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Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

An Arctic Odyssey in the Land of the Polar Bear aboard the Sea Spirit

Spitsbergen Circumnavigation route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7995  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Longyearbyen, Norway
Depart: Longyearbyen, Norway
Lodging: 12 nights aboard 112-passenger 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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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

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Visa Requirements

US citizens do not need a visa for Norway. If you are a citizen of any country other than the US, check with a local consulate for entry requirements.

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 on the expedition ship Sea Spirit 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.

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
Longyearbyen, Norway /Embark

Our Spitsbergen expedition begins when we board the Sea Spirit 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.

Days 2-12
Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

We can expect a new adventure every day as we 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 our 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, we’ll have our cameras ready for the opportunity to see herds of reindeers. And on Phippsoya and Isbukta, we’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 we often visit, as it can offer great opportunities for photographing walrus from the sea. We 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 we will see blubber ovens and other whaling evidence at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.

Day 13
Longyearbyen / Disembark

Our adventure ends where it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. We 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.

Note: These cruises are not exclusive Wilderness Travel departures. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

2015 Cruise Collection Brochure

We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe. Download our beautiful new Cruise Collection Brochure! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Zodiac landing crafts are used to transport passengers ashore for walks to wildlife sanctuaries and the remains of local settlements. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts. Options for sea kayaking and snowshoeing are available.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2014
Jul 8-20, 2014  Sea Spirit - SOLD OUT

Jul 20-Aug 1, 2014  Sea Spirit - SOLD OUT
2015
Jun 20-Jul 2, 2015  Ocean Nova
Jul 23-Aug 4, 2015  Ocean Nova

Trip Cost

2015 Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Quad $7,995
Triple $8,995
Upper (Lower Berth) Twin $9,995
Upper Deck Twin $10,495
Bridge Deck Twin $10,995
Sole Occupancy $17,480
Optional Kayaking (subject to availability): $595

Deck Plan

 

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals included aboard ship
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leader
  • A daily program of lectures by noted naturalists
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by Expedition Team and Special Guests as scheduled
  • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard ship
  • Arrival transfer from Longyearbyen airport to your hotel if you arrive one day prior to embarkation
  • On embarkation day transfer from your hotel or Longyearbyen airport to the ship
  • On disembarkation day group transfer from the ship to airport or local designated drop-off location
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $100,000 per person

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

  • International airfare
  • Passport and any applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Laundry and other personal charges
  • Telecommunications charges
  • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
  • Any overnight accommodation required due to flight connections
  • Optional sea-kayaking activities

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 20%
130 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

180 days or more prior to departure: $1000 per person
179-120 days prior to departure: deposit forfeited
120 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Arrival & Departure Information

Arrival & Meeting Place
Longyearbyen, Norway

Date: Day 1
Suggested arrival time:  by 2 pm

Suggested Arrival Airport
Longyearbyen (airport city code LYR)

An arrival transfer from the airport to the ship is included. If you are arriving early and staying  overnight in a hotel in Longyearbyen, an arrival transfer to your hotel is included.

Depending on your routing, it may be necessary to depart from the US one or possibly two days prior to Day 1 of the trip itinerary.

Departure
Longyearbyen, Norway
Date: Day 13

Suggested Airport for Departure
Longyearbyen (airport city code LYR)   

After breakfast on Day 13, you will disembark the ship about 09:00 and be transferred to the airport for your return flights. You can schedule your return flight after 12:00 p.m. on Day 13.

 

INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVEL

You are responsible for making your own arrangements for flights to and from the cruise.  Airlines with the most convenient schedules for this trip include:

Scandinavian Airlines
800-221-2350
www.flysas.com

United Airlines
800-241-6522
www.united.com

Lufthansa
800-645-3880
www.lh.com

 

The name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport exactly, and your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return to the U.S.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule so we can reserve your airport transfers. It is your responsibility to ensure your flight times coordinate with the arrival and departure logistics for this trip.

We recommend at least a two-hour connection time at the gateway city for the international flight. Although shorter connecting times are legal, you want to allow some time in case your domestic flight is delayed.

Flight Reconfirmations
Reconfirm your international flights 72 hours prior to departure to verify check-in and departure times and to learn of any last minute changes. We suggest you check your luggage all the way through from your hometown to your final destination.

Late Arrival
If you miss your flight or are otherwise delayed, contact the airlines immediately to rearrange your flight schedule. Once rescheduled, please contact our office at (800) 368-2794 or (510) 558-2488 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Time, or leave a message after hours). Detailed information with local contacts will be included in your Final Documents.

 

EMERGENCY CONTACT

Should you wish to give family and friends an emergency contact number, please have them call our office. As it may be difficult, expensive, or even impossible to contact you for short periods (especially when you are traveling in remote regions), this should only be used in cases requiring your early return or an immediate phone call.

Wilderness Travel: (800) 368-2794 or (510) 558-2488.

Ocean Nova

The modern and comfortable 68-guest Ocean Nova was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, and her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for expedition travel in Antarctica. She offers comfortable outside-facing cabins, all with private facilities, including dedicated single, twin, and triple cabins. In addition to a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room, the Ocean Nova also has a spacious dining room, bar, library, and an infirmary. The ship has seven inflatable Zodiacs, ideal for disembarking for shore excursions and wildlife watching.

Deck Plan