During the 8-day Realm of the Polar Bear cruise, experience an Arctic expedition to the remote island of Spitsbergen and into the land of the polar bear. High in the Arctic, Spitsbergen is an island within the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago that is ensnared in ice during much of the year. However, as summer approaches, the ice gives way to scenic fjords and stunning scenery frequented by the world's largest land carnivore - the polar bear!
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Birders and nature enthusiasts will enjoy what seems like endless hours of wildlife spotting opportunities, while history buffs will be intrigued by the numerous research bases and the history of the island's capital, Longyearbyen.
Above the Arctic Circle, these cruises are pure expeditions, where weather and wildlife dictate the route for the coming day. With the possibility of circumnavigating Spitsbergen and reaching 80 degrees north latitude, you'll experience parts of the world seen by only a select group of people.
Day 1 - Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is located at 78°13′N 15°33′E and is your embarkation destination. Enjoy this very friendly and international atmosphere as you get ready to embark on your exciting Arctic expedition.Accommodations: M/S ExpeditionIncluded Meals:
Days 2-7 - Svalbard Archipelago / Spitsbergen
Each day will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Distances are relatively short in the Archipelago and as there are no ocean crossings, the seas are normally calm. The Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites.
During these six days visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea around us. Spend time steaming through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals, Ivory gulls soaring over head, and walrus hauled out on ice floes and sandy beaches. Visit (ice permitting) spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Shore stops will be highlighted with flowers nearing, or at the peak of their bloom, providing the opportunity to observe and discuss some of their adaptations to what we consider a harsh environment.
At one or more of our stops, we hope to see Svalbard’s unique subspecies of reindeer. They are much smaller than their southern relatives, but still carry impressive antlers. We also have the possibility of Arctic foxes. This is also a land of history: from whaling to reaching for the pole, to trapping, coal mining and war. Visit some of these historic sites, then cruise in Zodiacs along the ice edge viewing seals or walrus, in fjords with glaciers spilling down to the sea or in front of spectacular seabird cliffs. We will have opportunities to walk on shore, observe and photograph the Arctic flora and fauna. As we are in the land of the polar bear, your expedition staff will carry rifles and flare guns on shore for your protection. Krossfjord, Konigsfjord, Monaco Glacier, Hinlopen Straiit, Ny-Ålesund, Northeast Land, Edgeoya, Hornsund and Bellsund are just a few of the places that we may visit.
By not having a set itinerary, we take on an expedition spirit and are free to take advantage of the best that Svalbard has to offer. The evening of our last full day of adventure will find the expedition ship anchored off Longyearbyen.Accommodations: M/S ExpeditionIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8 - Longyearbyen
Transfer to the Airport for departures home.Accommodations:
breakfast11-Day Realm of the Polar Bear In Depth:
DAY 1 - Longyearbyen
DAYS 2-10 - Svalbard Archipelago / Spitsbergen
DAY 11 - Longyearbyen
Encounter more of the Arctic for almost the same price!
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife encountered. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.
7 nights aboard the M/S Expedition - All meals on board - Zodiac excursions with our expert expedition team - Lecture and educational programs - Longyearbyen airport transfers depending on your flight details (read the TRIP DETAILS for more information) - Live evening entertainment - Waterproof boots supplied for men's USA sized 8-14 & women's USA sized 3-9 - Arctic destination guide book.
Airfares to the embarkation point and from the disembarkation point; adventure options of kayaking or diving; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; hotel accommodations; Trip Cancellation Insurance with emergency medical evacuation insurance (required); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar and beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage. Should the price of marine fuel increase dramatically, a fuel surcharge may be instituted.
Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. For those who desire single occupancy, cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the twin rate.
Families & Children:
Minimum child age is 12 years old. An adult over the age of 21 must accompany every 2 children under the age of 18. The ratio of adults to children traveling together must be one adult per two children and two adults per four children (17 and under).
Arrival & Departure:
Your local flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen are not included in this tour. We recommend arriving at least 1 day prior to the sailing of the ship to guarantee your arrival. While flight delays are not common sometimes they do happen. If you would like us to arrange your flights please call one of our representatives today.
If you are arriving into Longyearbyen on Flight SK4414 on day 1: Upon arriving into Longyearbyen airport, a complimentary transfer may be provided to the joining point. Please note that you must be arriving on one of the following flights into Longyearbyen to be eligible for this transfer. You must also notify your booking agent about your arrival flight details into Longyearbyen. Be sure to keep all your important documents (i.e. passport) and medication with you as you will be separated from your luggage. Your luggage will be transferred separately to the ship.
If you are not arriving on SK 4414 on day 1 of tour, you will have to arrange your own transportation to the joining hotel (Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen) on the day of embarkation. The local bus provides transportation to all local hotels at a price of approximately NOK 50. If you would like to take a taxi, they are available at the airport or by calling one of two taxi companies at either +47 7902 1305 or +47 7902 1375.
Please make sure you drop your checked luggage off at the joining hotel (Radisson Blu Polar Hotel Spitsbergen) between 9:00 am - 1:00 pm on day 1. A local representative will be in the luggage storage room. They can provide general information about the town or your embarkation process. All passengers will be transferred to the ship as a group for embarkation at 4:00 pm. Please ensure that for embarkation you have your passport accessible (not in your luggage which is being transferred separately to the ship).
If for some reason you cannot arrive at the joining hotel, please make your own way to the Port of Longyearbyen no earlier or later than 4:00 pm. Embarkation time is set for 4:00 pm and passengers will not be able to board the ship before that time due to refueling, provisioning, and preparing the ship for your stay.
Payment & Cancellation:
At time of booking a non-refundable deposit of $750 per person is required to confirm a reservation on Realm of the Polar Bear. The deposit may be paid by bank wire transfer, check, money order or major credit card. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Final payment can be made by check, credit, money order or bank wire transfer. All prices and payments are in US dollars and no other currencies can be accepted. A special cancellation policy applies to all Antarctic and Arctic trips, which is stricter than the AdventureSmith Explorations policy. All requests for cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received:
90 days or more before departure - Loss of deposit
89-60 days before departure - 50% of the cost of services booked
Less than 60 days before departure - 100% of cost of services booked
Terms & Conditions:
This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions
. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.
We highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance. Please note that you must purchase your travel insurance policy within 14 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Click the link below for a selection of policies from our partners at Travelex.
Arctic kayaking and camping are available for an added cost to this trip: kayaking $659, camping $159. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for availability and to reserve space.
This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health, has full mobility, and leads an active life. The expedition is ship-based and physically not very demanding. Although we spend as much time as possible ashore, you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. To join any off-vessel excursions, passengers must be able to navigate the steep, 30-stair, gang-way, un-assisted both down and up. Daily excursions from the boat will be made in Zodiacs. Trip members will take excursions to specific areas for wildlife observation. Hiking time for most landings will be a couple of hours roundtrip with lots of time to stop to study, photograph and enjoy the flora and fauna. Some landings are dry but many are "wet", requiring cautious footing on slippery rocks. The boat staff will be on hand to assist. You are traveling in remote areas without access to sophisticated medical facilities, so you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition, or need daily medical treatment.
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