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Polar bears in the Arctic

North Spitsbergen Explorer - Polar Bears, Bowhead Whales & More

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard MV Plancius
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Set sail on an 8-day North Spitsbergen Explorer cruise aboard MV Plancius. Departing from Longyearbyen, explore the icy waters of Isfjorden, keeping an eye out for minke whales. Journey into the pack ice and along rugged north Spitsbergen's remote shores. Marvel at Raudfjord's glaciers and vibrant seabird colonies, and spot Brünnich’s guillemots at Hamiltonbukta. Explore historic Ytre Norskøya, home to Dutch whalers' remains and puffin colonies. Cruise past the majestic Monaco Glacier, a hotspot for polar bears. Navigate the pack ice, encountering polar bears and bowhead whales. Sail past Forlandsundet, St. Johns Fjord, or Alkhornet, where walruses, Arctic foxes, and reindeer thrive. As your journey ends in Longyearbyen, cherish memories of polar wildlife encounters and stunning landscapes.
Walruses huddled together on the iceHiking in SpitsbergenWhale sightingGlass-still waters around SpitsbergenVisit the colorful town of Longyearbyen in the far northSpitzbergen, Svalbard und Jan MayenArctic Polar Bear Polar bears in the Arctic
Highlights
  • Witness the stark beauty of Spitsbergen's countryside, teeming with life
  • Encounter the grandeur of Raudfjord, home to seals and seabirds
  • Watch for minke whales and the elusive Greenland whale
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen, Norway | Embark

You touch down in 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 plant 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 2-7: North Spitsbergen

This voyage will take you into the pack ice and along the remote shorelines of rugged north Spitsbergen. Our landings are subject to change due to sea ice, weather conditions, and wildlife sightings. The expedition leader determines the final plan. Places you might visit include:

Raudfjord

On the north coast of Spitsbergen, you can enjoy this expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Hamiltonbukta

Here we can see an impressive colony of Brünnich’s guillemots.

Ytre Norskøya

This small island was used for many years as a lookout point for Dutch whalers, and in fact we can still follow their tracks to the summit of the island. The remains of 17th-century blubber ovens can also be seen near about 200 graves. The north side of the island offers the rare opportunity to see puffins near their breeding places, and there is even a small colony of kittiwakes.

Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather and sea ice, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this precipitous 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 us from sailing here early in the season, we can implement an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen.

Northwest of Raudfjord

We aim to sail into the pack ice outside the territorial waters of Svalbard, watching for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. As we sail from 80 N to 76 N along and in the outer fringes of the ice edge, we will also look for harp seals, hooded seals, polar bears, and migrating seabirds like little auks, Brünnich’s guillemots, and kittiwakes. On previous voyages in this area, we have sometimes seen up to hundred bowhead whales. We also have the chance to see northern bottlenose whales and the first fin whales of the season. The pack ice sailing will be a highlight of this voyage and may take up to three days.

Forlandsundet, St. Johns Fjord, or Alkhornet

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet. Alternatively, we might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.

Day 8: 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

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,300 2-3 travelers
Quadruple Porthole
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Quadruple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Quadruple Porthole
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Triple Porthole
4 cabins with private facilities, 2 bunk beds. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin porthole cabin
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Twin with Porthole
9 twin private cabins with porthole. Two Lower berths. (ca. 15 m2)
Twin with window
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Twin with Window
26 twin private cabins with window. Two Lower berths (ca. 15 m2)
Twin Deluxe
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Twin Deluxe
2 twin private deluxe cabins. Lower berths - two single beds.(ca. 15 m2)
Superior
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Superior
10 twin superior cabins. Lower berth - double bed. (ca. 21 m2)

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
- Single occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share twin price
-Children between the ages of 3-15 will be discounted 40% in triple or quad cabins, one child per cabin.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Plancius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges Throughout the Program
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • AECO Fees and Governmental Taxes
  • Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Pre- and Post Land Arrangements
  • Fuel Surcharge - to be invoiced separately
  • 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.
  • Medical travel insurance, including emergency medical attention and evacuation coverage with a minimum of $100,000 of evacuation coverage is required.
  • Parkas are not provided on your cruise. Please bring your own windproof, waterproof, insulated parka with you. You will want to make sure it is roomy enough to fit warm layers underneath. Click here for information about parka rental.

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