Discover the high Arctic as you cruise the spectacular northwestern Svalbard Archipelago, where plunging fjords are flanked by jagged snow peaks and immense tidewater glaciers. Search the tundra for grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox, walk in the footsteps of polar explorers, and on Zodiac cruises, look for walrus and whales. The whole Svalbard region is alive with migratory birds, and over it all presides the polar bear, monarch of the north.
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.
Day 1, Jun 28, 2017
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of your expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight service, you are free to explore this fascinating Arctic settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of quality shopping and dining opportunities in the town center. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2, Jun 29, 2017
Embarkation in Longyearbyen
In the afternoon, board the expedition ship Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Arctic dreams coming true as you sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through Isfjorden on your first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
Day 3-10, Jun 30-Jul 7, 2017
Exploration of West Spitsbergen
This is a real expedition in a true High Arctic wilderness. As such, the route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions you encounter. Your experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. Experience excellent wildlife viewing, discover incredible scenery, and walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us.
You can anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands in the northwestern part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. On ice floes and on fast ice several species of seals watch vigilantly for polar bears. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
And over it all presides the polar bear, monarch of the North. This wild corner of Svalbard is one of the best places in the world to observe polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat: the pack ice. We take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and broken edge of the polar ice cap, where polar bears stalk the frozen sea in search of seals.
To complete the Arctic experience, you may also explore places rich with history. The area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and even an abandoned polar research station.
Human habitation in this area can be found only at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, complete with museum, gift shop, and post office. Your days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by your experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
Day 11, Jul 8, 2017
Disembarkation in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
After breakfast, say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, where you started. A transfer brings you to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Svalbard, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
Itinerary, landings, and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.