Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join an 8-day Oceanwide expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.
Board your ship for a round-trip from Longyearbyen. This is Oceanwide's newest, and most advanced Polar Class 6 cruise ship, exceeding all the latest green requirements of the Polar Code.
Welcome to Longyearbyen, considered to be the world’s northernmost town, administrative centre of Spitsbergen and the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, where there the parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. The countryside may appear stark, but over a hundred species of plant have been recorded here. In the early evening, your ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where you might spot your first minke whale of the voyage.
Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord today spilling with glaciers - and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of spotting polar bears.
Weather permitting, today your ship will sail into Liefderfjorden and cruise within sight of the 5km long face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early In the season, then an alternative route along the west coast of Spitsbergen will be implemented.
Today your ship will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals and polar bears. At the entrance, there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvoya in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brunnich's guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you might want to land on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese and walruses are likely sights.
The northernmost point of your voyage, north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so your ship may dock for several hours among the pack ice before travelling west again.
While the ship retraces its route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea's surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of the Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of spotting minke whales.
You disembark today in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will last a lifetime.
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