Day 1: Oslo / Longyearbyen, Norway / EmbarkDeparting from Oslo, take a charter flight to Longyearbyen and embark the vessel. Meet the Expedition Team and receive a Zodiac briefing. Attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party in the evening.
Days 2 - 8: Cruise & Explore SvalbardEnjoy a journey into an expansive archipelago of the Arctic Ocean woven between the North Pole and Norway. Svalbard is one of the last major European wilderness areas with pristine mountains, fauna, deep fjords, picturesque icebergs, and massive ice sheets. Explore breathtaking Svalbard and dramatic Spitsbergen Island. Locate wildlife and spend the maximum amount of time possible hiking on the tundra. Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000 polar bears and the hope is to encounter a good number of them during the trip.
Travel along the same routes as famous polar explorers such as Andrée, Nordenskiöld, Amundsen and Nobile. Trek along beaches blanketed with walruses, get to know the indigenous reindeer, and maybe even spot an Arctic fox or bearded seal. Admire the playfulness and grace of seabirds such as ivory gulls, auks and puffins. Watch for Minke and beluga whales.
The flexible itinerary takes advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions. Search for walruses, seals, reindeer, Arctic foxes and polar bears. Enjoy shore walks and Zodiac landings to mystical settings while passing icebergs. Each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course, depending on changing weather, ice conditions and the wildlife encountered. In the true spirit of adventure cruising, your Expedition Leader will provide daily updates. Here is a list of places you may visit:
Ice Cruising –The Silver Explorer’s strengthened hull provides the perfect platform to search for walruses and polar bears, devoting at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, cruise by Zodiac for an even closer look.
Bellsund – Pushing about 50 miles into Spitsbergen is the more than 12-mile wide Bellsund. At the entrance of the fjord, encounter eiders, Arctic terns, and skluas. Snow bunting and Purple sandpipers are also common in the area. Explore the seldom-visited Van Keulenfjord, witnessing awe-inspiring landscapes on a trek along the tundra.
Prins Karls Forland – Off the west coast of Spitsbergen, encounter the island home of Forland National Park with cragged mountains, massive glaciers and remarkable wildlife. The entire island and the surrounding seas make up Forland National Park. Explore Poolypnten, a well-known walrus haul out, while a marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures.
Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Listen for the crash of white thunder as huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. Amidst floating icebergs jewels, watch for bearded seals, rare Beluga whales and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favorite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting auks. Visit the Polish research station or the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts.
Edgeøya – Enter the realm of the polar bear on the third largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Conditions permitting, go ashore at the hard to get to Diskobukta, and discover interesting fauna and flora while walking amongst thousands of Kittiwakes and Arctic foxes. The coastal waters often provide fantastic opportunities to see walrus and polar bear on the ice floe.
Barentsøya – Just north of Edgeøya lays the fourth largest island in Svalbard. Surrounded by the wide tundra landscape, choose a long hike or short walk. Discover the ruins of 15th-century Russian Pomors and possibly encounter polar bears.
Day 9: Bear Island, NorwayApproaching Bear Island (Bjørnøya), whale watching is a priority as they are known to frequent this area. Approach the island by zodiac witnessing a kaleidoscope of thousands of sea birds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. Explore Bear Island's rugged coastline and, if weather conditions are favorable, make a landing. Encounter an amazing flurry of life on this remote island, now a nature reserve. Expedition Team members enhance the visit by providing insights into the environment, terrain, and wildlife that exist in these extreme conditions.
Day 10: Tromsø, NorwayTromsø has a proud tradition of being the starting point for many Polar expeditions. The Polar Museum opened on June 18, 1978 – 50 years to the day after Roald Amundsen left Tromsø on his last and fatal expedition to search for the missing Umberto Mobile and his airship. Explore the museum which has an idyllic waterfront setting. Enjoy exhibits that feature hunting and trapping in the Polar regions, and the famous Norwegian Polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.
Visit the Arctic Alpine Garden, the world’s northernmost botanic garden. Marvel at its remarkable ability to sustain delicate alpine plant life under the cold, stressful, and insular conditions of this region. Other alternatives to the afternoon may include, an ornithological walk, natural history museum, aquarium or brewery tours.
Day 11: Tromsø, Norway / DisembarkDisembark the vessel after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 6/26/2013, 7/16/2013, 6/27/2014 (Tromsø to Longyearbyen). Embarkation is in the evening from Tromsø on the first day of the reverse itinerary and does not include exploration of the city.
All ocean-view suite accommodation; all onboard meals and entertainment; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees.
Airfare; government fees and taxes; transfers and luggage handling; passport expenses; items of a personal nature; air charter package [$500 per person (one-way between Oslo and Longyearbyen and includes applicable transfers between the airport/pier)]; fuel surcharge may apply.