Svalbard - Last stop before the North Pole - Arctic 2024
Next DepartureJun. 26, 2024
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, Kayaking, Lectures, Photography, Trekking, Zodiac
Enjoy the immense beauty of Svalbard on this Arctic adventure cruise among whales, walruses, polar bears and millions of sea birds. Experience high summer in the Arctic with Ocean Albatros - one of the few ice-class expedition ships built to withstand the North Pole’s pack ice.
One of the goals of this Albatros expedition is to sail as close as possible to the pack ice north of Svalbard - the polar bear´s favourite summer residence. How far north we reach and the exact route will depend on the ice conditions. Additionally, we will visit several fantastic locations along the west coast of Svalbard, all kept navigable by the warm Gulf Stream.
During the short summer, wildlife such as reindeer and polar foxes are busy amassing energy for the icy polar winter. The cliffs shimmer with life as every surface is populated with countless birds, and in a few months, a new generation of Arctic sea birds are ready to leave their nests. Arctic guillemots, black guillemots and razorbills can be observed fishing in our ship's wake. On several shores, the huge walruses enjoy the short Arctic summer, and many whales and seals forage along the edge of the pack ice and the coasts.
With a fleet of sturdy Zodiac boats, we can view wildlife in close proximity. The Zodiacs allow us to have frequent shore landings and embark on exploratory mini cruises in the fjords and glacial landscapes.
Facts about Svalbard - Last stop before the North Pole - Arctic 2024
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. Embarkation
Arrival to Longyearbyen, Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.
Our vessel is docked close to the town centre. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The Captain then takes the ship out of Advent Fjord and our Arctic adventure commences.
Regnardneset and Lilliehöök glacier
During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we have passed Prins Karls Forland and have arrived in the magnificent Krossfjord. Our visit to Svalbard is in the middle of the Arctic summer and at this time of year the migrating birds are very active. The months of June and July offers the best chances of spotting exotic and fantastic birds. We plan on making a landing during the morning at Möllerhamna or in another suitable location. The majestic landscape around Regnardneset in the innermost area of Krossfjorden give us our first taste of what has enticed the early explorers of these lands in the far north.
In the afternoon, we continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, we may do a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front, or enjoy a lecture.
With some Arctic luck we will be able to navigate past the magnificent scenery in the bay of Fjortende Juli, where the glacier Fjortende Juli-breen calves into the fjord. A fitting end to a day full of scenic views and Arctic wildlife.
Former whaling station at Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskøya
We have now entered North West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production.
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow, we’ll make a landing on Ytre Norskøya, where whalers would have their lookout posts.
Amazing birdlife at Alkefjellet, polar desert landscape at Torrelnesset
In the morning we arrive and cruise slowly by the famous Alkefjellet. If the weather is on “our side” we will have a good view of the steep cliffs. The whole area is home to a dense congregation of Brünichs guillemots. There are so many birds, that hardly an inch is free. During the summer, the breeding pairs offer a wild view of frantic activity, both along the cliffs and in the sea in front.
More wildlife awaits us as we land at the polar desert landscapes of Torrelnesset. The beach here is home to a host of walruses that lay amongst each other. They feed on the clams and any other molluscs that they can find in the shallows of Svalbard’s waters.
Cruising towards the pack Ice and Sjuøyane, polar bear country at 80 degrees around eastern Svalbard
During the night the ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell, but the main target for us is just the ‘edge’, possibly at 80 degrees north! This is the kingdom of the polar bear! As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seals - resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer, and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale cadavers they can find. A hard life indeed!
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed on board in the Viking Theatre. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, our captain will cruise slowly between the floes and look for wildlife.
A part goal of the day is to also reach the island Nordaustlandet and hopefully its 7 (or 9, depending on how you count) smaller islands Sjuøyane in the far north of Svalbard. The almost vegetation-free, rocky islands are located around 1000 km more northernly than mainland Norway’s famous Nordkapp.
Weather permitting, we will land and walk these most northern landmasses. The high Arctic islands are quite barren, only with moss and lichens covering the stones. The birdlife is rich in this area and some of the rarer gulls frequent these islands. Definitely bring your binoculars.
At the end of the day, we will start cruising towards the Liefdefjord and its landscapes which we will see tomorrow.
Liefde Fjord with Monaco Glacier and Texas Bar
During the night we head to Wood Fjord and its branch, the Liefde Fjord. Our plan is to slow cruise along the broad glacier front of Monacobreen. This gives a unique insight of the glacial forces and the unlimited forms of icebergs. The ice front is named after Albert I of Monaco, who was a major sponsor of Svalbard research.
Many trappers historically hunted and trapped in these areas. Some of them stayed over the winter and built cabins. The cabin known as Texas Bar is said to be named after the US state of Texas. This cabin was built in 1927. We plan to visit the area around the cabin and enjoy the scenery that surrounds us.
Ny Ålesund and Ny London
Today we enter the beautiful Kongs Fjord known for the former mining settlement and simply being one of the most amazing fjord areas in all of Svalbard. Our first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history. The Captain will try to get alongside, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.
On the opposite side of the fjord we find the abandoned marble mining settlement of Ny London. Its history is short but hectic, as the marble deposits allowed for an almost Klondike like rush to mine the resources. Wars and failing financial viability ended the adventure only 9 years after it started. If possible, we will take a walk amongst the ruins of workshops, locomotives and cranes - a testament to the great but failed investments.
After the visit, we are southbound towards the entrance to the Isfjord. On our way towards Longyearbyen, we hope to get our last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard.
Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. Disembarkation
Early in the morning, the ship has returned to our starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the Expedition Team and crew, disembarkation will take place. Transfer is arranged to the airport.
- 8-day/7-night cruise on Ocean Albatros in a shared outside double room with a private bathroom in the category chosen
- Flights Oslo-Longyearbyen-Oslo
- Local transport in Longyearbyen on days 1 and 8
- English-speaking expedition staff
- Guided walks with the expedition team
- Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary
- Information briefings and lectures by the expedition team
- Special photo workshop
- Full board on the ship
- Dinner drink package
- Free coffee, tea, and afternoon snacks on the ship
- Welcome and farewell cocktails
- Taxes, tariffs, and landing fees
- Digital visual journal link after the voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list, and more
- Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Single room supplement and cabin upgrades
- Meals not on board the ship
- Beverages (other than coffee and tea and dinner-drink package)
- Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
- Personal expenses
- Travel, cancellation, and senior insurance
- Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’
- Sail aboard one of the world’s only ice-class expedition ships built to meet the North Pole pack ice
- Reach 80° north, when we cruise towards Sjuøyane, close to the pack ice
- Very good chances of seeing polar bears as well their main prey - seals
- Former Whaling Station At Smeerensburg And Ytre Norskøya
- Amazing Birdlife At Alkefjellet, Polar Desert Landscape At Torrelnesset
- See whales, walruses, seabirds, and other amazing wildlife up close
- Liefde Fjord With Monaco Glacier And Texas Bar
- Regnardneset And Lilliehöök Glacier
- Ny Ålesund And Ny London
Please keep in mind, the itinerary and outdoor activities during each voyage are solely dependent on weather and operational conditions to ensure the safety and quality of experience of our guests. The route and shore landings will be determined by the captain and expedition leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings. Albatros Expeditions reserves the right to modify the landings and locations visited during a voyage based on weather and local conditions and climate to ensure a safe and delightful experience for all our guests and staff. Our trips are expeditionary in nature, and thus changes to timings are common place due to the environment we operate in as well as wildlife opportunities and locations.