Svalbard, Norway – Circumnavigation and North Cape
Duration: 14 days
Ship: MS Spitsbergen
16 August 2019
- See natural wonders like Edgeøya and Kvitøya
- Cross 80º N, placing you less than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole
- Chances of seeing polar bears
- Circumnavigate Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago
Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Before departure, you can spend some time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes and hills. Oslo offers interesting architecture, a strong café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and endless shopping possibilities.
Then, set foot in an entirely different world when you arrive in Longyearbyen. This remote settlement on the edge of Arctic tundra offers all the amenities of a modern town, and the contrast is intoxicating.
Transfer to your hotel and overnight.
After an overnight stay in one of our hotels, join after an exciting excursion after lunch to Longyearbyen and the surrounding area. The influence of the Arctic environment on life here is obvious, but the settlement is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, shops and a mini-shopping centre. The town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventurers. In addition, the rich history and heritage of the first coal miners is evident everywhere.
The excursion ends at the pier where MS Spitsbergen is waiting for you.
We sail to Kongsfjorden, considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by dramatic mountain formations. We also plan to sail to Ny-Ålesund, a former mining settlement with colourful architecture, which now serves as an international research centre.
As we sail northwest, we reach Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see ruins from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs and quite often, Svalbard reindeer.
The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from the first inhabitants of Svalbard.
At Magdalenafjorden, if conditions allow, we will attempt a landing to hike, and for the truly brave at heart, swim in the refreshing Arctic waters. Others may wish to venture to the 151-metre-high top of Ytre Norskøya. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in beautiful Liefdefjord.
Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – we have high hopes of seeing one on this journey!
We hope to sail by Isflakbukta and Phippsøya on our way to Sorgfjorden, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Sorgfjorden was the location of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers and features amazing wildlife spotting opportunities for walrus and birdlife.
Kvitøya, the easternmost island in the Svalbard archipelago, is 98 % covered by the Kvitøyjøkulen ice cap. We plan to land at the western point of the island where the remains of the Andrée expedition were found in 1930. This was a failed effort to fly over the North Pole in a balloon, the `Örnen´ (Eagle).
Edgeøya is the third-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago with a landscape that is largely un-glaciated, unlike much of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.
If we are lucky, we may meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land. In winter Storfjorden is mainly frozen, making it a perfect polar bear habitat. We continue to the southern cape and the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen, where Hornsund has large variations in its landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears to hunt on the floes.
Bjørnøya, with a population of just nine persons, is the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. It is an isolated spot in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, known for hosting perhaps the largest concentration of sea birds in the Northern Hemisphere. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide, nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an "all-you-can-eat" buffet for 126 different bird species. If conditions allow, we will land here.
A few hours before we arrive at Skarsvåg we will sail past the spectacular North Cape cliff, offering you a stunning view of this famous landmark. Skarsvåg is a small village that lies along the northern coast of the island of Magerøya, and it claims the distinction of being the world's northernmost fishing village. Join the optional excursion to the North Cape and get a feeling what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. There is a combined museum and restaurant at the plateau, where you can learn more about early expeditions and watch a panoramic film that takes you through the four seasons in this landscape full of contrasts, amazing light and breathtaking scenery.
Sommarøy is an archipelago of small islands with white, sandy beaches and a lively fishing community. Sommarøy has a couple of small shops where you can buy handicrafts and groceries. Inside the local shop, you will find “Kaillkråa” (the gentlemen’s corner) where husbands are usually “parked” while the wives do their shopping. And, as this shopping might be a time-consuming activity, the local men have private hooks on the wall for their coffee cups to pass the time. We offer a variety of excursions like hikes and kayaking in this location.
Tromsø is called the Gateway to the Arctic, and this is where your expedition ends. When polar explorer Roald Amundsen recruited crew for his famous expeditions more than 100 years ago, he went to Tromsø. This was the only place he could find men (yes – it was mostly men back in those days) with navigational experience in polar seas. He needed men that knew how to survive with minimal means in the Arctic, men that had survived an overwintering in Svalbard by trapping and hunting.
Today Tromsø is home to polar operations experts and the academics investigating global warming the in Arctic. It is a melting pot with indigenous people, locals and Europeans. In brief, Tromsø is still the Gateway to the Artic and a natural starting point for expeditions heading north. Take some time to explore the city before you fly if you have the time.
Included in your voyage
- Hurtigruten Expedition with cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Economy flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen
- One hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage including breakfast and lunch
- All transfers in Longyearbyen including an excursion before the voyage
- Wind and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
|Year of refurbishment||2016|
|Ship yard||Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)|
Our new ship, MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary.
Skarsvåg - Skarsvåg & North Cape
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