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Spitsbergen Explorer

Trip Length 10 days

From $5,495

  • Cruise the spectacular fjords of Norway's Svalbard Archipelago on a well-appointed and ice-strengthened expedition ship
  • Follow in the footsteps of Vikings as you explore Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago
  • Sail to the edge of the polar pack ice, crossing 80 degrees north latitude!
  • Take advantage of the long daylight hours to spot polar bears, walruses, and belugas, in this wondrous land of water, ice and rock

Discover the realm of the polar bear, a savagely beautiful land of ice and snow, glassy fjords, and expansive tundra on this exciting Arctic adventure. Cruising the Svalbard Archipelago aboard a comfortable, ice-strengthened vessel, you'll get as close as 621 miles from the North Pole, and discover Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard—known to Vikings, traders, and early explorers. To ensure prime viewing, you'll get up close to the cliffs and waterways by ship and Zodiac (or sea kayak, if you choose) and watch for polar bears hunting along the edge of the ice, herds of walruses sunning themselves beneath massive glaciers, or beluga whales breaching in the icy water. You'll also see nesting puffins, flocks of kittiwakes, and perhaps Arctic foxes and reindeer in the tundra. No two trips are alike, but each one offers rare opportunities to experience the wild and wonderful Arctic, including sailing above 80 degrees north latitude.

Day 1: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Plan to arrive in Longyearbyen, the main town on Spitsbergen, the day before your embarkation. On the first day you can enjoy a trip to the museums or shops, before you board the ship in the mid-afternoon (usually 4pm). Once on board, we'll get together for introductions to meet the expedition team and learn about the ship and its layout. This is also an opportunity to discuss the itinerary and participate in the essential safety and lifeboat drill. We'll set sail from Longyearbyen around 6pm, heading north from Adventfjorden—the first of our fjords—into Isfjorden.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 2: Bourbonhamna

Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature of whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead. It has been postulated the Beluga’s lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice. On our shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. The bones and all artefacts are protected by the Svalbard Government. While wandering on shore we hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 3: Lillihook Glacier and Krossfjorden

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometres and has a height of around 80-meters. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of our surroundings. The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. We anchor off one small harbour and cruise in the zodiacs along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As we cruise the dark waters, we are always on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, both species known to frequent this fjord. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 4: Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears that come here to hunt for ringed seals or feed on bird's eggs.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 5: Phippsoya – Northernmost Point

At 81° north latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. The high ice classification of our ship allows us to approach the edge of the pack ice in safety and comfort. Because of its proximity to the permanent Arctic ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. In recent seasons we have enjoyed excellent encounters with polar bear in this vicinity. 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 we are so close to the North Pole! 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Days 6-7: Hinlopen Strait Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we enter the main channel separating Svalbard’s two main islands. 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 our zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or zodiac cruise between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here, affording us breathtaking views.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 8: Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as ‘Blubber Town’. As we hike the shoreline of the old station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The blubber ovens stand as a reminder to this harsh industry in an equally harsh environment. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 9: Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland

The sight and sound of a walrus haul-out spells Arctic like nothing else can. We visit the walrus colony on Prince Charles Island and hope to see these odd looking animals ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that walrus are ashore - the smell of a walrus haul out is quite 'unique'! Tonight we celebrate our journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 10: Longyearbyen

Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, we disembark after breakfast and say farewell to our expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, we have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.   

 

About our itinerary – Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximise our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship. 

  • Breakfast

Jun 08 - 17, 2017

Jun 17 - 26, 2017

pricing

Summer 2017  (all prices are per person, in US$)
$5,495  Triple cabin, shared bathroom
$6,895  Twin cabin, semi-private bathroom
$7,895  Twin cabin, private bathroom
$8,995  Superior cabin
$9,895  Shackleton Suite
$10,995 One Ocean Suite

$695 Optional Sea Kayaking  (limited space, must be reserved at time of booking)

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Akademik Sergey Vavilov — Polar Expedition Ship

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 (Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B,) 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.

Amenities

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.

  • Cruise the spectacular fjords of Norway's Svalbard Archipelago on a well-appointed and ice-strengthened expedition ship
  • Follow in the footsteps of Vikings as you explore Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago
  • Sail to the edge of the polar pack ice, crossing 80 degrees north latitude!
  • Take advantage of the long daylight hours to spot polar bears, walruses, and belugas, in this wondrous land of water, ice and rock

Discover the realm of the polar bear, a savagely beautiful land of ice and snow, glassy fjords, and expansive tundra on this exciting Arctic adventure. Cruising the Svalbard Archipelago aboard a comfortable, ice-strengthened vessel, you'll get as close as 621 miles from the North Pole, and discover Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard—known to Vikings, traders, and early explorers. To ensure prime viewing, you'll get up close to the cliffs and waterways by ship and Zodiac (or sea kayak, if you choose) and watch for polar bears hunting along the edge of the ice, herds of walruses sunning themselves beneath massive glaciers, or beluga whales breaching in the icy water. You'll also see nesting puffins, flocks of kittiwakes, and perhaps Arctic foxes and reindeer in the tundra. No two trips are alike, but each one offers rare opportunities to experience the wild and wonderful Arctic, including sailing above 80 degrees north latitude.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Plan to arrive in Longyearbyen, the main town on Spitsbergen, the day before your embarkation. On the first day you can enjoy a trip to the museums or shops, before you board the ship in the mid-afternoon (usually 4pm). Once on board, we'll get together for introductions to meet the expedition team and learn about the ship and its layout. This is also an opportunity to discuss the itinerary and participate in the essential safety and lifeboat drill. We'll set sail from Longyearbyen around 6pm, heading north from Adventfjorden—the first of our fjords—into Isfjorden.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 2: Bourbonhamna

Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature of whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead. It has been postulated the Beluga’s lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice. On our shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. The bones and all artefacts are protected by the Svalbard Government. While wandering on shore we hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 3: Lillihook Glacier and Krossfjorden

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometres and has a height of around 80-meters. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of our surroundings. The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. We anchor off one small harbour and cruise in the zodiacs along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As we cruise the dark waters, we are always on the lookout for bearded and ringed seals, both species known to frequent this fjord. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 4: Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears that come here to hunt for ringed seals or feed on bird's eggs.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 5: Phippsoya – Northernmost Point

At 81° north latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. The high ice classification of our ship allows us to approach the edge of the pack ice in safety and comfort. Because of its proximity to the permanent Arctic ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. In recent seasons we have enjoyed excellent encounters with polar bear in this vicinity. 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 we are so close to the North Pole! 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Days 6-7: Hinlopen Strait Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we enter the main channel separating Svalbard’s two main islands. 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 our zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or zodiac cruise between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here, affording us breathtaking views.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 8: Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as ‘Blubber Town’. As we hike the shoreline of the old station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The blubber ovens stand as a reminder to this harsh industry in an equally harsh environment. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 9: Poole Pynten, Prins Karls Forland

The sight and sound of a walrus haul-out spells Arctic like nothing else can. We visit the walrus colony on Prince Charles Island and hope to see these odd looking animals ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that walrus are ashore - the smell of a walrus haul out is quite 'unique'! Tonight we celebrate our journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Day 10: Longyearbyen

Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, we disembark after breakfast and say farewell to our expedition team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, we have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.   

 

About our itinerary – Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximise our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship. 

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Akademik Sergey Vavilov — Polar Expedition Ship

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 (Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B,) 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.

Amenities

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.

Dates and Pricing

Jun 08 - 17, 2017

Jun 17 - 26, 2017

pricing

Summer 2017  (all prices are per person, in US$)
$5,495  Triple cabin, shared bathroom
$6,895  Twin cabin, semi-private bathroom
$7,895  Twin cabin, private bathroom
$8,995  Superior cabin
$9,895  Shackleton Suite
$10,995 One Ocean Suite

$695 Optional Sea Kayaking  (limited space, must be reserved at time of booking)

Select Trip Type Before Requesting Reservation

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure