Explore the realm of the polar bear aboard a comfortable ice-class expedition vessel
With a spectacular panorama of ice and water, rugged mountains, and expansive tundra, the Svalbard Archipelago is unequaled in wild splendor. It boasts an impressive array of wildlife and a rich human history (Spitsbergen, the largest island of the archipelago, was known to the Vikings and subsequently visited by whalers, fur traders, and explorers). Our goal on this Arctic expedition (with frequent shore stops) is to hike and to undertake cruises in Zodiacs, often close to sea cliffs and abundant wildlife, which includes polar bears (the stars of the show!), beluga whales, walrus, reindeer, Arctic fox, and a huge array of avian fauna. You'll travel in comfort aboard an ice-strengthened polar expedition ship that is the ideal home base for exploring this remarkable wilderness.
Easy ship travel, optional walks and Zodiac rides, optional sea kayaking
- Fantastic scenery—a wondrous land of rock and ice, and home to a rich range of bird and animal life
- Make the most of the long daylight hours to search for polar bears, walrus, beluga, and other wildlife
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Longyearbyen End Location: LongyearbyenDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
We embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, we will meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to our dining room for our first meal aboard.
Days 2 - 3 : Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. We will anchor
off one small harbour and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As we cruise
these waters we will also keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this
fjord. Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we
round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen.
Days 4 - 5 : Seven Islands and the Polar Pack Ice
We continue our exploration around the northern coast of Spitsbergen, and head east into the pack ice, hoping to cross the 80th parallel North. We'll hope to be searching for polar bears at Phippsoya, one of the Seven Islands, only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole.
Days 6 - 8 : Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet
From the ice edge we head south into the strait separating Svalbard’s two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet.
Day 9 : Leifdefjorden
As we sail into Leifdefjorden and towards Monaco Glacier, we will keep a look out for beluga whales along the coast. Monaco Glacier provides a fabulous backdrop for a zodiac cruise, followed by a hike on the tundra.
Day 10 : Alkehornet
Alkehornet offers stunning views and an incredible tundra walk as we wrap up our adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer.
Day 11 : Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
Arrive back in Longyearbyen and fly back to the mainland.
DATES: Best time to go: June - July Departures: Jun 3 - 13, 2015 Note: this trip is only 10 days long and ends on June 12 Jul 3 - 13, 2015 Special Photography departure!! Jul 13 - 23, 2015 Note: this trip is only 10 days long and ends on July 22 Jul 22, 2015 - Aug 1, 2015
(All prices are per person in US$):
June 3-12 and July 13-22 (10-day trip):
July 3-13 and July 22-August 1 (11-day trip):
$695 Optional Sea Kayaking (limited space, must be reserved at time of booking)
Akademik Sergey Vavilov
The 92-passenger Akademik Sergey Vavilov is modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, the Vavilov was designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ship is maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. Akademik Sergey Vavilov has an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. This expedition ship is the ideal base for polar adventure trips.
From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces onboard the ship are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge located on Deck 6, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
The ship’s bridge is located on Deck 6 and is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.
One dining room with unreserved seating.
Theatre-style presentation room.
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits.
Library with a collection of polar-themed books.
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite.
Clinic with licensed doctor.
Gym, sauna and swimming pool.
One elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way. These trips are often led by:
Aaron Lawton developed the Polar program for One Ocean Expeditions (our partner in the Polar Regions), bringing a strong commitment to conservation in the Polar Regions to his work in operations development. An avid paddler, Aaron has been paddling or rowing some form of human-powered boat for most of his life. His experience encompasses wilderness guiding and instruction by canoe and sea kayak, varsity rowing and most recently a passion for Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe racing. Thousands of miles on the water have given him an appreciation and awareness for the subtle changes in the ocean due to local weather and global climate patterns. Aaron is truly Canadian having lived in the mountains of the Yukon Territory, among the wheat fields of Manitoba, in the orchards of Southern Ontario and along the briny coast of Nova Scotia, all by the ripe old age of twelve. Continuing this passion for new places, Aaron has worked in the outdoor industry on six of the seven continents. Over the last decade, Aaron has been expedition leader or kayak guide on about a hundred trips to the Canadian Arctic, the Antarctic Peninsula and Svalbard. In 2001, Aaron and his wife Cathy embarked on a 10-night unassisted sea kayak expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula. Aaron holds a degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia. This has led to a real appreciation for and understanding of ecology and the connectivity of ecosystems.
Andrew is the Managing Director of One Ocean Expeditions Inc. (our partner in the Polar Regions) and brings his passion for polar regions and their conservation into any discussion he can. An adventurer in his own right, Andrew is an accomplished ocean racing sailor. He led a team that won a race across the Atlantic Ocean in a 30-foot sailboat; he has sailed around Cape Horn in a Southern Ocean gale and competitively raced yachts and high performance dinghies all over the world. Andrew is also a published photographer and an avid snowboarder, spending his quiet time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Andrew grew up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and has brought his East Coast sense of humor with him all along the way. After earning a degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, he played a strategic planning role for a major Canadian player in the transportation industry. With around five years in the corporate world under his belt but searching for a life of meaning, Andrew decided to "run away to sea". What started as a three-month commitment to manage a ship transformed itself into a very successful entrepreneurial career in expedition cruising where he could apply his experience and his passion. With a reputation for innovation and attention to detail, Andrew has become well known in the expedition cruise industry for the high quality expedition cruise programs he develops. He is also noted for his attention to vital areas of safety and his commitment to environmental protection.