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Circumnavigation of Svalbard

In Depth Expedition Cruise around Svalbard

Enjoy the immense beauty of Svalbard on this extensive expedition cruise. As you depart from Longyearbyen, the spectacular Arctic scenery emerges right away. Imagine giant calving glaciers, beautiful fjords packed with sea ice and the possibility to spot polar bears, walrus and other Arctic wildlife at any time!

The goal of this expedition is to circumnavigate Svalbard, a bucket list voyage for any keen Arctic traveler! On this polar voyage, you will sail along sculpted glacier fronts, through scenic fjords and amongst sparkling ice caps lit by the midnight sun. The wildlife watching around Svalbard is excellent with arctic foxes, bearded seals, walrus, and even beluga whales and polar bear on the list of possible encounters.

Excursions by zodiac allow for shore landings and exploratory mini cruises to view wildlife at close proximity. The further north and east you go, the more ice you will meet. This will gradually build up until you witness the seemingly endless ice floes of the north pole. On this voyage, the ship will not only sail north but will also attempt to visit some extraordinary locations in the eastern and southern part of Svalbard. The main reason that can halt a circumnavigation of Svalbard is the ice situation along Hinlopen Strait. If the ice is passable, the ship will make its’ way through the southern edge of the Strait and cruise all around the Spitsbergen island.

Programme

The program of your voyage around Svalbard can vary to take advantage spontaneous opportunities and wildlife sightings. We cannot guarantee the ship will completely circumnavigate Svalbard. How far we can reach, and the exact route will depend on the ice and weather conditions. Fortunately many amazing locations along the coasts of Svalbard’s islands are kept navigable by the warm Gulf Stream, allowing for a wonderful experience even if a circumnavigation is not possible.

Day 1 | Boarding in Longyearbyen

Your voyage starts in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. From the moment you set sail, you will find yourself in the middle of a marvelous Arctic landscape. While sailing through the beautiful Isfjorden, you might be escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. We move northwards, along the west coast of Spitsbergen stopping at intriguing places like bird cliffs, glaciers, walrus haul-outs and historical sites.

Day 2-9 | In depth exploration of Svalbard

The expedition team will aim for several excursions every day. These could either be shore landings or zodiac cruises. For example, you might get to spend time ashore walking amongst the flowering tundra and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier. Zodiac cruises around these pristine areas give a chance to see where puffins and guillemots nest between the cracks in the cliffs. Possible historical landings sites include the 350-year-old remains of Dutch whaling settlements at Smeerenberg (blubber town) on Amsterdamoya and the 100-year-old relics of the famous Swedish explorer Andree, who attempted to fly a balloon to the North Pole. We may also walk up to a viewpoint, or hike up onto the flowering tundra where reindeer graze. On these walks, the guides will always be on the lookout for some of the special birds that live in Svalbard, including the snow bunting and Svalbard ptarmigan.

A unique location we hope to visit during this expedition cruise is Poolepynten, a 1.5 kilometer long headland on the eastern coast of the island Prins Karls Forland. This location is famous for the large walrus colonies that often come ashore here, making it easy to admire them from close range.

Day 6-9 | North & East Svalbard

As the ship sails along the north coast, we hope to explore places such as Woodfjorden and Liefdefjorden in search of polar bears. Always keep your binoculars close, as they might appear in the distance at any time. It’s a great way to pass time looking for bears while you’re on board the ship sailing to your next landing site.

Depending on the weather and ice conditions, the ship might attempt to reach the pack ice in the far north. The northernmost point of your voyage might be near Nordaustlandet, around 80° north. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before continuing south.

During this extensive voyage, you might experience areas of Svalbard not easily accessible otherwise, as the ship navigates seldom visited places in the narrow Hinlopen Strait. This area is home to bearded and ringed seals and there is even the possibility to spot blue whales.

Along the east coast of Spitsbergen you enter a different world, a polar desert. This coast is influenced by the cold sea current from Siberia. This results in lower temperatures, meaning that even in summer, frequent pack ice can make navigating these waters a challenge.

If a circumnavigation is possible, you will reach Bell Sund, in the south of Svalbard. This area is slightly warmer resulting in relatively lush vegetation. Bell Sund offers excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. You might be able to see the remains of whale hunting, at Ahlstrandhalvøya, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. A sad reminder of the 19th-century whaling industry. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod.

Svalbard Bearded Seal
Svalbard Bearded Seal

Day 10 | End of your expedition to Svalbard

Regardless of whether it is possible to circumnavigate Svalbard, your voyage will end in the same place it started. You will disembark the ship in Longyearbyen in the morning of the last day. 

Activities

On this expedition you can choose kayaking as an optional activity. A great way to explore this wonderful region at water level! Weather and wildlife permitting, you will be offered a chance to go kayaking while other guests go ashore. Kayaking equipment will be provided on board. We advise you to get some basic kayaking experience before the expedition, but it is not a requirement. Physical fitness is essential.

Ship

Hondius

170 passengers
More info

Impression

Dates & Rates

Circumnavigation of Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard in depth
Dates and duration
03 Jul - 12 Jul 2024 10 days
Hondius 170 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info

Other dates

Circumnavigation of Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard in depth
Dates and duration
24 Jun - 03 Jul 2024 10 days
Hondius 170 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info

Circumnavigation of Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard in depth
Dates and duration
13 Jul - 22 Jul 2024 10 days
Plancius 108 passengers

From € 4900 per person
More info

Circumnavigation of Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard in depth
Dates and duration
30 Jun - 09 Jul 2025 10 days
Hondius 170 passengers

From € 5150 per person
More info

Circumnavigation of Svalbard

Exploring Svalbard in depth
Dates and duration
30 Jun - 09 Jul 2025 10 days
Hondius 170 passengers

From € 5150 per person
More info