North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice Arc of Meridian

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

Cruise route
Title: North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice Arc of Meridian
Dates:
Tripcode: HDS03-22
Duration: 7 nights
Ship: m/v Hondius
Embarkation: Longyearbyen
Disembarkation: Longyearbyen
Language: English speaking voyage
More about: Arctic cruises
Svalbard cruises
 
Itinerary

PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

Workshop 1: Navigation

If you’ve ever wondered how ship crews and explorers navigate the high seas, this activity will give you all the basics of both historic and modern methods. Through engaging onboard workshops, we will provide you both the theoretical background of various navigation tools as well as hands-on training in how to use sextants, cartographic charts, and modern GPS units. All workshops are supervised by expedition staff and bridge officers with extensive experience in navigating multiple environments. You are not required to bring additional equipment. The guest speaker for this activity is Lothar Kurtze, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in London and volunteer project coordinator of the Faulkes Telescope Project in Germany and Austria. Lothar operates a private observatory in Weinheim (Baden-Württemberg) and is often recruited as a lecturer in astronomy on Arctic and Antarctic expedition trips.

Workshop 2: Photography

Designed for both beginners and advanced photographers, this fun and informative workshop gives passengers the chance to practice their nature photography skills under the supervision of a professional photographer. The photographer accompanies the workshop group during shore landings. Up to 20 people per guide can participate during landings, while anyone on board can attend photo lectures. During cruise days, everybody will be able to listen to photo lectures and workshops in order to learn more about objects, exposures, and photo composition. The workshop does not intend to instruct passengers in how to use specific camera models but instead teaches basic rules of photography for better outdoor pictures. Participants with special photographical interests must bring their own equipment corresponding to those interests.

Remains of the Arc-of-Meridian Expedition: -

For those interested in polar science history, this voyage offers you the chance to see the remains of a major scientific endeavor. In 1823, the Irish scientist, soldier, and explorer Edward Sabine had an observatory on Indre Norskøya, an island in northwestern Svalbard. Using a pendulum to study gravity, he suggested a project to measure the meridians (lines of longitude through the poles) on Spitsbergen, the goal of which was to define the curvature of the Earth. At the end of the 19th century, this project was finally carried out during the Swedish–Russian Arc of Meridian Expedition. The measurements required a chain of triangulation points that reached from Crozierpynten and Vesle Tavleøya in the north to Keilhaufjellet in the south. Most of the rock cairns built for this project can still be seen today, and it is our aim to view the ones that lie along our route.

Day 1: Largest town, biggest island

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Day 2: Route to Raudfjorden

Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Day 3: The massive Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Day 4: Highlights of Hinlopen

Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you can view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. You can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

Day 5: Stop at the Seven Islands

The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

Day 6: Sailing the continental shelf

While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Day 7: Reindeer, foxes, and so many seabirds

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.

Day 8: There and back again

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

m/v Hondius

Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, optimized for the most innovative exploratory voyages throughout the Arctic and Antarctica. Full ship info »

ACTIVITIES YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN

Snowshoeing

FREE
Snowshoeing

In-field and on-board discovery and learning workshops, exhibitions and performances

FREE
In-field and on-board discovery and learning workshops, exhibitions and performances

Cabins & Prices

Quadruple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 upper & lower berths
  • Small sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
  • This cabin is suitable for families traveling with children, or passengers who do not require a twin or more luxurious cabin
Complete cabin
15400 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Sharing berth
3850 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Triple Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 1 upper berth & 2 lower berths
  • Small sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
  • This cabin is suitable for families traveling with children, or passengers who do not require a twin or more luxurious cabin
Complete cabin
14250 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Sharing berth
4750 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Porthole

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 portholes
  • 2 single beds
  • Small sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
Complete cabin
10600 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
9010 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
5300 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Window

Windows Info Info
  • 1 window
  • 2 single beds
  • Small sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
  • Please be aware that the view from some windows might be partially obstructed due to the design requirements of the ship
Complete cabin
11500 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
9775 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
5750 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Twin Deluxe

Windows Windows Info Info
  • 2 windows
  • 2 single beds
  • Sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Bathrobe
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
Complete cabin
12200 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
10370 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Sharing berth
6100 USD

Share your cabin with others for the best price

Superior

Windows Windows Info
  • 2 windows
  • 1 double bed
  • Sofa
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Bathrobe
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
Complete cabin
13800 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
11730 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Junior Suite

Windows Windows Info
  • 1 double window
  • 1 double bed
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Bathrobe
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
Complete cabin
14800 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
12580 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

Grand Suite with private balcony

Windows Windows Info
  • 1 double window
  • 1 double bed
  • Sofa
  • Private balcony
  • Private shower & toilet
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Desk & chair
  • Telephone and WiFi (supplemented)
  • Refrigerator
  • Coffee & tea maker
  • Bathrobe
  • Hair dryer
  • Cabinet
  • Wardrobe
Complete cabin
17100 USD

Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.

Single cabin
14535 USD

Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).

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