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Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears

Few places remain in the world where you can be assured that nature in its purest form will provide highlight after unexpected highlight. The region beyond Norways North Cape is without doubt such a wilderness. The Svalbard Archipelago and the island of Spitsbergen especially, are astonishing places of glacial landscapes and endless horizons with lingering twilight located just 600 miles from the North Pole. Exotic and remote this archipelago lies almost as far north as there is land on our globe.

Escape with us aboard the MS Hebridean Sky to this land of glacier coated fjords, beautiful bays, spectacular landscapes and abundant wildlife such as large colonies of walrus on beaches and passing ice floes, the amazing seabird cliffs of the offshore islands, Arctic foxes and of course the elusive polar bear of which there are somewhere between 3000 and 4000 in the region.

Using the fleet of onboard Zodiacs, we will go ashore on beaches, visit bird cliffs, hike across the tundra which is miraculously dotted with wild flowers and cruise along glacier fronts. Exploring Spitsbergens nature, fauna and cultural heritage, we will visit sites where few people have set foot in one of the largest remaining wilderness areas in the Northern Hemisphere. Seabirds such as ivory gulls, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes will be our constant companions during our expedition and we will also look out for puffins and little auks which nest here in their millions. Taking full advantage of the long daylight hours we will embark on numerous Zodiac excursions to view the profuse wildlife up close accompanied by our expert expedition team who know the region well and whose knowledge will contribute much to our understanding with daily briefings and a series of lectures.

Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 1 - London to Oslo, Norway.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to our centrally located hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration before we meet tonight for a welcome drink in the hotel.
Day 2 - Oslo to Longyearbyen.
After breakfast in the hotel we transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to Longyearbyen. On arrival transfer to the Hebridean Sky and sail this evening.
Days 3 to 11 - Spitsbergen.
A place of deep fjords, mountains and massive sheets of ice that cover much of the land, Spitsbergen is home to a wonderful assortment of wildlife; walrus, seal, reindeer, Arctic fox and Polar bear. Our itinerary for the next nine days will be kept flexible and in the hands of our experienced Expedition Leader and Captain allowing us to take advantage of the local ice conditions and maximise our chances to see the flora and fauna of the region as well as historical sites. Some of the places we hope to include will be Hornsund Fjord, where we can cruise along stunning glaciers which wind their way down to the sea. Send a post card from Ny Alesund the worlds northernmost settlement where Svalbard reindeer roam through the town and Arctic terns nest along the roads. At Danskoya we will learn of two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started from this island and be guided around the site which is littered with remnants from the heroic era. Whilst at nearby Amsterdamoya we learn about the whaling activities founded here in 1617. On Nordaustlandet we can cruise along a massive icecap stretching down to the sea where it forms a long glacier front intersected by hundreds of melt-waterfalls. This is a favourite area for seals, and where there are seals, we hope there are bears. Meanwhile in the nutritious waters of the Hinlopen Strait we will find a large concentration of sea birds including a colony of 300 000 pairs of guillemots at Alkefjellet. On Edgeoya, the third largest island in the archipelago, we can explore the tundra with good chances of seeing walrus, arctic fox and reindeer.
Day 12 - Bear Island.
Spend the morning cruising through the rich waters of the Barents Sea looking out for minke and humpback whales, dolphins and sea birds. At lunchtime we will approach Bear Island. For nearly three centuries, Bear Island, which sits halfway between North Cape and Svalbard was the home of a major Barents Sea whaling station. Today, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, murres, dovekies and multiple varieties of gulls make their home on the jagged cliffs and rocky pinnacles that rise vertically from the sea, often enshrouded in a mystical fog. Cruise by Zodiac along the eroded cliffs and make a landing for a tundra walk among seasonal Arctic wild flowers and to search for Arctic fox.
Day 13 - North Cape.
We will spend a day taking a close look at the magnificent landscape of the area known as Finnmark. This wilderness area is home to many thousands of Sami people and we will learn of their lives and culture. There will be the opportunity to explore the wildlife and scenery on foot and by Zodiac. The fjords and unspoiled islands of this little-known area are just perfect for expedition cruising. We hope to use our Zodiacs to explore the magnificent bird cliffs at Gjesvaerstappen Island home to thousands of gannets, guillemots, puffins and razorbills. We will round the North Cape and see the monument erected on top of the 307 metre cliff of Mageroya Island and from the port of Skarsvag drive to the North Cape Plateau.
Day 14 - Tromso to London.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London via Oslo.

Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
Day 14 - Tromso to London. *
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London via Oslo.
Day 13 - North Cape. *
We will spend a day taking a close look at the magnificent landscape of the area known as Finnmark. This wilderness area is home to many thousands of Sami people and we will learn of their lives and culture. There will be the opportunity to explore the wildlife and scenery on foot and by Zodiac. The fjords and unspoiled islands of this little-known area are just perfect for expedition cruising. We hope to use our Zodiacs to explore the magnificent bird cliffs at Gjesvaerstappen Island home to thousands of gannets, guillemots, puffins and razorbills. We will round the North Cape and see the monument erected on top of the 307 metre cliff of Mageroya Island and from the port of Skarsvag drive to the North Cape Plateau.
Day 12 - Bear Island. *
Spend the morning cruising through the rich waters of the Barents Sea looking out for minke and humpback whales, dolphins and sea birds. At lunchtime we will approach Bear Island. For nearly three centuries, Bear Island, which sits halfway between North Cape and Svalbard was the home of a major Barents Sea whaling station. Today, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, murres, dovekies and multiple varieties of gulls make their home on the jagged cliffs and rocky pinnacles that rise vertically from the sea, often enshrouded in a mystical fog. Cruise by Zodiac along the eroded cliffs and make a landing for a tundra walk among seasonal Arctic wild flowers and to search for Arctic fox.
Days 3 to 11 - Spitsbergen. *
A place of deep fjords, mountains and massive sheets of ice that cover much of the land, Spitsbergen is home to a wonderful assortment of wildlife; walrus, seal, reindeer, Arctic fox and Polar bear. Our itinerary for the next nine days will be kept flexible and in the hands of our experienced Expedition Leader and Captain allowing us to take advantage of the local ice conditions and maximise our chances to see the flora and fauna of the region as well as historical sites. Some of the places we hope to include will be Hornsund Fjord, where we can cruise along stunning glaciers which wind their way down to the sea. Send a post card from Ny Alesund the worlds northernmost settlement where Svalbard reindeer roam through the town and Arctic terns nest along the roads. At Danskoya we will learn of two of the most courageous attempts to reach the North Pole started from this island and be guided around the site which is littered with remnants from the heroic era. Whilst at nearby Amsterdamoya we learn about the whaling activities founded here in 1617. On Nordaustlandet we can cruise along a massive icecap stretching down to the sea where it forms a long glacier front intersected by hundreds of melt-waterfalls. This is a favourite area for seals, and where there are seals, we hope there are bears. Meanwhile in the nutritious waters of the Hinlopen Strait we will find a large concentration of sea birds including a colony of 300 000 pairs of guillemots at Alkefjellet. On Edgeoya, the third largest island in the archipelago, we can explore the tundra with good chances of seeing walrus, arctic fox and reindeer.
Day 2 - Oslo to Longyearbyen. *
After breakfast in the hotel we transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to Longyearbyen. On arrival transfer to the Hebridean Sky and sail this evening.
Day 1 - London to Oslo, Norway. *
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to our centrally located hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration before we meet tonight for a welcome drink in the hotel.
* = Indicative
Map for Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears
Sea Explorer/Hebridean Sky , the ship servicing Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears

Sea Explorer/Hebridean Sky

 

Vessel Type: Expedition

Length: 90 metres

Passenger Capacity: 114

Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2005

 

Hebridean Sky - was the Sea Explorer has always been known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie. Now we add increased adventure options and an on-site Passenger Service Representative. Sea Explorer is the perfect blend of luxury and adventurous exploration. Is it a luxury ship? An adventure ship? It’s both!

 

ONBOARD DINING

Great expeditions require great food! We are pleased to offer daily changing breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with an emphasis on providing well balanced and nutritional cuisine. Our team of international chefs has boat loads of creativity and you are sure to experience a variety of interesting dishes throughout your voyage. The restaurant is located on Deck 2 and our service team looks forward to providing a memorable dining experience.

IMPECCABLE SMALL-SHIP AMENITIES

Returning from excursions, passengers enjoy complimentary refreshments, afternoon tea and all-day coffee in The Club, a gracious space for relaxation, surrounded by panoramic windows. Other Sea Explorer features include:

  • Library with Internet access
  • Lounge with audiovisual facilities
  • Dining room
  • Wraparound sun deck with Jacuzzi
  • Exercise room
  • Medical facilities with available doctor
  • Elevator serving all passenger decks
  • Swimming/zodiac platform

Please note deck plan may vary.

Cabin layout for Sea Explorer/Hebridean Sky
Spot walrus, seal, reindeer, Arctic fox and Polar bear.

Send a post card from Ny Alesund the worlds northernmost settlement where Svalbard reindeer roam through the town and Arctic terns nest along the roads.

At Amsterdamoya learn about the whaling activities founded here in 1617.

Cruise through the rich waters of the Barents Sea looking out for minke and humpback whales, dolphins and sea birds.

Cruise by Zodiac along the eroded cliffs of Bear Island and make a landing for a tundra walk among seasonal Arctic wild flowers and to search for Arctic fox.
Enquire now about Voyage to the Land of the Polar Bears

Travel on the Sea Explorer/Hebridean Sky

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