• Fly via Oslo to Longyearbyen, the main Norwegian settlement in Svalbard, located on the island of Spitsbergen. On arrival, we transfer to our centrally located hotel in town. 
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Longyearbyen, 1-night on room-only basis.
    • Following breakfast, there is time to spend a full morning in Longyearbyen and explore the town. It is possible to see reindeer and a variety of bird species, including eider, snow bunting and possibly several species of skua.
    • Later that afternoon we will board the Ocean Adventurer, setting sail from Longyearbyen a short time later. We will venture into waters that have traditionally been very good for a variety of whale species, including humpback and blue, with added entertainment from the glaucous gulls, Arctic terns, fulmars and kittiwakes that often follow the vessel.
    • The ship itself has its own expert expedition team, comprising specialists in such fields as marine biology, ornithology and polar history, and we will also be accompanied by our own Festival of Wildlife Team, who, in addition to helping us search for the regions famed wildlife inhabitants, will deliver a unique series of talks, presentations, workshops and master classes.
    • Accommodation: The Ocean Adventurer, 8-nights on a full board basis.
    • Our exact itinerary over the next week will be dependent on a variety of different factors, including weather, ice conditions and wildlife. 
    • We will do our best to explore along the pack ice, the best place to find a hunting polar bear. The pack ice varies in latitude, as well as in its thickness, from year to year; it tends to endure longer on the east coast of Spitsbergen and towards the northeast of the Svalbard archipelago and these locations are just a couple where we hope to see the regal polar bear.
    • Walrus often have their favourite haul-out points and it should possible to visit one of these during the expedition. Moffen Island is a protected walrus sanctuary and they are often seen lying on the beaches. Most days we should see a variety of other seal species including harp, bearded and harbour (common) seal, all the while followed by our avian companions.
    • Spitsbergen supports an immense wealth of bird species and this is particularly prominent when we visit the various seabird cliffs during our voyage. Colossal breeding colonies of Brünnich’s gullimot, Atlantic puffin and kittiwake are located at various points on the Spitsbergen coastline.
    • A typical day aboard the Ocean Adventurer will comprise of an early breakfast before a Zodiac cruise or landing (if possible/worthwile). If there is the opportunity to go out again in the afternoon then we will do so, particularly if we have had a fantastic encounter in the morning.
    • The stunning landscapes of Spitsbergen are just as breathtaking as the wildlife, and the sheer scale of the glaciers, mountains and fjords only adds more to this extensive and exclusive voyage.
    • After an incredible voyage, today we head back to port in Longyearbyen. After disembarking the Ocean Adventurer, there will be the opportunity to look around Longyearbyen once again before transferring to our hotel in the town.
    • Accommodation: Hotel in Longyearbyen, 1-night on room-only basis.
    • After a good night’s rest it is time to head back to the airport and catch the flight home to the UK (via Oslo).

Please note: The wildlife around Spitsbergen is incredibly hard to predict and sightings can vary immensely. The weather can also be extremely changeable and it is essential that this is kept in mind at all times. Flight schedules are not yet available for May 2020; as such, we may have to overnight in Oslo instead of Longyearbyen on our outward and/or return journey.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We have exclusively chartered the ice-strengthened ship, Ocean Adventurer. This vessel accommodates up to 132 passengers in a high-level of comfort, with all cabins en suite, and is accompanied by 87 highly-trained staff and crew.

The Ocean Adventurer offers fantastic opportunities to view wildlife from its extensive deck areas, although we will take to small Zodiacs when possible to observe the wildlife at closer quarters. 

Meals

All meals & hot beverages are included whilst on board the Ocean Adventurer.

Birds

In mid May the region's seabirds will be returning to their breeding grounds, with colonies of auks slowly growing in number.

  • Ivory gul
  • Snow bunting
  • Arctic fulmar
  • Little auk

Mammals

With luck we can hope to see a variety of mammals, with polar bear our principle target.

  • Polar bear
  • Walrus
  • Bearded seal
  • Various cetaceans

Scenery

We can expect to encounter some truly spectacular landscapes during the voyage. The sheer scale of the glaciers, mountains and fjords are breathtaking and for those that enjoy landscapes and landscape photography, there is no better place in the world than Spitsbergen.

Boat trips

Weather permitting, we take Zodiac trips to view the region's birds and mammals at closer quarters.

Photography

Photographic opportunities will depend on wildlife sightings, but have the potential to be very good and our expert team - including photographers Nick Garbutt and Bret Charman - will be on hand to ensure that you get the best from your trip.

Walking

Due to the icy terrain, excursions ashore will be conducted at a slow pace, with the option to choose walks that are appropriate for your level of fitness.

Archaeology

Depending on wildlife sightings, there may be the opportunity to visit some of the region's historical sites, including old whaling stations. However, unlike other charters to the region, the principle focus of this trip will be the wildlife.

Flights

Price includes return scheduled flights London - Oslo – London, plus domestic flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen.

Ground transport

Ground transportation between the airport, hotel and vessel will be by coach.

Altitude

On this tour we will travel to over 3,000 metres above sea level.

Climate

Mid-May marks the beginning of summer in the arctic, however it will still be very cold, with daytime temperatures hovering around freezing and dropping as low as -10C overnight. On average May is one of the driest months in the Arctic and, historically, it is one of the best months for sunshine.

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In particular, please note: It is a condition of joining our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks. We strongly recommend having insurance in place from the point of booking confirmation, with adequate cancellation protection to cover your deposit.

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