Spitsbergen Explorer

Vavilov Cruise Ship
Vavilov
92 Passengers
Adventure Options

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.

Our expedition ship is perfectly suited for remote polar exploration. With her high ice classification, we are able to push further to the north along the edge of the ice pack. It is here we frequently encounter the icon of the Arctic – the polar bear – hunting for seals and other protein sources to sustain them through the Arctic summer.

Throughout our journey we enjoy a comprehensive series of presentations by polar experts, providing an excellent background to the expedition. Days are busy with shore excursions to places of historic interest, visits to wildlife colonies, viewing the exquisite native flora and soaking up the stunning landscapes. Short or long hikes on shore are another feature along with regular cruising in the Zodiacs. Sea kayaking is another popular option. Our voyage focuses on the western and northern coast of Spitsbergen, and as far north as the permanent pack ice. This area has the highest concentration of wildlife and places of historic and scenic interest in the archipelago.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 2 Bourbonhamna
Day 3 Storfjorden
Day 4 Hornsund
Day 5 14Th July Glacier and Krossfjorden
Day 6 Krossfjorden and Smeerenburgfjorden
Day 7 Exploration of the Sea Ice
Day 7 Phippsoya
Day 9 Nordaustlandet and Hinlopen Strait
Day 10 Leifdefjorden
Day 11 Alkehornet
Day 12 Longyearbyen Disembarkation

Day 1 - Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Embark your expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov 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

Arrive at Bourbonhamna, known for the beluga whales that transit the narrow sound. Head out in Zodiacs for the first time in search of belugas. Adult belugas are pure white and the younger calves a mottled grey color. It is estimated there are approximately five to ten thousand belugas in the Svalbard population. The beluga has no dorsal fin - a diagnostic feature of whale species that live in the high Arctic such as the narwhal and bowhead - and it has been postulated the lack of dorsal fin is an adaptation to living in waters that are frequently covered by ice. At Bourbonhamna hike to Ingebrigstenbukta stopping to view the old hunting cabin and other artifacts along with piles of beluga whalebones, a reminder of Svalbard's hunting past. It is also a great place to see reindeer.

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 lush vegetation of this region is remarkable given the latitude - 70° North. This area has a large scattering of reindeer antlers, however, it is the plethora of ancient whalebones that makes the excursion so memorable. Some 400 years ago, whales were hunted almost to extinction in the waters surrounding Svalbard. Now nature has turned the decaying old bones into items of beauty. Time and the elements have altered their original shape and sculpted them into works of art, covered in blankets of green mosses and grasses, black and orange lichen, and framed with purple saxifrage, yellow cinquefoil and white sandwort flowers. They are fascinating photographic subjects. Now, even after death, the noble whale supports life by robustly protecting the delicate flora from the harsh winds and providing nutrients to ensure their survival.

Day 4 – Hornsund

Returning to the west coast, 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 – 14Th July Glacier and Krossfjorden

The rocky shores of Krossfjorden are home to numerous bird colonies and a range of species. The ship will anchor in a protected harbor, launch the Zodiacs and cruise along the bird cliffs near the 14th of July Glacier. Bearded and ringed seals are known to frequent the waters here and we watch out for them in the dark waters of the fjord. Lilliehook Glacier, at the northwestern head of Krossfjorden, is an incredible sight. The glacier face stretches just over four miles and has a height of around 250 ft (80 m) - viewed from the Zodiac cruise you come to appreciate the enormous scale of your surroundings. Large colonies of birds including kittiwakes and ivory gulls can be seen diving at the front of the glacier when chunks calve off stirring up the nutrients in the water. Polar Bears can often be seen patrolling here because of the number of seals on ice.

Day 6 – Rossfjorden and Smeerenburgfjorden

Sailing out of Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden, you may be fortunate enough to see the historic airship anchor pylon near the scientific community of Ny Ålesund. This remote outpost earned its place in aviation pioneering history as a starting point for North Pole aviation exploration. Notable pioneer aviators including Zeppelin, Amundsen, Ellsworth, Byrd and Nobile all passed through Ny Ålesund. Nearby, 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.

Day 7 – Exploration of the Sea Ice

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 walrus 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. A buttery colored lump miles away on the ice metamorphoses into a polar bear as we slowly work our way through the ice toward it. The Vavilov is perfectly designed for near silent approach and the captain takes great pride in bringing you in as close as possible to the wildlife without disturbing it for some great photographic opportunities.

Day 8 – Phippsoya

At 81° degrees north latitude, Phippsoya - one of the Seven Islands - 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 viewings. 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. Trivia: The archipelago of seven islands is the northernmost land in Svalbard. Named in 1780s by an English sailing party. The smallest and least significant island being named Nelsonøya, after the lowly midshipman, who was promoted over the years to the rank and title of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson.

Day 9 – Nordaustlandet and Hinlopen Strait

From the ice edge, turn south into the main strait separating Svalbard's two main islands: Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet. In Hinlopen Strait, the bird cliffs at Alkefjellet are home to more than a hundred thousand breeding Brunnich's guillemots, as well as thousands of kittiwakes and black guillemots. The huge basalt cliffs and skies are thick with birds as they hurl themselves off the rock face.

Day 10 – Leifdefjorden

Enter Leifdefjorden and slowly cruise towards the Monaco Glacier. This vast sweep of ice more than four miles wide provides a fabulous backdrop for a Zodiac cruise. Ice caves and tumbling seracs are an impressive sight as are the thousands of black-legged kittiwakes feeding on the upwelling of rich nutrients found near the sub-glacial outflow. A morning of cruising in the ice is best followed by a hike on the tundra. Red phalaropes, purple sandpipers and vibrant tundra provide plenty of viewing and photography opportunities. The geology is fascinating and it is a great chance to see reindeer and arctic foxes.

Day 11 – Alkehornet

Alkehornet, at the mouth of Isfjord, offers breath-taking views and an incredible tundra walk. 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. This evening, celebrate the journey with a special dinner attended by the ship's captain. It's a great time to reflect on a wonderful voyage in this wild and remote place.

Day 12 – Longyearbyen Disembarkation

Arrive back into Longyearbyen this morning and disembark after breakfast. 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.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Per Person USD
Rates Arctic 2018
Triple Shared
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Charter
Air
Photography, Kayak
Special Photography Symposium
$5,695Full$7,195Full$8,195Full$9,395Full$10,295Full$11,395Full 
Kayak
$5,695 $7,195Limited$8,195Full$9,395Full$10,295Full$11,395Full 
Kayak
$7,795 $8,775Limited$10,395Limited$11,695Limited$13,645Limited$14,295  
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Kangerlussuaq & Cambridge Bay/Edmonton

$750 Discount on Charter Air
(Prices in Red) Expires Apr 30th 2018
$9,595 $11,395Limited$13,695Full$14,695Full$16,095Full$17,095Full$1,995$1,245
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Cambridge Bay & Kangerlussuaq/Ottawa

$750 Discount on Charter Air
(Prices in Red) Expires Apr 30th 2018
$9,595 $11,395Limited$13,695Full$14,695Full$16,095Full$17,095Full$1,995$1,245
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Kangerlussuaq &
Iqaluit/Ottawa

$750 Discount on Charter Air
(Prices in Red) Expires Apr 30th 2018
$6,695 $7,595Limited$8,995Limited$9,495Limited$10,895Full$12,295Full$1,995$1,245
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Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

A 5% GST tax applies to all travel on the domestic Canadian voyages and will be calculated on the full voyage cost including charter flights, hotel, and kayaking. 

Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.5 times the twin rate & single supplement for suites is double the suite rate.

All cabins are smoke-free. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas.
Trip cost does not include Mandatory Charter Flights listed in pricing chart.
Airfare to/from destination is not included.

Kayaking option available for $695 per person.
Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

DeckPlan_Vavilov_c

   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened.
The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
There are three superior cabins, all located on Deck 3. These spacious and well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space. Washroom facilities are private and all cabins have a porthole, which opens. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, the dining room and gangway.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 3, 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Twin Private cabins on deck 3 feature portholes instead of windows.
   Twin Semi Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.

 

Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the High Arctic        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service