Known as the ‘land of the cold coasts’, Svalbard is rich in wildlife and dramatic scenery. Watch in awe as we sail through the bays and channels of this starkly beautiful outreach of Northern Europe. Arctic fox, reindeer, seal and walrus abound, and there is an excellent chance of spotting whales, as well as the solitary overlord of these Arctic regions, the polar bear.
Our journey begins in Spitsbergen’s capital, Longyearbyen, once a coal mining settlement, but now a major centre for polar research. We will find out about the history of the area and life on the island today before embarking MS Nordstjernen. After sailing to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg, we reach the north-west corner of Spitsbergen. Passing magnificent glaciers, including the stunning Monaco Glacier and the ‘seven icebergs’, we travel beyond 80 degrees north and enter a world of ice sculptures and towering granite mountains.
There are estimated to be some 3,000 polar bears in the Svalbard archipelago. Magnificent and solitary, these animals grow to a staggering 700kg and there is every chance that we will come across one of these awe-inspiring beasts as we cruise through the ice floes. There are also estimated to be more than 110 types of migratory birds here and our on board team of experts will ensure that we get the best out of our wildlife viewing.
After visiting Moffen Island, where we enter the realm of the walrus, we sail on to Kongsfjorden. We will also explore the glacier walls, and see the towering ramparts of blues and turquoise that constantly roar as they calve into the frozen waters below. Finally we travel to Ny-Ålesund, the most northerly, permanently-inhabited settlement on earth, with a rich history in polar exploration and the world’s most northerly post office.