Embark on a scenic exploration of the deep Arctic, visiting the mountain-fringed bay of Trygghamna, the jagged blue glacier front at Borebukta, and the icy panorama of Isfjord, Svalbard’s second largest fjord – along with stops at Russian ghost towns, geological wonders, and wintry shorelines sparkling under the eerie green auroras of the northern lights.
Day 1: Largest town, biggest island
Your voyage begins in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in the surrounding area. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first whale of your voyage.
Day 2: From Arctic mountains to mining towns
Your aim for the morning is Trygghamna. From this mountain-fringed bay, you may make excursions to a former English whaling station, the remains of a Pomor house, and the base of Alkhornet Mountain. In addition to the seabirds, you might see Arctic foxes and reindeer here. Later that afternoon, you sail to the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, Svalbard’s second-largest town. Here you’ll encounter the world’s northernmost brewery, a heated seawater swimming pool, a historic statue of Lenin, the must-see Barentsburg Pomor Museum – and some very friendly Russians.
Day 3: Sculptures of ice and stone
The goal is to spend the morning exploring the jagged blue glacier front at Borebukta, our first close encounter with the glaciated interior of Spitsbergen. You may also pay a visit to the east coast of Bohemanflya in the afternoon, a peninsula with striking geological formations.
Day 4: Northern fjords and northern lights
Your next morning introduces you to another glacier front: Sveabreen in Nordfjord, the most impressive in the Isfjord area. Afternoon finds you at the head of Dickson Fjord, the northernmost point of the voyage. This fjord branch also happens to be the place with the most stable weather and optimal conditions for seeing the northern lights.
Day 5: The inner reaches of Isfjord
This day is reserved for sailing the extent of Isfjord, Svalbard’s second largest fjord and a vast panorama of snow, ice, slopes, and sea. Depending on the conditions, you’ll then sail into one of the other nearby fjords for further Arctic exploration.
Day 6: Glaciers and ghost towns
The morning’s mission is to visit the glacier front of Nordenskiöld, an enormity of Arctic ice that has every reason to leave you breathless. On the agenda for the afternoon is Pyramiden, a deserted Soviet settlement that provides a hauntingly complete time capsule detailing how its resident coal miners lived many years ago.
Day 7: The layered peaks of Skansbukta
On the second-to-last day, you tour the valley of Skansbukta and its beautiful geological formations. Enjoy the splendor of these stratified multicolored peaks, each one rising out of wide slopes of sediment like the guard towers of some ancient, eroded castle. Your return to Longyearbyen is planned for the early evening.
Day 8: Journey’s end in Longyearbyen
Every adventure, no matter how great, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home a wealth of memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.