Circumnavigating the Realm of the Polar Bear

Circumnavigating the Realm of the Polar Bear

from $6,367 per person

Join an epic expedition voyage that circumnavigates the largest island in Svalbard.

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  • Circumnavigate Spitsbergen
  • See natural wonders such as Alkefjellet, Edgeøya, and the Monaco Glacier
  • Opportunity to see polar bears
  • Learn about the cultural heritage of the many eras of human exploration.
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A cruise around Spitsbergen gives you ample opportunity to explore all the aspects of this fascinating Arctic island. See the great eastern nature reserves and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. We aim to take you well above the 80th parallel and place you closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographic North Pole. The eastern part of Svalbard is more barren and characteristically ‘High Arctic’ than any other place we visit with MS Fram. Enjoy expedition landings, hiking, kayaking, and other activities in the largest Arctic wilderness in Europe.

Visit the settlements on Spitsbergen

Longyearbyen is a prime destination for adventure travelers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious but it is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan town. The Russian settlement of Barentsburg is ‘company town’ where the great majority of inhabitants work at the coal mine. Explore the exotic collection of old Russian artifacts and architecture, visit the Pomor Museum, or soak up the real Russian atmosphere in the local pub. Ny-Ålesund is situated at 78º 55’ N, and is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal mining community, it is now an advanced High Arctic research station.

Fjords, glaciers, and polar bears

During this part of the voyage you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen. The eastern part of Svalbard is mainly divided into two large nature reserves. Combined, they represent one of the last large, mainly untouched wilderness regions in Europe. Crossing the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give you spectacular views of the island’s east coast with its hundreds of glaciers and mountains. If we are lucky, we’ll meet some of Svalbard’s marine mammals such as seals and walrus. Wherever there is ice there is a great chance of spotting polar bears during this voyage!

Voyage Itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the final sailing itinerary during the voyage. Hence, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Day 1:Oslo/Longyearbyen

Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Norway's capital, Oslo. Before departure you can spend some time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes, and hills. Oslo offers varied architecture, a strong café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and endless shopping possibilities. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen a couple of hours later. Still, this very small settlement offers all the amenities of a modern town, in addition to its stunning location in a wild Arctic landscape.

Day 2:Longyearbyen

After an overnight stay in one of our hotels you can join an exciting sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious but it is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, stores, and a mini-mall. It is often called an antidote to modern-day life and a prime destination for adventure travelers. However, the history and heritage from the first coal miners can still be seen everywhere.

Day 3:North West Spitsbergen National Park

Kongsfjorden and its surroundings are known to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen. At the head of the fjord, mighty glaciers calve into the sea. Characteristic mountain formations frame the scene. As we sail further northwest, we reach Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, with cultural remains from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs, and quite often, Svalbard reindeer. Try traversing a glacier with our Expedition Team. On our way back we visit the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, an international center for research with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings.

Day 4:North West Spitsbergen National Park

The North West corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens, and other cultural treasures from the first era of the exploitation of Svalbard’s natural resources. Raudfjorden offers plenty of opportunities for great hikes. Hamiltonbukta is too shallow for our ship to navigate, but it’s perfect for exploration by kayak. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier situated in Liefdefjorden.

Day 5:Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

In Eastern Svalbard the density of polar bears is higher than anywhere else on Svalbard – and we really hope to see some on this journey! In Sorgfjorden a famous battle between whalers took place in the late 17th century. The eastern shores of the fjord lie within North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Alkefjellet is a spectacular bird cliff and one of the largest of its kind in Svalbard. You will have great views from deck.

Day 6:Edgøya

Edgeøya is the third largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago. On its western shores the landscape is largely un-glaciated, unlike most other places on the east side of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.

Day 7:The South Cape Land

We continue to the South Cape Land – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. Hornsund displays large variations in landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears that hunt on the ice.

Day 8:Isfjorden

Isfjorden is the most prominent fjord system in Svalbard. We will spend the day exploring both the outer and the inner parts. One of the most striking features of the outer part is the Alkhornet peak, where thousands of Brünnich guillemots are nesting during the summer season. In the inner parts of Isfjorden the landscape is changing. Large U-valleys, carved out by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard reindeer. Later on we’ll find a scenic fjord arm and arrange a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings.

Day 9:Longyearbyen/Oslo

Unfortunately, every good explorer voyage comes to an end. You may sense that time has passed faster than expected. Lingering is the subtle exhilaration of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographic North Pole. An early morning transfer brings you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.