Embark on Swan Hellenic's incredible 8-day Svalbard Circumnavigation cruise on board the boutique expedition ship, SH Vega touring Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago within the Arctic Circle. Feast your eyes on the alluring icy blue waters of the polar region as your ship sails past glaciers calving icebergs to the edge of far-reaching slabs of pack ice that can only be seen in this part of the world. Experience the unique arctic environment, endless days and the rarely seen wildlife that populates it. Very few people ever spot polar bears, walrus, reindeer and arctic foxes in their natural habitat, while thousands of seabirds plus beluga whales track your voyage through this unforgettable icy wilderness.
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Day 2: Bellsund
Day 3: Monaco glacier
Days 4 & 5: Nordaustlandet
Day 6: Widefjorden
Day 7: NY Alesund
Day 8: Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is the world’s most northerly town and with it comes the world’s most northerly high street and pub. On Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island, Longyearbyen is home to The North Pole Expeditions Museum which chronicles early efforts to reach the pole by air. The nearby Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves duplicates of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The surrounding Arctic waters are populated by whales including bowheads and narwhals, while walruses are regularly seen hauling.
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glaciers and tundra, Bellsund is a 20 km long sound - wider than a fjord - on the west coast of Spitsbergen. Brünnich’s guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, little auks and northern fulmars make their breeding homes on the cliffs while pink-footed, barnacle and brent geese nest below. Reindeer roam the lush tundra flats strewn with whalebones. Bellsund attracts thousands of moulting ringed seals inviting unwarranted attention from prowling polar bears.
Blue-and-white icebergs calve from the five-kilometre front of the Monacobreen glacier as it debouches into Liefdefjorden (Love Fjord). Considered one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful glaciers, it is an unforgettable sight cruising through these ice-filled waters with the occasional beluga whale spotted alongside, the silence only broken by the bergs cracking from the icy glacier. Shore landings include walking above the glacier. Keep your eye out for polar bears prowling the icy wilderness for hapless walrus.
One of the three largest islands in Svalbard, separated from Spitsbergen by the icy Hinlopen Strait, Nordaustlandet is mostly covered in ice caps including Austfonna. Part of the Nordaust- Svalbard Nature Reserve, the coasts are made up of rocky beaches and cliffs filled with seabirds. In the north, you may spot polar bears in their denning area and snorting Atlantic walruses hauling out, while Svalbard reindeer roam the cushiony tundra of this polar desert.
Spitsbergen’s longest fjord - more than 100 kilometres long - now forms part of the Inner Wijdefjord National Park created to protect the rich flora of high arctic steppe vegetation, unique in Europe. The dry, windy climate gives rise to grasses, herbs and willow shrubs such as tufted saxifrage and arctic white campion on the western side in Andrée Land with its old red sandstone landscape. Limited wildlife live here aside from the occasional Svalbard reindeer and arctic fox.
The world’s northernmost settlement at 79 degrees north, Ny-Ålesund is on the shores inside Kongsfjorden on the island of Spitsbergen. Its location makes it well suited to be a major Arctic research station with scientists from over 100 countries and the Svalbard Rocket Range that launches rockets to investigate the earth’s magnetic field. In 1926, Roald Amundsen set off from here on the airship Norge on the world’s first verified expedition to the North Pole.
Day 8 - Longyearbyen
Today, you'll arrive back in Longyearbyen to disembark and continue your onward journey.
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