For an all-round view of the richness of wildlife and the Spitsbergen Archipelago’s most remote coastal regions, take a Circumnavigation from Longyearbyen.
Make no mistake, this archipelago is very much at the frontier with the Arctic, and with wild nature itself. The largest settlement and administrative hub, Longyearbyen, sees so many polar bears that many establishments keep rifles ready as a last resort protection.
Polar bears aren’t the only indigenous creatures in great abundance. As you cruise around this remarkable collection of Svalbard (cold coast) islands you could also meet with indigenous reindeer, see Arctic foxes and watch fat walrus lazing about on the water’s edge. Every day will bring you to another destination and another natural wonder. You’ll see the Monaco Glacier at Ljefdefjorden; go tundra-hiking at Worsleyneset; walk through a polar desert at Vibubutka; see nesting thick-billed murres at Alkefjellet; explore a tundra meadow at Sundneset.
All round, the Spitsbergen Circumnavigation is a natural wonder.
Sample cruise itinerary
Day 1: Embark in Longyearbyen with its glacier-topped mountains. Day 2: Visit the awesome ice cliffs of the 14th of July glacier. Day 3: Take a shore visit on Smeerenburg and discover the region’s whaling history. Day 4: View the Monaco glacier, go on a tundra hike and view the walrus sanctuary off Moffen Island. Day 5: Explore the seven islands of Phippsoya mini-archipelago. Day 6: Hike across a polar desert on Vibubukta and visit a beached whale skeleton. Day 7: Sail past the awesome cliff of Alkefjellet. Day 8: Walk across the unique tundra meadow of Sundneset. Day 9: Observe a colony of kittiwakes that use a cavern on Diskobutka as a nesting site. Day 10: Visit Isbutka for a chance to watch polar bears hunt seals on the fast ice. Day 11: Go in search of a mining site and midnight sun-blooming flowers on Bourbonhamna. Day 12: Sail past Alkhornet with its vast numbers of nesting guillemots and murres. Day 13: Disembark in Longyearbyen to catch your homeward flights.
Shore visits are part of the experience but depend on weather conditions. Extra excursions vary with different itineraries and weather, and could typically include:
- Kayaking on the icy waters
- Snow shoeing
Ask our Arctic expert, Sara Willis, for more details.
NB: Spitsbergen Circumnavigation itineraries vary from between 10 to 15 days, depending on departure dates. Please ask our experts for more details.
|Ships||No. of nights||Dates||Price*|
|Polar Pioneer||13 nights||3 Jul - 16 Jul 2013||£5,192|
|Sea Spirit||12 nights||4 Jul - 16 Jul 2013||£5,240|
|16 Jul - 28 Jul 2013||£5,240|
*N.B. all prices are cruise only, per person sharing a twin cabin with private facilities and some are based on current exchange rates (USD1.57) so may be subject to fluctuation.
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