These extended circumnavigations – which include the rarely visited northern islands and picturesque straits of the Svalbard Archipelago – provide our guests more time to seek out Ursus maritimus in its natural habitat.
On this in-depth Arctic wildlife cruise, we’ll also venture to the jumbled, ever-shifting southern edge of the polar ice cap. Here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, we’ll search for polar bears stalking their prey. Whether it’s of a calving iceberg along the jagged, mountainous coastline or the otherworldly hush of a land where man is an infrequent visitor, your memories of this Svalbard expedition cruise will last a lifetime.
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative
center of Svalbard and starting point of our Arctic
expedition. At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be
greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality
hotel, which has been arranged by us and is
included in the price of the program. Since guests
will be arriving on various flights during the day,
we ask you to stop by our Poseidon Welcome Desk
at the hotel where you will receive some
preliminary information and suggestions for dining
(on your own today).
Depending on your flight’s arrival, you may have time to visit some of the town’s cafes, restaurants, shops
and post office. If you notice that daytime has stretched well into the evening, get used to it! The sun
won’t set for the entire duration our time in Svalbard!
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Longyearbyen. Take in the views of icy
fjords and glaciated mountains surrounding this historic former coal-mining town. Take advantage
of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just
remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on
board the ship. For lunch, Longyearbyen offers quick and easy meal options including the most
northerly pizzas and kebabs in the world.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the gorgeous scenery in 24-hour daylight as we pass through the wildlife-rich waters of Isfjorden.
During our expedition, we hope to experience the many facets of this incredible High Arctic territory.
Our exact schedule and route will be shaped by the weather, sea ice and experience of our expedition
leader and captain. At the peak of the summer season, we will almost certainly find the ice
conditions to be favorable for a full circumnavigation, so we will make an attempt to go
around Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago and even to the northeastern
most part of the archipelago – Kvitøya. Much of the pristine nature of Spitsbergen is protected by a
system of national parks, and we will try to visit some of them during the voyage. Below, please find a
brief summary of what we might expect.
Human habitation – rare along our route – can be found at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town and airship base that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements where we find a museum, gift shop and post office.
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park is the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here we find deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain ranges and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into
turquoise waters. The skies are filled with millions of murres, guillemots and little auks, whose eggs are
just now hatching at countless breeding colonies located on small islands, mountainsides and sea cliffs
within the park. This is also a great time to encounter marine mammals, including beluga whales and
various Arctic seals. Set among this incredible scenery and wildlife activity, we also find evidence of
Svalbard’s earliest sealers and whalers.
On this departure, we will go to the eastern and northern regions of the Svalbard Archipelago –
infrequently visited aboard expedition ships – experiencing the isolation and beautiful remoteness of
Svalbard’s Arctic wilderness areas.
We will explore Kvitøya (White Island), the most rarely visited and closest island to Franz Josef Land. This island, almost completely covered by ice, became the final resting place of the balloon expedition of the Swedish polar explorer Salomon August Andrée. Kvitøya is not always accessible to expedition ships, but it may provide another opportunity to observe polar bears in their natural habitat. Another site we hope to explore will be Karl XII Öya, which is the northernmost part of Svalbard. Polar explorers Alfred Gabriel Nathorst and Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld visited this remote island in the 19th century, and now we hope to explore it on a Zodiac cruise.
During this voyage, we expect to encounter significant sea ice concentrations in the enormous Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve. In this remote and isolated region, ice can persist very late into the summer.
This reserve covers the rugged northwestern parts of Spitsbergen and the entirety of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in Svalbard. Here we find the massive Austfonna ice cap, part of which meets the sea along the 45-kilometer ice cliff known as Bråsvellbreen—one of the great wonders of the Arctic world.
The polar desert environment supports little in the way of vegetation but hosts prodigious numbers of
seabirds at breeding sites such as the spectacular sea cliffs of Alkefjellet. The probability of encountering polar bears and walrus in this icy wilderness is very high.
Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve is truly a pristine and rarely visited wilderness containing hundreds
After you enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board, we bid you farewell in Longyearbyen. We provide
transfers to the airport or to the town center in case you plan to stay longer in Svalbard. By this
time, you may already be making plans for your next amazing trip with us into the polar realm!
This expedition includes:
This expedition excludes: