SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER: WILDLIFE CAPITAL OF THE ARCTIC
The largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen is known as the “wildlife capital of the Arctic,” and on this unforgettable 12-day voyage, you will discover why.
Building on our Spitsbergen Highlights and Intro to Spitsbergen itineraries, this longer journey has been designed to maximize time on the west and northern/southern tips of the island, providing you optimal chances to witness the remarkable array of creatures who call this spectacular yet forbidding environment home—including whales, walruses, Svalbard reindeer, seabirds by the thousands, and that most iconic of Arctic residents, the polar bear.
In addition to giving you opportunities to observe this unique parade of wildlife, the longer itinerary also allows you more time to explore the vast tundra, appreciate the natural beauty of the surprisingly colorful Arctic wilderness, and benefit from our range of on-board lectures and educational programs. Come aboard with the most knowledgeable, experienced and passionate team in the industry for an extraordinary High Arctic adventure.
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo, Norway
Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.
Day 2 Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.
Day 3 – 11 Exploring Spitsbergen
Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. As you cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, your Expedition Team will constantly be searching for wildlife.
Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet
and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.
The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Since Svalbard’s legendary wildlife habitat is well-protected and almost entirely uninhabited, it’s one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears in their natural landscapes of ice, Arctic deserts and mountain scenery.
The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.
If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can book the sea kayaking or paddling excursion Adventure Options.
In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is an ever-changing gallery of spectacular icebergs, a polar bear resting between hunts, or abandoned historical site from centuries ago.
Day 12 Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo
The time to say goodbye has come. Your Arctic adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.
Ocean Adventurer has long been a fleet favorite among guests and crew who’ve appreciated the charm and intimacy of this 128-passenger vessel, its ample outdoor deck space, numerous cozy spots to socialize onboard—and the outdoor jacuzzi. A few years ago, Ocean Adventurer underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation involving a talented team of marine architects, engineers, interior designers and polar expedition specialists. Quark Expeditions is proud of the enhancements to the much-loved polar vessel—which subsequently won the Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Overall Small Cruise Ship (500 passengers or under).
The refurbishments now enjoyed by guests:
- A refreshed, contemporary new look and feel throughout the ship
- The addition of six new twin cabins and three new suites
- All existing cabins furnished with new soft furnishings and brand new bathrooms
- Remodelling of common areas such as the Lounge and Dining Room
- Major technical enhancements, such as two new Rolls Royce engines, which increase fuel efficiency and minimize carbon footprint.
Staff and crew: 87
Draft: 4.5 meters
Stabilizers: 2 x sperry gyrofin (1998)
Propulsion: diesel twin engines – 5,400 horsepower
Lifeboats: 4 partially-enclosed
Zodiacs: 14 (mark v type)
Voltage: 220v, european plugs
Length: 101.1 meters
Ice class: 1a
Breadth: 16.2 meters
Gross tonnage: 4614 tons
Cruising speed: 12 knots, in open water