An 8-day journey to discover Svalbard beginning in the far northern settlement of Longyearbyen. Set sail to explore the beautiful islands of the Svalbard archipelago, where you will see dramatic mountain scenery, glaciers and the Arctic’s incredible wildlife. This is a rare opportunity to discover the unspoilt wilderness and mesmerising landscapes.
You’ll explore this fascinating region onboard the M/V Sea Spirit, offering its guests a unique mix of comfort and adventure! Not only you’ll be thrilled to discover the region’s infinite mountain ranges and beautiful narrow fjords, but you’ll also have the opportunity to encounter its remarkable wildlife, including the majestic polar bear that can be spotted hunting on the ice floes.
Day 1: Arrive in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2: Embark MV Sea Spirit
Days 3 - 7: West Spitsbergen and Polar Ice Edge
Day 8: Disembarkation in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
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Fly from the Uk to Oslo before arriving at Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard and starting point of your Arctic expedition! At the Longyearbyen airport, you will be met and transferred to a hotel for one night prior to embarkation. You will then be free to explore the charming, walkable town centre of Longyearbyen.
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. After, 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.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where you will warmly be welcomed aboard 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. A full schedule of events will begin 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.
Your journey from here will focus on the spectacular fjords, coasts and islands of western Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago. This area contains Svalbard’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Polar bears and other iconic Arctic animals can be spotted at anytime, anywhere in our area of exploration.
One of the pristine natural areas on this itinerary is South Spitsbergen National Park, 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. At this time of year, we are sure to encounter fast ice—that is, sea ice that is fastened to the shore. This situation offers an excellent chance of observing polar bears on the hunt for ringed seals.
Also on our route is Northwest Spitsbergen National Park, the crown jewel of Svalbard’s scenic wonders. Here we find deep fjords flanked by serrated mountain peaks and immense tidewater glaciers calving icebergs into turquoise waters. The whole area is alive with migratory Arctic seabirds. On this voyage, we are just in time to witness the return of millions of murres, guillemots and little auks to the small islands, mountainsides and sea cliffs where they breed within the park.
Human habitation 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.
In addition to exploring the terrestrial environment and inshore waterways of western Spitsbergen, we make a special effort to reach the edge of the polar pack ice. At this dynamic boundary between solid sea ice and open ocean, we have an unparalleled opportunity to witness the dramatic interplay between polar bears and seals. We will take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and constantly shifting ice floes in the hope of observing polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat.
The West Spitsbergen and Polar Ice Edge route offers a stunning variety of Arctic landscapes and animals with minimal sailing time between excursions. Every day offers something new and exciting. We 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.
After filling up with one last buffet breakfast on board, you will bid farewell to your ship in Longyearbyen and transfer to the airport.
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