Luxury Arctic cruise Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land
Description of Luxury Arctic cruise Spitsbergen & Franz Josef Land
This two week cruise is pretty unique in that it takes you on the most extraordinary Arctic odyssey not only of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago but also Russia’s Franz Josef Land archipelago. Starting in Longyearbyen, the island of Spitsbergen’s only town, we head out through Isfjorden and then across the Barents Sea.
During this time at sea and around the Svlabard archipelago, on board an Arctic expedition ship, Sea Spirit, that sleeps 114 passengers in ensuite cabins in a variety of sizes, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the open deck space to watch out for whales, polar bears or Arctic foxes as we approach various islands and ice floes.
By the fifth day of this cruise, we head into Russian waters passing through immigration at Nagurskoye on the Franz Josef Land archipelago. These Arctic islands are a cornucopia of wildlife, living on almost lunar like landscapes with polar bears, walruses and many Arctic birds enjoying their natural habitats. Geological highlights as well as calving icebergs and glaciers include the stone spheres on Champ Island and basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock. As well as, back in Svalbard for the last couple of days, many spectacular fjords on the west coast. With zodiac boats on board, you will also have the chance to take part in some optional adventures, such as kayaking and photography sessions.
PlanetOne of the highlights of this fantastic luxury expedition is sure to be the remarkable wildlife that resides both in Svalbard & Franz Joseph Land, and we place an utmost importance in ensuring that your trip to this incredible part of the world provides only a positive impact on the area’s wildlife populations. Sightings of Polar bears, rare whales, walrus and massive colonies of birds, including some endangered species, will be the norm and it is our responsibility to ensure the ongoing survival of these animals. The operators we work with on this tour are 100% committed to their responsibilities and throughout your trip you will be given guidelines, insight and first-hand advice on how to behave around the animals you encounter, ensuring not to encroach upon their habitats or do anything that may put them in danger. Strict restrictions will be in place and your tour leaders will also offer invaluable knowledge of the conservation efforts that are currently ongoing in the Arctic including Polar Bears International, the world's leading polar bear conservation organisation. Polar Bears International is actively supported by the operators of this tour. We find that our clients generally come back from wildlife expeditions with a higher degree of environmental awareness which naturally results in a better understanding and usually a more effective call to action with their own general environmental habits at home and away, often becoming advocates and becoming much more supportive of wildlife and environmental issues.
As a company we support many wildlife organisations worldwide including Save the Albatross, Wader Quest and the South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project and in an effort to further enhance the positive effects of our tours on the wildlife of the Arctic we actively encourage our customers upon return to donate to charities concerned with the Arctic.
As well as the abundance of wildlife present, some of your most memorable moments on this tour will be the spectacular pristine landscapes that you will witness as you sail through this Arctic wilderness. With climate change seemingly having a particular effect on the polar regions, a huge focus of your expedition will be on ensuring your tour is operated in as environmentally friendly way as possible. Your luxury polar vessel has a maximum passenger capacity of just over 100 people, meaning that the ship will be less imposing on the fragile Arctic landscape and also means less waste. All waste onboard will be ethically disposed of and the operators for this tour take safe and environmentally responsible polar travel seriously. We only use operators who are members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO,) meaning that they adhere to stringent guidelines designed to ensure the Polar Regions remain pristine for generations to come. In their environmental promise the operators state, “Our company pledges its commitment to the further development of Arctic and Antarctic conservation and support of related scientific research. We actively encourage participation in our expeditions by naturalists and scientists engaged in such research, offering a platform from which they can pursue their important work as well as a forum where they can voice their unique understanding of these fragile and remote ecosystems. Preservation of the Arctic and Antarctic habitats and the Polar Ice Cap are environmental imperatives and the responsibility of all, including tourism operators and their guests. We are honoured to be a part of this, and to help our passengers understand the importance of preserving Polar Regions for future generations.” The operators are also heavily involved in the Citizen Science ice measurement project.
Throughout your tour you will receive advice on how to travel in an environmentally responsible way, including appropriate recycling and waste disposal. The ultimate necessity is to leave the Arctic as untouched as it was before you set foot on it and your guides will ensure that this is the case. As a company we firmly believe that environmental responsibility starts at home. We encourage recycling of waste as a company and as individuals. Where possible for business use we use public transport. We are also heavily involved with a project to recycle used or damaged binoculars, which are then sent to conservation projects across the world. This tour includes 1 night’s accommodation in Longyearbyen and where possible we will ensure that this accommodation has sustainable environmentally friendly practices in place.
PeopleAs a company we are proud of our principle based values which our community can always depend on. We support several home and overseas charities, organisations and campaigns including AfriCat, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), Save the Albatross, South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project, Wader Trust, Wildlife SOS India and sponsorship of individual and underprivileged children in many countries. We are committed to ethically working with overseas partners who employ and support local communities and local guides who know and love their region like no other, delighted to share knowledge and are dedicated to looking after our valued passengers.
For a vast portion of your tour the only interaction with anyone other than your shipmates will be during your stopover in Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s most populated town. You will be staying in locally-owned accommodation and consequently the proceeds of your stay will be filtered straight through to the local community. With first-hand experience of the areas we visit we have up to date local information and can therefore provide the most relevant information in our pre-departure literature. This includes information on on-going initiatives and community efforts that we actively encourage our customers to become involved in, cultural etiquette and advice on how to engage with and help the local communities. We can suggest local areas and communities to visit gaining cultural insights along the way, along with advice on where to buy souvenirs (to ensure the proceeds are going directly to the vendors) & locally owned restaurants & bars.
Likewise, the operators of this tour are fully committed to their responsibilities to the local communities that their tours visit and also support a broad range of charities throughout the world. The utmost respect is given to all local cultures and the valuable cultural sites that you may visit on your trip. Strict guidelines will be in place when visiting any cultural sites and your expert tour guides will offer information along the way.