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ASPO01 - Around Spitsbergen - M/V Plancius, M/V Ortelius & M/V Hondius

Sail to the North of Spitsbergen with zodiac visits to the shore and opportunities to witness arctic wildlife at its best. 50 Degrees North offers unique, small-group expedition voyages to the Arctic that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world's most spectacular and pristine shorelines.

There are numerous departures during the summer on both ships, M/V Ortelius, M/V Plancius and M/V Hondius.

Read more about travelling to Spitsbergen and what to expect on your Arctic voyage here.

Deckplan
Click here to view deck plan for the Plancius

Deckplan
Click here to view deck plan for the Ortelius

Deckplan
Click here to view deck plan for the Hondius

Highlights

  • Only 100 fellow passengers on board these Arctic vessels
  • Visit Ny Ålesund, the world’s most northerly settlement
  • Sail to Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet, known for Polar Bear habitation
  • Zodiac close up to a low island (Laagøya), where walrus can haul out
  • Sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls

Inclusions

All internal ground transport
  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes on MV Plancius and MV Ortelius.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Tour Provider 50 Degrees North
Number of Days
10
Price From
AUD $7,069
Start Location
Longyearbyen, Svalbard
End Location
Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Age Range
Avg. 55+
Group Size
114
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Polar, Small Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Easy
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
03 Jul 201912 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $7,069
05 Jul 201914 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $7,069
14 Jul 201923 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $7,069
23 Jul 201901 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $7,069
01 Aug 201910 Aug 2019On requestAUD $7,069
ItineraryExpand
Day 1 - Embark in Longyearbyen

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 - Krossfjorden and Ny Ålesund

Heading north along the west coast, we arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we go on 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 Kittiwakes and Brünnich’s Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting Arctic Foxes, who patrol the base of the cliffs in case a chick falls from its nest, and Bearded Seals, 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 Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Arctic Terns. 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 - Liefdefjorden and Andøya

Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, we will go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many common eiders and pink-footed geese 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 bears are seen on the glacier.

Day 4 - Reach northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands

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 bears inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, taking in our spectacular surroundings and seeing a Ross's Gull, before we turn south again.

Day 5 - Look for Walrus at Laagøya and Sorgfjord

We will visit Laagøya today, a low island with a big lagoon where a big herd of Walrus tends to congregate. Sabine’s Gulls nest on the island as well. At Sorg Fjord we may find another herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th century whalers. On a nature walk, we may encounter families of Ptarmigans.

Day 6 - Hinlopen Strait, landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. We’ll navigate the ice fls of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walruses.

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 walruses along the way.

Day 7 - Land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya

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 Geese. 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 Kittiwakes, together with Black Guillemots and piratical Glaucous Gulls. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by Arctic Foxes and Polar Bears, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.

Day 8 - Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen

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 Bears.

Day 9 - Land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden

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, Belugas 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 - Disembark at Longyearbyen

Have your final breakfast on board and then head to the airport for your return to Oslo.