We begin our exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Following our embarkation, sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin exploration down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principal islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. From the moment we throw the lines and start our voyage we are in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife
- Complete exploration of the Svalbard Archipelago
- Arctic wildlife such as walrus and polar bears
- Rugged seabird cliffs
- Historical sites and settlements
- Spectacular glaciers and towering ice
- Zodiac cruising, kayaking, hiking and photography opportunities
Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. The islands are the northernmost inhabited places on the planet and would be permanently locked in ice if not for the moderating influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream current. 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. Our expedition ship is the renowned Akademik Ioffe, perfectly suited for remote exploration.
We commence in Longyearbyen, the principal community of this frosty Norwegian territory. Our 11-night itinerary allows for a thorough exploration of the archipelago and we first head south, then northwest and then along the northern coastline of the main island of Spitsbergen. If ice conditions permit, we cruise deep into the Hinlopen Strait - which separates the island of Spitsbergen from the more easterly island of Nordaustlandet.
As we explore the waterways of Svalbard, we enjoy frequent stops at well known wildlife sites, places of historic interest and witness glaciers, ice filled bays, fascinating plant life, all the while soaking up the stunning beauty that surrounds us. Our expedition ship is uniquely capable of working in and among the sea ice and our Captain and crew are among the most experienced ice navigators in the world. Off the northern coastline of Svalbard, the vast Arctic ice cap stretches as far as the eye can see and we maximize our time exploring along the edges of the pack ice.
This area is full of wildlife including seals, walrus, birds - and the iconic polar bear. As we return south to the main island group we continually encounter a great diversity of wildlife including beluga whales, walrus, reindeer, Arctic fox and copious birdlife. Our days are filled with guided shore excursions offering excellent hiking opportunities, cruising in the zodiac boats and exploring on the ship. Throughout our journey we enjoy a comprehensive programme of presentations, these will provide an excellent background to our expedition.
As with all our expeditions, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
The right gear for your trip – included!
During the voyage you will have the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/ windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a Nordic trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once. It also eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear to the ship (total weight around 8kg/17lbs).
An in-depth expedition circumnavigating the wondrous Svalbard archipelago.
OverviewWe begin our exploration of the Svalbard archipelago in Longyearbyen, capital city of this Norwegian Territory. Following our embarkation, sail out of Isfjorden (Ice Fjord) and begin exploration down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principal islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. From the moment we throw the lines and start our voyage we are in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
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Luxury Expedition Vessel: RCGS Resolute
The purpose built polar expedition vessel RCGS Resolute provides a
most capable, safe, and exclusive expedition cruise experience.
Designed for comfort, there are public spaces ideally suited for each
and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180 degree
views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax
or catch up on some reading. RCGS Resolute has the highest ice class
(Lloyds 1AS). Equipped with propellers of stainless steel, high
density steel plating and small frame spacing on her hull, RCGS
Resolute continues into the ice, when others simply cannot. The ship
is very stable and her stability and strength are features greatly
appreciated in ice laden large waters. Unmatched stability, coupled
with superior speed allows for more time at your destination and more
flexibility with itinerary planning – a critical factor in polar
waters where ice and weather conditions sometimes dictate daily plans.
All cabins feature outside viewing ranging from deck three traditional
with port holes, up to decks 4 through 6 offering expansive panoramic
windows. Cabins all have lower berths that have the ability to be
single beds, or 1 double bed depending on our guests needs.
- Voyage and accommodation on board as indicated in the itinerary.
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- Free use of onboard expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear (you are welcome to bring your own as well)
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac and guided hikes/walks.
- Educational presentations and leadership by experienced expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff.
- Access to onboard multimedia room and download stations
- An emergency trained English speaking physician
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
- Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights.
- Pre- and post land arrangements.
- Transfers to the vessel.
- Passport and visa expenses.
- Government arrival and departure taxes.
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
- Excess baggage charges.
- All items of a personal nature such as additional purchases onboard in the gift shop, 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).
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