polar pioneer spitsbergen polar bear cruise

Spitsbergen Odyssey

  • Overview
    We explore the coastline, with no open sea crossings, against a backdrop of spectacular glacier covered peaks. We discover deep fjords in the west; mysterious, fossil-rich desert plains in the east; and best of all, seals and whales in the Arctic pack ice. This voyage offers the best chance for seeing reindeers and polar bears, and features wildflower walks across sweeping tundra, trapper camps and historic sites. On foot and by Zodiac, we visit abandoned whaling settlements, search for walrus, Arctic fox and reindeer and observe in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots and puffin.
    Duration: 11 days
    Passengers: 54 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
    Disembarkation Point: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; Embarkation Day

      Enjoy a guided tour of colourful Spitsbergen’ capital Longyearbyen. Late afternoon sees us warmly welcomed on board Polar Pioneer.

    • Day 2/3 - Magdalenefjorden

      Wake up to spectacular alpine peaks and glacier valleys of Spitsbergen’s rugged west coast. In Magdalenefjorden we Zodiac cruise a safe distance from the aqua-blue ice cliffs of 14th July Glacier or Waggonway Glacier, and take long walks among summer flowers, alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Thanks to the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream and relatively mild temperatures, Atlantic puffins and guillemots fill the cliffs. We look for bearded seals, with their precious curling whiskers. We may visit the remains of a 350-year old Dutch whaling settlement on Amsterdam Island and learn of an ill-fated ballooning attempt over the North Pole.

    • Day 4/6 - Moffen Island & Woodfjorden

      Rounding Spitsbergen’s northwest coast, we enter the Arctic Ocean and the world of pack ice. Ghostly beluga whales rise up in open leads and polar bears stalk ringed, bearded and harp seals. Offshore, walruses feed on clams or haul out on beaches, especially on Moffen Island, a walrus sanctuary. We visit trapper huts and stay alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Delightful walks reveal delicious berries and some of the tundra’s 164 exquisite flowering plants including purple saxifrage, yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. If ice conditions allow, we attempt to cross latitude 80° north before turning south to Woodfjorden.

    • Day 7/8 - Hinlopen Strait, Barentsoya & Edgroya Islands

      We attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, a channel flanked by austere, cream-coloured slopes rich in fossils between Spitsbergen and ice-capped Nordaustlandet. This polar desert is a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar our way, but there is much to strive for. We Zodiac cruise beneath Alkefjellet, sheer basalt cliffs rising at more than 250 metres – literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots. During shore excursions, we seek eider ducks, Arctic foxes and the elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. As we pass Barentsøya and Edgeøya islands, we cross polar bear migration routes.

    • Day 9/10 - Hornsund & Bellsund Fjords

      This is true expedition cruising. If ice conditions allow, we round South Cape and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords home to stunning glaciers and wildlife. If ice bars our way, we simply adjust our itinerary, backtrack and delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts.

    • Day 11 - Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen; Disembarkation

      A midnight cruise of glorious Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen and the end of our voyage.

    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

    Polar Snorkeling

    Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you'll marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life at play.

    AUD 740 per person

    Kayaking

    The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.

    AUD 1,050 per person

    Polar Diving

    Polar diving reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life greet us, whilst the possible presence of walrus and polar bears makes Arctic diving a very special experience. With numerous diving opportunities along your voyage, no two days will be alike – a truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.

    Min. Experience requirement of 20 logged dry-suit dives.

    AUD 1,100 per person

    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.

    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.

  • Inclusions

    Expedition Gear

    Complimentary custom-designed polar expedition jacket and use of gumboots during voyage

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Professional produced voyage log
    - Comprehensive pre-departure information
    - Group sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen on arrival
    - Group transfer to/from airport to Polar Pioneer in Longyearbyen
    - Port taxes & entry fees
    - Medical services on board
    - All shore excursions and lectures during the voyage
    - All meals and accommodation during the voyage

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Communication charges
    - Gratuities
    - Medical expenses
    - Laundry
    - Beverages
    - Optional excursion and activities not included in the voyage itinerary
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Visa & Passport fees
    - Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
    - Government arrival and departure taxes
    - International and internal flights that are not specified
  • Map
    Aurora ex spitsbergen odyssey
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    POLAR PIONEER

    Polar Pioneer is one of the most popular style of vessels currently used in Antarctica and the Arctic. Originally built as an ice-strengthened research vessel in Finland in 1982, she was refurbished in 2000 and converted into a passenger ship for expeditions to the Polar Regions. Polar Pioneer’s excellent reputation for polar expedition cruising is due to her strength, manoeuvrability and size. She is small and nimble, which means she can sail up close to landing sites and venture where other, larger ships can’t. Carrying just 54 passengers, she allows us to offer you a far more personal and intimate experience of the destination we are visiting.

    Features & Facilities
    • Basic accommodation
    • Lounge bar
    • Spacious viewing platforms and decks
    • Presentation room
    • Sauna
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 54
    Crew #: 23
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 14
    Refurbished: 2000
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1982
    Length: 71m
    Width: 13
    Draft: 4
    Tonnage: 1753
    Registry: Russia
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability

Triple

27 Jul 2018 - 06 Aug 2018
Triple public cabin, 3 x berths and shared facilities
AUD 7,200pp
AUD 7,200pp

Twin Public

27 Jul 2018 - 06 Aug 2018
Twin cabin with shared facilities
AUD 8,600pp
AUD 8,600pp

Twin Private

27 Jul 2018 - 06 Aug 2018
Twin cabin, with private facilities and window
AUD 10,500pp
AUD 10,500pp

Mini-Suite

27 Jul 2018 - 06 Aug 2018
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities
AUD 11,200pp
AUD 11,200pp

Owner's Suite

27 Jul 2018 - 06 Aug 2018
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities
AUD 13,200pp
AUD 13,200pp