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Spitsbergen Explorer

From $5,095

  • Cruise the spectacular fjords of the 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
  • Accomodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Days 2-3: Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen

Over the next few days, we'll anchor off of Krossfjorden and board Zodiacs to cruise the cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. These cliffs are home to  numerous bird colonies, so look out for puffins, kittiwakes, and murres nesting in high shelves. As we cruise, we'll also watch for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of Krossfjorden, is a sight to behold and we'll reach it either by Zodiac boat or the ship. Later in the day as we sail out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, we may be fortunate enough to see the airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Alesund. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund as a jumping off point for their Arctic exploits.

Smeerenburgfjorden has a 400-year whaling history and the remains of blubber ovens can still be seen as you want along the beach. Learn about Smeerenburg's fascinating past as you explore the icy landscape.

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

Days 4-5: Seven Islands and the Polar Pack Ice

We'll continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80 degrees north latitide. All eyes will be on the lookout for bears along the ice edge, plus bearded seals, ringed seals and walruses basking on the ice. We may even see harp seals swimming in herds of 10 to 20 through the open waterways. Finally, a buttery-colored lump miles away on the ice metamorphoses into a polar bear as we slowly work our way through the ice toward it. Our ship is perfectly designed for a near-silent approach to the wildlife and our captain takes great pride in bringing us in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it.

At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya, one of the Seven Islands, is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the 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.

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

Days 6-8: Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we'll continue heading south into the strait that separates Svalbard’s two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. As we navigate the roaring tidal currents of the Hinlopen Strait, we'll see the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet—home to more than 100 thousand breeding Brunnich’s guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots. At Murchison Fjord we'll kayak or cruise through the waterways and hike to spectacular viewpoints, while keeping our eyes open for Arctic wildlife.

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

Day 9: Leifdefjorden

As we sail into Leifdefjorden and towards Monaco Glacier, we'll watch for beluga whales along the coast. The adults are pure white, while the younger animals are mottled grey, and it's estimated that there are approximately five to 10 thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. Belugas are the only whales that can articulate their heads to nod and turn sideways. Like other whale species that live in the high Arctic, belugas have no dorsal fin. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice.

At Monaco Glacier, we'll take a Zodiac cruise amidst a fabulous backdrop: Miles of ice face broken up by the odd ice cave or tumbling serac with thousands of black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow. Next we'll take a hike on the vibrant tundra and spot birds such as red phalaropes and purple sandpipers, while enjoying numerous photo opportunities. As we walk, the remains of fox traps and sun bleached seal bones speak of both human interaction and wildlife predation.

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

Day 10: Alkehornet

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers stunning views and an incredible tundra walk as we wrap up our adventure in Svalbard. Arctic foxes and reindeers are often spotted here. Towering above the beach is a sheer, horn-shaped cliff covered with a swooping, screeching chorus of guillemots and kittiwakes.

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

Day 11: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

We'll enjoy one last hearty breakfast aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and prepare to disembark shortly after.

  • Breakfast

No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

pricing

Air Credit of $500 per person on Summer 2015 departures. Subject to availability.

All prices are per person in US$:

Summer 2015

July 3-13  (11-day trip):
$5,495 per person (Triple cabin shared bath)
$7,495 per person (Twin cabin semi-private bath)
$8,595 per person (Twin cabin private bath)
$9,395 per person (Superior cabin)
$10,395 per person (Shackleton suite)
$11,495 per person (One Ocean suite)

July 13-22 (10-day trip):
$5,095 per person (Triple cabin shared bath)
$6,695 per person (Twin cabin semi-private bath)
$7,395 per person (Twin cabin private bath)
$8,495 per person (Superior cabin)
$9,295 per person (Shackleton suite)
$10,195 per person (One Ocean suite)

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

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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.

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 the 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
  • Accomodation:Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Days 2-3: Krossfjorden and Northwestern Spitsbergen

Over the next few days, we'll anchor off of Krossfjorden and board Zodiacs to cruise the cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. These cliffs are home to  numerous bird colonies, so look out for puffins, kittiwakes, and murres nesting in high shelves. As we cruise, we'll also watch for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.

Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of Krossfjorden, is a sight to behold and we'll reach it either by Zodiac boat or the ship. Later in the day as we sail out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, we may be fortunate enough to see the airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Alesund. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund as a jumping off point for their Arctic exploits.

Smeerenburgfjorden has a 400-year whaling history and the remains of blubber ovens can still be seen as you want along the beach. Learn about Smeerenburg's fascinating past as you explore the icy landscape.

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

Days 4-5: Seven Islands and the Polar Pack Ice

We'll continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80 degrees north latitide. All eyes will be on the lookout for bears along the ice edge, plus bearded seals, ringed seals and walruses basking on the ice. We may even see harp seals swimming in herds of 10 to 20 through the open waterways. Finally, a buttery-colored lump miles away on the ice metamorphoses into a polar bear as we slowly work our way through the ice toward it. Our ship is perfectly designed for a near-silent approach to the wildlife and our captain takes great pride in bringing us in close enough to experience the wildlife without disturbing it.

At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya, one of the Seven Islands, is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the 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.

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

Days 6-8: Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

From the ice edge we'll continue heading south into the strait that separates Svalbard’s two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. As we navigate the roaring tidal currents of the Hinlopen Strait, we'll see the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet—home to more than 100 thousand breeding Brunnich’s guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots. At Murchison Fjord we'll kayak or cruise through the waterways and hike to spectacular viewpoints, while keeping our eyes open for Arctic wildlife.

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

Day 9: Leifdefjorden

As we sail into Leifdefjorden and towards Monaco Glacier, we'll watch for beluga whales along the coast. The adults are pure white, while the younger animals are mottled grey, and it's estimated that there are approximately five to 10 thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. Belugas are the only whales that can articulate their heads to nod and turn sideways. Like other whale species that live in the high Arctic, belugas have no dorsal fin. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice.

At Monaco Glacier, we'll take a Zodiac cruise amidst a fabulous backdrop: Miles of ice face broken up by the odd ice cave or tumbling serac with thousands of black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow. Next we'll take a hike on the vibrant tundra and spot birds such as red phalaropes and purple sandpipers, while enjoying numerous photo opportunities. As we walk, the remains of fox traps and sun bleached seal bones speak of both human interaction and wildlife predation.

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

Day 10: Alkehornet

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers stunning views and an incredible tundra walk as we wrap up our adventure in Svalbard. Arctic foxes and reindeers are often spotted here. Towering above the beach is a sheer, horn-shaped cliff covered with a swooping, screeching chorus of guillemots and kittiwakes.

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

Day 11: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

We'll enjoy one last hearty breakfast aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov and prepare to disembark shortly after.

  • Breakfast

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.

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

No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

pricing

Air Credit of $500 per person on Summer 2015 departures. Subject to availability.

All prices are per person in US$:

Summer 2015

July 3-13  (11-day trip):
$5,495 per person (Triple cabin shared bath)
$7,495 per person (Twin cabin semi-private bath)
$8,595 per person (Twin cabin private bath)
$9,395 per person (Superior cabin)
$10,395 per person (Shackleton suite)
$11,495 per person (One Ocean suite)

July 13-22 (10-day trip):
$5,095 per person (Triple cabin shared bath)
$6,695 per person (Twin cabin semi-private bath)
$7,395 per person (Twin cabin private bath)
$8,495 per person (Superior cabin)
$9,295 per person (Shackleton suite)
$10,195 per person (One Ocean suite)

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

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