SPITSBERGEN PHOTOGRAPHY: IN SEARCH OF POLAR BEARS
This unique 13-day voyage invites guests to embrace a true expeditionary spirit: rather than follow a set itinerary, together we’ll allow our search for polar bears and other wildlife to determine our route and shore landings in the pristine Norwegian Arctic.
You’ll be experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime journey aboard our game-changing new expedition vessel, Ultramarine, which is equipped with 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, luxurious onboard amenities and the biggest portfolio of Adventure Options in the polar regions. Extensive outer decks, including a wrap around promenade deck and balconies in most cabins mean you’ll always have access to wildlife viewings wherever they may occur.
Cruising along the coast, ice edge and inner fjords of Spitsbergen, you’ll be immersed in the natural wonders of the land of the midnight sun as we pursue our quest to photograph arctic wildlife: the polar bear as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on its perpetual hunt for food; the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; cliff-dwelling Arctic birds in the thousands; and small herds of reindeer loping across the colorful tundra. Not to mention the landscape—snow-topped mountains, massive glacier fronts, deep-walled fjords, and vast swaths of untouched tundra waiting to be photographed. Exploring this awe-inspiring region will capture you with its raw beauty.
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
Spitsbergen is graced with an unspoiled beauty that’s just waiting to be discovered. On this one-of-a-kind cruise, you’ll sail along the west coast of this magical island, exploring the coastal fjords and smaller, outlying islands. Each day will be a surprise, treating you to spectacular new sightings and experiences.
Every expedition is unique, depending on the weather and ice conditions, but we do hope to visit a few of our favorite landing sites, which will be chosen as much for their optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities as for their stunning scenery, historical significance and hiking activities. With no itinerary (unusual amongst polar cruises), our main goal will be to sail in a constant search for polar bears on the prowl. This means we may not move the ship every day as we do on regular voyages, especially if we find abundant wildlife in one place. Like true explorers, we’ll let the wildlife and pack ice—not a set schedule—guide our route! Our small expedition ship allows us to navigate shallower waters and tighter spaces, so we expect to explore the more hard-to-reach areas frequented by the elusive polar bear.
Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that await, and with continuous daylight during this time of year, photo ops abound. You’ll have ample time to linger and photograph any bears we find hunting on the ice edge, but they’re not the only wildlife we hope to encounter. The food-rich waters attract walrus, whales and seabirds, so you’ll want to keep your binoculars nearby while cruising. Arctic fox and the indigenous Svalbard reindeer may also be spotted on Zodiac excursions to shore.
A haven for present-day explorers, Spitsbergen and the surrounding area offer unforgettable polar experiences that will keep you and your camera active for the duration of the expedition. Although 60 percent of the landscape is covered in glaciers and much of the terrain is mountainous, Spitsbergen (which means “pointed mountains”) surprises visitors with stretches of colorful tundra that burst with wildflowers in summer. Optional hiking activities get you up close—though never obtrusively—to the abundant wildlife. At day’s end, you’ll have plenty of prized photographs and exciting stories to share with your shipmates.
Day 14 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.
The new Ultramarine 200-passenger polar ship is being purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration. The vessel boasts specialized exploration tools, cutting-edge safety measures and an incredible 70-day cruising range to focus on hard-to-reach places, while at the same time providing a high-end onboard experience. Set to launch in 2021, she is being built by Croatia’s award-winning Brodosplit, the largest shipyard in the country, and is designed by LMG Marin, Europe’s leading naval architect.
Year Built: 2020
Crew Members: 140
Length: 420 feet
Beam: 70 feet
Draft: 16.4 feet
Cruising Speed: 16 knots