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Plancius

Around Spitsbergen Cruise (10 Days)

First built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and named "Hr. Ms. Tydeman", the Plancius has now been fully reconstructed as a 110-passenger vessel suitable for Polar expeditions. The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) with large windows, offering a full panorama view. All cabins are generously proportioned and are outside facing, mostly equipped with two bunk beds and a comfortable private bathroom.

 

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: Krossfjorden

Heading north along the west coast, the Plancius 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. On the surprisingly green slopes near the glacier, a colourful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of kittiwakes and brünnich's guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. There is also a good chance of spotting some arctic foxes, who patrol the base of the cliffs in the hope that a chick will fall from its nest, and bearded seals, who cruise this scenic fjord. 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. Close to the village is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese and arctic terns. 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: Liefdefjorden - Monaco Glacier

Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, you will be able to go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many common eiders and pink-footed geese nest here and you may even spot the more rare King Eider in this area. As the Plancius sails into Liefdefjorden, you will cruise near the face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes and, occasionally, polar bears are seen on the glacier, providing a stunning sight.

Days 4-5: Phippsøya

Today the Plancius reaches her most northerly point at Phippsøya, 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: Hinlopen Strait

Today you will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, polar bears and ivory gulls. Navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, you will attempt a landing at Augustabukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, pink-footed geese, breeding ivory gulls and walruses.

Day 7: Barentsøya

In Freemansundet, land at Sundneset on the island of Barentsøya to visit an old trapper's hut and then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle geese. Later, cruise south to Diskobukta on the west side of Edgeøya. After a Zodiac cruise through the shallow bay, land on a beach littered with whale bones and tree trunks, which have drifted here from Siberia. You can also climb to the rim of a narrow gully which is inhabited by thousands of kittiwakes, together with black guillemots and piratical glaucous gulls. During the breeding season, the base of the cliffs is patrolled by arctic foxes and polar bears, especially females with young cubs, searching for young birds that have fallen from the nesting ledges.

Day 8: Hornsund

Start the day quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. Hornsundtind rises to 1,431m while Bautaen shows why early Dutch explorers gave the name ‘Spitsbergen’ - pointed mountains - to the island. There are also 14 magnificent glaciers in the area and very good chances of encounters with seals and polar bears.

Day 9: Ahlstrandhalvøya

Land on Ahlstrandhalvøya at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden. Here piles of beluga skeletons (the beluga is a small white whale), the remains of 19th century slaughter, are yet another reminder of the consequences of thoughtless exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted to the edge of extinction and may still be seen locally. Indeed, there is a good chance that we will come across a pod. Cruising into Recherchefjorden during the afternoon we can explore an area of tundra at the head of the fjord where many reindeer feed.

Day 10: Longyearbyen

Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for your onward journey.

Disembark

Disembark the ship in Longyearbyen.

Includes

  • 9 Nights' accommodation on board the Plancius
  • 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