Norway and Svalbard - Circumnavigation and North Cape

This expedition cruise circumnavigates the beautiful island wilderness of Spitsbergen, takes you ashore at Bjørnøya, crosses the Arctic Ocean to the northernmost point of the European mainland, and concludes with a visit to the pristine Arctic paradise islands of Sommarøy outside of Tromsø, Norway.

  • See natural wonders like Edgeøya and Kvitøya
  • Cross 80º N, placing you less than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole
  • Chances of seeing polar bears
  • Circumnavigate Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago

Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Departure August 16, 2019

Departs from Oslo/Longyearbyen
Overview

Long Arctic days

With 19 hours of daylight in Svalbard this time of year, we have plenty time to make the most of our Arctic adventure – and the sunsets are spectacular! We aim to take you well above the 80th parallel and place you closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole.

This expedition cruise starts in Longyearbyen, a prime destination for adventurous travelers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique place. Despite the fact that life is dominated by the power of the Arctic wilderness, a surprisingly rich cultural life thrives in the town.

Untouched Wilderness

During this cruise, you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen – one of the last largely untouched wilderness in Europe. Traversing the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give you spectacular views of the island's east coast, with its hundreds of glaciers and mountains. If we are lucky, we'll encounter marine mammals such as seal and walrus, and wherever there is ice, there is a chance of spotting polar bears!

More Polar Bears than Humans

The Svalbard archipelago currently has a human population of 2,500 – and 3,000 polar bears! These solitary marine mammals roam wherever they can expect to find food, and use drift ice as a platform when at sea. On very rare occasions, dead whales or walrus drift ashore on Svalbard beaches, attracting all kinds of wildlife – including polar bears. While we often observe bears on our expedition cruises, as with all things in nature, there are no absolute guarantees. The presence of polar bears in the area can affect our landings or activity schedule.

After our circumnavigation of Svalbard, we sail toward Bjørnøya and aim to make a landing on this small island situated halfway between North Cape and the Svalbard archipelago.

Edge of the Continent

We will also go ashore in Skarsvåg. The North Cape, at the very northern tip of Europe, has been a great adventure destination for travelers for centuries. Take in the view and stand atop the steep cliff that towers over 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean, marking the end of the continent.

The charming fishing village of Sommarøy is our last stop before we end our cruise in Tromsø, starting point for some of history's greatest expeditions.

 

Day 1
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Photo: Morten Normann Almeland / Shutterstock Photo

The High North

Oslo/Longyearbyen

Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Before departure, you can spend some time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes, and hills. Oslo offers interesting architecture, a vibrant café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, and endless shopping possibilities.

Then you'll set foot in an entirely different world when you arrive in Longyearbyen. This remote settlement on the edge of Arctic tundra offers all the amenities of a modern town, and the contrast is fascinating.

Transfer to your hotel and enjoy an overnight stay. 

Day 2
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Photo: Natalia Davidovich / shutterstock Photo

Civilization in the Arctic Desert

Longyearbyen

After an overnight stay in one of our hotels, join an exciting excursion after lunch to Longyearbyen and the surrounding area. The influence of the Arctic environment on life here is obvious, but the settlement is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, shops, and even a mini-shopping center. The town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventurers. In addition, the rich history and heritage of the first coal miners is evident everywhere.

The excursion ends at the pier, where MS Spitsbergen is waiting for you.

Day 3-5
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Mighty Glaciers, Deep Fjords, and Amazing Mountains

North West Spitsbergen National Park

We sail to the Kongsfjord, considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, and framed by dramatic mountain formations. We also plan to sail to Ny-Ålesund, a former mining settlement with colorful architecture that now serves as an international research center.

As we sail northwest, we reach the Krossfjord and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see remains from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs, and quite often, Svalbard reindeer.

The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens, and other cultural treasures from the first inhabitants of Svalbard.

At the Magdalenefjord, if conditions allow, we will attempt a landing to hike, and for the truly brave at heart, swim in the refreshing Arctic waters.  Others may wish to venture to the 495-foot-high top of Ytre Norskøya. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in the beautiful Liefdefjord. 

Day 6-10
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Extreme Conditions and Barren Beauty

Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – we have high hopes of seeing one on this journey!

We hope to sail by Isflakbukta and Phippsøya on our way to the Sorgfjord, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. The Sorgfjord was the location of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers and features amazing wildlife-spotting opportunities for walrus and birdlife.

Kvitøya, the easternmost island in the Svalbard archipelago, is 98 % covered by the Kvitøyjøkulen ice cap. We plan to land at the western point of the island where the remains of the Andrée expedition were found in 1930. This was a failed effort to fly over the North Pole in a balloon, the `Örnen´ (Eagle). 

Edgeøya is the third-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago with a landscape that is largely un-glaciated, unlike much of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.

If we are lucky, we may meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land. In winter Storfjorden is mainly frozen, making it a perfect polar bear habitat. We continue to the southern cape and the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen, where Hornsund has large variations in its landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears to hunt on the floes.

Day 11
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Photo: Meg Skjelmerud Photo

Middle of the Arctic Ocean

Bjørnøya

Bjørnøya, with a population of just nine people, is the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago. It is an isolated spot in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and hosts perhaps the largest concentration of seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide, nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an ;all-you-can-eat; buffet for 126 different bird species. If conditions allow, we will land here.

Day 12
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Photo: Filip Hoel Photo

The Northernmost Point in Europe

Skarsvåg

A few hours before we arrive at Skarsvåg we will sail past the spectacular North Cape cliff, offering you a stunning view of this famous landmark. Skarsvåg is a small village that lies along the northern coast of the island of Magerøya, and claims the distinction of being the world's northernmost fishing village. Join the optional excursion to the North Cape and discover what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. There is a combined museum and restaurant at the plateau, where you can learn more about early expeditions and watch a panoramic film that takes you through coastal Norway's four seasons, a remarkable landscape full of contrasts, amazing light, and breathtaking scenery. 

Day 13
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Photo: Harald Groven Photo

Park Your Husband

Sommarøy

Sommarøy is an archipelago of small islands with white-sand beaches and a lively fishing community. Sommarøy has a couple of small shops where you can buy handicrafts and groceries. Inside the local shop, you will find 'Kaillkråa' (the gentlemen’s corner), where husbands are usually 'parked' while the wives do the shopping. And, because shopping might be a time-consuming activity, the local men have private hooks on the wall for their coffee cups to pass the time. We offer a variety of excursions such as hikes and kayaking in this location.

Day 14
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End of Our Expedition

Tromsø

Tromsø is the gateway to the Arctic, and this is where your expedition ends. When polar explorer Roald Amundsen recruited crew for his famous expeditions more than 100 years ago, he went to Tromsø. This was the only place he could find men with navigational experience in polar seas. He needed men who knew how to survive with minimal means in the Arctic, and men who had survived an overwintering in Svalbard by trapping and hunting.

Today Tromsø is home to polar operations experts and the academics investigating global warming in the Arctic. It is a melting pot with indigenous people, locals, and other Europeans. In brief, Tromsø is still the Gateway to the Artic and a natural starting point for expeditions heading north. Take some time to explore the city before you fly home.

Arrival 29 August 2019

Location Tromsø, Norway
What's Included

INCLUDED IN YOUR VOYAGE:

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten expedition cruise in the cabin grade of your choice on a full-board basis
  • Coach-class flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen
  • One overnight hotel stay in Longyearbyen before the cruise, including breakfast and lunch
  • All transfers in Longyearbyen, including an excursion before the cruise
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary tea and coffee

NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR VOYAGE:

  • International flights
  • Travel protection plan
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
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