Introduction to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard

10 days
from
$6,495 USD
incl. taxes
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Polar Expeditions
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
POY
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
199
Ages:
18+

Explore the Svalbard Archipelago and its stunning landscape and wildlife

This voyage provides the opportunity to get a taste of everything the Arctic has to offer, from Polar bears and walrus to spectacular scenery. Be treated to daily presentations by the Expedition Team on board the ship, and daily wildlife sightings on land. Hike, explore and enjoy the beauty of the Arctic on this adventure to Spitsbergen.

Highlights

  • Explore the remarkable Svalbard Archipelago in 24 hour daylight
  • Incredible wildlife viewing including seabirds, walrus, Arctic foxes and Polar bears
  • Travel in a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 8 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
  • Countries visited: Spitsbergen, Arctic

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • Beer and house wine during dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Mandatory transfer package (including charter flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen return) which is from £700 per person (or equivalent in booking currency) paid upon booking
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. To read more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice, click here, and to find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation click here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • We are extremely conscious of our presence in the Polar regions. Often seeing whales, Polar bears, seals and seabirds can be a very moving experience and clients either donate to related charities or develop a lifelong interest in conservation of these species.
  • There is not much contact with local communities on this remote voyage, although we do encourage clients to explore and use local business before embarkation. There are some small businesses which benefit greatly from tourism commerce and plenty of locals to engage with. By supporting locally owned shops and using various other services and facilities, money goes towards an increase of employment opportunities and growth of the local economy.
  • We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our team of lecturers, specialists and crew are able to pass vital information on to clients in briefings.
  • We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) of which our operator is a full member.
  • Our onboard gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • All of our Arctic expeditions are designed to operate in line with The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) which has guidelines in place to protect the fragile environment of this Polar region.
  • We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do. This is driven by our ‘leave no trace’ policy, which includes being vigilant with litter disposal and avoiding approaching animals any closer than 5 metres.
  • We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board.  Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste throughout and are provided with a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and the laundry is done with green detergents.
  • We are on board with the ‘Clean up Svalbard’ initiative, during which every summer volunteers from our vessels are invited to join the office of The Governor of Svalbard and the local population to remove debris from the beaches. The vast expanses of pristine, white landscape which people travel a long way to see are being jeopardised by waste which drifts to the area on ocean currents. As awful as this is, the problem is not just superficial- birds and other Arctic animals eat the littler or become tangled in stray fishnets. This creates a massive challenge for Arctic wildlife, which already faces the harsh effects of global warming, so this is a hugely important project.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • We do our best to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting the local economy and reducing our carbon footprint as a whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society.
  • We make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board and offer a carbon offsetting option for clients.
  • Our small Zodiac landing crafts are lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines.
  • Activities include sea kayaking and guided photography which have a minimal impact on the environment.
  • Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Most of our vessels burn Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace.
  • In addition, some departures of this itinerary will travel on a new Polar expedition vessel called the Ultramarine, which features a pioneering mix of advanced sustainability features that reduce its environmental impact to an extent previously unseen for a polar vessel of comparable size. Energy efficiency begins with drag reduction. Ultramarine’s hull design combined the latest computational fluid dynamic techniques and state-of-the-art production faring to ensure the lowest possible resistance. In addition, detailed analyses were conducted on the propeller and hull interaction to reduce losses and determine the optimal propeller size, hull clearance and speed.
  • Ultramarine has been designed and built with energy efficiency in mind, including LED lighting and lighting controls and an energy recovery wheel that collects energy from exhaust air, reducing the energy required to maintain a comfortable environment for guests and staff. She is outfitted with four diesel-electric engines of two sizes that can be run in any combination according to combined power and propulsion needs, providing very flexible and efficient fuel consumption.
  • By minimizing waste brought on board, gasifying combustible waste to generate useful heat with a Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS), and compacting other retained waste, Ultramarine can operate for 40 days and discharge no solid waste. Black and grey water generated onboard are thoroughly treated to dischargeable conditions anywhere in the world.
  • Ultramarine has been issued CLEAN certification by DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts, and TIER III status by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the organization responsible for developing the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start in Oslo, Norway

    Our Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.

  • Day 2

    Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As theship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Days 3-9

    Exploring Spitsbergen and the Svalbard Archipelago.

    Cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. The expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From Polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.

    The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Spotting Polar bears is more likely here than almost anywhere else, as the Svalbard archipelago is one of their preferred hunting areas. The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (Thick-billed murres).

    Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.

    In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is unique Arctic wildlife, a Polar bear resting between hunts, or abandoned sites from centuries ago.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Disembark in Longyearbyen and fly to Oslo

    The time to say goodbye has come. Our Arctic 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Ocean Adventurer takes a maximum capacity of 128 passengers and the Ultramarine takes a maximum of 199 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with Quark Expeditions and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Arctic

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Arctic

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Weather

Spitsbergen has a short season from mid June to mid August; and there is 24 hour daylight in all three months. There may be more sea ice in the earlier months and some more flowers, but in reality with the capricious nature of the weather and wildlife there is not much to choose between different dates.

Longyearbyen

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

Sea kayaking option:

Kayaking in the Arctic is probably one of the most intimate and inspiring ways you can explore the rugged coastlines and calm bays of the regions we visit.

Kayaking in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent, however we guarantee at least one outing throughout your voyage, but your kayak guides will take you out as many times as possible throughout your voyage.

Offered on most Arctic voyages, spaces are limited and require some kayaking experience. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.

Paddling Excursion: 

Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.  
 
Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Booking Conditions

Please note that the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. 

As with all Polar holidays and voyages, the required deposit is 20% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Polar Adventure Ship

The Introduction to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard voyage is offered on the Ocean Adventurer and the Ultramarine which are Polar Adventure Ships. One night in a standard hotel in Oslo is included. Full board accommodation on the ship, generally on a twin share basis in a variety of cabin types, all with en suite facilities. Please visit the Polar Fleet page for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking, kayaking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

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