Around Spitsbergen Kvitoya - M/V Hondius

Svalbard

With its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice-caps and glaciers, Svalbard, also known as Spitsbergen, is a true high-Arctic archipelago, and only 1000 kilometres (600 miles) from the North Pole. Svalbard offers some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. The large population of polar bears are a major attraction. Spitsbergen is a breeding ground for large numbers of seabirds that feed in the food rich Arctic waters. This expedition will attempt to reach far North (82 Degrees) and explore the remote, ice-bound White Island

  • Look out for Arctic wildlife such as whales, seals, walrus and polar bears
  • Reach 82 degrees north, just 480 miles from the geographic North Pole
  • Myriad of birdlife and spectacular seabird cliff colonies
  • Sailing with m/v Hondius, a new, state-of-the-art expedition vessel
  • Admire the glaciers and mountains of Svalbard

Stewart's Take

A comprehensive expedition to the Arctic with a great new vessel

Overview

With its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice-caps and glaciers, Svalbard, also known as Spitsbergen, is a true high-Arctic archipelago, and only 1000 kilometres (600 miles) from the North Pole. Svalbard offers some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world. The large population of polar bears are a major attraction. Spitsbergen is a breeding ground for large numbers of seabirds that feed in the food rich Arctic waters. This expedition will attempt to reach far North (82 Degrees) and explore the remote, ice-bound White Island.
Day 1: Longyearbyen, Svalbard You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. Embark this afternoon and in the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage. Day 2: Cruising Krossfjorden Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord. In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928). Day 3: Stop at the Seven Islands The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walrus inhabit this stark desolate landscape. Later in the day the ship may roam for several hours among the pack ice in search of wildlife. Day 4 – 5: Northward into the ice This voyage will push farther north, aiming at approximately 82° latitude. Though the ice situation cannot be predicted and the expansion varies from year to year, it is the intention of this voyage to come as close to the ice edge as possible. These days will be spent navigating at sea, with no landings or Zodiac cruises planned. Day 6: The great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen Pushing east to Nordaustlandet, you reach the area where the Italian captain Sora tried to rescue the Nobile Expedition in 1928. The focus here is the great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen, though you may also land at Firkantbukta, getting the chance to gain some altitude and take a few higher-elevation photos. Alternately, you could make a Zodiac cruise near Storøya, where you might encounter walruses. Day 7: Ice cap at Kvitøya Today you try to reach the rarely visited Kvitøya, far to the east and close to Russian territory. The enormous ice cap covering this island leaves only a small area bare. You land at the western tip of Andréeneset, where the Swedish explorer S. A. Andrée and his companions perished in 1897. Another objective for the day is Kræmerpynten, where a sizable group of walruses reside. Day 8: The longest glacier in Spitsbergen South of Nordaustlandet you may land on Isisøya, formerly a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers but now an island surrounded by the sea. You then may pass by Bråswellbreen, part of the largest ice cap in Europe and famed for its meltwater waterfalls. Day 9: Barentsøya’s many bounties The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya. Day 10: Land of the pointed mountains You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears. Day 11: Bell Sund’s flora, fauna, and haunting history Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding. Day 12: Longyearbyen Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. PLEASE NOTE: The chances that we can reach Kvitøya and complete a full Svalbard circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 2013—2017) are about 70%. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may make a circumnavigation of Spitsbergen through Hinlopen Strait. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for m/v Hondius is 10.5 knots.

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New Expedition Vessel: M/V Hondius

MV Hondius

The Hondius is a new-built vessel in 2019 is ice-strengthened and specially crafted for expedition voyages.  Hondius will be the first vessel to be built to class “LR PC6”, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for “Polar Class 6” vessels, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels. The vessel will also fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, for safe ship operation and the protection of the Polar environment. Hondius offers deluxe accommodations for in total 176 passengers. One deck has been entirely reserved for (multi-language) lectures and presentations in one large observation lounge and in addition one separate lecture room. The vessel offers a deluxe standard and at the same time a distinctive cozy and informal atmosphere.

The philosophy is to keep sea legs short and to focus on fast and effective access to shore and near shore activities for all nature and wildlife minded passengers. A powerful fleet of zodiacs will guarantee quality outings and swift landing operation for all passengers at the same time. Our main focus remains discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities, a product that has been very much appreciated by our current travelers for many years. A speedy zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking. While cruising, 72 crew and staff members (including expedition and hotel staff) will be at the passengers’ service. Hondius is equipped with 2 main engines and can reach a maximum speed of 15 knots.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snow shoes on Plancius and Ortelius
  • Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights.
  • Pre- and post land arrangements.
  • Transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
  • Possible fuel surcharges; It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US Dollar 120 per Barrel Brent, 90 days prior to departure Oceanwide Expeditions reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US $ 25 per passenger per night for bookings outside Europe and EURO 18 per passenger per night for bookings within Europe, to be paid by the contracting party of Oceanwide Expeditions.
Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared twin, triple or quad occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with another person of the same gender at the shared rate. Twin and Superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the share rate. Children Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40 % discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 20 % of the total price. If cancellation is received between 89 days and 60 days prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 50 % of the total price. If cancellation occurs less than 59 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Oceanwide Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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