The West Coast of Spitsbergen

This voyage has now ended. Please read about all our other Spitsbergen voyages to experience this beautiful land. 

Sail along the west coast of Spitsbergen, journey through a landscape of breathtaking fjords and gigantic glaciers, all set before a magical backdrop of jagged mountain peaks. This coastline is surprisingly rich in wildlife and historical remains, offering a fascinating insight into the heroic efforts of the polar explorers of past times.

  • 9 days
  • 24, 31 July; 7 August 2013
From €3,022 per person

Voyage Highlights

  • Explore the capital of Spitsbergen, Longyearben, and meet the locals who call it home.
  • Visit the Russian society of Barentsburg, and Ny-Ålesund.
  • Experience the varied landscape from alpine and soaring mountains to huge glaciers and ice. 
  • Explore the North West Corner with the many fjords, peaks and glaciers. 
  • Cross the 80th parallel (weather permitting) and spot walruses, whales and polar bears. 

Day 1 Longyearbyen

Stay overnight at one of our hotels, your evening is at your leisure.

Day 2 Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

Explore Longyearbyen and its surroundings on our guided bus sightseeing tour before embarkation. Longyearbyen is a Norwegian settlement often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. This is a lively small town, situated amid some incredible Arctic landscape. Barentsburg is a Russian settlement with an exotic collection of Russian artefacts and architecture. This “Company town” was built in 1935 around the entrance to the coal mine.

Day 3 Hornsund

The landscape of Hornsund is largely alpine with the majestic Hornsundtinden mountain soaring highest of all. Let your imagination run wild while spending the day in these extraordinary surroundings.

Day 4 Bellsund

In Bellsund we will attempt to land on either Ahlstrands peninsula or in Calypsobyen. Later we may sail towards the beautiful Vårsolbukta, named after the motor cutter “Vaarsol” that was used by the Norwegian Svalbard Expedition in 1914.

Day 5 Knogsfjord

Kongsfjord is the largest fjord on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers calving into the ocean. At 78º 55’N, Ny Ålesund is the world’s northernmost permanently inhabited community, where a number of countries run their own national research stations. Activity here is particularly high in the summer.

Day 6 Woodfjord and Liefdefjord

These large fjords in north Spitsbergen are striking in varied landscape. We will cruise towards the Monaco glacier, passing a number of small islets where eider ducks nest during the summer. If we are lucky we might spot a polar bear searching for eggs.

Day 7 North-west Spitsbergen National Park

Ice conditions permitting, we hope to cross the 80th parallel and explore a landing site on the North-West Corner. If we are lucky we will spot some of the larger species using these waters as hunting grounds. Keep your eyes open for walrus, whales and polar bears. We hope to reach Moffen, a high latitude islet at 80°N housing a walrus colony and bird sanctuary.
The atoll-like shape of the island made it a perfect safe harbour for any early whalers caught in bad weather.

Day 8 - 9 Isfjord and Longyearbyen

In central Spitsbergen, Isfjord is the largest fjord system in Svalbard. One of the most prominent mountains here is Alkhornet, where thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots nest during the summer season. In the afternoon our Expedition Team will search for a fitting bay where we can make our
last expedition landing and we will wrap things up with some onboard festivities. We call at Longyearbyen after midnight, and our voyage comes to an end.

2013/14 season departures

BookingCode:

CENSPI1302

Occupancy Cabin Grades
Inside Superior
Inside
Outside Superior
Outside
Suite
I FJ N U F M MG
24, 31 July; 7 August 2013 Twin Brochure Price
3022 3369 3369 3776 4111 4563 4854
Single Brochure price
5174 5782 5782 6353 7081 7870 8380

Pricing Info:

Price includes:

  • Hurtigruten Expedition Voyage (7 nights) in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyan before the voyage including breakfast and lunch
  • City tour of Longyearbyen

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
  • Luggage handling

Save up to 20% on the brochure price by booking early. The early booking prices are subject to limited availability - Be aware that Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system and the early booking prices are capacity controlled.

Prices may change at any time before departure date, the applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking.

Please Note:

  • Prices are in €s per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change

Important information

  • Planned landings will depend on weather and ice conditions.
  • We reserve the right to change the scheduled program and itinerary.
  • The rental of rubber boots is available on board.
  • We recommend purchasing travel and cancellation insurance 

Useful information

All prices includes:

  • Wind and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with Polarcirkel boats and activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee
  • Suites include a range of additional complimentary amenities such as drinks with meals and a welcome gift. 

Environment and green navigation

Our Captains take pride in route planning that minimises the load of the engines and reduces emissions. We never dump waste in the sea and we ask you not to leave any waste when you are on shore excursions. We ask you to respect the saying: 'Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.' 

What to bring

  • Wind and water resistant trousers
  • Shoes with a good grip sole
  • Warm cap or headband
  • Scarf
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Thermal underwear
  • Warm sweaters/jacket
  • Warm socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen/sunglasses
  • Small backpack

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the population of Svalbard?

The population of Svalbard is approximately 2,800. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on the islands and also the seat of the governor. Spitsbergen is among the safest places on Earth, with virtually no crime. Barentsburg is the second largest settlement in Svalbard with about 500 inhabitants, almost entirely Russian and Ukrainian. The Russian-owned Arktikugol has been mining coal here since 1932, and during the Cold War, Barentsburg was a hotbed of activity. Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s northernmost settlements, inhabited by a permanent population of approximately 30-35 people who work for one of the research stations or the logistics and supply company “Kings Bay AS”, which ‘owns’ and runs the research village. In the summer the activity in Ny-Ålesund is greatly increased to up to 120 researchers, technicians, and field assistants.

What weather should I expect?

Despite its northerly location, Spitsbergen has a relatively mild climate. Due to the Gulf Stream, Spitsbergen’s west coast is the world’s most northerly ice-free area. The average summer temperature is 6º C and the coldest winter month of March has an average temperature of -14º C. There is little rain, but the moist air from the sea can cause a light drizzle and fog during the summer.

What are the seasons of Spitsbergen?

From around mid-April until late August, Longyearbyen has Midnight Sun. From late October until mid-February it is dark, and from mid-November until late November it is what we call polar nights, which means that it is quite dark and the sun is lower than 6º above the horizon.

What's the history of Svalbard?

Since Willem Barentz’ discovery of Svalbard in 1596, several nationalities have explored, hunted and managed industries in this Arctic Archipelago. The Svalbard treaty dated 1920, signed by 40 member countries, gives Norway sovereignty over Svalbard.

What nature and wildlife will I see?

In order to preserve nature and wildlife on Svalbard, 65 % of the Archipelago is protected through national parks, nature reserves and bird sanctuaries. There are only three land mammals on Svalbard: polar bear, Svalbard reindeer and the Arctic fox. In the sea however there are walrus, ringed seals, bearded seals, Greenland seals, hooded seals, whitenose dolphins, narwhales, white whales and killer whales. There is a rich bird life on the island and more than 100 species have been registered. Surprisingly the flora is very diverse for somewhere this far north.

Are the polar bears dangerous?

The polar bear does not usually attack humans but it can be lethal. On all our voyages and activities, safety is maintained by experienced guides carrying weapons, and giving warning shots if necessary. The authorities on Svalbard, together with the travel industry, advise and make recommendations to travellers taking part in organised activities in order to protect both visitors and the polar bear population. On organised trips the guide will always be responsible for safety and will carry a weapon and equipment.

What happens in case of a medical emergency?

In case of a medical emergency, outside Longyearbyen the only means of evacuation is by helicopter to Longyearbyen Hospital. If any condition cannot be treated here, the patient is sent to the  Norwegian mainland. This is very expensive and dependent on favourable weather conditions, therefore, comprehensive travel/health insurance is essential.

What shoes should I bring?

On Svalbard it is a tradition to take off your shoes when entering private houses, hotels and certain shops and public offices. On board the ships as well as in the hotel we advise you to bring a pair of shoes to use indoors. It is important that the shoes have good grip (no slippery sole).

What currency should I bring?

Svalbard is a tax-free area which means that many commodities are cheaper here than on the Norwegian mainland. Longyearbyen has a variety of shops selling everything from perfumes to outdoor- and sports equipment, gifts and souvenirs. Norwegian Kroner (NOK) is used all over Svalbard, also in the Russian settlement Barentsburg. Major credit cards are accepted in Longyearbyen as well as on board MS Fram. Please note credit cards payments will all be processed in NOK on MS Fram. Credit cards that are used to make payments on board have to be valid for at least three months after the journey has ended. There is also a cash dispenser in the center of Longyearbyen. In Barentsburg they only accept cash in Norwegian Kroner (NOK), USD or Euro. We do recommend our guests to bring cash in NOK for use ashore.

How can I contact friends/family while on board?

Mobile phones can be used in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg only. There is no coverage for mobile phones during the voyage at sea. We have contact with MS Fram with satellite telephones. If your family back home need to get in touch with you in an emergency, please give them the telephone numbers for Spitsbergen Travel, tel. +47 79 02 61 00, or Radisson BLU Polar
Hotel Spitsbergen, tel. +47 79 02 62 34 50. Via these numbers they can deliver urgent messages that will be forwarded to you.

What customs regulations are in place?

Visitors can buy a certain amount of tax-free alcoholic drinks. Tourists have to show their airline ticket when shopping and are allowed to buy in total:
• 2 bottles containing more than 21% alcohol
• 1 bottle of wine containing 14-21% alcohol
• 24 cans/bottles of beer
Wine (up to 14%) can be bought without producing an airline ticket. Not all of the above can be taken tax-free to the mainland.

Each person is only allowed up to 2 litres, e.g.:
• 1 litre of alcohol (more than 21%) and 1 litre wine (14 to 21%) - or
• 2 litres of wine (14 to 21%) - or
• 2 litres of wine (less than 14%)
It is possible to buy more but you will have to pay duty on it. In total, visitors are allowed to shop for NOK 6,000 of goods without paying taxes.

Is there access for wheelchairs/disabled passengers?

Wheelchair passengers may travel on the MS Fram to Spitsbergen as the ship is handicap accessible, however, unfortunately, excursions and landings are not adapted for handicapped travellers.