- Sail along Spitsbergen’s glacier-filled coastline
- Almost 24-hours of exquisite Arctic sunlight, Be on the look out to spot wildlife any time of day!
- Spot the magnitude of Arctic wildlife including polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and more.
- Abandoned whaling stations and trappers huts
- Photograph delicate Arctic tundra flowers
- Large colonies of auklets, guillemots and puffins
Revel in the diversity of the Svalbard Island and sail into the kingdom of the polar bear.
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, observe in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots and puffins.
The expedition ship is the perfect launch pad to set off from and is so comfortable to return to.
Join us on an unforgettable adventure to places that few are fortunate to visit.
DAY 1 EMBARK LONGYEARBYEN
Arrive in Longyearbyen, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and taken on a sightseeing tour to explore the remote outskirts and ‘Capital’ of Spitsbergen, including a stop at the local museum. After the tour you will be transferred to the port in the late afternoon to embark the Greg Mortimer. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin prior to the important pre-departure briefings. Your voyage commences, cruising out of the beautiful Isfjorden, escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. Find a spot on one of the observation areas watching for seabirds, including graceful ivory gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots. They rise and fall skilfully, using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
NOTE: Sometimes our ship is unable to dock in Longyearbyen port due to space and capacity. In these instances, we reach the ship by Zodiac.
DAYS 2-3 NORTHWEST COAST OF SPITSBERGEN
Cruise northwards along the west coast of Spitsbergen, stopping at intriguing places like Kongsfjorden or Magdalenefjorden. Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) is incredibly scenic, the fjord is headed by two giant glaciers. There’s ample time ashore for hiking on the lush tundra amongst the summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where even a few puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs.
We keep watch for polar bears and Arctic fox and feel a sense of history at the 350-year-old remains of a Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya. The name Smeerenberg literally means blubber town in Dutch. It is a place of extraordinary legends, of thousands of men living there during the 1630s, a town complete with shops, gambling dens and the like. In reality, only 400 men and fifteen ships visited Smeerenberg during its peak in the 1630s for whaling purposes.
DAYS 4-6 NORTHERN FLANKS OF SPITSBERGEN AND NORDAUSLANDET
As we work our way along the north coast we explore rarely-visited places such as Woodfjorden and Leifdefjorden in search of the mighty polar bear. From Zodiacs we enjoy magnificent views of sweeping glaciers winding their way into the sea. We may walk on smooth raised beach terraces to a superb viewpoint or hike in the mountains on the tundra where pretty coloured wildflowers and lichen grow and where reindeer graze. We may visit trapper huts of yesteryear where Russians and Pomors would hunt and survive the cold harsh winters, all while remaining alert for wandering polar bears and their cubs. We might come face-to-face with the formidable pack ice of the Arctic Ocean, keeping our eyes peeled for walrus feeding on clams or hauled out on the beach in wallows. We will listen to
the cacophony of sea birds and see them feeding. If conditions allow, we may push north into the pack ice in hopes of finding polar bears ranging over the frozen landscape on the hunt for seals. We may also Seven Island, the northernmost islands in Svalbard where Polar Bears and walrus are common – if pack ice allows.
DAYS 7-9 HINLOPEN STRAIT, EAST COAST OF SPITSBERGEN AND EDGEØYA
Along the northeast coast of Spitsbergen we enter a different world – a polar desert. If ice conditions allow we will pass south through the narrow Hinlopen Strait. The strait is flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils, as we will discover for ourselves when we go ashore. We may visit Alkefjellet in the Strait, where a series of one-hundred-metre-high dolerite towers are home to nearly a million nesting Brünnich’s guillemots – the penguins of the north – that occupy every available nook and cranny. Elsewhere we seek out eider ducks and geese and hope to spot Arctic fox and the beautiful ivory gulls. As the Greg Mortimer passes between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya, we cross a major polar bear migration route and the beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset. The spongy ground is richly covered with bright green mosses, a variety of delicate and colourful flowers, particularly the yellow marsh (bog) saxifrage, various mushrooms, fungi, clear
bubbling streams and small tarns. Tiny (micro) flowers such as Mouse Ears grow in Spitsbergen creating faerie like mossy rock gardens. We explore this beautiful terrain on foot, marvelling at
the contrast between the colourful soft ground and the barren, rocky terrain from further north. Reindeer antlers lie scattered along the ground. We will do one last landing around Edgeøya on day 9 before starting the crossing of the Barents Sea, during these last day we may cruise in the pack ice again looking for our last polar bear.
DAY 10 AT SEA
Crossing the Barents Sea to Kirkenes offers some good opportunities to encounter whales and certainly plenty of opportunities to photograph sea birds. You may enjoy final presentations from our team of experts, spend your time editing photos or simply relaxing.
11 – Longyearbyen
During the early morning we cruise into the Bokfjord towards Kirkenes. Farewell your expedition team and fellow expeditioners as we all continue our onward journeys. A transfer is included to the airport.
Note the above itinerary shows the Longyearbyen to Kirkenes route.
Longyearbyen – Kirkenes
7th – 19th July 2021
Kirkenes – Longyearbyen
18th – 30th August 2021
- Group arrival transfer from airport to the Greg Mortimer on Day 1
- Group sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen on arrival pre-voyage
- Group transfer from ship to airport in Longyearbyen on Day 11
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Access to our onboard doctor and basic medical services
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage Comprehensive pre-departure information
- A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
- Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your bill. Please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- International or domestic flights, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi- Fi, email or phone charges.
Download trip Dossier (PDF)
To make a booking please contact us to enquire about availability