A Spitsbergen cruise will take you way beyond the north coast of Northern Norway, across the Barents Sea bound for the Arctic Ocean, to the Svalbard archipelago, a group of islands of which the largest is Spitsbergen.
A whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, these islands were then largely uninhabited until the beginning of the 20th century, when several permanent mining communities were established. No roads connect the settlements; but snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve as local transport. Therefore to visit this region in comfort a Spitsbergen cruise is really the only option.
Well within the Arctic Circle, this is truly a land of the midnight sun, and is a breeding ground for many seabirds.
In addition you would hope to see reindeer, marine mammals and, if you are lucky, polar bears, with many areas protected nature reserves. The stunning scenery features glaciers, mountains and fjords.
A Spitsbergen cruise is effectively a floating hotel, enabling you to follow the clement weather and more importantly the wildlife as it moves.
It also offers a higher level of comfort, familiarity and convenience than a Spitsbergen holiday that is land based.
Spitsbergen cruises visit during the Arctic summer. Silversea’s Arctic expedition cruise ship Silver Explorer or Hurtigruten’s fleet are regular visitors, and you join them either by flying to Northern Norway, or even to Longyearbyen.
Day 1 - Fly London to Longyearbyen, Norway. Board Silver Explorer
Day 2 - 8 - Cruise & explore Svalbard. You have several days to explore the bays and fjords of this remarkable land, giving ample opportunity to see polar bears, arctic foxes and an array of birdlife. The mountains and glaciers provide a stunning backdrop to the cruise which has no fixed itinerary, enabling you to seek out wildlife and take advantage of clement weather. You also have the chance to see whales such as Minke and Beluga
Day 9 - Cruise & explore Bear Island. See tens of thousands of birds on this huge nature reserve
Day 10 - Tromso, Norway. See the Polar Museum in this charming town
Day 11 - Disembark Silver Explorer. Fly Tromso to London
Day 1 – Fly London to Longyearbyen, Norway. Overnight hotel stay in Longyearbyen.
Day 2 – Longyearbyen, Norway. Sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen and embark MV Fram where you cruise to Barentsburg, a Russian coal mining settlement.
Day 3 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Discover Kongsfjord, Magdalenefjord & Ny Ålesund is the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited community.
Day 4 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Today visit the fast moving Monaco Glacier and the Jotunkjeldane thermal springs in Woodfjord.
Day 5 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Witness the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjell.
Day 6 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Visit Edgeøya, the third largest island in Svalbard.
Day 7 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Discover Hornsund.
Day 8-9 – Cruise & explore Svalbard. Venture to Isfjord, the largest fjord system in Svalbard.
Day 10 – Fly Longyearbyen, Norway to London.
Departures: 14/ 21/28 August 2013
This is not all we can offer. If you would like to discuss more ways to visit this destination give us a call. Contact us for more options.
Day 1 – Fly from London to Hamburg. Transfer to the Hanseatic
Day 2 – At sea
Day 3 – Bergen - Norway
Day 4-6 – The fjords of Norway. Gudvangen/Naeroeyfjord, Flam/Aurlandsfjord, Alesund, Hellesylt/Sunnylvsenfjord, Geiranger/Geirangerfjord
Day 7 – At sea
Day 8 - Lofoten (Leknes, cruising in the Trollfjord)
Day 9 - Cruising off the North Cape. Arrive Honningsvag - Norway
Day 10 - Honningsvag - Norway
Day 11-14 - Spitsbergen including Hornsund, Ny-Alesund, Moellerhafen, Liefdefjord, Magdalenefjord
Day 15 – Passing Bear Island
Day 16 – At sea
Day 17 – Arrive Tromso – Norway. Return flight to London
Departures: 13 June 2013
Day 1 - Fly London to Longyearbyen, Norway
Day 2 - 8 - Cruise & explore Svalbard
Day 9 - Cruise & explore Bear Island
Day 10 - Tromso, Norway
Day 11 - Fly Tromso to London
Departures: 5*/22 July 2012; 16/26* June 2013; 6/16* July 2013
*Operates in reverse
The best time to go is during the summer time, when the snow is thawing and the wildlife is out of hibernation.
As you would expect, the temperatures are quite cool even at the height of the summer, but with luck you will enjoy long hours of sunshine late into the night. For any Arctic cruise layers and thermals are essential, as well as good quality sunglasses, and high factor sunblock. This destination is all about the scenery and very appealing to photographers – remember to come well equipped as you are unlikely to be able to get everything you need locally.