North Spitsbergen Polar Bear Special

Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen

Aboard MV Plancius or MV Ortelius

  • 7 nights / 8 days  June – September

During this voyage, in the early Arctic summer, we focus on the spectacular fjords and islands of North Spitsbergen, which offer abundant bird life and the chance of encounters with walruses, reindeer, ringed and bearded seals and with luck, polar bears. Ice conditions permitting, our aim is to reach the Hinlopen Strait and Nordaustlandet, the second largest island in the group, covered in part by vast ice sheets. This frozen world has a lure of its own and our exploration has a pioneering feel to it. Ringed by high mountains and shimmering glaciers, these northern bays and fjords offer outstanding scenery to complement the wildlife. Smeerenburg and Danskoya are of great archaeological interest with remains of 17th century whaling activities and 19th century polar exploration, which was for a time centered on Spitsbergen.

Day 1

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting, while in the surrounding area of Longyearbyen, more than 100 species of plants have been recorded. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

Day 2

We visit Sallyhamna, where the last two years a Fin Whale carcass attracted Polar Bears. Later we sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seals. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots.

Day 3

Depending on the weather we may now sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eiders and Pink-footed Geese nest here, and the rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier front are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwakes and on previous voyages Polar Bears have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

Day 4

Alkefjellet – Palanderbukta

Today we will sail into Hinlopen Strait, home to Bearded Seals, Ringed Seals, Polar Bears, and Ivory Gulls. We”ll navigate the ice floes of Lomfjordshalvøya in our zodiacs and explore the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet with thousands of Brünnich”s guillemots. On the east side of Hinlopenstrait, we”ll attempt a landing at Palanderbukta on Nordaustlandet, home to Reindeer, Pink-footed Geese, breeding Ivory Gulls, and Walruses.

Day 5


In the morning we will try to land at Laagoya, a haul-out place for Walrusses. Later we will reach our northernmost point at Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet. Here we will be at 81 degrees north, just 540 miles from the geographic North Pole. Polar Bears inhabit this region, along with Ivory Gulls. We may sit for several hours in the pack ice, before we turn west again.

Day 6

Retracing our route westwards, we sail all the time through and along the pack-ice, on the watch for Polar Bears and the elusive Greenland Whale (Bowhead).

Day 7

We land at the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland near Fuglehuken, where Barentsz probably set foot on Spitsbergen for the first time. Seabirds nest on the cliffs and along the coast we see Harbour Seals, the only population found in Spitsbergen. Further we also will observe the remains of the Polar Bear hunting era, with demolished set guns and bear traps. At the opposite site of Forlandsundet at Sarstangen is a haul out place for Walruses. Alternatively we sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden and land at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on its cliffs and Arctic Foxes search the cliff base for fallen eggs and chicks, while Spitsbergen Reindeer graze the relatively luxuriant vegetation. In the night we arrive at Longyearbyen.

Day 8

We disembark at Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for the flights south to Oslo and onward home.

PolarBear3 SpitsbergenFlowers (1)

Dates and Cost

  • Plancius – 8 Days  09 – 16 Jun 2016
  • Plancius – 8 Days  16 – 23 Jun 2016
  • Plancius – 8 Days  23 – 30 Jun 2016
  • Plancius – 8 Days  30 Jun – 07 Jul 2016
  • Plancius – 8 Days  30 Aug – 06 Sep 2016
Quadruple Triple  Porthole Twin  Porthole Twin  Window Twin Deluxe Superior
US$3,900 US$4,700 US$5,540 US$5,800 US$6,150 US$6,850
  • Ortelius – 8 Days  08 – 15 Jun 2016
  • Ortelius – 8 Days 15 – 22 Jun 2016
  • Ortelius – 8 Days 22 Jun – 29 Jun 2016
Quadruple Triple Porthole Twin Porthole Twin Window Superior Suite
US$3,900 US$4,700 US$5,540 US$5,800 US$6,150 US$6,850

What’s included

  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the final itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
  • Programme of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced staff
  • transfers and baggage handling between the hotels, airports and ship only for those passengers on the group flights in Longyearbyen-Spitsbergen, and Narsarsuak-Greenland
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme, and comprehensive pre-departure material.

What’s not included

  • Any airfares, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre-and post land arrangements
  • Transfers to/from the vessel outside Spitsbergen, passport and visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended)
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
  • Customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

How to book

To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form in the brochure is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.


Optional Activities


Group tour costs shown are per person, quoted in US Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

MV Ortelius

Ice-strengthened Vessel

The ice-strengthened vessel “Ortelius” is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing us with possibilities to adventure remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land.

Ortelius” was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named “Marina Svetaeva”, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed “Ortelius”. As PlanciusOrtelius was a Dutch / Flemish cartographer. Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598) published the first modern world atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Theatre of the World in 1570. At that time, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed.

The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. “Ortelius” is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to the passengers. The vessel is manned by 34 highly experienced Russian nautical crew, 15 international catering staff, including stewardesses, 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.

Ortelius” offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 100 on the “Ortelius”, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. “Ortelius” carries 11 zodiacs of which 9 are in use and 2 on reserve. The zodiac engines are 60hp Yamaha.

On selected voyages, helicopters are also used for ice reconnaissance and for passenger shore excursions.

Deck Plans

Ortelius Deckplan NEW_dd_03-01-2014


A considerable number of quadruple and twin cabins with shared facilities (toilet and showers to be shared in the corridors) offer attractive lower starting prices for our Polar voyages. The vessel offers basic but comfortable cabins and public spaces.

The cabin lay-out is as follows: 5 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and shared facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins); 14 twin cabins with 2 lower single berths and shared facilities; 9 twin cabins with portholes, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths; 10 twin cabins with windows, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths; 6 superior cabins with double beds, private toilet and shower and a separate day room, and 1 suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.






Suite Sitting Room
Suite Sitting Room

Ship Specifications

Crew: 34
Guests: 100
Length: 91.25 m
Breadth: 17.61 m
Draft: 5.8 m
Ice Class: UL1 (equal to 1A)
Propulsion: 6 ZL 40/48 Sulzer
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Registered: In the Netherlands by Oceanwide Expeditions


MV Plancius

Ice-strengthened Expedition Vessel

MV Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named ‘Hr. Ms.Tydeman’. The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was finally purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. The MV Plancius has been completely rebuilt as a 110-passenger vessel and complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), offering a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, with full panorama view. The vessell has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. She is furthermore equipped with 10 Mark V zodiacs, including 40 HP 4-stroke outboard engines and 2 gangways on starboard side, guaranteeing a swift zodiac operation. The vessel is equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system which reduces the noise and vibration of the engines considerably. The 3 diesel engines generate 1.230 horse-power each, giving the vessel a speed of 10 – 12 knots. The vessel is ice-strengthened and was specially built for oceanographic voyages.

MV Plancius is comfortable and nicely decorated, but is not a luxurious vessel. The voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by an exploratory educational travel programme, spending as much time ashore as possible. This vessel is manned by 17 nautical crew, 19 hotel staff (6 chefs, 1 hotel manager, 1 steward-barman and 11 stewards / cabin cleaners), 8 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 7 guides-lecturers) and 1 doctor.

Deck Plans



MV Plancius accommodates 53 passenger cabins, all with private toilet and shower, as follows:

  • Quadruple: 5 cabins with private facilities.
  • Triple Porthole: 2 cabins with private facilities.
  • Twin Porthole: 9 cabins with porthole, private facilities, lower berths.
  • Twin Window: 26 cabins with window, private facilities, lower berths.
  • Twin Deluxe: 2 cabins with 2 windows (aft and side view), private facilities, lower berths.
  • Superior: 10 cabins with private facilities, double beds.



Ship Specifications

Crew & Staff: 45
Guests: 116 in 53 Cabins
Length: 89 m
Breadth: 14.50 m
Draft: 4.50 m
Ice Class: 1D (Plancius has a Lloyds class notation 100A1 Passenger ship, Ice Class 1D at a draught of 5 meters.)
Propulsion: 3 x Diesel-electric engines – 1.230 total horsepower
Cruising Speed: 10-12 knots
Registered: In the Netherlands by Oceanwide Expeditions