Arctic Cruise Adventure: In Search of the Polar Bear - L'Austral
This "three islands" itinerary (Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland) will offer you a thrilling and complete Arctic experience. This world class expedition team knows how to help you find polar bears!
The Arctic: Drink It In
Welcome Aboard the
Explore the Arctic on an all-encompassing expedition in search of the mighty polar bear. Travel alongside this operator's unmatched Expedition Team and knowledgeable experts intimately familiar with the region, seeking out the sea bear in the Svalbard Islands and discovering the starkly beautiful lava fields and ice caves of Iceland’s Westfjords. Cruise to the remote east coast of Greenland, where you may visit Kaiser Franz Josef Fjords, Scoresby Sound and the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit. Discover North Iceland and the whale-watching village of Husavik. Experience this thrilling destination through daily guided shore landings, as well as active excursions.
- • Sail with an award-winning Expedition Team, including a Nikon Ambassador photo coach, an Arctic historian, geologist, botanist and marine biologist, as well as a team of field naturalists and Zodiac driver-guides.
• Experience a vast breadth of Arctic wildlife habitats, including the polar bear haven of Svalbard.
• Even as you sail though remote and rugged lands, enjoy this fantastic luxury ship with Continental-style cuisine and many amenities.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
Save $2,500 per person on all categories.
From $16,995 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
July 29-Aug 12, 2024
Ask us for later dates.
July 2023, 2024
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Supports habitat conservation efforts across the globe
Provides schooling opportunities for local children
Funds healthcare projects in local communities
Day 1: Arrive Oslo, Norway
Arrive in Oslo, your gateway to the Arctic. On arrival, you are met and escorted to your hotel. This evening, meet fellow guests for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen
Day 2: Norway | Oslo to Longyearbyen
Board an early morning charter flight to Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, also known as Spitsbergen, the sovereign Arctic archipelago of Norway. It is one of the most remote groups of islands on the planet, with nearly two-thirds of its surface covered in luminous glaciers. Tour the tiny town and its Arctic Museum. This afternoon, board your luxury expedition cruiser.
Days 3-7: Norway | The Svalbard Archipelago
Very few people have the opportunity to view the remote wilderness of the Svalbard Islands. In the archipelago, polar bears, walruses, Svalbard reindeer and an incredibly rich variety of birds are abundant, as are cathedrals of ice, glaciers and craggy mountain peaks. An exquisite assortment of flora also peppers this barren landscape.
The primary objective of your voyage is to spot polar bears as they roam in their natural habitat. Cruising on A&K’s exclusive charter limited to just 199 guests grants you unrestricted access to every navigable area within the Svalbard archipelago — something ships with larger capacities cannot provide — allowing the ship to visit any locale favored by the bears. Your Captain and Expedition Leader determine the day’s best sightseeing opportunities, which may include:
Ny Alesund: Home to a polar research station and the northernmost post office in the world.
Alkefjellet, or “auk cliffs”: Staggering cliffs that drop directly into the water and provide a home to vast colonies of auks, diving birds entirely dependent on the sea for their food.
Monacobreen: Formerly known as Monaco Bay, this glacier reaches down into Spitsbergen and is frequented by polar bears, harbor and bearded seals, walruses and a multitude of seabirds.
The Austfonna Icecap: One of the world’s largest icecaps spanning over 5,000 square miles.
Liefdefjorden (The Love Fjord): Named after a Dutch ship with the same name, this fjord is another excellent area for spotting polar bears and wildlife.
Sjuoyane (“Seven Islands”): The most northerly region of the Svalbard archipelago.
In every region, enjoy endless moments of discovery alongside this seasoned Expedition Team, who know intuitively where and when you’re most likely to see polar bears and wildlife — which you observe from the safety and comfort of your luxury expedition cruiser. These same experts also scout every landing site in advance of your arrival, assuring your safety and maximizing your experience ashore.
Day 8: At Sea | Cruising the Greenland Sea
Cruise south through the Greenland Sea as your lecturers offer presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Svalbard, and prepare you for visits to Jan Mayen and Greenland.
Day 9: Jan Mayen | Glacier-Cloaked Volcano
At the confluence of the Greenland and Norwegian seas, arrive at Jan Mayen, a rugged island dominated by the 7,500- foot Beerenberg Volcano, the world’s northernmost active volcano. With special permission and conditions permitting, land on this rarely visited island to see its meteorological station Olonkinbyen and discover its phenomenal bird colonies. Designated by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA), Jan Mayen supports large breeding colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, thick-billed guillemots and black guillemots.
Days 10-11: Greenland | Remote Ittoqortoormiit Village
While crossing the Greenland Sea and cruising the Arctic ice edge, your Expedition Team prepares you for the world’s largest island: Greenland. Arrive at its rarely visited east coast and Scoresby Sound, the largest and longest fjord system in the world, all of which you enjoy exploring for the next two days. Embark on Zodiac excursions through the fjord’s intricate network, taking in its islands and icebergs, and searching for residents that include the musk ox and Arctic fox. Ice conditions permitting, disembark for a visit to the small settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most isolated villages in Greenland.
Day 12: At Sea | Cruising the Denmark Strait
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea cruising the strip of water that separates Greenland from Iceland and connects the Arctic Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Watch for seabirds and whales from the deck in between insightful lectures presented by your Expedition Team.
Day 13 Iceland | Whale-Watching Haven
Arrive in picturesque Husavik and visit the Husavik Whale Museum, supported by A&K Philanthropy. The museum is one of the world’s foremost centers for research of whales and their habitat. Afterward, choose to embark on a scenic whale-watching tour followed by free time in Husavik, or set off for Godafoss Falls and geothermal Lake Myvatn. Tonight, gather with your Expedition Team and fellow guests for a special farewell reception and dinner.
Day 14: Iceland's Westfjords | Lava and Ice-Carved Lands
The Westfjords of Iceland are more remote and much less visited than other parts of the country, with small settlements interspersed among spectacular mountains and coves. You might make a visit to Dynjandi Falls, the grandest waterfall in the Westfjords. Dynjandi is a spectacular sight, with water cascading down tiered ridges flanked by a green and brown façade. Enjoy leisurely walks up to a viewing platform or opt for something more vigorous, like a hike all the way to the top of the falls. You might also visit Red Sand Beach, one of the most beguiling shorelines in Iceland. Wander the reddish-hued sands as they subtly change color with the sunlight, shifting through a palette of reds, golds and grays.
Day 15: Depart Reykjavik
This morning, disembark your luxury expedition cruiser in Reykjavik and transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or continue on in Iceland with a Reykjavik extension. (This day includes Breakfast.)
Please Note: Itinerary is for guidance purposes only and may be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildlife, ice, medical emergencies and other conditions beyond this operator's control at the sole discretion of the Captain.
Charter Air: Internal Air: Economy class from $495 per person (Oslo/Longyearbyen)
Activity Level: Moderate. This journey contains some active elements, including Zodiac boat excursions, walks over uneven terrain and optional, challenging hikes.
Child Age: Minimum age is 7 years.
Butler Service: Categories 5-8 include room upgrade at the hotel and butler service aboard the ship.
First group event: welcome reception at 6:30 p.m. on Jun 30.
Last group event: disembarkation by 9:00 a.m. on Jul 14.
First introduced in 2011 and the second ship in the Sisterships series, L'Austral is the very embodiment of this generation of intimately sized cruise ships. Innovative design, sleek shape and profile, refined interior decoration, friendly, intimate atmosphere: French designers and decorators have managed to give this ship a unique style and veritable signature of its own. Combinations of fine materials, colors and tones harmoniously livened up with touches of bright color, elegant lines, discreet and subtle refinement. everything has been designed to create a unique atmosphere onboard, a veritable personality: the chic style and naturally relaxing ambiance of a veritable private yacht.
• Capacity: 264 Guests
• Cabins: 132 cabins
• Specialists: Historian, Geologist, Botanist and Marine Biologist, Highly Credentialed Naturalists & Experts, 1.1.3 Guest to Staff Ratio
Travel Weekly's "Best Tour Operator - Luxury" (17 Years)
Afar Magazine's "Best Cultural Trips" 2020
Travvy Awards "Best Escorted Tour Operator - Luxury" 2020
"L'Austral is one of the most luxurious expedition ships at sea, and when operated by this world-class company, her voyages come alive with expert guiding and off-the-beaten-path itineraries. If you're looking for a way to see the world in comfort and style with Continental-style service, enthusiastic staff, and a fantastic education program, we heartily recommend this lovely ship."
Life On Board
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I traveled on this program and it was spectacular! The polar bears made me cry. I highly recommend this beautiful ship and operator, especially as your bucket list trip to the Arctic to see polar bears.
Joy Martinello, Founder
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