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Hondius

Hondius - Around Spitsbergen Cruise (10 Days)

Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, optimized for the most innovative exploratory voyages throughout the Arctic and Antarctica. The main focus of the ship's design revolves around discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities. A swift zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking. The vessel can carry up to 174 passengers accommodated in contemporary designed cabins and suites. Its distinctive informal cozy public areas include a dining room, and a large observation lounge and bar area. The adjoining lecture room will be reserved for a wide variety of interactive workshops and exhibitions.

 

Info

 

Embark

Embark the ship in Longyearbyen.

Day 1: Longyearbyen

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth a visit. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden and your voyage will begin.

Day 2: Cruising Krossfjorden

Heading north along the west coast, the Hondius arrives in Krossfjorden, where you will have an opportunity to take the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. Here, you will find a colourful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of kittiwakes and brünnich's guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. In the afternoon your cruise continues to Ny Ålesund, the world's most northerly settlement. Once a mining village, served by the world's most northerly railway, Ny Ålesund is now a research centre. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration may wish to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the airship Norge in 1926 and by Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928 before their flights to the North Pole.

Day 3: Monaco Glacier

Depending on the weather, the ship could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Days 4-5: Seven Islands

Today the Hondius reaches her most northerly point in the Seven Islands, to the north of Nordaustlandet. At this stage you will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, along with ivory gulls. You will be able to sit in the pack ice, taking in your spectacular surroundings and wildlife. When the edge of the sea-ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August) you will spend a second day to get to the sea ice. Alternatively (mostly in July) the ship turns to Sorg Fjord where you may find a herd of Walrus not far from the graves of 17th century whalers.

Day 6: Highlights of Hinlopen

Today the ship will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded and ringed seals as well as polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. As with Liefdefjorden, you can take an alternate west Spitsbergen route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you then view the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopen Strait, you may attempt a landing where reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. Near Torrelneset you can also visit the polar desert of Nordaustlandet, next to the world’s third-largest ice cap. Here you may encounter walruses during a coastline hike over the area’s raised beaches.

Day 7: Freemansundet

The plan is to make landings in Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

Day 8: Hornsund

This morning the ship will be cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Day 9: Bell Sund

Today you find yourself in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod. Alternately, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 10: Longyearbyen

Your voyage ends in Longyearbyen where you will disembark the ship.

Disembark

Disembark the ship in Longyearbyen.

Includes

  • 9 Nights' accommodation on board the Hondius
  • Full Board including snacks, coffee and tea
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes aboard the vessel
  • All shore excursions and activities through the voyage by Zodiac
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen - please request details when you make your reservation
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Fuel Surcharges, where applicable, are shown separately on the website and must be paid at time of booking

Excludes

  • International transportation
  • Visas where required
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals ashore
  • Cancellation and personal insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Gratuities
  • Beverages
  • Laundry
 

Sailing dates