An Arctic Odyssey in the Land of the Polar Bear

Overview

Norway’s far-flung Svalbard Archipelago, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, includes the “big island” of Spitsbergen—rugged, wild, and utterly unforgettable bathed in the light of the midnight sun. Our circumnavigation of Spitsbergen is an Arctic adventure that brings us deep into the realm of reindeer, walrus, and most excitingly, the polar bear, the icon of Svalbard. This thrilling expedition offers not just extraordinary wildlife, from Arctic fox to whales, but also the brilliant summer colors of the Arctic tundra and the majesty of Spitsbergen’s jagged mountains and cliff-lined fjords. Fantastic day hikes and adventures by Zodiac enrich our journey, along with options for sea kayaking and camping.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Please note: When traveling in extremely remote regions, the expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice, and the weather to guide the route. The below is a projected outline of what we experience. Please be aware that no specific itinerary or experience can be guaranteed.

Day 1, Jul 24, 2016
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.

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Days 2-12, Jul 25-Aug 4, 2016
Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

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.

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Day 13, Aug 5, 2016
Longyearbyen / Disembark

Your adventure ends where it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. Disembark about 9:00 am and transfer to the airport for flights home. Flights should not be scheduled to depart until after 12:00 noon.

Highlights

Highlights

Spitsbergen—best place in the world to see polar bears!
Incredible wildlife including walrus, reindeer, and Arctic fox
The midnight sun and brilliant colors of the tundra in summer
Hiking, Zodiac cruises, optional sea kayaking

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $7995  
Arrive: Longyearbyen, Norway
Depart: Longyearbyen, Norway
Lodging: 12 nights aboard a vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration and walking tours
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