Spitsbergen Encounter

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10 days
from
incl. taxes
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Polar Expeditions
Suitable for:
Age 18+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
PON
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
90
Min age:
18

A classic exploration of Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago

Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. First used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, the islands are now celebrated as a breeding ground for many seabirds, along with marine mammals and the elusive Polar bear. On this adventure, we hope to push further to the north, along the edge of the ice pack. It is here we frequently encounter the icon of the Arctic – the Polar bear – hunting for seals and other protein sources to sustain them through the Arctic summer.

Highlights

  • Sail beyond the Arctic Circle to 80° north
  • Zodiac and shore excursions to discover the icy wilderness
  • Arctic fox, whales, walrus and huge 200,000 strong colonies of Little auk
  • Polar bears often seen hunting on ice floes
  • Travel in a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 9 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable condition
  • Countries visited: Spitsbergen, Arctic

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and 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
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Longyearbyen, board ship and begin exploration.

    Today we embark our expedition ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov in Longyearbyen and as we throw the lines, we sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. With almost 24 hours of daylight at this time of the year, we enjoy the views from the outer decks of the ship as we depart. We meet our fellow passengers and the Expedition Team during an introductory briefing and enjoy a welcome dinner as we set sail.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Bourbonhamna

    Beluga whales are frequently seen as they transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand Belugas in the Svalbard population. The Beluga whale has no dorsal fin; a diagnostic feature of whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the Narwhal and Bowhead. It has been postulated that the Beluga’s lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice.

    On our shore excursion, an old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our scenic hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the huge piles of Beluga whalebones that catch everyone’s attention. The bones and all artefacts are protected by the Svalbard Government. While wandering on shore we hope to catch a glimpse of the dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Liliehook Glacier and Krossfjorden

    Lilliehook Glacier, at the head of the northwestern arm of Krossfjorden is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches almost seven kilometres and has a height of around 80-metres. Viewed from the ship or on a zodiac cruise, you come to appreciate the enormous scale of our surroundings. The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a variety of different species. We anchor off one small harbour and cruise in the zodiacs along the bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier. As we cruise the dark waters, we are always on the lookout for Bearded and Ringed seals, both species known to frequent this fjord.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Liefdefjorden and Monacobreen

    No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot Polar bears that come here to hunt for Ringed seals or feed on bird eggs.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Phippsoya - Northernmost Point

    At 81° North latitude, Phippsoya is just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. The high ice classification of our ship (Class 1A) allows us to approach the edge of the pack ice in safety and comfort. Because of its proximity to the permanent Arctic ice pack, Phippsoya offers the potential for great Polar bear viewings. In recent seasons we have enjoyed excellent encounters with Polar bears in this vicinity. Be sure to get up to the ship’s bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint as we are so close to the North Pole!

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-7

    Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet

    From the ice edge we enter the main channel separating Svalbard’s two main islands. In Hinlopen Strait the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet are home to more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich’s guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and Black guillemots. It is a spectacular site and a challenging one for our zodiacs as the tidal currents roar through Hinlopen Strait. Nearby Murchison Fjord is a wonderful place to kayak or zodiac cruise between the islands. There are some excellent hiking routes here, affording us breathtaking views.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Fuglesangen and Smeerenburg

    As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the old whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as ‘Blubber Town’. As we hike the shoreline of the old station, we learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. The blubber ovens stand as a reminder to this harsh industry in an equally harsh environment.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Poolepynten Prins Karls Forland

    The sight and sound of a walrus haul-out spells Arctic like nothing else can. We visit the walrus colony on Prince Charles Island and hope to see these odd-looking animals ashore. Approaching from downwind can often confirm that walruses are ashore - the smell of a walrus haul-out is quite 'unique'! Tonight we celebrate our journey with a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Arriving back into Longyearbyen this morning, we disembark after breakfast and say farewell to our Expedition Team and fellow passengers. A transfer into town is provided for those choosing to stay a few days. If you are departing today, we have a few hours this morning to explore the town, before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Tromso or 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 Akademik Sergey Vavilov takes a maximum of 90 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 One Ocean 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.

Weather

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.

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 hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

Sea kayaking option:

On many of our Spitsbergen voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available. Basic kayak competence is required. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous kayaking experience – please ask for a copy of this document if you are interested in joining the sea kayaking program.

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.

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 tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

The Spitsbergen Encounter voyage is offered on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) 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 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 tailor made trips:
1 800 267 3347
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

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday 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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