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.
Heading north along the west coast, we will arrive by morning in Krossfjorden, where we will get on the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. On the surprisingly fertile slopes near the glacier, a colourful variety of flowers bloom, whilst large numbers of Kittiwakes and Br nnich's Guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting Arctic Foxes patrolling the base of the cliffs, and Bearded Seals who cruise this scenic fjord.
In the afternoon we will sail to Ny lesund, the world's most northerly permanently inhabited settlement. Once a mining village - served by the world's most northerly railway, which can still be seen - Ny lesund 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.
Today we will reach our northernmost point at Phipps ya, 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.
Today we push east to reach the area of Nordaustlandet. There we hope to get to Alpin ya, reached by Sora in 1928, and then to the mouth of Finn Malmgrenfjord, and Albertinibukta and to climb Soraberget (205 M) from where we have a fantastic view on the icecap of Nordaustlandet. Alternatively we will land at Stor ya, where again we may meet a group of Walrus.
Close to the Russian territory, we hope to get to the rarely visited Kvit ya. The island is dominated by an icecap, which leaves a small area bare of ice and snow. We will land at the western tip at Andr neset. We will also try to get to Kraemerpynten in the east, where an enormous group of Walrus resides.
South of Nordaustlandet we will try to land at Isispynten a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers. Later we sail along the front of the Brasvell Glacier, the longest glacier front in Spitsbergen. In Olga Strait we have chances to spot the elusive Greenland Whale.
In Freemansundet we plan to land at Sundneset on the island of Barents ya 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 Edge ya. 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 Kittiwake, 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, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.
Today we will quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the spectacular towering mountain peaks. Whilst enjoying 14 magnificent glaciers you will have a very good chance of encountering seals and polar bears. Behind the Polish research station we may visit, where the friendly staff will give us an insight into their research projects, you will find the home of thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auk.
Today we land on Ahlstrandhalv ya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of Beluga skeletons (the Beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter, fortunately, Beluga were not hunted to the edge of extinction and may still be seen locally. Here there is a good chance we will come across a pod. Cruising into Recherchefjorden we can explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many reindeer feed.
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.