ortelius polar bear cruise

Around Spitsbergen

  • Overview

    Around Spitsbergen - In the realm of Polar Bear & Ice

    Full Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

    A voyage around Spitsbergen, where you have chances to see the King of the Arctic, Walrus, Reindeer, various bird species and surprisingly beautiful flora. Near the mouth of Liefdefjorden, we will go ashore for a walk on the tundra of Reindyrsflya. Sailing into Liefdefjorden, we 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 Bear are seen on the glacier.

    Duration: 10 days
    Passengers: 116 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
    Disembarkation Point: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen: Embarkation day

      You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

      PLEASE NOTE: N.B. The chances that we can complete a full Spitsbergen circumnavigation (based on our experiences from 1992 – 2018) are about 30% in the first half of July, 70% in the second half, 90% in the first half of August, and 95% in the second half. In case we cannot complete a full circumnavigation, we may devise a program in northeast or southeast Spitsbergen. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed for m/v Ortelius is 10.5 knots.

    • Day 2 - Cruising Krossfjorden

      Heading north along the west coast, you arrive by morning in Krossfjorden. Here you might board the Zodiacs for a cruise near the towering blue-white face of the Fourteenth of July Glacier. On the green slopes near the glacier, colorful flowers bloom while flocks of kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs. You have a good chance of spotting an Arctic fox scouting for fallen chicks, or a bearded seal paddling through the fjord.

      In the afternoon you sail to Ny Ålesund, the northernmost settlement on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research center. Close to the community is a breeding ground for barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, and Arctic terns. And if you’re interested in the history of Arctic exploration, visit the anchoring mast used by polar explorers Amundsen and Nobile in their airships, Norge (1926) and Italia (1928).

      Alternately, you may sail to Raudfjorden, taking in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

    • Day 3 - The massive Monaco Glacier

      Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite 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.

    • Day 4/5 - Stop at the Seven Islands

      The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears inhabit this region, so the ship may park for several hours among the pack ice before wheeling around west again.

      When the edge of this sea ice is tens of miles north of the Seven Islands (mostly in August), you can spend a second day in this area. Alternatively (mostly in July) you may turn to Sorgfjord, where you have the chance to find a herd of walruses not far from the graves of 17th-century whalers. A nature walk here can bring you close to families of ptarmigans, and the opposite side of the fjord is also a beautiful area for an excursion.

    • Day 6 - Highlights of Hinlopen

      Today you 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 - Barentsøya’s many bounties

      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 - Land of the Pointed Mountains

      You start the day by 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’s flora, fauna, and haunting history

      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, Spitsbergen: Disembarkation day

      Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    The Polar Bear

    To many people, the polar bear is the Arctic. The sight of such an impressive silky white bear wandering the frozen Arctic seas in search of seals symbolizes the cold, isolated nature of the Arctic so well. Polar bears are marine mammals because they spend so much of their lives away from land. In the high Arctic where there is always some sea ice to travel on, polar bears range over ice floes in the pack ice hunting seals all summer. In some areas (e.g. southern Hudson Bay, southern Svalbard) they are simply forced to come ashore. Polar bears rarely venture inland.

    Endless Arctic nights

    Svalbard is the Arctic North as you always dreamed it existed. This wondrous archipelago is a land of dramatic snow-drowned peaks and glaciers, of vast icefields and forbidding icebergs, an elemental place where the seemingly endless Arctic night and the perpetual sunlight of summer carry a deeper kind of magic. One of Europe's last great wildernesses, this is also the domain of more polar bears than people, a terrain rich in epic legends of polar exploration.

  • Inclusions

    All meals on board

    Onboard your expedition all meals are included and prepared by our chefs. Meals are prepared to a restaurant standard and to cater for most diet requirements.

    All Zodiac excursions

    During the course of your expedition, you will have direct access to our onboard expedition team. Our expedition team members are a wealth of information, they have backgrounds in exploration or science based backgrounds. Our teams will usually comprise of naturalists, historians, geologists and ornithologists.

    Your expedition team members will expertly guide you off the ship and provide you with firsthand knowledge about the geology and wildlife of the region. Back onboard the vessel, team members hold lectures about their studies or the wildlife that was seen during the course of the day.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Free use of rubber expedition boots
    - Comprehensive pre-departure material
    - AECO and government fees
    - Port taxes
    - All shore excursions and lectures
    - All accommodation and meals on board

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Gratuities
    - Internet / Wifi & Phone
    - Laundry
    - Beverages
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Arrival and departure taxes
    - Passport & Visa expenses
    - Pre and post-cruise travel
    - Any airfare whether scheduled or charter flights
  • Map
    Oceanwide exp nord alpine ski
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    ORTELIUS

    “Ortelius” was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named “Marina Svetaeva”, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed “Ortelius”. “Ortelius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Cyprus flag. The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. “Ortelius” is a great expedition vessel for 116 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces. The vessel is manned by 22 highly experienced international nautical crew, 19 international hotel crew, 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader, 1 assistant expedition leader and 6 guides/lecturers), and 1 doctor. Ortelius offers a comfortable hotel standard, with a u-shaped, a bar and a lecture room. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 116 on the “Ortelius”, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. “Ortelius” carries 10 zodiacs. The zodiac engines are 60hp Yamaha.

    Features & Facilities
    • Comfotable hotel standard
    • Bar
    • Lecture Room
    • Spacious Observation Decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Helipad
    • Small gym
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 116
    Crew #: 52
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 91m
    Width: 17
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 4575
    Registry: Cyprus
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability

Quad Cabin

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 4
USD 4,900pp
USD 4,900pp

Triple Cabin

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 3
USD 6,000pp
USD 6,000pp

Twin Porthole

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
Twin private cabin with porthole
USD 7,000pp
USD 7,000pp

Twin Window

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
Twin private cabin with window
USD 7,450pp
USD 7,450pp

Twin Deluxe

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
Private corner cabin with private facilities
USD 7,900pp
USD 7,900pp

Superior

05 Jul 2020 - 14 Jul 2020
Superior suite cabin with excellent positioning
USD 8,850pp
USD 8,850pp