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Albatros Expedition North West Passage

East Spitsbergen Explorer - Home of the Polar Bear, Summer Solstice including Long Hike

Sail, hike and witness the summer solstice aboard the Plancius

Length

8 Days

Ship category

Classic

Ship type

Small Ship

Capacity

108 Passengers

East Spitsbergen Explorer - Home of the Polar Bear

10 Reviews

Trip highlights

Witness the midnight sun phenomenon

Hike along majestic northern peaks

Explore Spitsbergen like few travelers do

Spot seals, walruses & whales in their natural habitats

The Polartours experience

Best price guaranteed

Observe a polar bear!

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Polar experts to answer all your questions

Experience the high Arctic summer solstice with an expedition that visits some of the top sites of eastern Spitsbergen. Our goal is to take you to amazing glaciers, fascinating historical sites, bountiful seabird colonies, and sprawling fjord systems in which there is a good chance of spotting whales, seals, and possibly even polar bears.

The midnight sun is a phenomenon that occurs during the Arctic summer, when the sun is visible for a full 24 hours in fair weather. The summer solstice in Longyearbyen falls on 20 June, The term solstice (Latin solstitium) means “sun-stopping” and describes the point on the horizon at which the sun appears to rise and set, stopping and reversing directions after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east but rather north of east, then later sets to the north of west, making the sun visible for a longer period of time. It will not be until late August that the sun fully goes down again, and then only for a few minutes.Join us in experiencing this fascinating phenomenon during this voyage through the Arctic wilderness of Svalbard.

Long hikes are for groups of 24 passengers maximum, accompanied by two armed expedition staff and a Zodiac that will sail ahead to watch for polar bears along the shoreline. Passengers who join this activity should have the willingness and ability to walk at least 15 km (9 miles) in semi-rough terrain that includes shorelines, tundra, low hills, and river crossings. Walks will take around six hours from start to finish, rest times included. We will walk at a modest pace and not cross any alpine terrain. Passengers who do not take part in long walks will have a landing in the morning at the start point of the walk, then sail to the end point of the walk for their second landing in the afternoon.

Your ship: Plancius

Plancius deck plan

M/v “Plancius” was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The vessel was completely rebuilt as a 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 108 passengers with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 25 … Read more about Plancius

Cabins

Twin Deluxe Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Twin Porthole Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Superior Cabin

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

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Triple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

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Twin Window Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

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Quadruple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Quadrupel

Max. occupancy:

4

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Map

Itinerary

Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Arrival at 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. In the evening you sail for Trygghamna, where you see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station, both of which you can visit the next morning.

Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Gåshamna

Gnålodden

Vårsolbukta

Bjørnøya (Bear Island)

Akseløya

Whale Watching

Isbjørnhamna

Hornsund

Ahlstrandodden and Bamsebu

We start the day by quietly cruising the side fjords of the spectacular Hornsund area in southern Spitsbergen, enjoying the scenery of towering mountain peaks. The mountain of Hornsundtind rises to 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), while the peak of Bautaen testifies to why early Dutch explorers gave this island the name Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.”

There are 14 magnificent glaciers in the area, and we have a fair chance of encountering seals and polar bears.

The nearby cliffs of Sofiakammen are also home to thousands of pairs of nesting kittiwakes and little auks, and in the evening, we might see thousands of harp seals rutting on ice floes at Sørkapp.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land at Treskelodden, then walk from Treskelen to Adriabukta. From there we walk west to Hyrneodden and north to the glacier in Wibewika (about 16 km / 10 miles), where we will be picked up. The other guests will have their program in Brepollen (morning) and Luciakammen or Sofiakammen (afternoon). We might also do this program in reverse.

Nordaustlandet, Svalbard
Drifters, Noorderlicht. Svalbard
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Kapp Lee

Haleysundet

Negribreen

Diskobukta

Freemansundet

Russebukta

Storfjorden

After navigating the drift ice of Storfjorden, where we sometimes see harp seals, we land in northwest Edgeøya at the northern bank of Rosenberdalriver. Here on the raised beach, we have the opportunity of walking to Rosenbergdalen, which is teeming with grazing reindeer.

Afterward we plan to walk by a cliff with nesting black guillemots on our way to Stretehamna, where we often find a herd of walruses on the beach near an octagonal trapper’s cabin built in 1905.

We can also see the remains of a 19th-century Pomor house as well as the bones of walruses hunted in previous centuries.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land at Blankoddden, near a large kittiwake colony in a beautiful canyon, then walk north along the coast to Kapp Lee (about 20 km / 12.4 miles) or to the south side of Rosenbergdalen (about 17 km / 10.6 miles), where we will be picked up. We might also do this program in reverse.

If this long hike is not possible, we might offer an alternative hike on day 4.

The Far North - Smeerenburgfjorden
Zodiac Fleet
Sylvia Earle kayaking Svalbard

Kapp Lee

Haleysundet

Negribreen

Diskobukta

Freemansundet

Russebukta

Storfjorden

Sailing into the waterway of Freemansundet, we plan to land at the tundra lowland of Sundneset, on the island of Barentsøya.

Here we will visit the hut of a German scientific expedition (Würzbugerhütte) from sixty years ago, then take a brisk walk across the tundra in search of Spitsbergen reindeer and barnacle geese. After that, we plan to go on a Zodiac cruise near Freeman Glacier and visit a kittiwake colony in a canyon close by.

In case of heavy ice in Freemandundet, however, we will instead sail to Negribreen, one of the most extensive glacier fronts on the east side of Spitsbergen. Here we can take a Zodiac cruise and land on Walrus Island, which became ice-free at the end of last century.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land in Barentsøya, near small lakes with wildfowl and waders, then walk east along the coast of Barentsøya to Freemanbreen. After about 10 km (6.2 miles), we will pass a colony of kittiwakes. After another 10 km walk, we will be picked up at the west side of Freemanbreen. This is a good area to spot polar bears. We might also do this program in reverse.

Ivory gull
Ivory Gull, Wilczek Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia, August 2017
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Raudfjorden

Magdalenefjorden

Smeerenburgfjorden

Woodfjorden

Kongsvegen and Kongsbreen

Krossfjorden

Fjortende Julibukta

Ny London

Ny Alesund

Fuglesongen

Today we sail to the east side of west Spitsbergen (west side of Storfjorden).

Here we plan to walk to breeding places for ivory gulls in Agardhfjellet, which stands about 300 meters (980 feet) high.

The valley leading to the outcrops that house the nests is littered with fossils of belemnites and ammonites.

QuarkExpeditions_Spitsbergen Highlights
QuarkExpeditions_ Spitsbergen Photography: In Search of Polar Bears
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Kapp Lee

Haleysundet

Negribreen

Diskobukta

Freemansundet

Russebukta

Storfjorden

Today we aim to land at the mountain of Stellingfjellet, near the largest colony of Brünnich’s guillemots in Spitsbergen. Later in the day, we will make landings at the rarely visited coast of south Spitsbergen, at the bay of Isbukta.

QuarkExpeditions_Spitsbergen Highlights
QuarkExpeditions_Spitsbergen Highlights
Rembrandt van Rijn _ North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Gåshamna

Gnålodden

Vårsolbukta

Bjørnøya (Bear Island)

Akseløya

Whale Watching

Isbjørnhamna

Hornsund

Ahlstrandodden and Bamsebu

We continue our voyage 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, we can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Long hike - If conditions permit, we land at Recherchelagune and walk along the eastern shore of Recherchefjord, by Laegerneset (17th century whaling station). Our goal is to reach Ahlstrandhalvøya, and from there to Ingebrigtsenbukta. If need be, our Zodiacs can help us at the mouth of the river. We might also do this hike in reverse or land at Ingeborgfjellet, then walk along the coast to the west side of van Muydenbukta, along a shore with many whale skeletons.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Svalbard – Store norske leksikon

Disembark in 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.

Dates & Prices

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

20

Jun

2024

27

Jun

2024

- Departure Closed

Available

From

USD 3,974

20

Jun

2024

27

Jun

2024

Departure Closed

Available

From

USD 3,974

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary

All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.

All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.

Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.

Free use of snowshoes.

Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen.

All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.

AECO fees and governmental taxes.

Comprehensive pre-departure material.

What's not included

Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights

Pre- and post- land arrangements.

Passport and visa expenses.

Government arrival and departure taxes.

Meals ashore.

Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).

Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.

The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Credit Card charges may apply

A fuel surcharge may apply at a later stage. More info

Reviews

Meghal Lotia

Plancius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

To talk about the cruise, it was an amazing experience! The services by Oceanwide were managed very efficiently despite the covid outbreak during the tour. I am a vegetarian so I was surprised that they had plenty of meal options for me and the kitchen staff made great efforts. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. We would often sit down in the evening after our dinner and chat about our personal lives and passions. It felt more like being friends with them than the conventional tourist-guide relation. I am glad that I made it to this trip. It has been a very memorable experience with the activities that we did and friends I made. I would rate Oceanwide very highly for all their efforts! I would love to go on another trip with Oceanwide, maybe to the Arctic this time.

Meghal Lotia

Plancius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

Um über die Kreuzfahrt zu sprechen, es war eine erstaunliche Erfahrung! Die Dienstleistungen von Oceanwide wurden trotz des Covid-Ausbruchs während der Tour sehr effizient gehandhabt. Da ich Vegetarierin bin, war ich überrascht, dass es eine große Auswahl an Mahlzeiten für mich gab, und das Küchenpersonal hat sich sehr bemüht. Die Reiseleiter waren sehr sachkundig und freundlich. Wir haben uns abends nach dem Essen oft zusammengesetzt und über unser persönliches Leben und unsere Leidenschaften geplaudert. Ich hatte eher das Gefühl, mit ihnen befreundet zu sein, als das übliche Verhältnis zwischen Touristen und Reiseleitern. Ich bin froh, dass ich an dieser Reise teilgenommen habe. Die Aktivitäten, die wir unternommen haben, und die Freundschaften, die ich geschlossen habe, waren eine sehr denkwürdige Erfahrung. Ich würde Oceanwide für all ihre Bemühungen sehr hoch bewerten! Ich würde gerne eine weitere Reise mit Oceanwide machen, vielleicht diesmal in die Arktis.

Meghal Lotia

Plancius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

Pour ce qui est de la croisière, ce fut une expérience extraordinaire ! Les services d'Oceanwide ont été gérés de manière très efficace malgré l'épidémie de covidés pendant la visite. Je suis végétarienne et j'ai donc été surprise de constater qu'il y avait de nombreuses options de repas pour moi et que le personnel de cuisine a fait de gros efforts. Les guides étaient très compétents et sympathiques. Nous nous asseyions souvent le soir après le dîner pour discuter de nos vies personnelles et de nos passions. J'ai eu l'impression d'être plus proche d'eux que de la relation conventionnelle entre un guide et un touriste. Je suis heureux d'avoir participé à ce voyage. Les activités que nous avons faites et les amis que je me suis faits ont été une expérience très mémorable. Je donnerais une très bonne note à Oceanwide pour tous leurs efforts ! J'aimerais beaucoup faire un autre voyage avec Oceanwide, peut-être dans l'Arctique cette fois-ci.

FAQ

When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:

Flying to Antarctica:

  • Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.

  • Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.

Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:

  • Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.

  • Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.

In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.

All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:

  • Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
  • Bird Watching
  • Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
  • Dinghy rides
  • Kayaking
  • Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
  • Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.

All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.

Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:

  • Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
  • Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
  • Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
  • Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
  • Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
  • Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.

In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.

We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!

Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.

Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.

Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.

Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.

Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.

*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.

An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.

Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.

Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.

If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.

Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.

Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
East Spitsbergen Explorer - Home of the Polar Bear

5.0

(10)

Classic

From

USD 3,974



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