Arctic wildlife stronghold
The unique Arctic ecosystem of Svalbard is almost entirely protected in a network of nature reserves and national parks and you can expect to encounter a wealth of wildlife including walrus, Arctic fox, reindeer, and a variety of whales and seals, both by boat and on foot. Svalbard boasts one of the Arctic’s highest concentrations of polar bears and here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, is one of the best places in the world to view them hunting on the pack ice.
In addition to wildlife, during your voyage you will also encounter a surprising wealth of hardy plant life, learn about the striking geology throughout the area and discover numerous historical sites of human endeavour. These include early whaling camps, trappers’ cabins, an abandoned polar research station and the staging areas for many expeditions to the North Pole, including those of Roald Amundsen and Walter Wellman. Modern Arctic life can be experienced at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to a multinational community of Arctic researchers, a museum and a post office.
M/V SEA SPIRIT
Your voyage will take place aboard M/V Sea Spirit – a highly manoeuvrable vessel with a capacity of just 114 guests. This vessel can navigate the narrow fjords of East Greenland and enter the small bays of Spitsbergen to respond to wildlife and provide spontaneous encounters. On board the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming with relaxed open-seating dining (no assigned tables) and ‘open bridge’ policy meaning you can freely chat with the Captain and officers. Public areas include a restaurant, bar, outdoor bistro, club lounge, library, presentation lounge, infirmary and gym.
You will love
- Unparalleled polar bear sightings
- Frozen wilderness of precarious beauty
- Remarkable feats of human endeavour
- The modern arctic community of Ny Ålesund
- The friendly atmosphere of M/V Sea Spirit
- The big advantages of a small, manoeuvrable ship
12 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS
This example itinerary is based on the 12-day itinerary but a 10-day itinerary is also avialable. Please contact us for further details and alternative dates.
DAY 1 | LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Svalbard and starting point of our Arctic expedition! At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be greeted by Poseidon staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which is included in the price of the itinerary. You will then be free to explore the charming, walkable town centre.
We recommend starting your discovery of this fascinating Norwegian High Arctic territory at the excellent Svalbard Museum, where you can also purchase hard-to-find polar books and maps. Afterward, you can enjoy an excellent dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s many delightful restaurants. If you are still awake at midnight, you will notice the sun has not set. In fact, the sun will not set for the entire duration of your time in Svalbard.
DAY 2 | EMBARKATION
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Longyearbyen. Take in the views of icy fjords and glaciated mountains surrounding this historic former coal-mining town. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to board the deluxe expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the gorgeous scenery in 24-hour daylight as you pass through the wildlife-rich waters of Isfjorden.
DAYS 3-11 | SVALBARD & POLAR ICE EDGE
The exact schedule and route of your expedition will be shaped by weather and ice. At the peak of the summer season, the crew expect ice conditions to be favorable for a circumnavigation, so an attempt will be made to go around Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. There should be enough sea ice around to support ice-dependent animals such as polar bears and walrus.
The ambitious Svalbard and Polar Ice Edge route offers a comprehensive view of the Arctic’s many faces. Every day offers something new and exciting. You will not miss a single opportunity to encounter amazing Arctic wildlife, to witness incredible polar scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of historic expeditions that came before.
YOU CAN EXPECT TO ENJOY THE FOLLOWING:
South Spitsbergen National Park
South Spitsbergen National Park is a vast region of varied landscapes including polar deserts and impassible mountain ranges. The centerpiece of this park is Hornsund, a picture-perfect fjord where countless mighty glaciers cascade from soaring mountaintops into icy inlets. The park also includes the southern shores of Bellsund, a picturesque bay where you find the remains of historical whaling operations, including wooden boats, cabins, and thousands of whale bones—a scene from the distant past, literally frozen in time. Throughout the park, there is always a high probability of wildlife sightings. There are also plenty of possibilities for world-class hiking through wild polar landscapes with fascinating geology. Wildflowers will be at their peak during this time.
Edgeøya and Barentsøya
On the large islands of Edgeøya and Barentsøya, broad tundra valleys support the territory’s densest population of endemic Svalbard reindeer. The valleys are also important breeding areas for ground-nesting birds such as geese, eiders and sandpipers. Arctic foxes prowl the vast landscape, seeking to provide food for their young cubs, who are just now emerging from their dens. Shallow, murky seas are ideal feeding grounds for walrus, which can be seen resting in large numbers on gently sloping beaches. Historical sites throughout the islands provide glimpses into the region’s bygone era of trapping and hunting.
Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve.
You can expect to encounter significant sea ice concentrations in the enormous Northwest Svalbard Nature Reserve. In this remote and isolated region, ice can persist very late into the summer, giving it a truly polar character. This reserve covers the rugged northwestern parts of Spitsbergen and the entirety of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in Svalbard. Here you find the massive Austfonna ice cap, part of which meets the sea along the 45-kilometer ice cliff known as Bråsvellbreen—one of the great wonders of the Arctic world. The polar desert environment supports little in the way of vegetation but hosts prodigious numbers of seabirds at breeding sites such as the spectacular sea cliffs of Alkefjellet. The probability of encountering polar bears and walrus in this icy wilderness is very high.
At this time of year one expects to find the edge of the polar pack ice not too far from Nordaustlandet. The aim is to sail along this dynamic boundary between solid sea ice and open ocean. Here you have an unparalleled opportunity to witness the dramatic interplay between polar bears and seals. The crew will take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and constantly shifting ice floes in the hope of observing polar bears in their preferred habitat.
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park is the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here you find deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain ranges and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into turquoise waters. The skies are filled with millions of murres, guillemots and little auks, whose eggs are just now hatching at countless breeding colonies located on small islands, mountainsides and sea cliffs within the park. This is also a great time to encounter marine mammals, including beluga whales and various Arctic seals. Set among this incredible scenery and wildlife activity, you will also find evidence of Svalbard’s earliest sealers and whalers.
Human habitation along the route can be found at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town and airship base that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements where you will find a museum, gift shop and post office.
DAY 12 | DISEMBARKATION IN LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD
After filling up with one last buffet breakfast on board, we bid you farewell in Longyearbyen. We provide transfers to the airport or to the town center in case you plan to stay longer in Svalbard. By this time, you may already be making plans for your next amazing trip with us into the polar worlds!
NEED TO KNOW
10-day or 12-day expedition (optional)
10-day or 12-day expedition (optional)
Please enquire for pricing
Please enquire for pricing
START: LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD | Finish: LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD
Expeditions take place in June and July – limited number of departures.
Capacity: M/v Sea Spirit – 114 guests and 72 staff and crew.
Please note: Itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Single supplement may apply.
Flights and insurance on request.
Terms and conditions apply – please request a copy of our booking form for all details.
Price is subject to change due to currency fluctuation and unforeseen changes beyond our control.
Please contact us for pricing, dates and a full itinerary.
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