When the dramatic coastlines of some of the world’s northernmost islands are heaving with Arctic wildlife and boast untouched, beautiful cliffs which rise sharply from the sea, there’s really only one way to explore Svalbard: aboard an Arctic cruise. Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey aboard the M/V Hondius, sailing around the pristine archipelago, steeped in history as a former arctic expedition base and home of remote mining communities, stopping to set foot ashore and sailing up fjord systems to admire vast glaciers. Begin in Longyearbyen, capital of the largest island, Svalbard, and head north to explore the upper reaches of the islands. On this trip, sightings of several species of whale, seals, seabirds and arctic fox are likely to occur, and polar bears are sometimes spotted during the summer months.
Please note that itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
The same itinerary is also offered aboard the M/V Plancius. Click here for more details.
Fly to Longyearbyen and transfer to the M/V Hondius. Spend the day exploring at leisure the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago and officially the world’s northernmost town. Stroll around this former mining town, witness stunning landscapes including snow covered mountains and mighty glaciers and perhaps visit its Svalbard Museum. In the early evening, sail out of Isfjorden aboard the M/V Hondius. (D)
Sail to Raudfjorden, a 20 km long and 5 km wide fjord on the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation and occasional polar bears. (B,L,D)
Today sail into Liefdefjorden* (the Love Fjord) and cruise within sight of the 5 Km long (3.1 miles) Monaco Glacier - named after the first Prince Albert of Monaco, a famed explorer of the early 1900s. The waters in front of the glacier are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground. (B,L,D)
*Please note that in case ice/weather conditions prevent sailing to Liefdefjorden an alternative route will be implemented
Continue to the Hinlopen Strait* where you may spot bearded seals, ringed seals and polar bears. Cruise among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya by Zodiac RIB boat and see the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots. (B,L,D)
*Please note that in case ice/weather conditions prevent sailing to Hinlopen Strait an alternative route will be implemented
Reach Sjuoyane (the Seven Islands), Svalbard’s northernmost point , located just 870 Km from the geographic North Pole. Stop among the pack ice and search for Polar bears who inhabit this region. (B,L,D)
Keep watching for Polar bears and whales while retracing your route west. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, sail the edge of the continental shelf, where fin whales forage during the summer and minke whales can be spotted. (B,L,D)
Depending on weather conditions stop at Forlandsundet or sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. In the evening, arrive in Longyearbyen and spend your last night on board the M/V Hondius. (B,L,D)
In the morning, disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. (B)
Price based on Twin porthole cabin.
The M/V Hondius offers high-quality accommodation for 176 passengers in one spacious suite (35 square meters, 377 square feet), six grand suites with balconies (27 square meters, 291 square feet), eight junior suites (19 to 20 square meters, 205 to 215 square feet), eight superior cabins (20 to 21 square meters, 215 to 226 square feet), 11 twin deluxe cabins, (19 to 21 square meters, 205 to 226 square feet), 14 twin window cabins (12 to 14 square meters, 129 to 151 square feet) as well as 28 twin porthole cabins, two triple porthole cabins, and four quadruple porthole cabins that vary in size from 12 to 18 square meters, or 129 to 194 square feet.
The passenger capacity certificate for Hondius is 196 persons. One deck consists of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room, which are reserved for a wide variety of interactive workshops and exhibitions.