Experience Oslo with your private guide before you embark on an arctic exploration of the Svalbard archipelago, a Norwegian Territory in the Greenland Sea. From the moment the lines are thrown and the voyage begins, you're in the land of the polar bear, beluga, walrus and reindeer, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, and prepare for adventure. You'll set sail out of Isfjorden, voyaging down the west coast and around the southern end of Spitsbergen, the larger of the two principle islands that make up the bulk of the Svalbard archipelago. Leave the cruise vessel behind on daily Zodiac excursions, bringing you closer to the action than you'd ever imagine. Book by May 15, 2014 and save up to $500 pp
Cruise Departure Dates (2014):
Additional routes/durations on Jun 5 & Jul 14 (2014).
Relax on a private airport transfer with private vehicle and driver.
The Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel (4*) is conveniently located in the heart of Oslo near the Royal Palace, with spectacular views overlooking the city and the fjord. Major attractions such as Aker Brygge, City Hall, the Karl Johans Gate and the Vigeland Sculpture Park are within walking distance of the hotel. The hotel offers 488 rooms and suites on 22 floors. The majority of rooms offer direct views to the Oslo Fjord or the landmark Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Free wireless high-speed internet access is available to guests throughout the building. On the 21st floor of the hotel you will find the Summit bar, combining breathtaking views with excellent cocktails. The intimate ENZO Bar & Restaurant serves a menu inspired by the Mediterranean. All guests have complimentary access to the Lagoon, featuring a swimming pool, fitness room, and saunas.
Enjoy a 2 hours Fjord cruise. This is the classic guided Oslo Fjord sightseeing. We pass the fortress, the Opera House, and through a maze of islands with small summer houses and idyllic bays. Refreshments for sale onboard.
Meet your driver for a private port transfer.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom, as your vessel sets sail out of Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden during the early evening. On board, you will meet for an introductory briefing and then adjourn to the dining room for your first meal aboard.
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov ship, Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, was designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. Up to 107 guests can be accommodated aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov, each cabin providing an outside position and exterior view. This ship is maneuverable yet exceptionally stable, as external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system provide necessary stability. Akademik Sergey Vavilov has an ice-strengthened hull and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. The ship is outfitted with fully enclosed lifeboats, ship-to-shore communications via satellite, platform for optional kayaking & camping, a fleet of Zodiacs, panoramic observation lounge, clinic with licensed doctor, and an elevator between decks 1 and 5.
The shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and species. You'll anchor off one small harbour and cruise the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. As you cruise these waters you will also keep alert for bearded and ringed seals, known to frequent this fjord.
During the afternoon you will cross Kongsfjord from Krossfjorden to the town site of Ny Alesund, a former mining village and currently the world’s most northern community. Founded by the Kings Bay Kull Company A/S in 1916, Ny Alesund operated as a coal mine sporadically until coal mining was ended in 1962. Since then, the community has become the site of numerous international polar science institutes.
Ny Alesund earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a jumping off place for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators such as Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all used Ny Alesund, and the airship anchor pylon for Amundsen and Nobile is still in place today.
As your zodiac approaches the shore of Fuglesangenoya, it becomes apparent that there are thousands of birds nesting on this island. Home to a large dovekie colony, the formation of the island allows for excellent viewing without impacting upon the perimeter of the colony. Just a few miles from Fuglesangen is the former whaling station of Smeerenburg, literally translated as Blubber Town. As you hike the shoreline of this former whaling station, learn about the importance of whaling in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. A harsh industry in an equally harsh environment and as a testament to this whaling site all that is left is the blubber ovens.
At 81 degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the GPS showing your latitude or, better yet, take your own handheld GPS with you and mark in the waypoint.
No trip along the north coast of Spitsbergen would be complete without a visit to Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). A wide glacier face at the head of the fjord makes for spectacular kayaking and zodiac cruising. The coastal plain near the mouth of Liefdefjorden offers superb hiking and is often a great place to spot polar bears.
Beluga whales often transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna. The adults are pure white and the younger animals a mottled grey colour. They are the only whales that can articulate their heads to nod and turn sideways. It is estimated that there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature of other whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead. Since a dorsal fin could be damaged when the animal surfaces in areas with ice, it has been postulated that the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice. You will search for the belugas and then hope to go ashore at Bourbonhamna. A hunter’s cabin, grinding wheel and two overturned boats are points of interest a short walk away at Ingebrigstenbukta. However, it is the massive piles of beluga whalebones that catch everybody’s attention. The bones and all the artifacts are protected by the Svalbard Government and cannot be removed. While wandering amongst these bone relics you may also expect to glimpse dozens of reindeer in the area.
Landing at Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, you'll remark on the lush vegetation of this region, although in the high 70’s of latitude. This site has a large scattering of reindeer antlers, but it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the landing memorable. Some 400 years ago whales were slaughtered here and were hunted almost to extinction in the waters of Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculptured them into works of art. They are painted with luxuriant blankets of green mosses and grasses, spattered with blotches of black and orange lichen, and framed with purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort. Now, even after death, the noble whale supports life by robustly protecting the delicate flora from the harsh winds and providing nutrients to ensure their survival.
Glacier-filled bays abound in Hornsund, and your expedition vessel will sail into one of these bays for a close-up view of the glacier. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and the onboard guides will use hikes and zodiac cruises as classrooms for continuing tuition on the formation of this fantastic landscape.
This morning you'll disembark from your cruise vessel, bidding farewell to your fellow expeditioners.
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