Voyage through the pristine beauty of the Arctic Circle on this unique 11-day itinerary featuring an extraordinary seven-night cruise on the Five-Star, eco-friendly L’AUSTRAL, exclusively chartered for your expedition. Visit during the region’s most enchanting season, when shimmering ice basks in the midnight sun’s constant glow. Sail the shores of secluded Spitsbergen, the jewel of Norway’s seldom visited Svalbard archipelago; see glaciers crease and calve in luminous blues; and look for the “King of the Arctic,” the polar bear. Survey an ethereal topography of red sandstone mountain ranges, lush green tundra and awe-inspiring ice formations and enjoy Zodiac excursions led by a team of expert naturalists in diverse, serene terrains, where remarkable wildlife—including whales, walruses, seals, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes, northern fulmars and Arctic terns—roam freely. Complimentary Wi-Fi and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise. The program’s round-trip flights to Longyearbyen originates in Paris ; spend one night each in the deluxe HILTON PARIS CHARLES DEGAULLE AIRPORT HOTEL before and after your Arctic cruise. Extend your expedition with the Normandy/Rouen Pre-Expedition and Paris/Giverny Postlude Options.
Depart Gateway City
Arrive in Paris, France
On arrival, check into the HILTON PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT HOTEL and enjoy a Welcome Reception the evening of Day 2.
Paris/Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway/Embark L’AUSTRAL
Transfer to the airport for your charter flight to scenic Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, the archipelago’s capital. Arrive this afternoon in this small port town at 78 degrees North latitude, approximately 650 miles from the North Pole. Enjoy a look into daily life here in the Longyearbyen Culture House.
Embark the eco-friendly L’AUSTRAL. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening.
Hornsund for Burgerbukta and Samarin Glacier
An expert naturalist-led excursion navigates through slow-drifting ice by Zodiac in the pristine bay of Burgerbukta.
This afternoon, reach the majestic Samarin Glacier. Walk along the glacier examine firsthand its dramatic terrain, frequented by seabirds such as black-legged kittiwakes and Brünnich’s guillemots.
Bellsund for Calypsobyen and Camp Millar
In the bell-shaped sound of Bellsund, surrounded by soaring, snow-covered peaks, anchor off Calypsobyen, part of Sør-Spitsbergen, Norway’s largest national park. Relics of the former coal mining settlement offer a glimpse into its history. Expert naturalists accompany you through Calypsobyen’s intriguing ecosystem, where nimble Arctic foxes thrive.
After lunch on board the ship, continue to Camp Millar, a former gold mining base and now a favored grazing spot for the Svalbard reindeer. Discover the perfect snapshot of miniature Arctic wildflowers. Observe the graceful reindeer, their newborn calves and the large resident colony of auks.
Cruise the Arctic Ice Pack
June 14 - June 17, 2020
Approach the Arctic Ice Pack at the approximate latitude of 80 degrees North. Survey expansive sea ice for the King of the Arctic—the polar bear. Ice habitats are crucial for this endangered mammal’s hunting and breeding.
Keep a keen eye out for these ivory-furred creatures and scan the cobalt-blue waters for bowhead and beluga whales, often spotted swimming in pods.
Woodfjorden showcases the Arctic’s contrasts—icy, glacier-fronted shores are juxtaposed against the surrounding red sandstone mountains. Cruise to the startlingly beautiful Monaco Glacier and listen for the sound of white thunder as the tidewater glaciers calve into the ocean.
Your expert naturalist guides lead an adventurous walk around protected Raudfjorden, amidst Svalbard poppies. Look for rare seabirds, such as pink-footed geese, black-legged kittiwakes and glaucous gulls.
Enjoy a Zodiac excursion to the former 17th-century Dutch whaling station of Smeerenburgbreen, today a prized resting shore for long-toothed walruses.
Discover the hub of scientific exploration, Ny-Ålesund, one of the world’s northernmost settlements, host to 16 international research stations and a popular refuge for ringed and bearded seals. Observe them resting in their natural habitats.
An excursion by Zodiac through the inlet of Kongsfjorden takes you to the tidewater Kongsbreen (King’s Glacier), a nesting ground for waterbirds, barnacle geese, common and king elders, long-tailed ducks, purple sandpipers, seals, Atlantic puffins and snow buntings.
Disembark L’AUSTRAL in Longyearbyen and fly to Paris, France. Spend one night in the deluxe, conveniently located HILTON PARIS CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT HOTEL and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Paris/Return to U.S.
Continue on the Paris and Giverny Postlude Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
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