Explore the spectacular and wildlife rich coastline of Spitsbergen on this 8 day voyage with sightings that may include walrus and Reindeer as well as seals, Polar Bears, Ivory Gulls and more. A number of days in to this voyage, we will find ourselves retracing our route westwards, taking us through and along the pack-ice, keeping watch for Polar Bears and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 100 n.miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whales forage in summer in the upwellings along the the Spitsbergen banks.
North Spitsbergen - Polar Bear Special itinerary:
Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord we may see our first Minke Whales.
We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bears are often seen here.
Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eiders and Pink-footed Geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, crui¬sing near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes. As well, Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.
Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. At the entrance there is the possibility to see Blue Whales. We’ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walruses.
In the morning we hope to land at Laagoya, a haul-out place for Walrusses. Later we will reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bears inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gulls. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before turning west again.
Retracing our route westwards, our route takes us through and along the pack-ice, keeping watch for Polar Bears and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 100 n.miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whales forage in summer in the upwellings along the the Spitsbergen banks. West of the mouth of the Kongsfjord we have also good chances to see Humpback Whales.
We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs, and along the coast we see Harbour Seals, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Here we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walruses. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Foxes search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime we arrive in Longyearbyen.
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.
MV Antarctic Dream is a Dutch built ice-reinforced vessel and served under the name Piloto Pardo for the Chilean Navy. The vessel was rebuilt as an unrestricted, worldwide passenger vessel and was completely refurbished in July 2005. MV Antarctic Dream is registered in Belize. The vessel features a spacious dining room / observation lounge, bar, lecture room, fitness room plus sauna, boutique and passenger bridge.
The vessel offers accommodation for 84 passengers in 42 twin cabins with private toilet and shower. 4 Suites, 16 Superior cabins and 20 twin private cabins have portholes or windows and either two separate lower beds or queen beds. 2 Additional twin private cabins have no portholes / windows (inside cabins). All cabins have furthermore a desk, closed circuit TV, and inter-cabin phone service. Satellite email and phone service is available on the bridge.
The vessel is manned by 18 well-trained Chilean crew members. The on board staff consists of 1 expedition leader, 4 guides / lecturers, 1 hotel manager, 1 barman, 1 doctor, 4 chefs and 7 waitresses / cabin cleaners. The MV Antarctic Dream's expeditions offer you the ideal introduction to Spitsbergen and Greenland. Departing from and finishing most of the times in the port of Longyearbyen, we take in the most exciting sights Spitbergen. Our program is orientated to the viewing of wildlife and the breathtaking scenery of narrow waterways, glaciers and icebergs.
The Captain and the expedition leader will assess conditions daily with the intention of maximizing your time ashore. This means taking full advantage of opportunities to land passengers with our zodiacs and making best use of the light of the long summer days. On board lectures are offered by geologists, historians, naturalists and expedition leaders. Join the captain and the rest of our 36 crew and staff members for an awe-inspiring journey of discovery and adventure.
Ice class: The MV Antarctic Dream has a 1-inch thick steel ring which is 3 meters high surrounding the hull in the area closest to the ice. The frames have 300 mm of distance in between. The propeller has protection for working in ice. The vessel is not an icebreaker but can handle loose ice of about 300-500 mm in thickness. She was constructed under the following notation of Lloyd’s Register: + 100 A1 strengthened for navigation in ice.
MV Antarctic dream accommodates 42 twin passengers cabins all with lower beds and private toilet and shower, as follows:
4 with large window
(3 with queen beds, 1 with two single beds)
16 with large window
(6 with queen beds, 10 with two single beds)
20 with small porthole
(5 with queen beds, 15 with two single beds)
Twin private inside:
2 with no porthole or window
(2 with two single beds)