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Spitsbergen Arctic Cruise - Searching for Polars Bears

Spitsbergen Arctic Cruise - Searching for Polar Bears

There are few places on earth that can offer opportunities to see polar bears like Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway's high Arctic. Our 11 night tour includes 3 nights in Norway's capital of Oslo, 1 pre-cruise night in Longyearbyen and 7 nights cruising the archipelago. Highlights include an extended stay in Oslo, a relaxed pre-cruise night in the world's northernmost settlement of  Longyearbyen and an arctic expedition cruise with spectacular landscapes, thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar bear.

Tour Accommodation

Design Tours - Spitsbergen Arctic Cruise Tour MapDesign Tours - Spitsbergen Arctic Cruise Tour Map

Tour Details

Trip Code Dates Shared Single
SA060720     Jun 7, 2020 - Jun 18, 2020 $8,395 $14,650
Pay by Bank Transfer and SAVE $200

• Based on a minimum of 2 passengers

• Shared price is based on sharing twin accommodation on the tour

• Single price refers to single accommodation during the entire tour

• Prices are per person in Canadian Dollars taxes included

• Deposit of $1,750.00 CAD per person at time of booking

• Final Payment is required 75 days prior to departure

• Medical and Evacuation Insurance is mandatory for this tour

Tour Inclusions

• 4 nights accommodation (3 nts Oslo and 1 nt Longyearbyen)

• 7 night Arctic expedition cruise aboard m/v Hondius in a twin porthole cabin, full-board (all meals, snacks, coffee and tea), lectures by noted naturalists, shore excursions plus activities by experienced expedition staff (during the cruise by Zodiac)

• 27 meals (11 Breakfast, 6 lunches, 10 dinners) including Welcome and Farewell dinners

• Arrival and departure airport transfers in Oslo and Longyearbyen

• 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Pass in Oslo

• Guided tour of Longyearbyen in Svalbard

• Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes during expedition cruise

• Design Travel Polar Specialist - Jeff Pychel will accompany group throughout the land portion of the tour in Oslo and Longyearbyen

Tour Leader

Design Travel Polar Specialist Jeff Pychel will accompany the group during the land portions of the tour in Oslo and Longyearbyen.

Jeff has specialized in Polar travel his entire travel career and has travelled to Spitsbergen, Greenland, Iceland, the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica. 

Upon your arrival at the Oslo International Airport you will transfer by airport train to our hotel in the heart of downtown Oslo. After check-in you have the afternoon at leisure to explore many of the city’s top attractions, including the famous Opera House just minutes away from your hotel. Later that evening you will join your tour leader and fellow travellers for a tour overview followed by a welcome dinner.

Scandic Byporten (or similar) | Double Occupancy

Today you have the entire day to explore Oslo at your leisure. To help you explore this easy-going city, you will receive a Hop-On Hop-Off City Pass that will allow you to explore Oslo at your own pace. Hop on and off at any of the 14 stops visiting the city’s top attractions (entrance fees not included) from morning to night (approx., 10am to 4pm). Featured stops include The National Theatre, Royal Palace, Karl Johans Gate, Frogner Park & Vigeland, Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Opera House, Norwegian Parliament, National Museum and so many more!

Scandic Byporten (or similar) | Double Occupancy

After breakfast we make our way to the airport for our flight to Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway's high Arctic. After touch down and hotel check-in, there is free time to stroll 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 evening join your tour leader and fellow travellers for a cruise overview followed by dinner.

Radisson Blu Polar Hotel (or similar) | Double Occupancy

The morning is yours to relax until mid-day. After checking out of our hotel we will enjoy an afternoon tour of Longyearbyen before heading to the port. In the early evening the ship sets sail out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers - and maybe even be 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.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

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.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

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, a landing may be attempted on Nordaustlandet where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. An alternate route may be taken if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

The northernmost point of the voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you may 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.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

While retracing the route west, keep watch for polar bears and the elusive Greenland (bowhead) whale. 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, there is a good chance of sighting minke whales.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet. 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 that night.

M/V Hondius (or similar) | Double Occupancy

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. After disembarking in Longyearbyen you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival back at the Oslo International Airport you’ll transfer to your nearby hotel. Later that evening you will join your tour leader and enjoy the tour's farewell dinner.

Comfort Hotel Runway (or similar) | Double Occupancy

This morning you bid farewell to Norway and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Tour Highlights

• Opportunity to see Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat

• Visit and explore Norway's capital city of Oslo with its abundance of museums, restaurants, shopping and green spaces

• Enjoy a pre-cruise night in the city of Longyearbyen, Svalbard - the world's northernmost town and home of the Global Seed Vault

• Enjoy both welcome and farewell dinners in Oslo

Tour Exclusions

• International and domestic airfare

• Meals not mentioned in the itinerary or inclusions section

• All beverages except for those included with breakfast

• Travel Insurance (medical, cancellation, baggage, etc.)

• Any Passport, Visa Fees or Immunizations

• All items of a personal nature and souvenirs

• All optional excursions or deviations from the itinerary

• Gratuities and baggage handling

Tour Cancellations

Once a deposit or payment has been paid the following cancellation charges will apply when a cancellation notice is received:

• More than 75 days prior to departure: Paid Deposit

• Up to and incl. 75 days prior to departure: 100% of Trip Price

Note: Insurance premiums and included flights per itinerary are non-refundable. We suggest travel insurance to protect your payments, please feel free to ask us for a quote.