Not only a frozen wilderness, Spitsbergen is a place of precarious beauty and a stronghold of endangered Arctic wildlife.
This remarkable expedition departs from the far northern settlement of Longyearbyen on the Norwegian Arctic island of Spitsbergen in the famed Svalbard archipelago. We explore the island’s northwestern coast, home to dramatic mountain scenery, tidewater glaciers, and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities.
On this voyage we also venture to the jumbled edge of the north-polar ice cap in search of polar bears stalking their prey. Here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, we have a rare opportunity to experience raw nature and incredible events hardly ever seen.
• The unique Arctic ecosystem of Spitsbergen is almost entirely protected in a network of nature reserves and national parks. Our voyage takes us to Nordre Isfjorden Nasjonalpark, Forlandet Nasjonalpark, and the spectacular Nordvest-Spitsbergen Nasjonalpark. Each has its own claim to Svalbard’s magnificent natural history. By land and sea we encounter a wealth of wildlife—including walrus, Arctic fox, reindeer, and a variety of whales and seals—in one of the High Arctic’s most pristine and protected environments. We also encounter a surprising wealth of hardy plant life and striking geology throughout the area.
• Svalbard boasts one of the Arctic’s highest concentrations of polar bears. They are the world’s largest land carnivores and have become a symbol of the imperiled Arctic wilderness. This is one of the best places in the world to view polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat: the pack ice. During our sojourn to the ice edge we hope to come across this majestic creature employing various strategies to catch seals in the ever-shifting labyrinth of the pack ice. But these wide-ranging and opportunistic Arctic nomads can just as well be found at other places and times during our voyage.
• Our area of exploration is rich with historical sites including early whaling camps, trappers’ cabins, deserted coal mining operations, and an abandoned polar research station. It also contains the staging areas for many historic expeditions to the North Pole, including those of Roald Amundsen and Walter Wellman. Modern human endeavor in this area can be experienced at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to a multinational community of Arctic researchers. In addition to a museum, gift shop, and post office, visitors to this extreme northern settlement find a famous bust of Amundsen and a historic airship mast.
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight, you are free to explore this small but fascinating settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants in the town center. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage.
In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit; transfers from the hotel are included. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home-away-from-home for the extraordinary adventure to come. The long days of summer sunlight illuminate our surroundings as we slip our moorings and sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as we sail through Isfjorden on our first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
This is a real expedition in a true High Arctic wilderness. As such, our route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions we encounter. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. We exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, to discover incredible scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us.
We anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands in the northwestern part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. On ice floes and on fast ice several species of seals watch vigilantly for polar bears. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
And over it all presides the polar bear, monarch of the North. This wild corner of Svalbard is one of the best places in the world to observe polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat: the pack ice. We take the ship as close as safely possible to the jumbled and broken edge of the polar ice cap, where polar bears stalk the frozen sea in search of seals.
To complete the Arctic experience we also explore places rich with history. Our area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and even an abandoned polar research station.
Human habitation in this area can be found only at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, complete with museum, gift shop, and post office.
The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After breakfast we say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, where we started. We provide a transfer to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Svalbard, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
Itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these staterooms have two twins and a comfortable sofa bed. The twins also convert to a King, if desired. Located on Oceanus Deck, these suites have a picture window, two wardrobes and en suite facilities. Amenities include: in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Averaging 23 square metres/248 square feet, Main Deck cabins are equipped with either two twins or a King Size bed. They are located on the Main Deck with a minimum of two portholes for exterior views. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these cabins are located on the Oceanus Deck. They feature a picture window, two wardrobes and a choice of either two twin beds or a King Size bed. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Superior Suites are located on the Club Deck. Averaging 20 square metres/ 215 square feet, these cabins feature two twin beds or a King Size bed. The picture window overlooks an outside walkway on the Club Deck. Amenities include: en suite facilities, walk-in closet or wardrobe, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, hair dryer.
The Deluxe Suites with balconies are located on the Sports Deck. Averaging 24 square metres/ 258 square feet means plenty of room. Choose from either two twin beds or a King Size bed. A sliding glass door leads to a private balcony. These suites feature a walk-in closet or wardrobe. Amenities include en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and a hair dryer.
The Premium Suites are located on the Sun Deck. Averaging a generous 30 square metres/ 323 square feet, with two twin beds or a King Size bed. Access the private balcony by a sliding glass door. Amenities include: en suite facilities, lounge area, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Super-spacious (43 square metres/ 463 square feet) elegant suite on the Sun Deck. Designed for entertaining, the Owner's Suite has a separate living room with game and meeting area. A BOSE stereo system provides background music, or watch videos on the HD plasma TV. Sliding glass doors lead to a private deck. Refresh in the jetted bathtub in en suite facilities. Slumber in the King Size bed. A sofa bed can accommodate a third person.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114
Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2016
Like some of the birds we see in the Arctic and Antarctica, our m/v Sea Spirit is migratory and follows the sun, northbound in the summer and southbound in the winter, always ready for spontaneous discoveries – a pod of whales, a family of polar bears or a glaciated mountain vista. She is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow fjords of East Greenland and entering the small bays of Spitsbergen.
Onboard, we create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all our guests. They are united by one goal – to have a memorable wilderness experience and to become real polar adventurers. We believe that first-hand travel to such places makes one an ambassador for conservation, and helps strengthen our resolve to protect these natural environments for future generations.
Public areas include: Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Outdoor Bistro, Club Lounge, Library, Presentation Lounge, Infirmary, Gym, Bridge.
We have open Bridge policy. Talk to the Captain and officers. Watch landscapes from this special angle of view. Fix your location at a map of your expedition.