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Navigating Spitsbergen Through Kvitoya

4,410

*Departure: Aug 17 – Aug 26, 2019  
*Prices are based on sharing berth accommodation – additional cabin/price options listed below

10 days around the arctic wildlife of Spitsbergen

Visiting 1 country: Svalbard 

 

This cruise around Spitsbergen gives you a great chance to see whales, foxes, reindeer, seals, and polar bears. The expedition will make a landing on the island of Kvitøya, a site of historical significance, and home of a large walrus population.

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Description

N.B. The chances that we can reach Kvitøya and complete a full Svalbard circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 2013—2017) are about 70%. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may make a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen through Hinlopen Strait. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for m/v Hondius is 10.5 knots.

Day 1: Largest town, biggest island

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Day 2: Cruising Krossfjorden

Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.

In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).

Day 3: Stop at the Seven Islands

The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walrus inhabit this stark desolate landscape. Later in the day the ship may roam for several hours among the pack ice in search of wildlife.

Day 4: The great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen

Pushing east to Nordaustlandet, you reach the area where the Italian captain Sora tried to rescue the Nobile Expedition in 1928. The focus here is the great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen, though you may also land at Firkantbukta, getting the chance to gain some altitude and take a few higher-elevation photos. Alternately, you could make a Zodiac cruise near Storøya, where you might encounter walruses.

Day 5: Ice cap at Kvitøya

Today you try to reach the rarely visited Kvitøya, far to the east and close to Russian territory. The enormous ice cap covering this island leaves only a small area bare. You land at the western tip of Andréeneset, where the Swedish explorer S. A. Andrée and his companions perished in 1897. Another objective for the day is Kræmerpynten, where a sizable group of walruses reside.

Day 6: The longest glacier in Spitsbergen

South of Nordaustlandet you may land on Isisøya, formerly a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers but now an island surrounded by the sea. You then may pass by Bråswellbreen, part of the largest ice cap in Europe and famed for its meltwater waterfalls.

Day 7: Barentsøya’s many bounties

The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

Day 8: Land of the pointed mountains

You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Day 9: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history

Today you find yourself in BellSund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 10: There and back again

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Additional information

Duration

1 Week +

Travel Style

EPIC JOURNEYS: ADVENTURES & EXPEDITIONS

Inclusions

Included in this voyage

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Excluded from this voyage

  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Highlights & Encounters

  • Kittiwake
  • Kvitoya
  • Polar Bear
  • Shore-Based Walking
  • Sjuoyane
  • Svalbard Reindeer
  • Walrus
  • Zodiac Cruising & Shore program

Activities

Snowshoeing
Free

Take a casual stroll along the Polar shores, or challenge yourself with a more advanced trek.

We offer a variety of snow-shoeing treks to suit your experience and your desired level of activity. No snow-shoeing experience? No problem! We’ll get you suited up and get you marching across the pristine snows of the Arctic or Antarctic landscapes in no time at all.


Hiking
Free
Adventure inland at your own pace

It’s said that there’s really no better way to get to know a new place than to explore it on foot. That’s why we offer a variety of hikes of various difficulties allowing you to choose anything between a hard day’s hike and an easy stroll that lets you take in the sights.

Cabins & Prices

Quadruple Porthole

• 1 porthole
• 2 upper & lower berths
• Private shower & toilet
• Desk & chair
• Flatscreen TV
• Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
• Hair dryer
• Ample storage space
• This cabin is suitable for families traveling with children, or passengers who do not require a twin or more luxurious cabin
Sharing berth
€ 2680
Share your cabin with others for the best price
Complete cabin
€ 17610
Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

 

Triple Porthole
• 1 porthole
• 1 upper berth & 2 lower berths
• Private shower & toilet
• Desk & chair
• Flatscreen TV
• Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
• Hair dryer
• Ample storage space
• This cabin is suitable for families traveling with children, or passengers who do not require a twin or more luxurious cabin
Sharing berth
€ 5510
Share your cabin with others for the best price
Single cabin
€ 16510
Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

 

Twin Private Porthole
• 1 porthole
• 2 lower berths
• Private shower & toilet
• Desk & chair
• Flatscreen TV
• Telephone & WiFi (supplemented)
• Hair dryer
• Ample storage space
Sharing berth
6430 EUR
Share your cabin with others for the best price

Additional Info

Duration: 9 nights

Ship:  m/v Plancius

Embarkation: Longyearbyen

Disembarkation: Longyearbyen

Language: English  & German speaking voyage

Age range & Nationality on board

Passengers on a typical voyage range from their 30s to their 80s – with a majority usually from 45 – 65, but a little younger on the Rembrandt van Rijn, between 30 – 55. Our expeditions attract independent-minded travellers from around the world. They are characterised by a strong interest in exploring remote regions. The camaraderie and spirit that develops aboard is an important part of the expedition experience. Many departures have several nationalities on board.

Catering

Three simple but good meals of international cuisine per day are served buffet style in the restaurant and is prepared by our cook.

Dress code

In keeping with our expeditions atmosphere, dress on board is informal. Bring casual and comfortable clothing for all activities. Keep in mind that much of the spectacular scenery can be appreciated from deck, which can be slippery. Bring sturdy shoes with no-slip soles and make sure the parka is never far away in case of the call “Whales!” comes over the loudspeaker and you have to dash outside. Wear layers since it is comfortably warm aboard the ship – and often cold on deck.

Electric Current

The electrical supply aboard the ship is 220 volt 50hz. Electrical outlets are standard European with two thick round pins. U.S. passengers may need a 220v/110v converter.

Excursions & Landings

Every day there will be excursions on land, weather and ice permitting. The landings will take three to six hours per day over untracked area. According to circumstances (the weather, the ice-situation or the passengers´ wishes) the program can sometimes be adjusted. Ample time will be devoted to wildlife, vegetation, geography and history.

Gratuities

The customary gratuity to the ship’s crew and expedition leader is made as a blanket contribution at the end of the voyage. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. We suggest to give cash in Euros, US Dollars or Danish kroner.Non-smoking policyOn board our vessels we have a non-smoking policy. It is prohibited to smoke inside the ship. You can smoke in designated ares. Please respect the wishes of non-smokers.

The crew

The crew of the ´Rembrandt van Rijn´ consists of 9 experienced crew and 2 expedition guides and a cook. The sailors are in charge during sailing and will bring us ashore.

Your physical condition

You must be in good general health and you should be able to walk several hours per day. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join most excursions, you must be able to get up and down the ladder from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. This will become progressively easier with practice. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. You are travelling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.

Vessel Information

m/v Plancius

The ice-strengthened vessel Plancius is an excellent vessel for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica.

​M/v “Plancius” was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a 116-passenger vessel in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). M/v “Plancius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register and flies the Dutch flag.

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