On this in-depth Arctic wildlife cruise with Poseidon Expeditions, you'll also be lucky enough to venture to the jumbled, ever-shifting southern edge of the polar ice cap. Here, at the boundary between ice and sea, you’ll be on the lookout for polar bears stalking their prey. Experience calving icebergs along the jagged,mountainous coastline, and the otherworldly peace of a land where man is an infrequent visitor. Your memories of this incredible Svalbard expedition cruise will last a lifetime.
On this incredible expedition cruise, you'll be joined by special guest Kari Herbert. Kari is an author, publisher, and public speaker. She started travelling at ten months with her father, Sir Wally Herbert, the first man to walk to the North Pole, crossing from Alaska to Spitsbergen in 1969. Kari was just ten months old when Sir Wally Herbert took his family to live with a tribe of Polar Inuit for over two years on a remote island off the coast of Northwest Greenland. At the age of four Kari accompanied her parents on another trip that took them through winter blizzards in a caravan to spend time with the Sami of Lapland. Kari has continued to travel extensively ever since and her writings have been published in magazines and newspapers all over the world.
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Svalbard and starting point of your Arctic expedition. At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be greeted by Poseidon Expeditions staff and transferred to a quality hotel. You will then be free to explore the charming, walkable town centre.
Start 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. Afterwards, you can enjoy dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s restaurants or cafes. 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.
After breakfast, spend the morning enjoying 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, a cap or gloves. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow while aboard the MS Sea Spirit.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where you will be warmly welcomed on board the MS Sea Spirit. Get settled in your comfortable suite and explore the ship that will be your home-away-from-home during your extraordinary adventure to come. Once the ship is underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition team. 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.
During your expedition, you will experience the many facets of this incredible High Arctic territory. Your exact schedule and route will be shaped by the weather, sea ice, as arranged by your expedition leader and ship captain. At the peak of the summer season, you will almost certainly find the ice conditions to be favourable for a full circumnavigation, so the ship's captain will make an attempt to go around Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago and even to the northeasternmost part of the archipelago – Kvitøya.
Human habitation – rare along our 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 we find a museum, gift shop and post office.
Northwest Spitsbergen National Park is the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here you will find deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain ranges and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into turquoise waters.
Your ship will also navigate to the eastern and northern regions of the Svalbard Archipelago – infrequently visited aboard expedition ships – experiencing the isolation and beautiful remoteness of Svalbard’s Arctic wilderness areas.
We will explore Kvitøya (White Island), the most rarely visited and closest island to Franz Josef Land. This island, almost completely covered by ice, became the final resting place of the balloon expedition of the Swedish polar explorer Salomon August Andrée. Kvitøya is not always accessible to expedition ships, but it may provide another opportunity to observe polar bears in their natural habitat.
During this voyage, you should 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. This reserve covers the rugged northwestern parts of Spitsbergen and the entirety of Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in Svalbard. Here you will find the massive Austfonna ice cap, part of which meets the sea along the 45km ice cliff known as Bråsvellbreen—one of the great wonders of the Arctic world.
Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve is truly a pristine and rarely visited wilderness containing hundreds of uninhabited islands. On the large islands of Edgeøya and Barentsøya, broad tundra valleys support the territory’s densest population of endemic Svalbard reindeer.
South Spitsbergen National Park is a vast region of varied landscapes including polar deserts and impassable mountain ranges. The centrepiece of this park is Hornsund, a picture-perfect fjord where countless mighty glaciers cascade from soaring mountaintops into icy inlets. Throughout the park, there is always a high probability of wildlife sightings. There are also plenty of opportunities for exhilarating hiking through wild polar landscapes offering fascinating geological stories. Wildflowers will be at their peak during this time.
Because of its extended length, this ambitious and in-depth Svalbard circumnavigation expedition cruise offers a comprehensive view of the Arctic’s many faces. Every day offers something new and exciting.
After you enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board, you will bid farewell to the MS Sea Spirit in Longyearbyen and will be transferred to the airport for your return flight.
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