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Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears

Wildlife Cruise in the Arctic aboard the Ultramarine

Overview

This unique 13-day voyage invites guests to embrace a true expeditionary spirit: rather than follow a set itinerary, you’ll allow the search for polar bears and other wildlife to determine the route and shore landings in the pristine Norwegian Arctic. You’ll be experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime journey aboard our game-changing new expedition vessel, Ultramarine, which is equipped with 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, luxurious onboard amenities and the biggest portfolio of adventure options in the Polar Regions.

Cruising along the coast, ice edge and inner fjords of Spitsbergen, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun as we pursue our quest to photograph arctic wildlife: the polar bear as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on its perpetual hunt for food; the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; cliff-dwelling Arctic birds in the thousands; and small herds of reindeer loping across the colorful tundra. Plus, there will be snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra waiting to be photographed. Exploring this awe-inspiring region never ceases to impress visitors with its raw beauty.

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

Day 1, May 26, 2021
Arrive in Oslo, Norway

Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.

Day 2, May 27, 2021
Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

Days 3-13, May 28-Jun 7, 2021
Exploring Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen is graced with an unspoiled beauty that’s just waiting to be discovered. On this one-of-a-kind cruise, you’ll sail along the west coast of this magical island, exploring the coastal fjords and smaller, outlying islands. Each day will be a surprise, treating you to spectacular new sightings and experiences.

Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but you can hope to visit a few of our favorite landing sites, which will be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no itinerary (unusual among polar cruises), the main goal will be to sail in a constant search for polar bears on the prowl. This means we may not move the ship every day as we do on regular voyages, especially if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—will guide the route! The small expedition ship allows you to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so you can expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas frequented by the elusive polar bear.

Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that await, and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears we find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife you can hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales, and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.

A haven for present-day explorers, Spitsbergen and the surrounding area offer unforgettable polar experiences that will keep you and your camera active for the duration of the expedition. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises visitors with stretches of colorful tundra that burst with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close—though never obtrusively—to the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.

Day 14, Jun 8, 2021
Disembark in Longyearbyen / Fly to Oslo

Your adventure ends in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, a transfer brings you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

Highlights

Highlights

Special opportunities to see polar bears and other iconic arctic wildlife such as walrus and reindeer
Explore glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more with included Zodiac cruising
Take advantage of continuous daylight
View numerous arctic bird species, like puffins, arctic terns and purple sandpipers

Details

Length: 14 days
Cost From: $14,995  
Arrive: Oslo, Norway
Depart: Oslo, Norway
Lodging: 12 nights aboard expedition vessel, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Photography, Whale Watching
Trip Level:

13-day cruise, Zodiac cruises, special photography opportunities

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