Around Spitsbergen – In the Realm of Polar Bear and Ice

Coastline and Mountains of Liefdefjord, Svalbard

10 Days/9 Nights

From $4,850 per person

(Dbl. Occupancy, Not Incl. Airfare)

Select June-August Departures

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Overview

Intro Goes Here…

Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 9 nights aboard the ship and 26 meals (9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 9 dinners).

Best Time to Go: May-September.

Destinations: The Arctic, Europe, and Norway.

Interests: Adventure, Culture & History, Expedition Cruising, Sea Kayaking, Whale Watching, and Wildlife Viewing.

Places Visited: Svalbard.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Please Note: The chances that we can complete a full Spitsbergen circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 1992-2019) are about 30% in the first half of July, 70% in the second half, 90% in the first half of August, and 95% in the second half. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may devise a program in northeast or southeast Spitsbergen. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

Day 1: Largest town, biggest island.

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Cruising Krossfjorden.

Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.

In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 3: The massive Monaco Glacier.

Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 4-5: Stop at the Seven Islands.

The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

When the edge of this sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), you can spend a second day in this area. Alternatively (mostly in July) you may turn to Sorgfjord, where you have the chance to find a herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th-century whalers. A nature walk here can bring you close to families of ptarmigans, and the opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 6: Highlights of Hinlopen.

Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals as well as polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. As with Liefdefjorden, you can take an alternate west Spitsbergen route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you then view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. Near Torrelneset you can also visit the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third-largest ice cap. Here you may encounter walruses during a coastline hike over the area’s raised beaches.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 7: Barentsøya’s many bounties.

The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 8: Land of the Pointed Mountains.

You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 9: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history.

Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 10: There and back again.

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Meals: Breakfast

Itinerary Map

Itinerary Map - Around Spitsbergen - In the Realm of Polar Bear and Ice

Prices & Dates

Price per Person

Departure Dates Quad
Porthole
Triple
Porthole
Twin
Porthole
Twin
Window
Twin
Deluxe
Superior Junior Suite Grand Suite (Pvt. Balcony)
Plancius
Jul 6, 15, and 24, 2023
$5,400 $7,700 $7,700 $8,300 $9,000 $10,000 n/a n/a
Hondius
Jun 28 and Aug 1, 2023
$5,400 $6,550 $7,700 $8,300 $9,000 $10,000 $10,650 $12,300
Hondius
Ju1 23, 2023
$4,850 $5,900 $6,950 $8,300 $9,000 $10,000 $10,650 $12,300

 
** The prices shown above are in U.S. Dollars. See the cost of this tour in your currency at xe.com.

Notes:

  1. The above prices are valid until August 1, 2023.
  2. The single supplement is 1.7 times the Twin/Superior price.
  3. Singles willing to share a cabin pay the Twin/Triple, or Quadruple price.
  4. Upon request, children under 16 with parents may receive a 40% discount in Grand Suite, Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents/adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents/adults).

What's Included

Price Includes

  • South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
  • Pre-scheduled group transfers and baggage handling between the airport and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
  • Accommodation on board the M/V Plancius or M/V Hondius.
  • All meals scheduled on board, 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.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare.
  • Domestic airfare.
  • Hotel nights before/after the cruise.
  • Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
  • Passport/visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Gratuities to ship crew and guides (Suggested $00/per/day for the naturalist guides and crew).
  • Bar, telecommunication charges, gifts, and personal items.
  • Travel insurance.

We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare, land services, and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.

Accommodations

Arctic

Additional Details

Group/Private: All services included in this tour are operated on a group basis.

Elevations: N/a.

Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, and Canadian citizens require a valid passport (with at least six months of validity from your departure date) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. EU nationals do not need to show a national ID card or passport, but it is still highly recommended to take them.

Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.

To Book This Trip: Call or email us to confirm the availability of the ship for your desired dates of travel. Once we have confirmed availability, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $000 per person. The balance of the trip cost is due 00 days prior to departure.

Have Questions? Call 1-888-268-9753 to Speak to An Expert.