Svalbard Odyssey (Polar Pioneer)

Svalbard Odyssey (Polar Pioneer)

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Description

Revel in the diversity of the Svalbard Island and sail into the kingdom of the polar bear. We explore the coastline, with no open sea crossings, against a backdrop of spectacular glacier covered peaks. We discover deep fjords in the west; mysterious, fossil-rich desert plains in the east; and best of all, seals and whales in the Arctic pack ice. This voyage offers the best chance for seeing reindeers and polar bears, and features wildflower walks across sweeping tundra, trapper camps and historic sites. On foot and by Zodiac, we visit abandoned whaling settlements, search for walrus, Arctic fox and reindeer and observe in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots and puffin.

Trip Name
Svalbard Odyssey (Polar Pioneer)
Days
11
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 71 metres Passenger Capacity: 50 Built / refurbished: 1985 / 2000 Polar Pioneer is one of the most popular style of vessels currently used in Antarctica and the Arctic. Originally built as an ice-strengthened research vessel in Finland in 1982, she was refurbished in 2000 and converted into a passenger ship for expeditions to the polar regions. Polar Pioneer’s excellent reputation for polar expedition cruising is due to her strength, maneuverability and size. She is small and nimble, which means she can sail up close to landing sites and venture where other, larger ships can’t. Carrying just 54 passengers, she allows us to offer you a far more personal and intimate experience of the destination we are visiting. Dining Our professional chefs present three healthy, delicious meals daily, with morning and afternoon tea available in the dining rooms in between. All of our produce is sourced locally, with fresh fruit and vegetables, and freshly baked bread and pastries, served wherever possible. We are able to cater for a range of special meal requests, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free and other allergy specific requirements – please ensure you list this on your personal details form. Observation Decks Our spacious observation decks provide a congenial place to watch for wildlife or follow the ship’s progress on nautical charts. Rug up for unparalleled scenery from the outer decks or flying bridge, where our naturalists help you identify wildlife. Learning and Lectures At sea, join our polar specialists as they entertain and inform us with illustrated talks, and prepare us for making shore visits with mandatory safety and environmental briefings. Captain and Crew Our highly experienced Russian captain and crew are among the best ice navigators in the world. Our efficient stewardesses attend to rooms and serve our meals, whilst the crew work mainly behind-the-scenes to help our expedition leader get the ship to where we want to go. Getting Ashore Polar Pioneer boasts a fleet of Zodiacs that transport us ashore to penguin rookeries, scientific stations and historic sites, and provide us with a platform for photography. Our small excursion crafts take us beyond the reach of giant cruisers, and our philosophy of “getting out amongst it” is put to practice. Medical Clinic A basic medical clinic is managed by our English-speaking Ship’s Doctor, who is available at all times to assist with bouts of sea sickness and other unexpected emergencies. On-board Entertainment From socialising in our fully-stocked lounge bar to enjoying Captain’s drinks, trivia nights and charity auctions, or escaping to the sauna for some R&R; our small ship offers some fun entertainment options for when we’re not out and about. Technology and Connectivity Polar Pioneer has communication services that are available for an additional fee. These include satellite telephone, email and fax. Please note that these services are basic and not suitable for continuous use. Internet access is available on board for an additional cost. Please note that due to the remote nature of our expeditions, connection cannot always be guaranteed. 

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 – Longyearbyen
Enjoy a guided tour of colourful Spitsbergen’ capital Longyearbyen. Late afternoon sees us warmly welcomed on board the ship.
Day 2 - Days 2 to 3 – Magdalenefjorden
Wake up to spectacular alpine peaks and glacier valleys of Spitsbergen’s rugged west coast. In Magdalenefjorden we Zodiac cruise a safe distance from the aqua-blue ice cliffs of 14th July Glacier or Waggonway Glacier, and take long walks among summer flowers, alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Thanks to the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream and relatively mild temperatures, Atlantic puffins and guillemots fill the cliffs. We look for bearded seals, with their precious curling whiskers. We may visit the remains of a 350-year old Dutch whaling settlement on Amsterdam Island and learn of an ill-fated ballooning attempt over the North Pole.
Day 3 - Days 4 to 6 – Moffen Island & Woodfjorden
Rounding Spitsbergen’s northwest coast, we enter the Arctic Ocean and the world of pack ice. Ghostly beluga whales rise up in open leads and polar bears stalk ringed, bearded and harp seals. Offshore, walruses feed on clams or haul out on beaches, especially on Moffen Island, a walrus sanctuary. We visit trapper huts and stay alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Delightful walks reveal delicious berries and some of the tundra’s 164 exquisite flowering plants including purple saxifrage, yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. If ice conditions allow, we attempt to cross latitude 80° north before turning south to Woodfjorden.
Day 4 - Days 7 to 8 – Hinlopen Strait, Barentsøya and Edgeøya Islands
We attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, a channel flanked by austere, cream-coloured slopes rich in fossils between Spitsbergen and ice-capped Nordaustlandet. This polar desert is a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar our way, but there is much to strive for. We Zodiac cruise beneath Alkefjellet, sheer basalt cliffs rising at more than 250 metres – literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots. During shore excursions, we seek eider ducks, Arctic foxes and the elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. As we pass Barentsøya and Edgeøya islands, we cross polar bear migration routes.
Day 5 - Days 9 to 10 – Hornsund & Bellsund Fjords
This is true expedition cruising. If ice conditions allow, we round South Cape and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords home to stunning glaciers and wildlife. If ice bars our way, we simply adjust our itinerary, backtrack and delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts.
Day 6 - Day 11 – Longyearbyen
A midnight cruise of glorious Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen and the end of our voyage.
Day 7 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-07-201925-07-2019AUD $7,200Triple Cabin
15-07-201925-07-2019AUD $8,600Twin Public
15-07-201925-07-2019AUD $10,400Twin Private

Inclusions

    • Sail along Spitsbergen’s glacier-filled coastline
    • Almost 24-hours of exquisite Arctic sunlight
    • Spot polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and more
    • Abandoned whaling stations and trappers huts
    • Photograph delicate Arctic tundra flowers
    • Large colonies of auklets, guillemots and puffins

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