Land of the Ice Bears is a small ship expedition cruise to Arctic Svalbard. A remote archipelago situated just over 350 miles north of Norway's North Cape, Arctic Svalbard is a place of deep fjords, mountains and massive sheets of ice. During summer, when the sun never sets, the tundra experiences a warm awakening. It is carpeted with wildflowers. Ice-peppered fjords ring with the thunderous sound of glacial ice crashing to the sea. Walrus raise their sleepy heads to observe us. And everyone holds their breath as a polar bear is spotted and cameras click wildly. Experience nature in its purest form in the High Arctic.
This is as far north as it is possible to cruise without an icebreaker, and you’ll experience the legendary midnight sun. Cruise the Arctic aboard the National Geographic Endeavour, a fully stabilized ice-class expedition ship, are able to probe the ice in search of wildlife. This small ship cruise is undertaken in the spirit of discovery. Nature is full of wonderful surprises and we are guided by her. Our pace is unhurried and our options are many, so the day-by-day itinerary below is a thoughtfully considered framework based on our long experience in this region.
We offer a few longer alternative Arctic cruise itineraries for travelers interested in a more in depth exploration of the Arctic. Alternative Arctic cruises are posted below this itinerary, and dates are marked with crosses. Call our Arctic small ship cruise experts for more information.
Day 1 - U.S./Fly Overnight to Oslo
Fly from Newark to Oslo aboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines.Accommodations:
Day 2 - Oslo, Norway
Arrive this morning in Oslo, the capital city where each year the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in the presence of the King of Norway. Our introduction to Oslo begins with a stroll amid the famed Vigeland sculptures- hundreds of life-size human figures set in rolling parklands. Next, visit the Polarship Fram Museum, dedicated to the wooden ship sailed by Norwegian explorers Nansen and Amundsen. The evening is free to explore Oslo on your own. Overnight at the Continental Hotel, or similar.Accommodations:
Continental HotelIncluded Meals:
Day 3 - Oslo/Longyearbyen/Embark Ship
Depart Oslo on our private charter flight over beautiful vistas to Longyearbyen. Upon arrival board the National Geographic Explorer to begin your Land of the Ice Bears Arctic Cruise.Accommodations: National Geographic ExplorerIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Days 4-9 - Exploring Svalbard
This cruise in the Svalbard archipelago is truly exploratory by design. This is as far north as it is possible to cruise without an icebreaker, and you’ll experience the legendary midnight sun. With our fully stabilized ice-class expedition ship, the National Geographic Explorer, travelers are able to probe the ice in search of wildlife, and our exact day-to-day movements will remain flexible, depending on local conditions.
Svalbard lies north of the Arctic Circle, where the summer midnight sun never sets. In true expeditions style, we let nature dictate our day-to-day movements here, and by this, is one of the great attractions of the expedition. We remain flexible to maximize our opportunities to observe the Svalbard’s amazing wildlife: polar bear, reindeer and walrus. Keep eyes pealed for seals and arctic foxes and search for the very symbol of the Arctic — majestic polar bears. Cruising in Svalbard’s fjords, venture to the foot of stunning tidewater glaciers. Take the Zodiacs and kayaks to cruise among beautiful icebergs, and experience the geology, wildlife and wildflowers that give color and vitality to the High Arctic.Accommodations: National Geographic ExplorerIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 10 - Longyearbyen/Disembark/Oslo
End the Land of the Ice Bears cruise in Longyearbyen. Explore Longyearbyen on your own before flying to Oslo. Overnight Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.Accommodations:
Radisson Blu HotelIncluded Meals:
breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 11 - Oslo/U.S.
After breakfast, proceed to the airport for the flight to the U.S. aboard SAS Scandinavian Airlines.Accommodations:
Extend Your Trip:
Optional pre voyage 4 day extension to Norwegian Fjords and post voyage 4 day extension Exploring Iceland are available. Please call for details.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; our exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife we encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. Visits to research stations depend on final permission.
One night pre-cruise and one night post cruise hotel in Oslo; Shipboard accommodation, meals and non alcoholic beverages, shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage including kayaks; Leadership by experienced expedition staff; Presentations by noted naturalists and other experts; Zodiac cruising and transfers to and from the ship for shore excursions; Comprehensive pre-departure information kit and Arctic handbook; Group transfers and baggage handling as per itinerary; transfers.
Any airfare, Roundtrip flight Oslo/Longyearbn; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals in Oslo; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); 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 for those who have served you aboard (guidelines will be provided).
We will make arrangements for roommate shares for solo travelers at the double occupancy rate in categories 1 and 2. We match you with a cabin mate(s) of the same gender. Even if we are unable to find a cabin mate for you, no single supplement will be charged.
Families & Children:
Travelers aged 17 years old and under save $500. Specially skilled staff who are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. These staff members have gone through a course designed by travel experts with years of experience in childhood and environmental education. This course has also been created in conjunction with the National Geographic Education department and NG Kids Magazine.
Arrival & Departure:
The Land of the Ice Bears cruise begins and ends in Oslo, Norway. Embarkation time may vary as it is based upon arrival of group flights from Los Angeles, California. Disembarkation is after breakfast on day 11 of the outlined itinerary.
Payment & Cancellation:
A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to confirm a reservation with final payment due 90 days prior to departure. All prices and payments are in US dollars and no other currencies can be accepted. For your party of 8 or more, you will each receive 5% off your expedition. A 10% deposit is due at time of reservation, and an additional 25% is required 120 days in advance. A special cancellation policy applies to all Antarctica trips, which is stricter than the AdventureSmith Explorations policy. All requests for cancellations must be received in writing.
Cancellations received 120 days prior to departure are fully refunded less an administrative fee of $250 per person ($150 of which is a Travel Certificate).
Between 119-90 days, per person deposit amount is forfeited.
Between 89-60 days, per person cancellation fee of 25% of trip cost.
Between 59-30 days, per person cancellation fee of 50% of trip cost.
Between 29-0 days, no refund.
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.
This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good health, has full mobility, and leads an active life. Passengers must be able to navigate the 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.
June 21, 2013 - JARED DIAMOND
Jared is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, which won him a Pulitzer Prize as well as Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.
Jared is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (Genius Award); research prizes and grants from the American Physiological Society, National Geographic Society, and Zoological Society of San Diego; and many teaching awards and endowed public lectureships. In addition, he has been elected a member of all three of the leading national scientific/academic honorary societies—National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Society.
His field experience includes numerous expeditions to New Guinea and neighboring islands to study ecology and evolution of birds; the rediscovery of New Guinea's long-lost golden fronted bowerbird; and other field projects in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. As a conservationist, he devised a comprehensive plan, almost all of which was implemented, for Indonesian New Guinea's national park system. He has also taken part in numerous field projects for the World Wildlife Fund. He is a founding member of the board of the Society of Conservation Biology and a member of the board of directors of World Wildlife Fund/USA and Conservation International.
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