Svalbard Arctic Cruise

   
 
 

Northeast Greenland Aboard M/V Plancius

2015 Departures
September 03
Prices From$8550 per Person Double
$7350 per Person Triple
$6000 per Person Quad
Make A Request By Selecting an Above Departure

The Norwegian name for this archipelago including Bear Island and Jan Mayen is Svalbard. However it is usually known as Spitsbergen. Covering an area almost as big as the Republic of Ireland, Spitsbergen with its population of 3,500 in five settlements is still today virtually unspoilt wilderness.

With its rugged mountains, sweeping tundra, ice caps and glaciers, it is a true High Arctic archipelago, and only 600 miles from the North Pole.

Its abundant wildlife was once a huge draw for whalers and trappers but now discerning visitors are discovering the attractions of huge Arctic seabird colonies and the chance to enjoy and photograph species like Walrus, Reindeer, Arctic Fox and of course, Polar Bear.

Greenland and its surrounding waters are home to an impressive array of wildlife: eight species of whale, two million seals, Walruses, Polar Bears, Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Arctic Hares, Arctic Wolves and a spectacular variety of birds. The largest island in the world, 90% of its surface area is covered by ice and it is inhabited by less then 100.000 people, though with a fascinating history and culture.

Our voyages focus on East and Northeast Greenland, among the most isolated, sparsely populated and scenically superb parts of the island. Fortunately, from the wildlife enthusiasts point of view, they are also the most rewarding regions with regular sightings of Musk Oxen, Arctic Hares, Narwhals and a variety of birds, including Gyrfalcon, Snowy Owl, Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese.

Access to this highly indented and ruggedly mountainous coast is dependent on ice conditions. For much of the year, the region is locked in by pack ice, which by late summer has broken up sufficiently to allow vessels such as ours the chance to penetrate and explore.

Itinerary

 
Day 1     Longyearbyen - Spitsbergen
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Dinner

Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the country around the village more than 100 species of plant have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

 
Day 2     Spitsbergen - Monaco Glacier
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

We sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to Ringed and Bearded Seals, seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation. We have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen island on which Walrus haul out. If we have not seen bears on this day we may spend an other day in Liefdefjord near the Monaco glacier, where we also often see bears.

 
Days 3 - 4     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

At sea, on our way to Greenland, along the impressive East Greenland Ice. Keep watch for Fin Whales, Humpback Whales and Minke Whales, and also for migrating seabirds, especially the Brunnich's Guillemots, which swim with their small young from Spitsbergen, along the sea ice to South Greenland.

 
Day 5     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Approaching Greenland we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen and Arctic Hares. The small lakes are home to geese.

We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs and an excellent place to encounter Narwhal. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Muskoxen from the ship.

 
Day 6     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

We will land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers with young. In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella O and maye land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.

 
Day 7     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.

 
Day 8     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Today we reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Coast, a good place for seeing Narwhal. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near a glacier.

Later we land on Danmarks O where there are the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular "tent rings" of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.

 
Day 9     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvo, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans, and Great Northern Divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too !

Later, during a Zodiac cruise along the 3km wide face of the Eielson Glacier, we will come close to huge icebergs and may also see Ringed Seals, as well as distant views of Musk Oxen on shore. In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, hoping to see Narwhal again and enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.

 
Day 10     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating, but the climate is harsh - sometimes snow lies throughout the summer - but some animals - Musk Oxen and Collared Lemmings - survive on the meagre vegetation.

 
Day 11     Illoqqortoormiut
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

In the morning we land in Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of Seal, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After lunch we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.

 
Day 12     At Sea
On Board the M/V Plancius
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

We are the whole day at sea and will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

 
Day 13     Akureyri
Meals: Breakfast

Arrive in Akureyri (North Iceland) and transfer for the flight home, or take a bus to Reykjavik.

 

Notes

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife.

Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.

The tour is bilingual- English & German.

Price Includes
All Meals Mentioned
Accommodations in Select Cabin Category
Port Charges
Services of Expedition Guides
Conferences and Shipboard Entertainment
Shore Excursions
Tour Escort
OCE-1114