Cruise Norway logo
North America toll-free: 1-888-538-8652
Europe & ROW: WhatsApp & Mobile: +372 52 99 832
 
Cruise Norway logo

Ocean Albatros - 189 Guests

SVALBARD IN DEPTH - LAND, SEA AND ICE

11 Day Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen


Experience the wild raw beauty of Arctic nature on this in-depth voyage around Svalbard. A combination of our two Polar Bear Express voyages, this in depth itinerary will explore two distinct regions of Svalbard - beginning in the the green plains and desert hills of South Eastern Svalbard, before sailing via Longyearbyen towards the far Northwest of Svalbard and exploring the icy wilderness of the Arctic Ocean. With a unique combination of environments, locations and wildlife, this rare combination voyage offers a more in depth experience on Svalbard than any other Albatros Expeditions voyage.
Join a new and exciting voyage onboard Ocean Albatros, exploring Svalbard in depth. This expedition departs from Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost town, before heading towards the deep fjords and rolling mountains of Southern Svalbard. Experience the raw beauty of nature in this high Arctic paradise, which is kept warmer than other lands at the same latitude by the last gasp of the Gulf Stream. This region includes some of Svalbard's most spectacular scenery and greatest biodiversity with a variety of habitats, from green tundra meadows, to glassy fjords and precipitous mountains. Spot the endemic Svalbard reindeer, puffins and maybe even the elusive yet charismatic Arctic fox in this chilly utopia. 



 

 

DATES / RATES

Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jun 16, 2024Jun 26, 20248,456 8,990
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jun 16, 2024Jun 26, 20248,456 8,990

ITINERARY


DAY 1
LONGYEARBYEN, SVALBARD - EMBARKATION
Board your flight in Norway and arrive in Longyearbyen, Svalbard - the world's northernmost... everything! This remarkable little city is not only the northernmost town in the world (if one excludes the tiny research community of Ny-Ålesund, slightly further north on Svalbard), but also hosts the world's northernmost civilian airport, schools, bank and supermarket. The town's rugged frontier edge belies a core of warm Nordic hospitality and coziness - hyggligt, as we say in Denmark!
Immediately after landing in Longyearbyen, you find yourself in a different world. The chilly Arctic breeze can be felt as soon as you step onto the tarmac, and the famous signpost outside the terminal reminds visitors how far north they really are; as well as to keep watch for bears! The snow-capped mountain Hjorthfjellet looms over the airport on the far side of Adventfjorden, and off in the distance can be seen the saw-toothed peaks and languid glaciers of northern Spitzbergen.
After arrival, you will board the awaiting Ocean Albatros. After our mandatory safety briefing and lifeboat drill, head onto the outer decks to enjoy a glass of champagne while watching your expedition vessel leave civilisation behind... And set a course for adventure!

DAYS 2-5
SOUTH AND EAST SVALBARD
During the night, your expedition vessel will reposition away from the last vestiges of civilisation on Svalbard, and head into the wilderless of this storied land. Roughly triangular, the southern half of Svalbard comprised the lower half of the island of Spitsbergen, the island of Edgeøya, and countless fjords, islets and skerries, all of which beckon exploration.
At a first glance, this region may seem barren and lifeless. But look closer and the exact opposite it true - saxifrages, Svalbard poppies and other tundra plants defy the brutal weather, their jewel-like flowers reaching for the weak Arctic sunlight. Tiny calico snow buntings flit between crags, while perfectly camouflaged purple sandpipers scamper along the shore. Look higher up on the vegetated slopes, and there - greyish white 'boulders' move and resolve themselves into sheep-sized reindeer: the unique subspecies native to Svalbard. A flash of bluish-black, and the screeches of nearby birds herald the arrival of the Arctic fox, the only native land predator on Svalbard (the polar bear being classified as a marine mammal).
Life on Svalbard relies on the sea - even the few land mammals such as the reindeer and Arctic foxes rely on the moisture brought by the frigid Arctic waters, and it is in the marine environment where Svalbard's biodiversity is richest. Walrus haul their vast bodies onto flat beaches to rest, where they snuggle together for warmth and protection. Belugas frolic in vast pods in the waters off the coast, harvesting fish and crustaceans from the seabed, and further offshore the vast gentle baleen whales feast upon copepods and small fish.
Southern Svalbard is arguably the first part of the island to be exploited by humans. On Edgeøya, vast piles of snow-bleached bones bear witness to the systematic and industrial-scale slaughter of walrus an beluga in their thousands. The earliest humans on the islands (mainly English and Dutch whalers and Russian Pomor trappers) had little regard for conservation, seeking only profit, a situation which continued well into the 19th century. Thankfully all wildlife on Svalbard is now protected by law, and vast tracts of the archipelago are designated as nature reserves and National Parks - some of the largest and richest in the world!
The exact landing sites we will visit in the south of Svalbard will be determined by wind, sea and ice conditions, which can wildly vary day to day and year to year; this far north, all human activity is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Possibilities to explore on south Spitzbergen include the fjord systems of Bellsund and Hornsund, where birds cluster together on high cliffs and reindeer graze on the fertile slopes below while icebergs drift by from the various large glaciers in the area. Further east on Edgeøya, sites include the walrus colonies of Andréetangen and Kapp Lee, and the spectacular raised shorelines and bird colonies of Sundneset.

DAY 6
LONGYEARBYEN - WE EXPLORE A COAL MINE AND DELVE INTO THE HISTORY OF THIS FAR NORTH TOWN
Pylons that once carried buckets of coal, and an increase in the number of huts along the shoreline herald Ocean Albatros' return to the town of Longyearbyen. Around two thousand hardy souls call this unique settlement home, and many are fiercely devoted to their high Arctic home. It is very easy to see why!
Longyearbyen occupies a small valley at the head of Adventfjorden - a small inlet off Isfjorden (the vast fjord which bisects the island of Spitzbergen). The town was originally established as a mining settlement in the late 1800s, and is named after John Longyear - an American prospector whose company began exploiting the black gold beneath the city in 1906.
One small mine produces coal which is used to provide electricity for the town - changing market conditions and safety concerns meant that mining has now almost ceased in Longyearbyen. The mining heritage of the town remains strong however, and several unique traditions developed from this history - removing one's shoes is customary upon entering many shops and cafes in the town for example, and mining ruins can be observed throughout the surrounding hills. Longyearbyen has since reinvented itself as a hub for high Arctic tourism and research, with several hotels and the University Centre in Svalbard established. The modern airport was opened in 1975, allowing year-round access for this formerly isolated community.
After our breakfast on the ship we set off to learn more about Longyearbyen's exciting mining history as we enter now inactive Mine number 3. As we walk through the defunct mine, we can get a closer look at some of the machinery and equipment left behind as production stopped. Certain techniques apply to mines that are this high into the mountains, which we will be introduced to by our guides. We end our tour in the main tunnel that was excavated back in the 1970's. Nb. dress warm for the trip, as the mine is quite cold. Helmets and headlamps are handed out.
Back on our ship we will follow up on our experiences and after lunch it is time to explore the city further.
Longyearbyen has several unique laws as a result of it's high Arctic environment. Due to the delicate environment of the islands, nobody is permitted to own a cat for example, as a family pet could still decimate local bird populations. Anyone leaving the boundary of the town is required by law to carry a firearm to protect themselves from polar bears. Despite the challenging environment of the town, it is a bustling thriving community which offers excellent amenities to visitors. Visit the peerless Svalbard Museum and see relics of the whaling era, perfectly preserved in the frigid permafrost, alongside exhibits on the natural history of this remarkable archipelago. Shop for memories in the many excellent boutiques of the town, selling locally produced souvenirs, artworks and homewares, or simply relax on a sunny cafe terrace and watch this remarkable little town in action.

DAY 7
NORTHWEST SVALBARD - THE WILDERNESS OF THE HIGH ARCTIC
One of the largest protected wilderness areas in Europe, North West Svalbard was declared a national park in 1973. The area is famed for its history, which documents some of the earliest human arrivals on Svalbard. While Norse explorers may have sighted these icy shores during the Viking Age, the first definite arrival was the expedition of William Barents, the legendary Dutch explorer for whom the Barents Sea is named. While now protected from human distruption, when Barents arrived in 1596, he noted the vast numbers of whales and seals which were soon prey to English and Dutch whalers, who arrived within a decade of Barents to pillage the area's wildlife. The area occupied the triple point between land, sea and ice, and as such was the perfect location from which to harvest the gentle giants of the oceans. Sites used to dismember whale carcasses and render them for their precious oil include the Dutch settlement of Smeerenburg, where the remains of 16th Century blubber ovens and building foundations can still be seen. Other sites such as nearby Ytre Norskøya record the darker side of this industrialised slaughter, where hundreds of young men who hoped to make their fortunes are buried thousands of miles from home.
Today, all that remains from this period of history are bones and the scant remnants of human habitation. Slowly reclaimed by creeping Arctic nature, the region is now a anture lovers paradise. Tiny Arctic poppies and purple saxifrage defy the brutal conditions to flower in the brief summer, while geese, eider ducks and other seabirds return to the island to raise their young. Walrus can be found hauled out on beaches, and we must always be on careful lookout for wandering polar bears in this now again wild region.

DAYS 8-9
INTO THE PACK ICE
An icy breeze touches your exposed cheeks. The scent of snow and sea fills your nostrils. Sunlight reflects off the floating ice, illuminating the clouds overhead. Enter an environment like no other, the vast shape-shifting realm of floating ice which crowns our planet. The vast ever-changing ice pack to the north of Svalbard stretches from this already isolated archipelago to the North Pole, and onwards across the Arctic Ocean towards the northern shores of Chukotka and Alaska.
The Arctic ice pack is one of Earth's largest habitats, although unlike most it varies hugely year on year, expanding in winter and retreating in summer. The location of the sea ice around Svalbard can also vary wildly - however, with two full days planned to explore this icy wilderness, we maximise our chances of finding and exploring this impossibly remote environment. At first glance, this stark white wilderness seems barren, empty and lifeless. This icy wilderness holds on to its mysteries, and of course wildlife sightings are at the whims of Mother NatureWith a little perseverance however, the ice reveals its secrets.
As Ocean Albatros pushes through the narrow channels in the ice, tiny cod-like fish can be seen silhouetted against the ice in the clear water. Kittiwakes and Gloucous Gulls follow the vessel as it distrubs the water. Further out on the ice, black dots appear; moving closer, they resolve into seals, basking on the ice. A plume of water reflects the sunshine - a pod of belugas perhaps, or maybe even the vast gentle bowhead whale crushing this ice from below as its massive body surfaces. There, beyond the banks of rucked ice - a yellowish dot pads along the ice, the head swinging from side to side: the King of the Arctic continues his never-ending quest for prey. This is the kingdom of the polar bear, the vast icy wastes at the top of the world - a remarkable place which is the goal of this expedition.

DAY 10
RETURN TO LAND - NORTHWEST SVALBARD
As we retreat from the icy wastes of the north, we return to the (relatively) hospitable shores of northwest Spitzbergen. Once the haunt of whalers and sealers, these shores have an equally fascinating role in the modern history of Svalbard.
These islands' geographical location has made them the staging post for exploratory and scientific expeditions for centuries - a proud legacy which continues to this day. The names of these pioneers and their ships still loom large in world history - the Nobile, the Norge and the Fram, Amundsen, Nansen and Nordenskiöld, all legends of polar exploration who passed this lonely outpost seeking to push the boundaries of humanity. Nearby stands the tiny settlement of Ny-Ålesund, the world's northernmost community, once a coal mining town, Ny-Ålesund is today a research settlement, hosting permanent research stations from 12 countries. Where whalers once slaughtered, now researchers study in an effort to conserve the precious biodiversity of the region.
Look closely and signs of this courageous history can still be seen. On Danskøya, rusting remains hint at the hot air balloon and airship attempts at the pole by Salomon Andrée and Walter Wellman. In Ny-Ålesund, the airship mast to which Amundsen's Norge was moored still stands proud over the barren landscape. Follow in the footsteps of the explorers of yesteryear and learn how researchers persevere to preserve this high Arctic paradise.
Explore the fascinating little research town of Ny-Ålesund as Ocean Albatros pulls into Kongsfjorden, and see modern Arctic scientists in action in the northernmost settlement on Earth.

DAY 11
LONGYEARBYEN, SPITSBERGEN. DISEMBARKATION
During the evening, the Ocean Albatros will reposition to return to the port of Longyearbyen. Even this small town will feel like a metropolis after days of isolation in the sea ice!
After enjoying exploring Longyearbyen, return to Svalbard Airport and join your flight back to the Norwegian mainland- with memories to last a lifetime. 

Ocean Albatros (Luxury Expedition, 189-guests)

The Ocean Albatros, sistership to the Ocean Victory, will join the fleet of Albatros Expeditions in November 2022. The Ocean Albatros will be deployed to a large selection of expedition cruise destinations, Antarctica, the Arctic, any various exciting new destinations in between.

(Click image to view Ship details)

WHAT'S INCLUDED


  • 11-day, 10-night cruise on Ocean Albatros in a shared outside double room with a private bathroom in the category chosen
  • Fights: Oslo-Longyearbyen-Oslo
  • Local transport in Longyearbyen on days 1 and 11
  • English-speaking expedition staff
  • Guided walks with the expedition team
  • Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary
  • Information briefings and lectures by the expedition team
  • Special photo workshop
  • Full board on the ship
  • Free coffee, tea, and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Dinner drink package
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Taxes, tariffs, and landing fees
  • Digital visual journal link after the voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list, and more
EXCLUSIONS
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement and cabin upgrades
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea and dinner-drink package)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel, cancellation, and senior insurance
  • Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’


HIKING
The opportunity to simply set foot on the Polar regions is a great experience, but to walk amid its white emptiness on a mini expedition is truly an unbeatable adventure.
Few people venture onto the ice sheet, yet so much more awaits only a little deeper within, where a great ice landscape unfolds! On this excursion, you can wander among the hills and valleys, and eventually find yourself surrounded by crystal blue streams, rivers, waterfalls and lakes - all formed by melt water from the ice.

Equipped with crampons and hiking poles, walking across the ice sheet is still a bit more challenging than trekking across hilly terrain, but you will manage the technique after a little instruction from our guides. Hiking on the ice sheet is no more challenging than trekking across hilly terrain and all levels of experience are welcome to join. With 500 meters of ancient ice compacted beneath our feet, we will wander through the arctic desert in pursuit of the ideal spot to enjoy lunch. Here, the drinking water comes directly from the glacial lake!

Learn more about this and other great activities, by visiting Albatros Arctic Circle.

LECTURES
Our primary focus is knowledge, and we apply this to every aspect of a journey. From the staff that forms our expedition team, to the routes our ship follows, and of course, the program onboard.
This allows us to provide comprehensive voyages, for our guests to not only enjoy breathtaking landscapes and amazing wildlife, but to also get a better understanding of each location and everything they see; From the flora and fauna they come upon during each landing, to the culture and history of each place being visited. This adds to the overall experience, and becomes a memory our guests will cherish back home.

A great constituent of this educational program is that by inviting experts in their field to share their knowledge with us, we ensure that our guests also acquire a deeper appreciation of the world they are encountering, and therefore, a clearer understanding of what actions can be taken by all of us to protect the environment and treat our planet with consciousness and compassion. There will always be a historian, a biologist or zoologist, a glaciologist or geologist and an ornithologist on board to help increase the guests’ knowledge.In addition to the lectures, the experts are also on deck during certain times to share their knowledge and passion with the guests.

In the evenings, we may also have bar talks, which are a more informal setting where a topic is brought up. Here the experts tell about a topic which is then followed by Q&A. Last but not least, during the daily briefings there are short presentations of a subject which is relevant to the program next day or perhaps about something that was experienced during the day.

PHOTOGRAPHY
We always have a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and zodiac cruises.
The Polar Regions are filled with mesmerizing landscapes and amazing wildlife; and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.

ZODIAC
Essential for expedition cruises, Zodiacs are robust boats that can go up on a beach, a rocky outcrop, a river bank or even an ice floe push through bergy bits of ice floating in the water. This is definitely one on the assets that distinguishes this way of exploring from more conventional cruises.
Zodiacs enable our guests to explore the scenery from a very different perspective:
They allow us to safely do landings in wild places with no infrastructure, often before or after a landing or as the main excursion. They allow us to take our guests to interesting places just around the corner or around an iceberg, which is a great way to get really near wildlife or to watch the ice formations up close, take unimaginable photographs and feel a closer connection to the nature in the area. Most of the zodiac operations are planned in advance, but they can also be used spontaneously if we discover some unique sightings on our way. 

If you can negotiate normal stairs you can also can get in and out of a Zodiac. In the gangway we have strong seamen that will give you a firm and helping hand. On shore you will also get the help when needed. It’s important to keep both hands free, so you can accept the provided support. Sitting on the boat, you just need to hold on to the rope and enjoy the fresh Polar air end the scenery.

 

Contact Cruise Norway for the best rates.
Thousands of customers served since 1999. We find you the best value and provide exclusive deals at discounted rates.

Submit the form or call us toll free in USA & Canada 1-888-538-8652
North America: Text & Mobile: +1 970 227 9767
Europe & ROW: WhatsApp & Mobile: +372 52 99 832

Required fields *












*



*

*


*




*






  Sign up for exclusive Cruise Norway promotions?
*





 
DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time