Svalbard - Last stop before the North Pole

From Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
  • All Arctic Cruises
  • Spitsbergen
  • Expedition
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

You will be in awe of the stunning Arctic landscapes and wildlife on this 8 day expedition cruise exploring Svalbard.

Embark on the Ocean Atlantic, a sturdy ice-class expedition vessel, she is built to withstand the pack ice of the North Pole. On this adventure the aim is to cruise up as north as possible to the pack ice above Svalbard...where polar bears can be found roaming over ice. 

Its summer time in the Arctic, and along with polar bears, we hope to discover whales breaching, walruses wallowing on the beaches, and arctic foxes and seals out hunting for dinner. The coastlines of Svalbard present some dramatic cliff formations, and as we explore up close we will observe areas teeming with birdlife...a real sight to see. Arctic guillemots, black guillemots and razorbills and more will delight all nature lovers. During the long hours of daylight there is lots of time for up close exploration onboard a fleet of zodiac and shore landings for walks and exploration. 

Svalbard, and its remote beauty, really does feel like the last stop before the North Pole.

 

Viva's Best Bits...

"Sometimes it was the little things that surprised me, like how beautiful and delicate flowers somehow managed to bloom in the harsh, seemingly barren Arctic landscape!" Tara, Team Viva.

Venture as far north of Svalbard as possible to the edge of the pack ice, also the polar bear´s favorite summer residence. The views of the pack ice are amazing in themselves, enjoy watching from the deck as your vessel pushes through.

Take zodiac cruises passed glaciers and cliffs, land and walk in the high arctic, summer is perfect for lots of activity, birds nesting, reindeer grazing, foxes hunting and more!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

Arrival to Longyearbyen, Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.

Our vessel is docked close to the town center. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The Captain then takes the ship out of Advent Fjord and our Arctic adventure commences.

Day 2
Regnardneset and Lilliehöök Glacier

During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we have passed Prins Karls Forland and have arrived in the magnificent Krossfjord. Our visit to Svalbard is in the middle of the arctic summer and at this time of year the migrating birds are very active. The months of June and July offers the best chances of spotting exotic and fantastic birds. We plan on making a landing during the morning at Möllerhamna or in another suitable location. The majestic landscape around Regnardneset in the innermost area of Krossfjorden give us our first taste of what has enticed the early explorers of these lands in the far north.

In the afternoon, we continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, we may do a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front… or enjoy a lecture.

With some arctic luck we will be able to navigate past the magnificent scenery in the bay of Fjortende Juli, where the glacier Fjortende Juli-breen calves into the fjord. A fitting end to a day full of scenic views and arctic wildlife.

Day 3
North West Svalbard

Former Whaling Station at Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskøya.

We have now entered North West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production.

There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow we’ll make a landing on Ytre Norskøya, where whalers would have their lookout posts.

Day 4
Alkefjellet and Torrelnesset

In the morning we arrive and cruise slowly by the famous Alkefjellet. If the weather is on “our side” we will have a good view of the steep cliffs. The whole area is home to a dense congregation of Brünichs guillemots. There are so many of the birds, that hardly an inch is free. During the summer the breeding pairs offer a wild view of frantic activity, both along the cliffs and in the sea in front.

More wildlife awaits us as we land at the polar desert landscapes of Torrelnesset. The beach here is home to a host of walruses that lay amongst each other. They feed on the clams and any other molluscs that they can find in the shallows of Svalbard’s waters.

Day 5
The pack ice and polar bear country

Cruising towards the pack ice and Sjuøyane, Polar Bear Country at 80 degrees around eastern Svalbard.
During the night the ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target for us is just the ‘edge’, possibly at 80 degrees north! This is the kingdom of the polar bear! As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seals - resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find. A hard life indeed!

During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed on board in the Viking Theater. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, our captain will cruise slowly between the floes and look for wildlife.

A part goal of the day is to also reach the island Nordaustlandet and hopefully its 7 (or 9, depending on how you count) smaller islands Sjuøyane in the far north of Svalbard. The almost vegetation-free, rocky islands are located around 1000 km more northernly than mainland Norway’s famous Nordkapp.

Weather permitting, we will land and walk these most northern landmasses. The high Arctic islands are quite barren, only with moss and lichens covering the stones. The birdlife is rich in this area and some of the rarer gulls frequent these islands. So bring your binoculars.

At the end of the day, we will start cruising towards the Liefdefjord and its landscapes which we will see tomorrow.

Day 6
Liefde Fjord and Monaco Glacier

Liefde Fiord with Monaco Glacier and Texas Bar.
During the night we head to Wood Fjord and its branch, the Liefde Fjord. Our plan is to slow cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen. This gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs. The ice front is named after Albert I of Monaco, who was a major sponsor of Svalbard research.

Many trappers historically hunted and trapped in these areas. Some of them stayed over the winter and built cabins. The cabin known as Texas Bar is said to be named after the US state of Texas. This cabin was built in 1927. We plan to visit the area around the cabin and enjoy the scenery that surrounds us.

Day 7
Ny Ålesund and Ny London

Today we enter the beautiful Kongs Fjord known for the former mining settlement and simply being one of the most amazing fjord areas in all of Svalbard. Our first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history. The Captain will try to get alongside, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.

On the opposite side of the fjord we find the abandoned marble mining settlement Ny London. Its history is short but hectic, as the marble deposits allowed for an almost Klondike like rush to mine the resources. Wars and failing financial viability ended the adventure only 9 years after it started. We take a walk amongst the ruins of workshops, locomotives and cranes, testament to the great but failed investments.

After the visit, we are southbound towards the entrance to the Isfjord. On our way towards Longyearbyen, we hope to get our last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard.

Day 8
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

Early in the morning the ship has returned to our starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the expedition team and crew, disembarkation will take place. Transfer is arranged to the airport.

Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all our passengers and staff.

For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, our ships have excellent public areas, such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for our passengers to spend their spare time. Our ships are staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 7 nights in a shared stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
  • Included Copy 20 Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and farewell cocktails
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Charter flight Oslo-Longyearbyen-Oslo
  • Included Copy 20 English-speaking expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Taxes, tariffs and AECO fees
  • Included Copy 20 Special photo workshop
  • Included Copy 20 Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
  • Included Copy 31 Option to add kayaking
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities for the crew (recommended US$13.50 per person per day)
  • Included Copy 7 Flights not listed, travel insurance, beverages
Transportation
Ocean Atlantic

198 Passengers

Ocean Albatros

193 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Fantastic Arctic wildlife spotting opportunities - whales, walruses, reindeer, polar bears.
  • Included Zodiac excursions, cruise close to huge glaciers and cliffs teeming with bird life.
  • Included Shore landings to discover historic sites, view wildlife and stunning views.
  • Included Experience a remote area of the Arctic, full of fjords and glacial landscapes.
  • Included Spot arctic guillemots, black guillemots and razorbills, maybe even some puffins!
  • Included Sail as close as possible to the pack ice north of Svalbard, take a polar plunge if you dare!
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

8 days

Price from

$3,990 USD

Per person, twin share

Based on an inside cabin

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