Itinerary Highlights
    • Cruise around the Svalbard archipelago aboard a former oceanographic research vessel
    • Marvel at the magnificent Monaco Glacier
    • Spot hunting polar bears and beluga whales
    • Sail between spectacular cliffs and sheets of drift ice
    • Learn about the region’s geography and wildlife from expert naturalist guides

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The mysterious Svalbard archipelago in the north of Norway was once reserved for trappers and whale hunters. Today, it’s gradually opening up to tourism without losing any of its authenticity. During this nine-day cruise aboard the Plancius expedition vessel, you’ll discover the magic of the archipelago including its spectacular wildlife: walruses, polar bears, reindeer, seals and flocks of seabirds. Stopovers invite you to discover the remains of pioneer settlements, and discussions with naturalist guides will help to unravel the secrets of this incredible region. While on board, you will stay in a comfortable cabin with a private bathroom and view of the water. Life on board is simple and friendly.
In the bar and the observation lounge, gather for conversations with your guides and fellow passengers, or head up to the exterior decks for an unobstructed view of the ocean. While the ship moves between stops, learn more about the region during talks and lectures about its geology, history, fauna and flora.


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The Adventure Begins

This 11-day trip kicks off with a flight to Oslo, which takes just over two hours. When you land, you’ll board your three-hour flight to Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen. This is where the adventure really begins, as this evening you’ll board the Plancius polar expedition vessel for your night navigation through the Isfjord.


Bay of the Cross

Today the Plancius heads north along the west coast to reach the Bay of the Cross. This morning, you’ll take a trip on an inflatable boat along the Fjortende Julibreen, named by Prince Albert I of Monaco at the beginning of the 20th century. Aboard his yacht, Princess Alice, Albert I led several scientific exploration campaigns in Svalbard. Here, mountain slopes are covered with plants in full bloom, and arctic foxes prowl in search of eggs on the cliffs where seabirds nest. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the former mining town of Ny-Alesund, which is now a polar research centre.


The Magnificent Monaco Glacier

Your navigation around Spitzbergen continues today. Dependent on the weather and sea conditions, you might come across beaches where walruses laze, remnants of ice floes carrying polar bears, cliffs full of sea birds and historical sites that evoke the harsh lives of Arctic trappers. The journey continues to Raudfjorden (the Red Fjord) which owes its name to the colour of the red sandstone on its eastern shore. Alice Bay was named after the Princess of Monaco, Prince Albert I’s second wife. Here, you can hike up Mount Solander, which stands over 200 meters above sea level. For several miles, you’ll follow the magnificent front of the Monaco Glacier while seagulls come in their thousands to feed nearby.


Seven Islands Archipelago

Today you’ll sail to the legendary 80th Parallel North, the circle of latitude that sits 80 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane, and ten degrees south of the North Pole. Weather permitting, the boat will take you to the Sjuøyane (Seven Islands) archipelago, where you can see bears and walruses in the wild.


Polar Bear-Watching

Things are cooling down even more today as you approach the region’s pack ice: frozen sea made up of smaller pieces of ice that have welded together. Pack ice makes for some exceptional wildlife watching. Keep your eyes peeled for polar bears hunting on these drifting chunks of ice.

DAYS 6 to 8

Islands and Wildlife

The next few days are full of incredible scenery and exciting wildlife. If the conditions allow, the boat will take the Hinlopen Strait. This strait is almost permanently full of pack ice, so you can witness the spectacle of the ship slipping between these icy sheets. A huge colony of thick-billed murres lives on Alkefjellet cliff, which is also a great place to see polar bears looking for seals. The boat will also stop on Barents beach – home to hundreds of reindeer, geese and barnacles – followed by the beaches of Augustabukta, the island of Barentsöya and the bay of Diskobukta, where a huge colony of kittiwakes nests. In the Tusenoya archipelago, you can spend some time watching its numerous walrus colonies.


Whale-Watching in Bellsund

During your last full day on board, you’ll stop in Bellsund Bay. Three fjords open into this large bay: Recherchefjorden, Van Keulenfjord and Van Mijenfjord. This region was originally used by stopover whalers, and so is now a wonderful place for whale watching, both at the entrance to the bay and very close to the coast, where belugas can often be found. You’ll also stop at Midterhuken and Akseloya before continuing to sail towards Longyearbyen.

DAY 10

Disembark in Longyearbyen

Sadly, your polar boat trip has come to an end. This morning, you’ll disembark in Longyearbyen and head to the Longyearbyen Museum for a wander before lunch. After lunch, you've a free afternoon to explore and pick up some souvenirs before heading back to the airport to board your return flight to Oslo. Dinner is at your hotel in Oslo this evening before a good night’s sleep ahead of your return flight tomorrow.

DAY 11

Return Flight

Today, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

A la carte

A Few More Days in Oslo

Located between fjords and forests, the Norwegian capital is an attractive combination of contemporary architecture and Scandinavian scenery. Peaceful and trendy, it’s a great place for art lovers who can visit its many galleries and museums, including Munch Museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Art. Art lovers might also enjoy a stroll through The Vigeland Sculpture Park. The Fram Museum documents the polar expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen aboard the eponymous three-masted schooner, while the Vikingskipshuset houses the famous Oseberg longship.

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
Price according to cabin category, contact us for more details
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