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Arctic tour

8-Day Around Spitsbergen: Polar Bears, Whales, and Fjords

Around Spitsbergen: Polar Bears, Whales, and Fjords -- Trip Photo of Arctic tour  Arctic map

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Longyerbyen, Norway and begin the expedition

Visiting: Longyerbyen, Norway

You should plan to arrive this morning (or the day before) in Longyearbyen, the economic and political capital of Norway’s Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking, enjoy the opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose classic parish church and Polar Museum are highlights. Early this evening, the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord, we may get our first glimpse at sleek Minke whales. Enjoy the soft lingering hours of daylight well into the Arctic “night.”

  • Meals: D
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 2 : Cruise to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen

Visiting: Spitsbergen

We will sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by remarkable glaciers and a popular haunt for both Ringed and Bearded seals. The steep cliffs and rocky shoreline of the fjord also support thriving populations of nesting seabirds and a surprisingly green landscape, which particularly flourishes in sheltered spots, away from wind. The entire ship will be on a sharp lookout, as polar bears are often seen here.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 3 : Explore the imposing Monaco Glacier

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Weather permitting, we will sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the stunning 5-kilometer long face of the Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes. Polar bears can sometimes also be seen on the glacier and the area's icebergs, allowing for some phenomenal photography.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 4 : Sail into Hinlopen Strait, zodiac cruising for bearded seals, and much more

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Today, the vessel will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, polar bears, and ivory gulls. At the entrance, the possibility exists to see the rare blue whale. We will navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the thrilling bird cliffs of Alkefjellet, with its thousands of active Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, we will attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, nesting ivory gulls, and walruses.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 5 : Head north of Nordaustlandet, only 540 miles removed from the North Pole

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Enjoy an exciting day today, as we will try to reach the northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands area, north of Nordaustlandet. Here, you will be at 81 degrees north, and 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this thrilling region, along with ivory gulls. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, allowing you the chance to take this sublime icy realm all in, before turning west and resuming our progress.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 6 : Cruise west, with attentive eyes out for resident polar bears

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Retracing our route westwards, we will sail through the pack ice, keeping careful watch for polar bears and the elusive Greenland whale (also known as bowheads). About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, we will traverse the continental shelf, where huge fin whales forage in summer in the sea’s upwelling along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of the Kongsfjorden, we will also have nice chances to see Minke whales.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 7 : View walruses, cruise into Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden

Visiting: Spitsbergen

Forlandsundet, at Sarstangen, is a haul-out spot for enormous walruses. Here we will take the time to enjoy this as conditions permits. Otherwise, we will sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and cute Arctic foxes scurry the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen reindeer graze amidst the grass. By nighttime, we arrive back in Longyearbyen.

  • Meals: BLD
  • Standard Lodging: Plancius or Ortelius

Day 8 : Disembark in Longyearbyen

Visiting: Longyerbyen, Norway

Today, after breakfast, disembark in Longyearbyen, in time for flights south to Oslo and/or onward to home.

  • Meals: B

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