Wildlife and Glaciology in Spitsbergen | One Ocean Expeditions

Spitsbergen Spitsbergen Explorer 11 nights

Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. The islands are the northernmost inhabited places on the planet and would be permanently locked in ice if not for the moderating influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream current. First used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, the islands are now celebrated as a breeding ground for many seabirds, along with marine mammals and the elusive polar bear.

Do you have specific questions about this voyage?

Map detailing the Svalbard small ship expedition voyage near the North Pole.
Walruses sunning in Svalbard, captured on a One Ocean adventure to the remote island.
One Ocean passengers discovering ice on Svalbard via zodiac, launched from a small expedition vessel.
Polar bear and Arctic wildlife viewing in the Canadian Arctic with One Ocean Expeditions - Small ship expedition cruise experts.
One Ocean passengers discovering Svalbard on zodiac excursions.

Spitsbergen Explorer

Starting Rate: US$8,195.00+

Number of Nights: 11

Departs from: LONGYEARBYEN

Returns to: LONGYEARBYEN

Experiences:

    Education
    Wildlife Viewing
    Zodiac Cruising
    Photography
    Photography Symposiums
    Hiking
    Sea Kayaking
    Science
    History
    Ornithology

Available Dates:

2020
July 7 - 18 RCGS Resolute Download Trip Notes
2021
June 15 - 26 RCGS Resolute Download Trip Notes

Day by Day: What you can experience: Spitsbergen Explorer

Please note this is a SAMPLE ITINERARY and subject to change. Reference the full trip notes for your chosen departure details.

The Norwegian territory of Svalbard and the islands that make up the archipelago offer a tremendous wildlife and birdlife experience, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. The islands were first used as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries and are now celebrated as a breeding ground for many seabirds, along with marine mammals and the elusive polar bear.



Day 1

Longyearbyen

We board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute, in Longyearbyen and sail through Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden, then out into the Greenland Sea. So...

We board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute, in Longyearbyen and sail through Adventfjorden and into Isfjorden, then out into the Greenland Sea. So begins your Arctic cruise, 24 hours of daylight and hopefully some great photographic opportunities and memories.




Day 2

Bourbonhamna

We arrive at the southerly Bourbonhamna – well known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. It is estimated there are approximately f...

We arrive at the southerly Bourbonhamna – well known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. We search for belugas from the ship and the zodiacs and plan our first shore excursion at Bourbonhamna. An old hunting cabin and other artefacts are points of interest during our hike to Ingebrigstenbukta. While wandering amongst these relics we hope to catch a glimpse of dozens of reindeer that inhabit the area.




Day 3

Storfjorden

Coming around the most southerly point of Spitsbergen, we push into the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lu...

Coming around the most southerly point of Spitsbergen, we push into the broad expanse of Storfjorden. Exploring Dolerittneset near Kapp Lee, the lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given we are at 70° North in latitude. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers; however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculpted them into works of art that make fascinating photographic subjects.




Day 4

Hornsund

Returning to the west coast, we explore the glacier-filled bay leading into Hornsund. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology ...

Returning to the west coast, we explore the glacier-filled bay leading into Hornsund. The entire archipelago of Svalbard is a lesson in glaciology and our on board guides will explain the formation of this fantastic landscape during hikes and Zodiac excursions. Hornsund is home to the Polish Polar Research Station and a good place to see reindeer and Arctic foxes.




Day 5

Smeerenburgfjorden

Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen. A wander alon...

Smeerenburgfjorden has a four hundred year history of whaling and is a favorite spot as we round the northwestern tip of Spitsbergen. A wander along the beach looking at the blubber cookers, or an hour behind a tripod shooting landscapes on your camera might be on the schedule, all the while looking for wildlife that can appear anywhere in Svalbard.




Days 6 - 7

Exploration of the sea ice

We continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80° north parallel. Approaching the ice-edge the ship slows down and all hands are ...

We continue north and east up into the ice, hoping to cross the 80° north parallel. Approaching the ice-edge the ship slows down and all hands are either on the bridge or out on the outer decks scanning for wildlife. Bearded seals, ringed seals and walruses may be found hauled-out on the edges of the ice. Harp seals swim in herds of 10 to 20 through the open water channels in the ice.




Day 8

Phippsoya

At 81° degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the permanent pack ice, Phipps...

At 81° degrees north latitude, Phippsoya is only 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. Because of its proximity to the permanent pack ice, Phippsoya offers the potential for great polar bear viewing. We have enjoyed excellent encounters with them in recent seasons in this area. Be sure to get up to the bridge and take a picture of the ship's GPS showing this incredibly high polar latitude near the top of the world.




Day 9

Sorgfjorden and Alkefjellet

We begin the day in Sorgfjorden, a bay located South West from Phippsoya and at the entrance of the Hinlopenstretet (Hinlopen Strait). From here, w...

We begin the day in Sorgfjorden, a bay located South West from Phippsoya and at the entrance of the Hinlopenstretet (Hinlopen Strait). From here, we make our way towards Alkefjellet, with jagged cliffs sprouting from the sea. This area is a true bird-watching paradise. It is home to thousands of Brunnich's guillemots, a few colonies of kittiwakes, and glaucous gulls. If you are lucky you may even spot an Arctic fox, patiently waiting for a hatchling’s misstep.




Day 10

14th of July Glacier and Signehamna

The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. The ship will anchor in a protected harbour, launch the...

The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. The ship will anchor in a protected harbour, launch the Zodiacs and cruise along the bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier. Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, is another incredible sight. The glacier face stretches just over four miles and has a height of around 80 metres - viewed from the Zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of your surroundings.




Day 11

Alkehornet

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as we near the end of our adventure in Svalbard. Arcti...

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breathtaking views and an incredible tundra walk as we near the end of our adventure in Svalbard. Arctic fox can often be seen here, as well as reindeer. Towering above the site is a horn-shaped mount covered in guillemots and kittiwakes. Only as we approach and stop to listen will we hear the chorus of thousands of birds, all singing at the same time.




Day 12

Longyearbyen

We arrive back into Longyearbyen this morning and disembark after breakfast. We then transfer back into town with a chance to visit the museums and...

We arrive back into Longyearbyen this morning and disembark after breakfast. We then transfer back into town with a chance to visit the museums and buy a few last-minute souvenirs before transferring to the airport for your return flights.


Expand All

Explore the world of expedition cruising on our Discovery Blog


Dates and Rates

The following departures are available for this voyage

Spitsbergen 2020

Spitsbergen Explorer
July 7 - 18 2020 11 Nights
RCGS Resolute From: US$8,195.00+
One Ocean Suite



US$17,795.00
Shackleton Suite



US$15,195.00
Superior Plus



US$14,095.00
Superior



US$13,695.00
Twin Private



US$11,895.00
Main Deck Triple



US$8,195.00

Spitsbergen 2021

Spitsbergen Explorer
June 15 - 26 2021 11 Nights
RCGS Resolute From: US$8,495.00+
One Ocean Suite



US$18,495.00
Shackleton Suite



US$15,795.00
Superior Plus



US$14,595.00
Superior



US$14,195.00
Twin Private



US$12,295.00
Main Deck Triple



US$8,495.00

All prices are listed in USD. Single supplement: 1.5 for the twin occupancy cabins and 2 for the suites (single supplements not available for the triple share cabins).

Learn more about Compass Rose departures
Learn more about Canadian Signature Experiences

Back to Top