Svalbard / Spitsbergen
Summer Expedition Cruises & Winter Northern Lights Adventures
Located 600 miles north of mainland Norway and halfway to the North Pole, Svalbard is a group of islands that form the most northerly section of Norway. They are located between the Arctic, Barents, Greenland and Norwegian Seas, right on the edge of the ever frozen Arctic Ocean, where the warmer currents of the Gulf Stream meet the cold air and water from the north, Spitsbergen and the other islands in the Svalbard archipelago are a biological hot spot. Reining over this fragile food web is the top predator – the polar bear. Discover more in the online brochure below which give you a guide to Svalbard, winter and summer, including the various excursions and accommodation options on offer.
WINTER IN SVALBARD
Hurtigruten offers a winter Northern Lights land based itinerary to Spitsbergen where, thanks to the Polar Night (24 hours of total darkness between 14 November and 29 January), you can hunt for the Northern Lights all day long!
In winter, Svalbard is hidden under a soft cover of snow. The landscape is endlessly white, wild and beautiful. Longyearbyen, the largest town on Spitsbergen (the largest of the Svalbard islands), is your cosy base lit by street lamps, moonshine, starlight and the Aurora. There are 3 accommodation options and multiple excursions to choose from, including snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing and ice caving at the Lars Glacier.
You can also combine a classic winter coastal voyage in Norway with a 3 day stay in Longyearbyen. Check out details in the online Northern Lights brochure below then contact Project Travel on 01 – 210 8391 to book.
SUMMER IN SVALBARD
Visiting Spitsbergen in Summer with Hurtigruten is a trip of a lifetime. It also offers you the best chance of seeing a polar bear. Svalbard is one of the few places in the world where the polar bear population is actually increasing, due in part to its strict protection regulations. Spitsbergen is above the Arctic Circle and therefore benefits from the Midnight Sun during the summer. This means 24 hours of sunlight to experience some of the most dramatic landscape on earth. The island is renowned for its magnificent fjords, calving glaciers and impressive mountains. Vast colonies of birds pocket the rugged cliffs. Seals and walrus haul out on rocky outcrops. Whales spout and breach before your eyes.The landings in Spitsbergen are exciting and safe. They include amazing wildlife and places of historical interest. Hurtigruten’s guides are experienced with in-depth knowledge of the areas sailed. Lectures are conducted on topics such as Biology, History and Geology throughout the trip.
You can read more about visiting Svalbard during the Summer in our Blog post.
Hurtigruten cruise itineraries are offered from May – September. The most popular are the 5 night packages which include 3 nights on board the classic MS Nordstjernen and explore the island of Svalbard. As a guide, a package price for one of these Svalbard mini-cruise holidays in Summer 2019 (to include flights from Ireland, 2 hotel nights in Longyearbyen, 3 nights ship and 2 nights in Oslo to connect with flights), costs from €2500 pp.
There are longer itineraries, from 6 – 12 days on other ships, also available which take in more islands in the Spitsbergen archipelago. Due to the varying flight schedules from Dublin during the Summer months, some dates will require extra nights in Oslo (or Tromso if you prefer) on the way home. Project Travel will create the entire package for you offering the best value and flight timings available, priced in Euro. We can usually offer better prices than Hurtigruten for travel from Ireland. We are currently taking bookings for Summer 2019.
Hurtigruten has 4 cruise ships sailing in Svalbard / Spitsbergen during Summer 2019. MS Spitsbergen (max 243 passengers) was completely reconstructed prior to joining the Hurtigruten fleet in 2016. She operates the longer itineraries. By contrast, MS Nordstjernen (max 130 passengers) is one of the oldest in the fleet but was extensively modernised in 2013. This gives her a classic aura of nostalgia and makes the short voyages particularly special. The MS Fram (max 318 passengers) was built in 2007 especially for Arctic and Antarctic expedition voyages. Hurtigruten’s newest hybrid ship, the MS Roald Amundsen (max 530 passengers) joins the route for one 7 day voyage in July 2019.
Check out the full range of Summer itineraries by clicking this button to read the online brochure. Worldwide Explorer Voyages 2019-20
In spite of its proximity to the North Pole, Spitsbergen has a relatively mild climate compared with other areas at the same latitude. The average temperatures in Longyearbyen are June 2ºC, July 6ºC and Aug 5ºC. These are 24-hour temperatures, average daytime temperatures will be higher.
Several Svalbard cruise itineraries also include visits to various ports of call in Iceland, while others focus exclusively on this mystical neighbouring island. Iceland is the land of ice and fire, with glaciers and volcanoes side by side. The unspoiled nature offers stunning landscapes, geysers and impressive waterfalls. You will see a variety of islands, towns and settlements, spectacular views and interesting sites, always accompanied by Hurtigruten’s knowledgeable Expedition Team. Enjoy hikes through lava fields, breathe the fresh Icelandic air, swim in natural hot spas, visit one of the many museums or simply walk around on your own and chat with the locals.
Find out more about life on board and itineraries on offer in Spitsbergen / Svalbard in 2019/20 by viewing the online brochures below
(NB: prices in these brochures are shown in sterling and are for voyage only).
Then give Project Travel a call on 01 – 210 8391.
Image credits: Geir A Manum, Hurtigruten, Nina Bailey