|Day 1||Longyearbyen||Visit Svalbard museum, cafe’s and shops|
|Days 3 & 4||Barents Sea||Marine Mammals|
|Days 5 - 11||Franz Josef Land||Polar Bears, walrus, whales, bird colonies|
|Days 12 & 13||Return to Svalbard||Onboard lectures, Arctic landscapes|
|Day 14||Disembark Longyearbyen||Voyage ends|
The Sea Spirit was built in Italy in 1991. She’s a very comfortable ice-strengthened, small (114 guests), all-suite expedition ship. The vessel was updated in late 2010 and had additional refurbishment in April 2017. All suites have private facilities and exterior views. Some of the suites feature private balconies for enjoying fantastic landscapes of Antarctica.
She has a fleet of ten rubber inflatable zodiac boats for landings, an experienced crew, and a set of retractable fin stabilizers for smooth sailing. This ship features an open bridge, 2 rear outdoor viewing areas, an outdoor viewing area at the front of the vessel, a bar, lounge, presentation room and dining area all lined with windows. There is also a gym on-board as well as a library and media centre.
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of your expedition. You are free to explore this small but fascinating settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum. Spend the night in a hotel in town included in your voyage cost.
In the afternoon you are welcomed aboard the expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit, transfers from your hotel are included. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home-away-from-home for the extraordinary adventure to come. The long days of summer sunlight illuminate our surroundings as the ship slips its moorings The scenery as we sail through Isfjorden on our first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
From Isfjorden the ship’s captain plots a course for Franz Josef Land across the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by expert staff will prepare you for what lies ahead.
Along the way, please remain vigilant, either out on deck or on the bridge; marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale are made, various Arctic seal species, as well as the majestic polar bear. Sea ice conditions will have an impact on the route taken as well as wildlife viewing opportunities.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, the route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice. The experienced captain and expedition leader (both have numerous of visits to the region to help them) decide the best route and will likely continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Between obligatory initial and final calls at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in wildlife-rich Cambridge Bay, we are free to explore the many waterways and islands of this unique Arctic wilderness. The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife—such as walruses, beluga whales and narwhal, can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, little auks and ivory gulls. Given 24-hour daylight the operation of zodiacs from zodiacs can occur as wildlife viewing opportunities present themselves.
Franz Josef Land is also home to many interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by our expert lecturers. Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.
Following a week of exploration in Franz Josef Land, the Sea Spirit heads back through the nutrient rich waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings. The glacial scenery is stunning and the wildlife viewing opportunities continue; seals, walrus, polar bears, and a variety birdlife.
After breakfast say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, where you started your expedition. A transfer is provided to the airport, or to the town center if you plan to spend more time in Longyearbyen. As you look back on your wonderful experience, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!