Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. Depending on your arrival time, there may be ample time to explore the many museums, restaurants and green spaces to be found in Oslo before retiring to your included airport hotel for the night.
After breakfast this morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement and the world’s northernmost town. Longyearbyen, or Longyear Town is named after John Longyear, the American who started the Arctic Coal Mining company here in 1906. You will be curious to learn that there are more snow scooters in Longyearbyen than people! You will have some time to explore this unique town before embarkation. Make sure to have your cameras at the ready as your ship sets sail, and you enjoy the distinctive vistas of this mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this historic town.
You’ll sail around the shores of this magical, majestic island, constantly searching for polar bears and other natural wonders. As we cover western Spitsbergen, your expedition will afford ample opportunities to view immense glaciers, deep fjords, soaring mountains and huge cliffs.
Sailing north into Krossfjord will bring you to the truly captivating sight of the best glacier calving in Spitsbergen. Deep in the fjord, the highly active Lilliehöök Glacier awaits. It is an incredible experience for the senses as you see, hear and feel the tremendous power of nature as the chunks of ice break off and plunge into the icy waters below. A Zodiac excursion to nearby Ny London (New London), an abandoned mining settlement, provides an ideal place for a guided walk. It was here that marble was discovered in the early 20th Century, however, it was discovered that its quality disintegrated upon exposure to warm climates and this settlement was abandoned. Encounters with wildlife, such as the endemic Svalbard reindeer, are possible here.
You will be excited to wake up this morning, after our overnight cruising to witness the stunning sight of the magnificent Monaco Glacier, another prolific creator of the infamous iceberg. To add to this excitement, you can also help your Expedition Team scan the shoreline in search of more marine mammals. You have the possible landing sites of Texas Bar, Worsleyneset and the Andoyane Islands (where polar bears have been known to roam). If ice conditions permit reaching 80°N, you’ll reach a walrus sanctuary on the tiny, crescent-shaped Moffen Island. Watching from the water as large groups of these lumbering giants jockey for space is an unforgettable experience, so be ready with your binoculars.
At Smeerenburg you can see the remains of an abandoned settlement that was established by Dutch whalers hunting the bowhead whale, nearly 400 years ago. In fact, the name Smeerenburg translates to Blubber Town from Dutch. Here, at one of Europe’s most northerly outposts, you’ll have time to explore ashore and learn about Spitsbergen’s whaling history. Afterwards, cruising to Magdalena fjord rewards you with panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains and massive glaciers that are reflected back to you through the crystal-clear waters.
During your last full day on this Arctic adventure, you may visit the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, the second largest town on Spitsbergen and home to Russia’s northernmost brewery. We hope to finish the day in Alkehornet, taking in the towering cliffs that teem with nesting seabirds, such as fulmars and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Encounters with reindeer might be possible here too. Later, at the Captain’s Dinner you can swap stories of your encounters and adventures with your shipmates and crew for one last evening.
It is time to bid farewell to the icy waters and vast landscape of the great Arctic. Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.