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Around Spitsbergen

From Longyearbyen via Norduslandet, Barentsøya and Edgeøya

Svalbard Reindeer

Locations in this tour typically include: Longyearbyen • Krossfjorden • Ny Ålesund • Liefdefjorden • Andøya • Phippsøya (Seven Islands) • Sorg Fjord • Hinlopen Strait • Augustabukta • Torrelneset • Freemansundet • Barentsøya • Hornsund • Ahlstrandhalvøya • Recherchefjorden • Longyearbyen;

The chances that we can complete a full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 1992 until 2012) are about, 30 % in the first half of July, 60 % in the second half of July, 90% in the first half of August, 95% in the second half of August. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation we will mostly resort to a program in Northeast or Southeast Spitsbergen.

Route map

Around Spitsbergen Route

Key facts

  • Around Spitsbergen
  • Arctic expedition cruise with specialist expedition leaders
  • 2017 departures:
    03 August (OTL12)
    11 August (PLA13)
  • Nights: 9
  • Cabin price from: £3,225* quadruple shared porthole
  • Deposit: 20%
  • Vessel: M/v Ortelius or m/v Plancius
  • Tour leader: Oceanwide Expeditions
  • * Please note that the prices quoted are for cruise only and do not include flights or hotel accommodation. We will arrange your flights and any accommodation but as fares and rates are subject to change, prices are quoted on request.
  • Around Spitsbergen 2017 detailed itinerary
  • Spitsbergen 2017 Overview, dates & prices

The ships

M/v Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was originally named Marina Svetaeva, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. Read more about Ortelius

M/v Ortelius

M/v Plancius started her life in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. In June 2004, the vessel was taken out of active service and was purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions in December 2006. The vessel was completely rebuilt in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). Read more about Plancius

M/v Plancius

Your itinerary

Day 1
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 early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

Day 2
Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we board the Zodiacs for a cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, a colourful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of Kittiwake and Brünnich's Guillemot nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting Arctic Fox, who patrol the base of the cliffs in case a chick falls from its nest, and Bearded Seal, who cruise this fjord. In the afternoon we sail to Ny Ålesund, the world's most northerly settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world's most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny Ålesund is now a research centre. Close to the village is a breeding ground for Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Arctic Tern. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration will want to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile, in the airship Norge in 1926 and Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928, before their flights to the North Pole.

Day 3
Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, we will go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many common eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and the more rare King Eider may also be seen. Sailing into Liefdefjorden, we will cruise near the face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes and occasionally Polar Bear are seen on the glacier.

Day 4
Today 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 Bear inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and seeing a Ross Gull, before we turn south again.

Day 5
At Sorg Fjord we may find a herd of walrus not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. On a nature walk, we may encounter families of Ptarmigans. The opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

Day 6
Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. We'll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich's Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we'll attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus. Near Torrelneset, we will explore the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world's third largest ice cap, which meets the sea nearby. We will walk along beautiful coastline covered in smooth rocks, sculpted by the surf over thousands of years. We may encounter Walrus along the way.

Day 7
In Freemansundet we plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen Reindeer and Barnacle Goose. Later we cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, we land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. We can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of Kitttiwake, together with Black Guillemot and piratical Glaucous Gull. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Fox and Polar Bear, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.

Day 8
We start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m, while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name 'Spitsbergen' - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and Polar Bear.

Day 9
Today we land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of Beluga skeletons (the Beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter, are yet another reminder of the consequences of thoughtless exploitation. Fortunately, Beluga were not hunted to the edge of extinction and may still be seen locally. Indeed, there is a good chance that we will come across a pod. Cruising into Recherchefjorden during the afternoon we can explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many reindeer feed.

Day 10
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.

Disclaimer: This itinerary is dependent on sea and ice conditions. The final itinerary will be decided by the ship's captain and your Expedition Leader to maximize opportunities.