The following are some of the periods cruises run, and provide a breakdown of the weather and what activity options may be available on your Arctic cruise.
As summer has just begun, there will be plenty of ice and snow to see during this period. The “midnight sun” has not yet made an appearance to melt the ice so polar bears and walrus will be hunting on the edge of the ice. Birds will also start to return from the south to breed. Wildlife at this time will include seabird colonies, reindeer, arctic foxes, whales, walrus, and of course, polar bears. Access to Northwest Spitsbergen National Park and South Spitsbergen National Park are also perks of travelling at this time. This is a great time to visit Longyearbyen: one of the world’s northernmost towns. Activities may include hiking, kayaking, zodiac cruising, and snowshoeing.
This is the best time to cruise around Spitsbergen as ice is less likely to block channels surrounding access points into Sam Ford Fjord and Pangnirtung. The tundra flowers are blossoming. Wildlife will be abundant. Much of the same wildlife will be seen as the June-July period, with the addition of wolves, hares, and lemmings. This is a great time to see the Inuit art hub Pangnirtung and also Kekerten, a historic whaling station. Activities for this period may include hiking, kayaking, and zodiac cruising.
Remember, farther from the solstice means shorter days, and cooler weather. Birds begin to migrate south, and skies can be moody. Darker skies also improve the chances of seeing the aurora borealis. Wildlife such as muskoxen, whales, polar bears, and seals should be spottable. Places to see and visit include the Scoresby Sound, Greenland National Park, Uunartoq hot springs, and Ilulissat Icefjord. There are several Norse and Viking historic sites to visit, and the Ittoqqortoormiit – a modern Greenlandic community. Activities available during this time are hiking, kayaking, and cruising.
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