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8 days - Expedition Voyage - perfect for the whole family.
The land of the midnight sun, snow, ice, and the king of the Arctic, the Polar Bear! Meet the world’s largest land predator on Spitsbergen. See this beautiful creature in its natural environment and learn to understand why we have to have to take great care of this symbol of the Arctic.
50 Degrees North offers unique, small-group expedition voyages to the Arctic that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world's most spectacular and pristine shorelines.
With several departures in early Summer and later Summer, journey to see Polar Bears on either the new ship M/V Hondius or the M/V Plancius.
An afternoon in the pack ice resulted in many Polar Bear encounters. Several of them really close ones. Sit back and enjoy this short video of the King of the Arctic. By Arjen Drost-Natureview
- Embark on a voyage to an Arctic wildlife haven
- With a little luck, also see some polar bears, walruses, and seals
- Day 1
- Arrive in Longyearbyen
- Day 2
- Walrus and Polar Bears are in our sights today.
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull.
- Day 5
- Reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya.
- Day 6
- Whales, Polar Bears and the Continental Shelf.
- Day 7
- Land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland.
- Day 8
- Start/End Place
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard tours
- Country Visited
- Svalbard tours
- 8 Days
- Group Size
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles, couples & families
M/V Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy, and sailed for the Navy until 2004. She was completely rebuilt as a passenger vessel in 2009. M/v Plancius accommodates 108 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower.
All cabins offer comfortable lower berths (except for the 4 quadruple cabins). The vessel has a restaurant/lecture room, a spacious observation lounge (with bar), large open deck space (with full walk-around possibilities), and is equipped with 10 zodiacs for off ship and shore excursions. M/v Plancius was built for ice conditions, and has a strengthened bow and stern.
M/V Hondius has been engineered for flexibility above all else, optimized for maximum engagement with nature, wildlife, and outdoor activities – because a dynamic environment demands a dynamic vessel, and there is no environment more dynamic than the polar regions. It has Polar Class 6 notation, the most advanced category of polar cruise ship to date. It is newly built, launching in 2019 for 176 passengers in 83 cabins with 72 crew and staff.
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
- Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes on Plancius and Hondius
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
- AECO fees and governmental taxes.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Day 1 - Arrive in Longyearbyen
Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting.
In the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden, where in the mouth of the fjord we may see our first Minke Whale.
AccommodationM/V Plancius, M/V Ortelius or M/V Hondius
Day 2 - Walrus and Polar Bears are in our sights today.
We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar bear are often seen here.
Day 3 - Liefdefjorden
Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier.
The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake. As well, Polar Bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.
Day 4 - Sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull.
Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear, and Ivory Gull. At the entrance there is the possibility to see Blue Whale. We’ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we’ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to reindeer, Pink-footed Goose, breeding Ivory Gull, and Walrus.
Day 5 - Reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya.
We will try reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bear inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gull. The ship may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before turning west again.
Day 6 - Whales, Polar Bears and the Continental Shelf.
Retracing our route westwards, our route takes us through and along the pack ice, keeping watch for Polar Bear and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead). About 100 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen we sail along the edge of the continental shelf, where Fin Whale forage in summer in the upwellings along the Spitsbergen banks. West of the mouth of the Kongsfjord we have also good chances to see Humpback Whale.
Day 7 - Land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland.
We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs, and along the coast we see Harbour Seal, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Here we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps.
At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walrus. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Fox search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. At nighttime we arrive in Longyearbyen.
Day 8 - Longyearbyen
Return to Longyearbyen and disembark for the transfer to the airport and the flight to Oslo and home.
All prices listed are per person. Travelling solo - single supplement: 1.7 for twin cabins - some cabins are available at a twin-share or quad-share price if you are prepared to share.
Please ask us about complete cabin categories for new ship m/v Hondius; Quad Porthole, Triple Porthole, Twin Porthole, Twin Window, Twin Deluxe, Superior, Junior Suite, Grand Suite with private balcony and Hondius Suite.
02 JUNE 2022 is a Birding Special voyage on M/V Hondius.
9 Jun 2022
9 Jun 2022
15 Jun 2022
15 Jun 2022
22 Jun 2022
22 Jun 2022
20 Jun 2022
20 Jun 2022
29 Jun 2022
29 Jun 2022
Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40% discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults).
BIRDING SPECIAL VOYAGE: There will be at least one dedicated expedition guide in the team who will share their expert knowledge about bird species and who will be available to help you identify, photograph on deck and learn more about the birds that we see. In addition to outdoor sessions, the guide will focus on species and related information on the birds of the Arctic in re-caps and lectures onboard.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Fitness Requirement and Preparation - Small Ship Expeditions
Refer to our comprehensive Expedition Manual, which you will receive upon confirmation of your booking.
Your Expedition Voyage to the Arctic
All promoted itineraries are for general guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and ad hoc decisions by the Expedition Leader to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Landings are always subject to weather, local site availabilities and environmental regulations (AECO). Official sailing plans and landing slots will be scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season. The final sailing plan will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. The implementation of the sailing plan is subject to the capability of the vessel and the discretion of the Master. Taking the high fuel prices into account, it is agreed that Oceanwide Expeditions has the right to reduce the speed of the engines (incl. sailing on one engine) wherever possible, unless this affects the character of the intended voyage substantially and jeopardizes the safety of the vessel, its crew, staff and passengers.
Rubber Boots and Expedition Jackets
Onboard Plancius all passengers are entitled to use a pair of sturdy rubber boots for free. Sizes need to be pre ordered 8 weeks prior to departure at the latest. A voucher will be sent with final travel documents approximately 4 weeks prior to departure. Laying claims on equipment items without pre-order and voucher cannot be accepted when boarding the vessel. Boots will need to be returned to the expedition team at the end of the voyage. Rubber boots are of high quality, which keep your feet dry, warm and comfortable for all landings. Expedition jackets can also be pre-ordered for a special price. Terms and conditions can be found on the pre order form.
Shore Excursions and Zodiac Cruising
Guided shore excursions, walks and wildlife spotting and zodiac cruises are included in the fare and will be offered to all passengers during the voyages. We put our emphasis on active wildlife and nature experience.
Basecamp Plancius - Our activity base
The ship becomes our base camp on selected dates. 'Base camp' is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts, in this instance a 'coast to mountain' expedition. During designated 'Basecamp Plancius' voyages the ship will be taken to carefully chosen places in the Arctic . The vessel will stay for two or three days at specific locations to serve our active passengers as a comfortable hub to allow more time than usual for wide ranging activities: mountaineers and hikers to climb mountain ranges, campers to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers and zodiac passengers to explore near shores where the ship cannot go. Passengers who do not wish to become physically active will enjoy our zodiac excursions and follow the normal shore Program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with focus on wildlife). We also offer photo workshops. All adventure activities are free of charge.
Bilingual voyages (B)
English is the ship's language. Some German speaking expedition staff will be onboard for bilingual voyages (English & German). Welcome and safety briefings, announcements, daily briefings, and recaps will be provided in English and German. English and German lectures may vary in content. Simultaneous translations of lectures will not occur but a summary in the second language may be given at the end of a lecture. Guidance during activities ashore will depend on the group each passenger chooses according to their own physical ability. In the Arctic we aim to split into three groups: a hiking group on a strenuous walk, a medium-paced group with more time for photography etc., and a leisurely group. A German speaking staff member will not necessarily be available for each group. During Zodiac cruises, each boat's driver/guide will not necessarily be bilingual.
We offer an exciting 'open air' camping option, which gives an intensive experience of Arctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of the Arctic. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. Two expedition guides will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. 1 night has to be booked prior to trip, any extra nights that can be arranged onboard, will be charged by the hotel manager. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Polar Diving (D)
Polar divers must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. We hope for 1-2 different dives per day parallel to all other activities. Diving depends on local ice and weather conditions. Dive masters and dive guides are responsible for safety during operation. Basic equipment is onboard (scuba tanks, compressors, weights and diving essentials. Divers bring their personal gear. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
German Speaking (G)
Voyages marked with G are German speaking voyages
During hiking voyages we exceed our normal shore excursion walking Program. In general we plan to offer 3 possibilities to become active ashore. There will be easy, moderate and more demanding walks on offer in the vicinity of the landing sites. There are walks on offer which suit everyone's capability. In the Arctic we aim at two hikes per day, each 2 - 3 hours long during morning and / or afternoon landings. Also we offer several full day walks (5 - 7 hrs) with packed lunch. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of hiking boots and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge, more details can be found in the activity manual and the day by day Programs.
In general we plan to offer 4 kayak days at least. Basic kayak experience is required and physical fitness essential. Parallel to all other activities we are aiming at kayak excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. Oceanwide will provide kayaks and neoprene wet suits. Kayakers will bring their personal gear. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further afield. On North Spitsbergen voyages we are aiming at offering hiking excursions with snowshoes, which are easy to use and which don't require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easy and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided for everybody on board which fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with Oceanwide rubber boots. Snowshoe hiking is free of charge, more details in the activity manual and day by day Programs.