting and diverse history. Here you can find important and vulnerable cultural remains dating from several of Svalbard’s historical periods. Alkhornet and Trygghamna offer visitors an interesting combination of cultural history and natural environment. The name Trygghamna, which literally means the safe harbor, refers to the good mooring conditions and the sheltered harbor offering lee of most winds.

The Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden was discontinued and abandoned in 1998. Since then time has virtually been standing still here. With its wide streets and planned town-structure the place is a witness to the Soviet presence on the islands in the 1970s and 1980s. Everything here was designed with effectiveness and with mining in mind, but also with the intention of taking care of the workers’ welfare and family life. In contrast to the male-dominated Longyearbyen, a community of families was characteristic for the Russian settlements.

Nordenskiöld Fjord or Nordenskjöld Fjord is a fjord in Peary Land, northern Greenland, offering vast opportunities for wildlife viewing and spectacular vistas.

Day 8 Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Say farewell to your fellow passengers and L'Austral crew and start your journey back home. Fly from Longyearbyen to Paris on a European airline.

L'Austral

Per person starting at
$9,070
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

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:

• All meals while on board the ship 
• Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
• “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
• Evening entertainment and events
• 24h room service (special selection)
• English-speaking lecturer 
• 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
• Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
• Park entry fees into protected areas
• Complimentary boot rental on select cruises
• Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).

Cruise, Flights & Transfers program rates are per person and also include:

• Flights Paris/Longyearbyen/Paris in economy class, on European airlines
• Meet and Greet by representatives at the destination airport
• Transfers to and/or from the ship and other services before and after the cruise according to detailed programs available upon request 10 months prior departure
* Flights are being studied and are subject to change until the flight plan is confirmed and this up to 3 months prior to each cruise

Cruise fares do not include:

• Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned in each “Cruise, Flights & Transfers” package and for which details are available upon request
• Pre- or post-cruise programs, overland programs, or shore excursions mentioned in the cruise brochure
• Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
• Luggage handling
• Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides, and drivers
• Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
• Dives when authorized by local authorities and feasible with ship equipment and zodiacs. Rates: 70 € per standard dive; 80€ per dive when local equipment or staff must be used, 80€ for a “discover scuba dive” course. In order to participate to diving sessions, guests must have with them a medical certificate less than 1 year old and their up-to-date dive book.
• Beverages other than the ones mentioned
• Laundry services, hair salon, and à la carte Spa treatments
• Personal expenses, on board medical consultations, and drug prescriptions
• Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)

Please Note:
Please do not forget to bring your medical certificates when it is required to participate in an expedition cruise. 

These voyages include activities such as Zodiac® landings (sometimes wet landings), Zodiac® outings, moderate walks, to more active hikes accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Considering the nature of the programs, a reasonable level of mobility is required to enjoy these expeditions.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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