plancius polar bear cruise

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

  • Overview

    North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

    The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

     

    Sailing along the pack-ice of North Spitsbergen, will give us the best opportunities to spot the King of the Arctic. We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bear are often seen here.

    Duration: 8 days
    Passengers: 116 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Longyearbyen
    Disembarkation Point: Longyearbyen
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.6x - 1.7x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Longyearbyen

      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.

    • Day 2 - Sailing along Svalbard

      Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take 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 - Sailing along Svalbard

      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 - Sailing along Svalbard

      Today you sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to bearded seals, ringed seals, and polar bears. At the entrance there is even the possibility to spot blue whales. After cruising among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in the Zodiacs, you can 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 on Nordaustlandet. Here reindeer, pink-footed geese, and walruses are likely sights. You can take an alternate route if ice prevents entry into Hinlopen.

    • Day 5 - Sailing along Svalbard

      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.

    • Day 6 - Sailing along Svalbard

      While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

    • Day 7 - Sailing along Svalbard

      Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later at night.

    • Day 8 - Longyearbyen

      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
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  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    MV PLANCIUS

    The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a 116-passenger vessel in 2009 and complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea). M/v “Plancius” is classed by Lloyd’s Register and flies the Dutch flag. M/v “Plancius” accommodates 116 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 26 twin cabins with window and 2 twin deluxe cabins, all (ca. 12,5 square meters) and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square meters). All cabins offer lower berths (one queen-size bed in the superior cabins and two single beds in the twin cabins), except for the 4 quadruple cabins (for 4 persons in 2x upper and lower beds), and 2 triple cabins (1 bunk bed plus 1 lower bed).

    Features & Facilities
    • Comfortable and recently refurbished
    • Large Observation Decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Spacious observation lounge (with bar)
    • Restaurant
    • Lecture Room
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 4
    Guests #: 116
    Crew #: 47
    Ice Class: 1D
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 89m
    Width: 14
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 3434
    Registry: Netherlands
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just USD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.

Quadruple Porthole

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
An excellent cabin choice for single travellers or families of 4
USD$ 4,000pp
USD$ 4,000pp

Twin Porthole

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
Twin porthole cabin with private facilities
USD$ 5,600pp
USD$ 5,600pp
hondius quad cabin

Triple Porthole

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
Cabin features 2 x Lower and 1 x Upper bunk, private facilities and a porthole.
USD$ 5,600pp
USD$ 5,600pp
ortelius twin window cabin

Twin Window

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
Twin private cabin with window.
USD$ 6,050pp
USD$ 6,050pp
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ortelius twin deluxe cabin

Twin Deluxe

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
Private corner cabin with private facilities.
USD$ 6,400pp
USD$ 6,400pp
plancius superior cabin

Superior

29 Jun 2023 - 06 Jul 2023
Suite cabins with mid-ship locations on deck 5 & 6.
USD$ 7,300pp
USD$ 7,300pp
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