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 discover Spitsbergen, the largest island in Svalbard - known to Vikings, traders and early explorers. Enjoy prime viewing as you explore cliffs by ship and Zodiac (even sea kayak!) and watch for polar bears, walruses, or beluga whales breaching in the icy water. 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.
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
Take advantage of the long daylight hours to spot polar bears, walruses, and belugas
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, 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. Set sail from Longyearbyen around 6pm, heading north from Adventfjorden - the first of our fjords - into Isfjorden.
Look out for beluga whales as you cruise the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. Next, take an on-shore excursion to an old hunting cabin and see piles of whale bones on the beach (a stark reminder of Svalbard's whaling history) and enjoy a scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. You may even catch a glimpse of reindeer that inhabit the region.
Wake today for a cruise to the impressive Lilliehook Glacier, located at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden. The glacier face is 262-feet high and stretches over 4 miles! Viewed from the ship or on a Zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of Svalbard. Anchor near a small harbor and take a Zodiac cruise to view birds and seals near the 14th of July Glacier.
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.
At 81° north latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole and offers great potential for fantastic polar bear viewing thanks to its proximity to the permanent Arctic ice pack. Be sure to get up to the ship's bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude!
Cruise the main channel separating Svalbard's two main islands today. 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!
Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or Zodiac cruise between the islands. There are also a number of excellent hiking routes here, all with breathtaking views. The expedition staff will split up amongst different hiking groups offering short, medium and long hikes.
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 around the perimeter of the colony without impacting the birds. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as 'Blubber Town.' As you hike the shoreline of the old station, learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago.
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a walrus colony on Prins Karls Forland (Prince Charles Island). Tonight, celebrate your 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.
Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, 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, there are a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or Oslo.
MT Sobek's Polar Value Promise means that we offer in-house services to help plan and execute you polar adventure for no added cost.
Over 30 years offering polar voyages we have built strong relationships with polar service providers and ships that cruise the High Arctic.
We choose ships and operators that maintain a high level of commitment to safety, people, value, quality, environment, well-being, and customer service.
Expert polar interpretation and presentations, professional navigation through Arctic waters, wildlife experiences, hiking, and Zodiac cruising. Optional kayaking.
Ice-strengthened and well-appointed polar expedition ships offer a comfortable and safe way to explore the Arctic. Enjoy healthy cuisine and wellness services onboard.
The air is very dry. Expect a mix of sun, clouds, wind, rain, and possible snow. Daytime temperatures are usually 38°- 50°F.
We offer this trip on a private basis with seasonal departure dates that offer great flexibility (pending availability). Click below to request dates and an MT Sobek Regional Specialist will be in touch to help organize your private adventure.
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