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Arctic Wildlife: North Spitsbergen in Spring

2,750

*Departure: May 15 – May 22, 2019  
*Prices are based on sharing berth accommodation – additional cabin/price options listed below

8 days of Arctic springtime

Visiting 1 country: Svalbard

 

At the end of a long Arctic winter, spring is starting to awaken. The climate, however, still clings to the cold with snow-covered mountains, snow-swept shores, temperatures around –4° C (25°F). It’s a good time to experience the last of winter scenery, and with a little luck, also see some polar bears, walruses, and seals!

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Description

PLEASE NOTE: At the end of a long Arctic winter, spring is starting to awaken. The climate, however, still clings to the cold: snow-covered mountains, snow-swept shores, temperatures around –4° C (25°F). It’s a good time to experience the last of winter scenery, and with a little luck, also see some polar bears, walruses, and seals.

 

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. In the evening you sail for Trygghamna, where you see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station, both of which you can visit the next morning.

Day 2: Foxes, seabirds, and grazing reindeer

From Trygghamna you walk to Alkhornet, a large seabird cliff where the birds are scouting out breeding places. Below the cliffs is a common place to spot Arctic foxes, and you may also see reindeer grazing on the lush vegetation if there’s not too much snow.

Day 3 – 4: Earth’s northernmost community

You head north for Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. The landscape is likely to show signs of winter, the crags and slopes still blanketed with snow. Here there are rich opportunities for snowshoeing – we provide the snowshoes – and visiting places of historic interest: Ny London, where you can see the remains of early 20th-century marble mining, and Ny Ålesund, the northernmost community in the world. There are also research stations and the famous anchor mast of the dirigible Norge, which took the first flight across the North Pole to Nome, Alaska in 1926. Krossfjorden offers views of colossal glaciers and lofty mountain peaks, but ultimately the extent of fjord ice dictates the itinerary here.

Day 5: Walrus watching, seal seeing

Cutting south between the main island of Spitsbergen and Prins Karls Forland, you may encounter walruses at Poolepynten, a common haul-out site. You also have views of St. Johnsfjorden, near Gaffelbreen. The winter ice may not have loosened its grip on the water here, and seals (ringed and bearded) could be numerous in the area.

Day 6 – 7: Wide tundra, tall mountains

You now double back into Isfjorden and venture to Ymerbukta, possibly embarking on a walk in this mountainous area. Here you find an expansive tundra with its own avifauna, depending on when spring arrives, as well as spectacular geological formations along the coast. Further northeast, near Ekmanfjorden, you have the chance for another hike. Common to this area are numerous glaciers that terminate near or in the sea. In Gipsvika you can go on shore near the cliff of Templet, a mountainous location of eroded sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous period – around 290 million years ago.

Day 8: 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

Country

Svalbard

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 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 programme.
  • 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.
  • 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


Arctic Fox


Arctic Tern


Bearded Seal


Hiking


Polar Bear


Snowshoeing


Trygghamna


Walrus

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

Triple Private Porthole

  • 1 porthole
  • 1 upper/lower berth + 1 lower berth
  • Private shower and toilet
  • Ample storage space

Sharing berth
€ 2680
Share your cabin with others for the best price

Complete cabin
€ 8020
Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Twin Private Inside

  • 1 upper / lower berth
  • Private shower and toilet
  • Ample storage space

Sharing berth
€ 2850
Share your cabin with others for the best price

Single cabin
€ 4850
Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

 


Twin Private Porthole

  • 1 porthole
  • 1 upper / lower berth
  • Private shower and toilet
  • Ample storage space

Sharing berth
€ 3280
Share your cabin with others for the best price

Single cabin
€ 5580
Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Complete cabin
€ 6555
Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Additional Info

Duration: 7 nights

Ship: s/v Rembrandt van Rijn

Embarkation: Longyearbyen

Disembarkation: Longyearbyen

Language: English speaking voyage

Age range & Nationality onboard

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.

Bird Note: It is still somewhat quiet on the cliffs, as this time of year the cliff-nesting birds are only just picking out their places for breeding, which happens later in June. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board a historic sailing vessel.

Important information about the sailing program: The boat is equipped with sails to be used in good conditions (based on open sea, water depth, wind, and time). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or the other propulsion method. If sails are used, the crew operates them. Guests follow the safety instructions of the team. Average cruising speed for s/v Rembrandt van Rijn is 6.5 knots.

Vessel Information

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn was built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in the Netherlands in 1994.

HistoryS/V ‘Rembrandt Van Rijn’ was built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in he Netherlands in 1994 and sailed in Spitsbergen (1994 – 1996) and in Galápagos (1998 – 2001). The vessel underwent a complete rebuilding and refurbishment program until 2011.

The communication and navigation equipment has been completely renewed according to the latest SOLAS regulations.
Passengers: 33 in 16 cabins
Staff & crew: 12
Length: 49,50 meters
Breadth: 6,65 meters (22,9 ft)
Draft: 2,8 meters (8 ft)
Ice class: Suitable to sail in the Svalbard and Greenlandic waters.
Displacement: 435 tonnes
Propulsion: 2 cummins engines together 550 KW
Speed: 6,5 knots average cruising speed


Perfect for expedition cruising among small islands

The ship is well suited for expedition cruising among small islands and offer good open deck viewing areas, also when under sail. The 2 inflatable rubber crafts (zodiacs) enable landing and wildlife viewing opportunities in otherwise inaccessible areas.


Comfort and Character

The Rembrandt van Rijn measures 49,50 meters in length, 7 meters in width and has a draft of 2,8 meters. The average cruising speed on engines is 6,5 knots. It has an experienced crew of 12 persons on board including 2 tour guides. The ship can accommodate a maximum of 33 passengers in 16 cabins. 1 Triple Private cabin (with shower and toilet and porthole), 6 Twin Private Inside cabins (with shower and toilet, no porthole), 9 Twin Private cabins (with shower and toilet and porthole).

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