This special Arctic Odyssey is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail from Spitsbergen to Northeast Greenland, Jan Mayen and back to Spitsbergen in a round trip. This voyage will offer all exciting facets of the what the Arctic world has in store for us: breath-taking scenery, sailing along the ice edge, vibrant wildlife (seals, seabirds, whales, and with a bit of luck also polar bears), topped off with landings in the most remote places of this planet.
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Before we begin our crossing to Greenland, we sail into Krossfjorden in the main island of Spitsbergen, where you’ll pass through staggeringly scenic alpine mountaintops, active glaciers, still occupied seabird colonies and rich vegetation.
Day 3 – 4
You may eventually see the jagged edge of the east Greenland sea ice flashing into sight ahead, depending on the conditions. Keep watch for whales and migrating seabirds here.
As you approach Greenland, you may sail through the sea ice into Foster Bay and land at Margrethedal, where at the east side of the river are remains of Thule culture from some centuries ago. The lower tundra areas near the shores are populated by musk oxen. From here you sail through Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, surrounded by towering mountains and bright interior icebergs.
You pass Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt (Flower Bay) and the intended landing site. In the afternoon we continue through Antarctic Sound and make a landing on Marie Island.
The first half of the day you spend in Blomsterdal (Flower Valley) near Antarctic Havn, a place where we often spot groups of musk oxen. Another possibility is Ørsted Dal, with landing at Cape Seaforth.
Today you reach Scoresby Sund, sailing along the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. You may also enjoy a Zodiac cruise past one of the glacier fronts, along with a visit to the basalt columns and ice formations of Vikingebugt. The afternoon goal is to visit Danmark Island, where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago.
The circular stone tent rings indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, with easy identifiable entrances, bear-proof meat caches, and grave sites. In the evening, you continue sailing the berg-crowded fjords to the west.
The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, one of the world’s most cherished iceberg attractions: The austere blue-white of the icebergs sets sharp against the brooding red backdrop of the sediment slopes. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord, with the chance to see musk oxen and warm late summer foliage.
In the morning you encounter colossal icebergs, some over 100 meters (328 feet) high and more than a kilometer (.62 mile) long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 400 meters deep (1,312 feet). You then land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.
We sail eastward in the cold East Greenland Current and later in the warm Gulfstream current with a multitude of sea life when we sail from one to the other. This sea day grants you the opportunity to spot whales and seabirds.
Jan Mayen is a stark volcanic island crowned by the snow-capped summit of Mt. Beerenberg. From the slopes of this imposing 2,300-meter-high (7,545 feet) volcano, broken glaciers grasp out into the frigid sea. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, you can now visit the weather station. You can also walk to the remains of a 17th- century Dutch whaling station amid the thick moss beds of this stark volcanic landscape.
Day 13 – 14
You sail northeast toward Spitsbergen in search of whales, seals, and a variety of seabirds, cutting east to the rocky edges of the continental shelf of west Spitsbergen. Here you have a good chance of seeing fin whales and – near the glacial mouths of the gaping Spitsbergen fjords – surfacing minke whales.
Today you find yourself in Bellsund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife.
A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod.
Alternatively, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.
We finally return to Svalbard’s principal town, where you will disembark the vessel, taking home priceless memories of friends made, wildlife encountered, and a once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventure.
Please Note...The probability of sailing into Scoresbysund is high (based on our experiences from 1993 – 2019), but there is still a chance (about 30%) that ice will obstruct passage into the fjord system. In that case we will resort to areas south of Scoresbysund (Blosseville Coast) and in Southeast Spitsbergen. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.
|Ship name||Cabin Name||Price||Sale Price||Departs on||Returns on|
|m/v Hondius||Quadruple Porthole||$6,700||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Triple Porthole||$8,150||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Twin Porthole||$8,800||$9,550||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Twin Window||$10,300||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Twin Deluxe||$11,050||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Superior||$12,400||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Junior Suite||$13,250||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|
|m/v Hondius||Grand Suite with private balcony||$15,250||NA||Aug 1st, 2022||Aug 16th, 2022|