You will board the ship at Longyearbyen in Norway for an 8-day expedition cruise around the west of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Over this expedition at sea aboard your ship, in the company of specialist teams, you will discover the exceptional flora and fauna that lives in these extreme conditions, where temperatures reach -30°C in winter. This journey will take you on the trail of walruses and polar bears. Then you will sail to the Svalbard archipelago, and the last islands before the North Pole, where you will discover that unique feeling of having reached the top of the world.
|Day 1||Paris to Longyearbyen||Fly from Paris for your embarkation in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen|
|Day 2||Hornsund||Hornsund Glacier|
|Day 3||Bellsund||Wildlife, fjords|
||Ice flows||Zodiac cruise through the ice|
|Day 5||Makeoyane||Monaco glacier, polar bears, Arctic turns|
|Day 6||Raudfjorden||Fjords, ice formations, glaciers, Alicehamna Beach, Smeerenburg|
|Day 7||Ny Alesund||Mining town, museum, Kongsfjorden, bearded seals, reindeer|
|Day 8||Longyearbyen to Paris||Disembark where you began your journey for your return flight to Paris|
L’Austral (200 guests) was launched in May, 2011 and is a sister ship to Le Boreal and Le Soleal. She features 132 staterooms offering elegant design as well innovative state-of-the-art marine technology. The vessel boasts a convenient layout, aided by three passenger elevators. She offers a single seating dining room, al fresco dining, an outdoor heated pool, and a modern lecture facility and theatre, as well as an ample and comfortable gathering area and library.
Travel from Paris to Longyearbyen, the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. Located on Svalbard’s main island it is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.
Head South and visit Horn Glacier in Hornsund. This is a spectacular region filled with different glacial formations. There are many bays and mountainous glacial valleys. Some of the bays have only appeared recently due to glaciers receding.
You will head to the Bellsund fjord to follow in the footsteps of the first explorers who came from the Norwegian coast, or those of the many fur traders seeking game and trophies. Boasting an astonishingly rich wildlife, the arms of the fjord separate to form two lush valleys.
Your captain will sail right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and state of the ice allowing, you will be able to go out in a Zodiac dinghy for a unique experience in the middle of these floating slabs of ice. In addition to this grandiose journey through the middle of these floes with their cut and blue-tinged edges, sometimes over 2m thick, it is also often an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe: birds, seals and polar bears.
Måkeøyane is a small archipelago in the heart of the Woodfjorden, whose names is a reference to the large quantities of driftwood washing up on the beaches. It is located at the intersection between the Bockfjorden and the Liefdefjorden which leads to the Monaco Glacier, one of the most beautiful in Spitsbergen. As you sail around these little islands, you will be able to observe Arctic terns whose eggs sometimes attract polar bears.
Located to the North-West of the Svalbard archipelago, the Monaco Glacier is probably one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful and majestic. Named in honour of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a sailor, it stands as an impenetrable, blue-tinged jagged wall, the last glacier before reaching a latitude of 80° North. Imagine the sound of the ice cracking as it breaks free and crashes into the transparent water. And to make the magical landscape even more perfect, you might be lucky enough to spot bears and whales, as these two animals have a special fondness for this area.
Raudfjorden means “red fjord”, from the colour of the sandstone of the surrounding mountains. Along the west coast of this 20 km fjord, dissected by many shallow bays, you will be able to admire some of Spitsbergen’s most spectacular ice formations. At the extremity of the fjord, two offshoots lead to the magnificent glaciers of Chauveaubreen and Raudfjordbreen which is 3 km wide. To the east, Alicehamna Beach in Bruceneset Bay has seen trappers, fishermen and explorers arrive for centuries, as evidenced by the “Raudfjordhytta” – the cabin of a Swedish trapper built in 1927.
Located at the far north-west of the Svalbard archipelago, at the intersection of oceanic and Arctic influences, Smeerenburg is a former Dutch whaling colony on the southern part of Amsterdam Island. In a landscape of hills with steep slopes, plateaux, lakes and lagoons, you will anchor at a sandy beach. Dotted with driftwood and the remains of ovens that were used to melt the whale blubber, this is one of Spitsbergen’s most important archaeological sites. At the height of the whaling activity, 200 men worked here and several are buried here.
At the northern entrance of Isfjorden, there is a small paradise for bird lovers: the Alkhornet Cliff. It is home to a very rich avifauna, made up of thousands of birds frolicking in a joyous tumult: gulls, guillemots, pink-footed geese, terns, seagulls, puffins, Arctic skuas… The Alkhornet Cliff, easily recognisable by its rhinoceros-horn shape, is also frequented by reindeer, which are not overly timid. Attracted by the tundra that covers the foot of the mountain, they come to graze in peace in a verdant setting covered with grass and moss. With a little luck, you will perhaps have the opportunity to see some seals and Arctic foxes, who are also regular visitors.
This port of call will definitely make an impression on history enthusiasts. A real ghost town, Pyramiden was founded by Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century before being sold a few years later to the Soviet Union. Constructed at the foot of a mountain in the form of a pyramid, this former mining town, abandoned in 1998, has conserved all the buildings from its glory days, when it lived off coal mining. During your visit, you will be able to walk past a swimming pool, swings, a football pitch and a cinema. Even more unusual: reindeer like to wander the deserted streets of this dead town, the only companions for the handful of men who still live there in summer.
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. The landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory. Once you have disembarked, you will be transferred to the airport where you will catch your return flight to Paris.