Set off to discover the west coast of Spitsbergen during a 9-day expedition cruise into the heart of the Svalbard Archipelago. Aboard Le Boréal, fall under the spell of the magical Arctic Far North, with its ice floes, polar bears and breathtaking glaciers. Your ship will depart from Tromsø, in Norway, and head north to bring you closer to Bear Island, a refuge for many birds, in the western part of the Barents Sea. You will then reach the southern tip of Spitsbergen and discover Hornsund, one of the island’s most beautiful fjords, with an impressive glacier front. Further north, follow in the footsteps of the former whalers who once settled in Ytre Norskøya and in Magdalena Bay, two sites that are home to the graves of many sailors and are still frequented by various species of cetaceans. During your cruise, you will also have the opportunity to sail among the icebergs of the 14th July Glacier, in a sublime blue-tinged décor that will not fail to fill you with wonder. Before your disembarkation in Longyearbyen, you will discover Ny-Alesund and the glaciers of the Kongsfjorden. This international scientific station is a former mining town, which was the departure point for many expeditions towards the North Pole.
|Day 1||Paris to Tromso||Fly from Paris to Tromso for your embarkation on the Le Boreal|
|Day 2||At Sea||Settle in to ship life as you sail towards Bear Island|
|Day 3||Sailing by Bjornoya (Bear Island)||Half way between Norway and Spitsbergen explore this sanctuary for birds with mystical mountains|
|Day 4||Hornsund||Explore Svalbard’s southernmost fjord|
|Day 5||Gasbergkilen & Recherchefjorden||Visit the largest bird cliffs on the West Coast of Spitsbergen in Gasbergkilen. See the cabins dating from 1910 at Recherchefjorden|
|Day 6||Magdalenefjorden & Ytre Norskoya||Explore Magdalena Bay with majestic glaciers and a former whaling station. Ytre Norskoya is one of the largest cemeteries in Svalbard|
|Day 7||Sailing ice floes along Greenland||Keep an eye out for wildlife as you cruise through the ice and travel along the coast of the North-East Greenland National Park|
|Day 8||14th July Glacier & Ny-Ålesund||Witness the incredible vertical gardens at the 14th July Glacier. Walk through the research town of Ny-Ålesund|
|Day 9||Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen||Disembark in the capital of Svalbard for your return charter flight to Paris|
The Le Boreal (200 guests) was launched in May, 2010. She features elegant design and 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. For anyone looking for a luxury cruise to the High Arctic the Le Boreal is an excellent choice.
In the north of the Arctic circle you’ll discover Tromsø, a secluded town located in the county of Troms. Norwegians call it the “Paris of the north”. You’ll soon see why when you discover its extensive neoclassical architectural heritage. A stunning example is the Arctic cathedral, a major monument whose stylistic purity echoes the outline of the mountains surrounding the town.
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, you will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Halfway between Norway and Spitsbergen, you will sail not far from the coastlines of Bjørnøya, the southernmost island of Svalbard. From your ship, observe this isolated piece of land discovered in 1596 by the Dutch navigator Willem Barents, then looking for the Northwest Passage. Following a tough fight between a polar bear and the members of the expedition, he dubbed the place Bear Island. Regularly covered by a thick layer of fog, Bjørnøya shelters a meteorological station built in 1923, which is still in operation. Declared a nature reserve in 2002, the island is above all home to an enormous colony of sea birds: skuas, guillemots, puffins, Tridactyl gulls, petrels, gulls and little auks all coexist here.
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.
With its oasis-like appearance, this site can be quite a surprise. It is home to one of the largest bird cliffs on the west coast of Spitsbergen, much to the delight of photographers and nature lovers. The damp climate as well as the guano, accumulating on the ground for thousands of years, explain the presence of very green and rich vegetation composed, among other things, of mosses and rock foils. On land, it is possible to come across an Arctic fox searching for food. But you will have even greater delight if you look skywards in Gåsbergkilen. Very popular with thick-billed murres and Tridactyl gulls, the superb bird cliff is also home to razorbills, barnacle geese and pink-footed geese.
During your cruise, set off to discover Recherchefjorden, located to the south of Bellsund. You will land on a beach that is home to several cabins dating from the era of the Northern Exploration Company (NEC). This company was founded in 1910 by Ernest Mansfield, a man who hoped to benefit from mineral exploration. The gold and coal rushes lasted ten years and came to nothing. These houses, a boat, some barrels and a winch are the last remnants of the a bygone era in Spitsbergen. Not far from there, a plateau of tundra covered in purple campion awaits you, regularly frequented by reindeer and Arctic foxes.
Nestling in north western Spitsbergen, Magdalena Bay is one of Svalbard’s unmissable sites. In a spectacular landscape of snow-topped Alpine mountains, deep fjords, beaches and majestic glaciers, it offers multiple opportunities for wonderment. You will not be surprised to observe whales, walruses, seals, common eiders, terns, polar bears and Arctic foxes there. The site of Gravneset, located in Magdalenafjorden, is home to the remnants of a former whaling station used during the 17th century, as well as the graves of many sailors buried here up until the end of the 18th century. Not far from here, the Gully Glacier offers a magnificent view, a delight for photographers.
At first sight, the small island of Ytre Norskøya seems to be a sterile and arid land. But once you are ashore, you will be welcomed by a thick carpet of golden moss, dotted with pygmy buttercups, Svalbard poppies and lichen. On the beach are the remains of the ovens that were used to melt whale blubber, precious evidence of the history of the whalers who came and set up in this area as of the 17th century. Another trace of the past: the presence of one of the largest cemeteries in Svalbard, with no fewer than 165 tombs. The Ytre Norskøya cliff is home to many sea birds, including little auks, barnacle geese, Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres.
The north-east of Greenland is renowned for being home to one of the oldest and thickest layers of ice on the planet. Aboard your ship, you will have the unique opportunity of sailing to the heart of this icy wilderness, many thousands of years old, and will notably travel along the coast of the North-East Greenland National Park, recognised as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. From your ship you will also discover Scoresby Sund, the largest fjord in the world. In this pure and preserved world, you will see abundant wildlife in a landscape of tundra and ice, a real delight for the eyes and for photographers.
At the entrance to Cross Bay, between tundra, plutonic rocks and mountains covered with a surprising endemic flora, set off to discover the 14th July Glacier. It was thus named by Prince Albert I of Monaco, following an expedition that he led there at the beginning of the 20th century. The glacier’s surroundings are frequented by numerous birds (Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins…), as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. As you arrive in front of the glacier, admire the impressive wall of ice and the reflection of the cliffs in the water. It is quite common to see a section of ice come loose, or a bearded seal lounging on an iceberg.
During your cruise, discover Ny-Ålesund, a former mining town that has been transformed into a scientific base. Founded in 1916, this small town was the departure point for many Arctic expeditions, including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. Don’t miss a visit to the museum and its famous post office, considered to be the most northerly in the world!
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and 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.