Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic - Ultramarine
Focusing on the island of Spitsbergen offers you an in-depth look at this favorite home of the mighty polar bear. Travel on a brand-new ship for this far-north expedition among the blue glaciers.
The Arctic: Drink It In
Welcome Aboard the
The largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen is known as the “wildlife capital of the Arctic,” and on this unforgettable 12-day voyage, you will discover why. This journey has been designed to maximize time on the west and northern/southern tips of the island, providing you optimal chances to witness the remarkable array of creatures who call this spectacular yet forbidding environment home: whales, walruses, Svalbard reindeer, seabirds by the thousands, and that most iconic of Arctic residents, the polar bear. In addition to opportunities to observe wildlife, this itinerary allows you time to explore the vast tundra, and appreciate the natural beauty of the surprisingly colorful Arctic wilderness. Come aboard the Ultramarine for an extraordinary High Arctic adventure.
- • Spitsbergen is one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears in their natural landscapes of ice, Arctic deserts and mountain scenery.
• Enjoy sea kayaking or a more basic paddling adventure through placid, icy waters right at the level of floating, blue icebergs.
• This reliable operator with over 30 years of expeditions under their belt, always delivers a wonderful experience offered by an enthusiastic crew. An excellent choice for the casual, very active traveler.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
Save up to 14%, $4,190 per person on select dates!
From $8,545 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
Jun 7-18, 2023
Jun 22-Jul 3, 2023
Ask us for later dates.
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Piloted an Arctic-wide recycling program for cruise lines.
Aided in eradicating invasive rodents in South Georgia to restore ground-nesting bird populations.
Uses state of the art technology to reduce carbon emissions associated with waste disposal.
Day 1: Arrive in Oslo, Norway
Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen
Day 2: Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Embark
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, a true frontier town, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.
Days 3 to 11: Exploring Spitsbergen
Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. As you cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, your Expedition Team will constantly be searching for animals.
Days 3 to 11 Exploring Spitsbergen (Continued)
Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.
The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Since Svalbard’s legendary wildlife habitat is well-protected and almost entirely uninhabited, it’s one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears in their natural landscapes of ice, Arctic deserts and mountain scenery. The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can prebook the sea kayaking or paddling excursion adventure options.
In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is an ever-changing gallery of spectacular icebergs, a polar bear resting between hunts, or an abandoned historical site from centuries ago.
Day 12: Disembark in Longyearbyen and Fly to Oslo
The time to say goodbye has come. Your Arctic adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo, included in the transfer package.
Please Note: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
Mandatory Transfer Package Includes:
• One night’s pre-expedition hotel night at Oslo airport hotel, with breakfast
• Charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen
• Arrival and departure transfers in Longyearbyen
• Charter flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo
Package Rate: $995 USD
(Every passenger is required to take the transfer package above.)
Included Activities: Hiking, Zodiac Cruising, Polar Plunge
Adventure Options: (Extra Cost)
Paddling: Every sweep of the paddle as your craft glides through the pristine polar waters creates an incredible soundtrack: the jostle of glacial ice, the lapping of waves against the rocky shore, the perpetual drip from your paddle, the call of seabirds, and the occasional splash as wildlife break the surface of the water. Sit-on-top, two-person, inflatable kayaks provide guests with an intimate, water-level experience in unforgettable locations. These stable, rugged and comfortable crafts are an ideal way to see the polar regions from a different perspective. On-ship, you'll be provided with instruction and equipment including dry suits, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and waterproof gloves. Experienced guides will lead you safely throughout the paddling excursion. Your group will always be escorted by a safety driver in another kayak who will stay close by to provide additional support. (Ask your Travel Curator for more information.)
Sea Kayaking: Positioning yourself in the seat of a kayak is one of the most intimate ways travelers can connect with the polar regions—at water level, up close, where you can touch and feel every polar sensation imaginable. The Sea Kayak Program enables a small group of like-minded individuals to forge bonds as they explore fjords, glacial faces or mazes of sea ice. Conditions and logistics permitting, your kayak guide(s) will endeavor to have you paddling as often as possible throughout the voyage. Due to its popularity and limited space, if you want to ensure a space in the Sea Kayak program, please register when you book your expedition. (Ask your Travel Curator for more information.)
Special Offer Details: Book for 2023 and save up to $7,699 per person, 28%! Rates below do not reflect special. Please contact us for exact rates and full details.
The newest ship in this operator's fleet, Ultramarine, is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and to immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, the most spacious suites in its category, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards. With all this and more, Ultramarine is set to deliver the ultimate polar expedition experience.
• Capacity: 199 Guests
• Cabins: 102 Cabins
• Specialists: Credentialed Experts, 140 Staff and Crew
2019 Magellan Awards "Best Overall Small Cruise Ship"
2018 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards – "Best Small Ship Line"
"The newest addition to this seasoned operator's fleet of ships, Ultramarine has some of the largest cabins of all the ships we offer. She's purpose-built and perfect for outstanding, highly adventurous expeditions to the polar regions. If you're hoping for kayaking, camping, paddle boarding and now with Ultramarine, flightseeing, you're in for a trip of a lifetime with this polar-passionate operator."
Life On Board
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If seeing polar bears in your goal, it stands to reason that spending more time in their favorite habitat means more bear sightings. This fun and reliable operator knows where to look and won't disappoint!
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: