Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago, of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the surrounds of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord you may see your first minke whale.
Sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favored by ringed and bearded seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bear are often seen here.
Depending on the weather you may sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many common eider and pink-footed goose nest here, and the more rare king eider may also be seen. The ship may sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes. As well, polar bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.
Today sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seal, ringed seal, polar bear, and ivory gull. At the entrance there is the possibility to see blue whale. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in your zodiac and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed goose, breeding ivory gull, and walrus.
Try to reach the northernmost point of your journey at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here find yourself at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice before turning west again.
Retracing your route westwards, venture through and along the pack ice, keeping watch for polar bear and the elusive Greenland whale (bowhead). About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where fin whale forage in summer in the upwellings along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of the Kongsfjord you have also good chances to see minke whale.
In Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul-out place for walruses. Alternatively, sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and arctic foxes search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime arrive in Longyearbyen.
Day 8: Longyearbyen | Disembark
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.
Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
AECO fees and governmental taxes.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
Pre- and post- land arrangements.
Passport and visa expenses.
Government arrival and departure taxes.
Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Please note: It is agreed that if fuel prices will exceed US Dollar 120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure, the MV Plancius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $25 per passenger per night.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!