2021 Complete Svalbard Circumnavigation
This epic voyage circumnavigates the large island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. Explore glaciers, mountains and fjords in the west, and the barren High Arctic wilderness in the eastern part of Svalbard. Enjoy expedition landings, hikes, kayaking and other activities in the largest Arctic wilderness in Europe.
A complete journey around Spitsbergen provides the best way to truly explore this fascinating Arctic island. We aim at taking you well above the 80th parallel and placing you closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole. The expedition starts in Longyearbyen, a prime destination for adventure travelers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique place, where life is dominated by the power of the Arctic wilderness, yet a surprisingly rich cultural life thrives in the town.
During this voyage you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen. The eastern part of Svalbard is divided into two large nature reserves. Combined, they represent one of the last largely untouched wildernesses in Europe. Traversing the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give you spectacular views of the island’s east coast with hundreds of glaciers and mountains. If we are lucky, we’ll encounter marine mammals like seal and walrus, and wherever there is ice, there is a strong chance of spotting polar bears!
More Polar Bears than Humans
The Svalbard Archipelago currently hosts about 2,500 humans and 3,000 polar bears. These solitary marine mammals roam wherever they can expect to find food, and favor drift ice for use as a platform when at sea. On very rare occasions, dead whales or walrus drift ashore on Svalbard beaches, attracting all kinds of wildlife – including polar bears. While we often observe bears on our expeditions, as with all things in nature, there are no absolute guarantees. The presence of polar bears in the area can affect our landing or activity schedules.
Join in for a Beach Clean Up Activity
In recent years, marine litter has become a major problem for the world’s oceans and beaches. Hurtigruten, as a proud member of the “Clean Up Svalbard” team, invites our guests to participate in a beach clean-up activity during one of our landings in the area.
The High North
Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Before departure, you can spend some time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes and hills. Oslo offers interesting architecture, a strong café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and endless shopping possibilities.
Then, set foot in an entirely different world when you arrive in Longyearbyen. This remote settlement on the edge of Arctic tundra offers all the amenities of a modern town, and the contrast is intoxicating.
Transfer to your hotel and overnight.
A Civilisation in the Arctic Desert
After an overnight stay in one of our hotels, you join an exciting excursion in Longyearbyen and the surrounding area. The influence of the Arctic environment on life here is obvious, but the settlement is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, bars, long wine lists at restaurants, shops and a mini-shopping center. The town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventurers. In addition, the history and heritage of the first coal miners is evident everywhere.
The excursion ends at the pier where MS Spitsbergen is already waiting for you.
Mighty Glaciers, Deep Fjords and Amazing Mountains
Location:North West Spitsbergen National Park
We sail to Kongsfjorden, considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by dramatic mountain formations. We also plan to sail to Ny-Ålesund, a former mining settlement with colorful architecture, which now serves as an international research center.
As we sail northwest, we reach Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see ruins from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs and quite often, Svalbard reindeer.
The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from the first inhabitants of Svalbard.
At Magdalenafjorden, if conditions allow, we will attempt a landing to hike, and for the truly brave at heart, swim in the refreshing Arctic waters. Others may wish to venture to the 495 foot high top of Ytre Norskøya. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in beautiful Liefdefjord.
Extreme Conditions and Barren Beauty
Location: Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park
Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – we have high hopes of seeing one on this journey!
We hope to sail by Isflakbukta and Phippsøya on our way to Sorgfjorden, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Sorgfjorden was the location of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers and features amazing wildlife spotting opportunities for walrus and birdlife.
Kvitøya, the easternmost island in the Svalbard archipelago, is 98 % covered by the Kvitøyjøkulen ice cap. We plan to land at the western point of the island where the remains of the Andrée expedition were found in 1930. This was a failed effort to fly over the North Pole in a balloon, the `Örnen´ (Eagle).
Edgeøya is the third-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago with a landscape that is largely un-glaciated, unlike much of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.
If we are lucky, we may meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land. In winter Storfjorden is mainly frozen, making it a perfect polar bear habitat. We continue to the southern cape and the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen, where Hornsund has large variations in its landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears to hunt on the floes.
Enjoy Life in Arctic Surroundings
Location: The fjords of South-West Spitsbergen
The region of Hornsund and the lovely formations around Burgerbukta are highlights of this day, as well as the rich whaling history of Bellsund.
As we make our way to central Spitsbergen, we encounter the Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system in Svalbard. We will explore both the outer and the inner parts of the fjord. One of the most striking features of the outer part is the Alkehornet peak, where thousands sea birds, including Brunnich’s guillemots and kittiwakes nest during the summer season. In the inner parts of the Isfjord, the landscape changes constantly. Immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago, are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard Reindeer. There will also be an optional excursion to the Russian settlement of Pyramiden available
The End of The Voyage
Every great explorer voyage comes to an end. We’ll look back on memories of calving glacier fronts or buzzing birdlife – or simply the subtle, elated feeling of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole. An early morning transfer takes you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.
Included in Your Expedition
- Flights in economy class between Oslo and Longyearbyen
- Overnight in Longyearbyen before the expedition cruise, including breakfast and lunch
- All transfers in Longyearbyen including an excursion before the expedition cruise
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with very limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and accompany activities on board and ashore
- Range of included excursions
- Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research
- Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
- Use of the ship’s hot tubs, sauna with floor-to-ceiling window, and indoor gym
- Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come
- Escorted landings with small expedition boats
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
- Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers help with your camera settings before landings