Svalbard: A Polar Bear Quest

12 days
from
CHF8’567
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Small Ship Cruises
Suitable for:
Age 17+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
ZVZ
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Marine Wildlife
Group size:
60–120
Min age:
17

Experience the remoteness, beauty, and majesty of the High Arctic

For majestic beauty and untamed wilderness, few places can rival the Svalbard Archipelago. The long days of summer allow for ample time to discover the abundant wildlife and stark natural beauty of the High Arctic as you explore during Zodiac cruises, by kayak, and on foot.

Highlights

  • Search for the Svalbard Archipelago’s legendary wildlife: seals, walrus, whales, Arctic foxes, reindeer, and our ultimate goal—polar bears.
  • Photograph dramatic landscapes, including chiseled fjords, glittering glaciers, and lush tundra blazing with purple saxifrage and moss campion.
  • Discover hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds, including kittiwakes, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, and rare ivory gulls.
  • Explore by Zodiac, kayak, and on foot to fully appreciate the varied landscapes of this wild, nearly uninhabited realm.
  • Enjoy opportunities for extended exploration during the long summer days of nearly continuous daylight.

What's included

  • Daily activity options including Zodiac cruises, nature walks, and cultural tours
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

What's not included

  • Airfare from your home city/Oslo/Longyearbyen and Longyearbyen/Oslo/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Call for general departures:
056 631 86 71
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Itinerary

Oslo, Norway
to
Oslo, Norway
  • Day 1

    Oslo, Norway

    Arrive in Oslo and transfer to our hotel. Lunch and the remainder of the day are at leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful city on your own. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.

    Accommodation: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Oslo / Longyearbyen, Svalbard / Embark Ocean Adventurer

    This morning, transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen. Enjoy some free time to explore this Arctic mining town and capital of Svalbard; the brightly colored buildings house a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as the Svalbard Museum. Embark the Ocean Adventurer in the late afternoon.

    Accommodation: The Ocean Adventurer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 3-11

    Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago

    Spend nine days exploring the rugged coastline, spectacular narrow fjords, and offshore islands of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The primary goal is to locate wildlife, which is found here in abundance during the short summer season. Many varieties of seabirds nest in great profusion along the steep cliffs surrounding the islands. In addition to walrus haul-outs, bearded, ringed, and harp seals can be seen basking on ice floes. Our team of experts will also keep an eye out for polar bears. The nature of polar expeditions requires flexibility regarding the daily schedule of activities, and landings may be dependent on weather, tide, and ice conditions. Though specific stops are not guaranteed, the following are places visited on past expeditions:

    Fjortende Julibreen - Named after the French Bastille Day (July 14 Glacier) by Prince Albert I of Monaco, this 10-mile-long glacier reaches more than 100 feet above sea level at its highest point. This is a wonderful opportunity for photography, with the blue-white glacier surrounded by dark, imposing mountains. The nearby cliffs are also prime breeding grounds for thick-billed murres and puffins. With luck, experience the drama of calving ice as it falls from the glacier wall into the surrounding water.

    Amsterdamøya Island – Go ashore to explore the remains of the 16th-century Dutch whaling station of Smeerenburg. Among the ruins you will find whale oil-cemented sands marked the sites of the blubber ovens which rendered down the whale catch and a memorial erected in 1906. This historic site honors the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme Arctic conditions.

    Phippsoya Island - At the far northern edge of the Svalbard Archipelago, Phippsoya Island boasts a classic High Arctic environment—a barren, rocky landscape with some coastal plains, but otherwise mountainous, with steep slopes. The lowlands support mostly lichens and mosses, some of which are quite colorful, and small patches of Svalbard poppy and saxifrage are scattered among the jumble of rocks. This area is known as a popular haul-out for walrus, though sightings of these lumbering giants are never guaranteed. They often create quite a rowdy scene, as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. There are also small colonies of seabirds including Atlantic puffins, dovekies, and rare ivory gulls.

    Hinlopen Strait - Glaciers, chiseled fjords, and icebergs hallmark this desolate and exquisitely beautiful region. Board Zodiacs to watch for, and photograph, bearded, harp, and ringed seals.

    Alkefjellet - These impressive, sheer basalt cliffs are a haven for breeding seabirds. Tens of thousands of thick-billed murres (Brünnich’s guillemots) raise their young here, as well as glaucous gulls and kittiwakes. Keep an eye out for opportunistic Arctic foxes hunting for eggs at the base of the cliffs.

    Accommodation: The Ocean Adventurer

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Longyearbyen / Oslo / Disembark

    Disembark this morning in Longyearbyen. Transfer to the airport for your group charter flight to Oslo and connect with your independent homeward flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Norway

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Norway

There are no specific health risks.

Is this trip for you?

This expedition will operated by Zegrahm’s sister-company Quark Expeditions, leaders in polar exploration. You will be accompanied on board this voyage by a dedicated Zegrahm leader, who will be with you every step of the way, offering insights on the nature and wildlife of this pristine wilderness.

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore and walk one to three miles over sometimes rough terrain such as uneven, rocky beaches and occasional snow. We have designed shore excursions to accommodate both those who would like moderate strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. In June, temperatures will range from the mid-40sº to mid-50sºF. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent. Knee-high, waterproof boots with good tread are essential.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 71
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

The Ocean Adventurer

The recently refurbished 120-guest Ocean Adventurer is a superb oceangoing vessel equipped with stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull that allow her to navigate easily in the most rugged natural environments. A fleet of Zodiac landing craft allows us to explore at a moment’s notice. Each stateroom has an ocean view, an in-room music system, and en suite bathroom.

OCEAN ADVENTURER FACT SHEET

GENERAL

  • Five decks of guest facilities.
  • Bridge Deck – guest staterooms and the bridge.
  • Captain’s Deck – guest staterooms, doctor, and the library.
  • Upper Deck – guest staterooms, Club bar, dining room, main lounge, gift shop, and reception.
  • Main Deck – guest staterooms, gym, and Zodiac boarding area.
  • Lower Deck – guest staterooms.
  • Stairs connect the decks (no elevator).
  • The bridge is available to visit most times throughout the day, contingent upon weather and navigation conditions.
  • Smoking is allowed on outside decks only.

STATEROOMS

  • Staterooms on Main and Lower Decks average about 115 square feet; category 4 and 5 staterooms are slightly larger and average 140 square feet; and 6 and 7 average 210 square feet.
  • All staterooms have: a bathroom with shower, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, an intercom system for announcements, European-type outlets (two round sockets) at 220 volts, ample wardrobe space, full length mirrors, locked drawer, emergency buttons to call reception, desk and chair, and hair dryer.
  • Most staterooms have two twin lower beds. Some Category 6 and 7 staterooms feature one queen bed.
  • All staterooms feature an ocean view: Lower Deck feature portholes, Main Deck feature portholes or windows, category 5, 6, and 7 staterooms have windows.

DINING

  • The main dining room holds the full complement of guests at one seating.
  • Special dietary requests can be fulfilled with advance notice. Kosher meals are not available.
  • A buffet lunch is available in the main lounge, and a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the dining room.

SERVICES

  • Ocean Adventurer carries a fleet of Zodiacs.
  • Laundry services (no dry cleaning), and a doctor and a small infirmary are all available on board. Rates are posted.
  • A small gift shop carries a limited supply of necessities as well as ship gift items and arts/crafts of the regions visited.
  • A gym and small library with books and games available for public use.
  • Cash, personal checks, traveler’s checks, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted as payment for services rendered on board.
  • The U.S. dollar is the currency used on board.

 

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 71
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]