Mammal and Birding Cruise Norway: Svalbard (Spitsbergen) – Polar Bears and Seabirds June 2019

Tour Details

Duration: 8 days
Group Size: The group sizes of cruises are a function of the capacity of the ship, so our usual small group size policy naturally can’t apply here.
Date Start: June 21, 2019
Date End: June 28, 2019
Tour Start: Longyearbyen, Norway
Tour End: Longyearbyen, Norway

Tour Costs

Price: Quadruple porthole – sharing US$4,050
Triple porthole– sharing US$5,000
Twin porthole – sharing US$5,600, single US$9,520
Twin window – sharing US$6,100, single US$10,370
Twin deluxe – sharing US$6,500, single US$11,050
Superior (double) – sharing US$7,350, single US$12,495
Junior Suite (double) – sharing US$7,900, single US$13,430
Grand Suite (private balcony, double) – sharing US$9,100, single US$15,470
Hondius Suite (double) – sharing US$10,500, single US$17,850

Single Supplement:

All cabins contain private shower and toilet, flat screen TV, telephone and internet connections, hair dryer, and ample storage space.

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.

Price includes:
All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship, including snacks, coffee, and tea
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes
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 program
Comprehensive pre-departure material

Price excludes:
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
Pre- and post-tour land arrangements
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 voyage for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)

Mammal and Birding Cruise Norway: Svalbard (Spitsbergen) – Polar Bears and Seabirds June 2019

You arrive in the world’s northernmost town, historic Longyearbyen (previously known as “Long Year City”), deep within the Arctic Circle, and we have time to explore this small city of about 2000 human inhabitants. We then depart on our cruise for the northern parts of the beautiful, remote Svalbard Archipelago (previously known as Spitsbergen). While one of our main targets will be Polar Bear (and other Arctic mammals), our guide is first and foremost a birding guide, so he’ll certainly be constantly watching for all the special birds. We plan to visit a breeding colony of Ivory Gulls, we should see Rock Ptarmigan, and we’ll also of course try for all the sea ducks and all the other desirables. The scenery is truly spectacular, with all the glaciers, fjords, jagged peaks, and myriads of small islands.

 

Itinerary (8 days/7 nights)

Day 1: Birding Longyearbyen, Departure

Arrival in Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, Norway, the world’s northernmost city. Before the early evening departure we will explore this old mining town in search of Barnacle Goose, Common Ringed Plover, Rock Ptarmigan, Purple Sandpiper, and Snow Bunting. Upon setting sail out of Isfjorden, the second-longest fjord in the Svalbard Archipelago, we may see our first Red-throated Loons and Minke Whale. Our voyage will be on board the nearly 300-ft polar vessel Hondius, which accommodates 176 passengers in 83 cabins.

Day 2: The northern coast of West Svalbard

Along the northern coast of west Svalbard we will cruise alongside beautiful glaciers. Polar Bears are commonly seen here in addition to Bearded and Ringed Seals. The shoreline cliffs in Raudfjorden are home to colonies of seabirds, including Thick-billed Murre and Black Guillemot. Lush vegetation flourishes in areas protected from the weather.

Day 3: Liefdefjorden

Weather dependent, we will sail along the 3-mile long face of Monaco Glacier, heading into Liefdefjorden. These waters harbor a favorite food source for Black-legged Kittiwake, offering spectacular views of thousands of birds. Polar Bears also frequent the glacier, providing photo opportunities.

Day 4: Hinlopen Strait

Navigation into the Hinlopen Strait will prove to be rich in wildlife. Today we will have opportunities to see thousands of Thick-billed Murres, Polar Bear, Ringed and Bearded Seals, and if we’re lucky Blue Whale – the largest animal known to have ever existed. In our zodiacs we will cruise through the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya and will visit a huge colony of Brünnich’s Guillemots at the cliffs of Alkefjellet. We will also attempt to land at Palanderbukta on the island of Nordaustlandet, where Ivory Gulls nest in addition to Pink-footed Goose and Reindeer and Walrus might be seen.

Day 5: Phippsøya

Today we will attempt to reach the island of Phippsøya, which is the northernmost point of our journey. Located in the Seven Islands, we will be less than 550 miles from the geographic North Pole! Polar Bears and Ivory Gulls are inhabitants of this region. Our ship may remain in the ice pack for several hours before navigating west.

Day 6: At sea

We will return westward and continue our voyage alongside the pack ice. While watching for Polar Bears, we will hope for a glimpse of the elusive Bowhead Whale. As we cruise alongside the continental shelf west of Svalbard, we will pass through the foraging waters of Fin Whale and have decent chances of spotting Minke Whale.

Day 7: Varying destinations depending on weather conditions

Weather dependent, we will either sail into Forlandsundet, where we might encounter Walrus, or alternatively into St. Johns Fjord or to Isfjorden and possibly landing on Alkhornet, where along the cliffs we will look for nesting seabirds, and along the base of the cliffs Arctic Fox may be seen foraging for fallen chicks or eggs. We may see Svalbard Reindeer grazing (the smallest subspecies of reindeer) before making a nighttime arrival back in Longyearbyen.

Day 8: Departure

We will come ashore in Longyearbyen on this last day of our journey for flights south to Oslo and from there to our home destinations.

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

Download Itinerary