North Spitsbergen Polar Bear Special 8 days aboard M/V Hondius
Join us as we sail to the kingdom of the Polar bear and explore the fantastically beautiful north coast of Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island. Discovering the largest wilderness area in Europe, you can enjoy exhilarating Zodiac cruises and shore excursions in search of some of the finest scenery and wildlife experiences in the world, including whales, walrus, myriad birdlife and regular sightings of the magnificent King of the Arctic, the Polar bear. This fantastic itinerary will take you from Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard, to enchanting destinations on the north of the archipelago including Raudfjorden, the Monaco Glacier and the Seven Islands. A classic Spitsbergen cruise that will bring you to 80° north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
- Explore around Svalbard's largest island in search of unrivalled scenic and wildlife experiences
- Excellent chances of regular sightings of Polar bears
- Other Arctic wildlife including whales, walrus, Arctic fox, and reindeer
- Myriad birdlife
- Spectacular scenery
- Historic sites
- In-field and on-board discovery and learning workshops, exhibitions and performances
- Snowshoeing option available
- Full board accommodation on board with all meals, snacks and hot drinks
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
ITINERARY7 Nights 8 Days
- Day 1 | Longyearbyen
- Day 2 | Sailing North
- Day 3 | Liefdefjorden & Monaco Glacier
- Day 4 | Hinlopen Strait
- Day 5 | Seven Islands
- Day 6 | At Sea
- Day 7 | Prins Karls Forland
- Day 8 | Longyearbyen
Your northern Spitsbergen expedition cruise will begin in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Svalbard archipelago, where after having arrived independently you can enjoy a stroll around this former mining town before making your way to the port to embark your ship in the afternoon. After settling in to your cabin and exploring your new surroundings, the ship will depart in the early evening. As we sail out of Isfjorden we recommend spending some time on deck where you may spot the first minke whale of your voyage following the ship in the waters below.
Various flight and land package options are available for transport to and from Longyearbyen, please enquire for full details.
Today will be spent at sea sailing north towards Raudfjorden, on the very north coast of Spitsbergen. As we sail you will be able to sample some of the spectacular scenery that Spitsbergen is famous for as we travel through an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers. Already we will be on the lookout for fascinating wildlife sightings including the ringed and bearded seals that often frequent the fjord and the thriving seabird colonies that reside in the cliffs and along the shorelines. We may also have our first chances of spotting polar bears!
Your program of expert lectures and presentations will also begin, covering everything from the history of Polar exploration to the geological features and wildlife you are likely to encounter on your voyage.
Liefdefjorden & Monaco Glacier
As with all polar expeditions, itinerary flexibility is the key, and each day your captain and experienced crew will determine the best course to travel in order to provide you with the very best scenic and wildlife observation opportunities. Today we hope for favourable conditions to sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground so we will hope for lots of sightings of these majestic animals here along with the thousands of kittiwakes that make the front of the glacier their favourite feeding spot. If ice conditions are not favourable for a cruise into Liefdefjorden, your crew will determine an alternate, but similarly exciting, route along the west coast.
Today we will hope to sail into the Hinlopen Strait to fully explore this wildlife wonderland. As we board our Zodiac boats we will enjoy an exciting cruise among the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in search of sightings of the ringed seals, bearded seals and polar bears that abound here. We will also sail beneath the spectacular bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with their thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots.
Later in the day we hope to visit the east side of Hinlopen Strait to attempt a landing on Nordaustlandet to observe the reindeer, walruses and pink-footed geese that are often found here.
Today we will reach the northernmost islands of Svalbard: the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. We will attempt to land on Phippsoya, where walrus are often hauled out on land. We will then try to find the pack ice to take in the spectacular surroundings and search for wildlife such as polar bears and perhaps even the illusive Ross gull. We will reach the area of 81 degrees north - just 540 km from the geographic North Pole.
As we retrace our route back west along Spitsbergen’s north coast we will be on deck keeping a constant lookout for more polar bears and the elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales. About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen we will sail along the edge of the continental shelf where the cold, nutrient-rich waters are home to fin whales and minke whales, so make sure to have your cameras at the ready. Your presentation program will continue, and this is also a great time to simply relax in the comfort of your ship and soak up the sights and sounds of the surrounding Arctic landscape.
Prins Karls Forland
Our final day of adventure will take us to the remarkable Prins Karls Forland. Here you can enjoy a Zodiac cruise in the surrounding Forlandsundet in search of sightings of walrus surrounded by majestic scenery. Alternatively, we may sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Here we will see an abundance of seabirds nesting on the cliffs and can enjoy a walk in search of sightings of Arctic fox searching below the cliffs for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer grazing on the sparse vegetation.
In the evening your ship will begin its sail back towards Longyearbyen, arriving at the port by night fall.
This morning signals the end of our exciting Arctic polar bear cruise and after breakfast you will disembark and bid a fond farewell to your expedition team and new-found friends. You may wish to spend some further time here exploring this unique Arctic town or enjoying some of the many extra excursions and activities that are on offer here. Please enquire for details of the land-based activities that we would be happy to arrange for you. Otherwise, it’s sadly time to make your way to the airport for your onward or homeward flights, filled with memories of the adventure of a lifetime.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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