Spitsbergen is the crown of Arctic Norway; an island forged by wind, ocean, ice and snow. Its location creates a biological hot spot, where the frigid Arctic Ocean meets the warmer currents of the Gulf Stream.
Longyearbyen and Barentsburg
The fascinating settlements of Spitsbergen have their own distinct atmosphere. A common aspect is the rough and tumble pioneering spirit on which they were founded. This adventure starts in the Norwegian settlement often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. Here you’ll find all the amenities of a modern small town – situated in a fantastic Arctic landscape. The history of Longyearbyen is rich with a tradition of coal mining, and remnants from the early mining ventures can be seen everywhere. In the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, there will be opportunities to visit the Pomor Museum (optional) and see a lively folklore show. After this visit we will continue out of Isfjorden and head north along Prins Karls Forland.
Crossing 80° N
Moffen is a high latitude islet, located above the 80th parallel and is a popular home for walrus. We will try to reach this far north if wind and ice conditions allow.
Striking fjords and Ny-Ålesund
Woodfjorden and Liefdefjorden are large fjords in North Spitsbergen that offer a strikingly varied landscape – from large plains to remnants of extinct volcanoes and even the northernmost hot spring on earth. When we are cruising towards the Monaco glacier, we might get lucky and spot a polar bear searching for seals. Kongsfjorden is the largest fjord on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers tumbling into the ocean. At the end of the fjord, you will find the majestic Kongsbreen (King’s Glacier). At 78º 55’ N, Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal mining community, Ny-Ålesund is now an advanced High Arctic research station. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and there is a lot of activity in the summer. On our way back to Longyearbyen, we will visit the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. Marvel at the large U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers that covered the area ten thousand years ago.
The grand dame of Hurtigruten
Explore this extraordinary natural world from MS Nordstjernen, a ship that is rich in character with an aura of nostalgia. She was built for the Hurtigruten fleet in 1956, but has been extensively modernized. Her classic wooden interior fittings combined with the comfort on board creates an extraordinary atmosphere. Because MS Nordstjernen is a small vessel, she will take us to the less accessible pearls of these beautiful coastlines, making your voyage one-of-a-kind and truly unforgettable.
During the entire adventure, our programme of shore excursions will take you close to both Arctic wildlife and the cultural reminders of the early whaling era.