Your arctic adventure starts in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement and one of the northernmost communities on the planet. Have your camera handy as you embark on your journey—picturesque peaks surround this town in the bay of Svalbard’s second-longest fjord.
Spitsbergen has an unspoiled beauty that’s just begging 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 we do hope to visit a few of our favorite landing sites, to be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no itinerary (unusual amongst polar cruises), our 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 in regular voyages, if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, we’ll let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide our route! Viewing the ice bears is almost guaranteed in a region where they outnumber the people. Our small expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas the bears may favor.
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 we 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 all expedition long. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises with stretches of colorful tundra, bursting with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close and personal with the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.
Returning to where your adventure began, Longyearbyen, you’ll have time to bid a fond farewell to your newfound friends before disembarking. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
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.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
Wayne McGee of Alaska Trophy Lodge on best seasons for each of the activities, guests and unique location in the woods.