Longyearbyen, Norway /Embark
Your Spitsbergen expedition begins when you board in Longyearbyen, Svalberg Island’s largest settlement, with a population of 2,000. This rugged island’s glacier-topped mountains rise majestically from the icy Arctic waters surrounding it. All meals included aboard ship.
You can expect a new adventure every day as you circle Spitsbergen and explore its smaller, outlying islands. The incredible wildlife and the variety of geological formations are astounding. Every expedition to Spitsbergen will be unique, depending on local conditions, but a few of the favorite landing sites include the 14th of July Glacier, Alkefjellet, Ny London, Sundneset, Phippsoya, and Isbukta. The names may not sound familiar, but they each have their own special appeal. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese, and Arctic terns, while Alkefjellet is home to nesting Brunich guillemots and thick-billed murres. On Ny London and Sundneset, have our cameras ready for the opportunity to see herds of reindeers. And on Phippsoya and Isbukta, you’ll have the privilege of seeing the largest land carnivore in the world—the polar bear. The walrus sanctuary off Moffen Island is another place often visited, as it can offer great opportunities for photographing walrus from the sea. You also have the potential to see Beluga whales. A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture, not only to see how its people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry here and you will see blubber ovens and other whaling evidence at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.