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Plancius

Around Spitsbergen Cruise - In the realm of Polar Bear and Ice

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. 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

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: Seven Islands

Today the Plancius 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: 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

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

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