SPITSBERGEN IN DEPTH: BIG ISLANDS, BIG ADVENTURE
This 14-day journey offers the most extensive exploration of Spitsbergen in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, including the opportunity to witness iconic Arctic wildlife like walrus, reindeer and polar bears, a glimpse into 16th-century maritime culture at secluded landing sites, and the rare chance to appreciate breathtaking views at the birdwatching utopias 14th of July Glacier and Alkefjellet.
If conditions allow, we will also attempt a full circumnavigation of the archipelago during this memorable voyage, including a visit to the remote, uninhabited Arctic desert of Nordaustlandet.
The wildlife-viewing opportunities on this trip will leave you with plenty of memories and photos: the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; Arctic birds in all their varied majesty; small herds of reindeer loping across the tundra; and that most iconic of Arctic creatures, the polar bear, as it roams the edges of the pack ice. Shore excursions by Zodiac will enable you to set foot in places few humans have. This voyage truly is the big adventure you’ve been waiting for.
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 – 13 Exploring Spitsbergen
Expect a new adventure every day as we begin our journey by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. We plan to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, we will also attempt a larger circumnavigation of the region, including many of the outer islands in the Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya.
These names may seem strange to you, but each site has its own unique appeal. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful tundra meadows are complemented by immense glaciers. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and Arctic terns, while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Always on the lookout for wildlife, be sure to have your camera ready to capture reindeer when we visit sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Searching for the iconic polar bear is a constant activity for your Expedition Team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are often home to sea ice, the bears’ preferred habitat for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to view and capture them in action.
A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the history—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.
Day 12 Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo
Your adventure ends 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