An exploration of the Svalbard Archipelago – a region by its very nature rich in both wildlife and history

We begin our exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Following our embarkation of the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, our home for the next nine nights, we sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin our exploration down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principle islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago.  From the moment we throw the lines and start our voyage we are in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.


Sample Itinerary

Sample 10 Day Itinerary (9 and 11 Day Itineraries will vary)

Day 1 – Embark and Departure from Longyearbyen, Svalbard

We embark the expedition cruise vessel, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in Longyearbyen and sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, we will meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to our dining room for our first meal aboard.

Day 2 – Krossfjorden

A fjord cutting deep into the mountains of Spitsbergen, Krossfjorden offers us an abundance of wildlife and scenery for our first morning on the ship.  Whether it be cruising by ship or zodiac in front of the 15 kilometer wide face of Liliehookbreen (glacier), tramping across the tundra in search of a World War II German weather station, or searching for Atlantic puffins on the cliffs near 15th July Glacier, this is a worthy welcome to the Arctic.

Day 3– Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

As we approach the shore of Fuglesangenoya by zodiac, it becomes apparent there are thousands of nesting birds on the island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony.  Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the former whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as Blubber Town. As we hike the shoreline of this former whaling station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. A harsh industry in an equally harsh environment and as a testament to this whaling site all that is left is the blubber ovens.

Day 4– Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising.  The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.

Day 5 and 6 –Into the Ice

We would be hard pressed to call it expedition cruising if we didn’t work our way into the ice edge and take advantage of our Class 1A iceclass.  The senior officers on our capable vessel are experienced navigators who will examine the ice edge, and where conditions allow, move the ship into the ice in search of wildlife.  A day or even two days spent in the ice requires all hands on deck. Warm jackets, binoculars and spotting scopes are standard and all eyes are engaged looking for wildlife.  What are we expecting to see?  Perhaps a her of harp seals splashing through leads between ice flows, a solitary beared seal soaking up the suns rays, walrus and of course the mighty polar bear.  We will reach our farthest point north at around 80 degrees north latitude.  Be sure to get up the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark the way point.

Day 7 –Hinlopenstretet

Dividing the eastern side of the Svalbard archipelago from the western side, Hinlopen Strait is full of wildlife. The water that flushes through this strait each day is rich in phyto and zooplankton, nourishing the Brunnich’s guillemot colony at Aklefjellet, on the western shore of Hinlopen Strait. More than 120,000 pairs of guillemots nest on these cliffs each summer.  The water moving through Hinlopen Strait each day also brings the sea ice and our access into the area is dictated by the ice conditions of the day. Exploring the sea ice generally brings us into much closer contact with polar bears and our captain will work with our expedition team to maximise the viewing potential.

Day 8– Raudfjorden

Tucked into the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen, Ruadfjord offers an excellent place to hike, zodiac cruise and kayak. Our excursion will be in search of reindeer ashore and ringed and bearded seals adrift. For those interested in the tundra vegetation, especially the wildflowers, select spots along the shoreline of this fjord make for excellent hiking and interpretation.

Day 9 –Alkehornet and Tryghamna

Alkehornet, or ‘The Horn’, is an incredible horn-shaped mountain close to the entrance of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord).  Home to a massive colony of Brunnich’s guillemots and black legged kittiwakes, and host to reindeer and Arctic fox, this is an incredible summary of our Arctic visit.  A lush tundra slope below the bird cliffs is rich in Arctic flora and, to top it all off, this site has a rich history that will unfold as we hike around the headland.

Day 10 – Longyearbyen, Svalbard

We will come alongside in the morning and prepare to disembark following breakfast onboard our vessel.

Please note

Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.

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Dates and Prices Triple Share Twin Semi-Private Twin Private Superior Shackleton Suite One Ocean Suite
June 5 – June 13 Spitsbergen Encounter  8 nights/ 9 days $4,195 $5,595 $5,995 $6,995 $7,895 $8,495
June 13 – June 25 Spitsbergen Explorer   12 nights/13 days  SOLD OUT
June 25 – July 4 Spitsbergen Explorer     9 nights/10 days    SOLD OUT
July 4 – July 14 Spitsbergen Explorer    10 nights/11 days $5,295 $7,195 $8,195 $8,995 $8,995 $10,995
July 14 – July 23 Spitsbergen Explorer     9 nights/10 days  $4,795  $6,295  $6,995  $7,995 $8,795  $9,595

Single supplement: Additional 50% for twin cabins and 100% for the suites (not available in the Triple cabin category)
Kayaking option: US $695

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Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Vavilov 2Designed for polar research, the One Ocean Voyager is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge located on deck 6 with expansive 180 degree views, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading.

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