Springtime in Svalbard: M/S Quest

Svalbard

During the month of May, Svalbard is characterised by a wonderful purity and offers breathtaking sceneries. The fairytale winter landscape is dominated by sparkling ice formations, snow covered mountains, fjord ice and pastel coloured skies. Polar bear yearlings venture out for the first time, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer still wear their winter fur and seals and walrus can often be seen resting on the fjord ice. Little auks and Brünnich’s guillemots have returned to their summer nests and bird cliffs are teeming with life. It is a great time to spot the king eider and rock ptarmigan

  • Sail on board a modern expedition ship with a small number of fellow travellers
  • See the spectacular mountains of Spitsbergen
  • Sail through amazing fjords and see impressive glaciers
  • Search for wildlife such as polar bears, walrus and whales
  • Incredible birdlife including eiders, vast numbers of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots

GUIDES

Knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides are the key to a successful expedition. On these expeditions you will meet guides with long experience of the Polar Regions and a genuine love of the Arctic. Several of them have been commuting between the Arctic and the Antarctic for many years. All guides are highly qualified guides when it comes to safety.

There are five guides on board the M/S Quest. Few passengers per guide increase the flexibility on board as well as enable a smooth Zodiac operation. The guides also entertain and educate you with interesting talks in between landings, where you learn more about the flora, fauna and history of Svalbard.

Stewart's Take

Pristine Spitsbergen awakes sparkling in the returning sunshine!

Overview

During the month of May, Svalbard is characterised by a wonderful purity and offers breathtaking sceneries. The fairytale winter landscape is dominated by sparkling ice formations, snow covered mountains, fjord ice and pastel coloured skies. Polar bear yearlings venture out for the first time, Arctic fox and Svalbard reindeer still wear their winter fur and seals and walrus can often be seen resting on the fjord ice. Little auks and Brünnich’s guillemots have returned to their summer nests and bird cliffs are teeming with life. It is a great time to spot the king eider and rock ptarmigan.
With our sturdy Zodiacs we explore this winter wonderland, heading for some of Svalbard’s most magnificent fjords and we try to make landings wherever the ice allows us. Day 1: Longyearbyen, Svalbard We arrive in Longyearbyen and transfer to our hotel. Day 2 - 8: Expedition We start our adventure in Svalbard by exploring Longyearbyen. In the afternoon we embark our expedition ship M/S Quest and head out through Isfjorden. Perhaps we could make an evening landing before we continue either south or north – all depending on the weather and the current ice situation. Here are some examples of places we may visit: Alkhornet At the entrance of Isfjorden is the characteristic cliff Alkhornet. We go ashore to enjoy the beautiful tundra and its birdlife with barnacle geese, Brünnich’s guillemots, glaucous gulls, snow buntings and tens of thousands of kittiwakes. Arctic foxes are sometimes seen in the rock crevices around the mountain and with some luck we might see these lovely little animals scurrying around, frantically looking for food. Prins Karls Forland This narrow strip of land is covered by a magnificent and snow-covered mountain chain. The island is also home to many seabirds and harbour seals Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden The scientific village of Ny-Ålesund is situated in Kongsfjorden. It was from here that Amundsen and Nobile started their heroic expeditions to the North Pole. In the nearby Krossfjorden we revel in the beautifully sculptured front of the 14th of July Glacier to the raucous greeting of the large number of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nesting on the nearby cliffs. Raudfjorden Raudfjorden is an area of immense natural beauty – dominated by beautiful glaciers. It is also a favourite spot for seals and the bird cliffs are bursting with activity. Virgohamna, Danskøya Two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started on the island of Danskøya. Swedish explorer Andrée made an attempt with a hydrogen balloon and American journalist Wellman started with an airship. There are still interesting remnants from these expeditions left on this site. Bellsund At the beautiful Vårsolbukta in Bellsund little auks nest by the tens of thousands. We go ashore and walk across the tundra to take a closer look at these charming birds. Hornsund The majestic Hornsund consists of several magnificent fjords along the west coast of Spitsbergen, where enormous glaciers calve out shimmering blue ice. This is one of the favourite haunts for some of Svalbard’s polar bears and if lucky we can spot one of them on the fjord ice. Day 9: Longyearbyen In the morning we leave the ship in Longyearbyen and begin our journey home. Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife. The places mentioned are just examples of some of the many sites Svalbard has to offer. We always strive to maximise your experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition! Snowshoeing For the active there is a chance to explore the areas we visit with snowshoes. This is an extra option that requires a good level of fitness. Please note: this activity is always dependent on weather, wind and other safety precautions.

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Expedition Vessel: Quest

Quest expedition ship Svalbard

The expedition ship Quest (formerly M/S Sea Endurance) was built in Denmark in 1992 to serve as a ferry on Greenland`s west coast. In 2004/2005 she was completely refurbished and now has a career as a small and comfortable expedition ship. Quest takes 53 passengers in 26 cabins, all with sea-view and private facilities. Travelling with this small expedition ship offers a more relaxed and informal atmosphere and a much greater focus on the destination than is the case with larger vessels.

In the dining room you are treated to delicious meals in between landings and in the panorama lounge you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. Here you can listen to entertaining lectures on the area's flora, fauna and history. In the lounge you also find a well-stocked bar and a small library. The ship has spacious observation decks where you can enjoy the beautiful vistas and search for exciting wildlife.

The triple cabins on deck three have upper and lower berths. All other cabins have two lower berths or a double bed. In your cabin you also find a desk with chair and storage space for clothes and equipment. The superior cabins on deck three and four are spacious and have a separate sitting area and TV/DVD. The Owner's cabin, next to the Captain`s cabin, on deck four has a double bed, two large picture windows, a small sitting area and TV/DVD.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • 7 nights on board the M/S Quest
  • 1 night in a hotel in Longyearbyen
  • all meals
  • an experienced Expedition Leader and knowledgeable guides
  • lectures on board and ashore
  • all excursions by Zodiac
  • illustrated post-expedition log
Excluded
  • Flight to and from Longyearbyen
  • travel and cancellation insurance
  • customary gratuity to the ship’s crew
  • personal expenses such as bar and shop charges.
Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 25% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A secure payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card alternatively bank transfer. Bookings within 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Final payment can be made by bank transfer. Balance payments by credit card are subject to a 2% surcharge. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. For cancellation received more than 60 days prior to departure there will be a full refund of the program cost less 10%. For cancellation received between 60 days prior to departure and departure date there will be no refund whatsoever. 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 Polar Quest 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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