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Three very different trips in Arctic waters this year, Svalbard Explorer travels on our own chartered ship with renowned professional wildlife photographer, Andy Rouse, on a wildlife safari making it one of the best Arctic cruises possible. This cruise will be lots of fun and will search for wildlife on Spitsbergen and other islands in the archipelago. Our holidays in Greenland are again on board Quest sailing on a scheduled departure from Iceland and a very special wilderness cruise on board a comfortable sailing yacht discovering wildlife, wilderness and the small populations of Inuit who live in the beautiful but remote area of east Greenland.
Introduction to the Arctic
The high Arctic is a frontier of our Earth, it challenges our emotions and perceptions whilst providing overwhelming beauty and exceptional experiences for those few travellers that visit. Having experienced first-hand the Arctic we naturally had to offer you this amazing wildlife and wilderness experience. Raw nature abounds: remote mountains and huge glaciers and pack ice define Svalbard and Greenland alike. Wildlife here is truly memorable; watching polar bear, walrus, Arctic fox, whales and the summer birds that return to nest in the brief Arctic summer. Then there are the fragile tiny flowers of summer in the Arctic tundra, characterised by the saxifrages. On our holidays in Greenland you can also discover the small populations of Inuit hunters that inhabit the remote, yet stunning east coast of Greenland.
Given that it is reasonably well connected with flights via Oslo, Svalbard offers the chance of accessible polar bears on a wildlife cruise that is unique. Many ships now ply the waters of Svalbard intent on snapshots of polar bears and other iconic species. We have deliberately avoided larger vessels with 100 or more passengers and have chosen some of the smallest and most intimate cruise ships that provide the highest class of service and best guiding to give you incredible encounters and a definitive understanding of this amazing region.
Similarly for our holidays in Greenland we are offering a comfortable yacht. The Aurora, sails primarily in the quiet waters of isolated fjords to discover ice-filled bays, spectacular mountains and the remote outposts of Inuit peoples. You are likely to see whales and other wildlife but this holiday is less a wildlife cruise but more a discovery of a region that very few visit. You are unlikely to see other tourists here and these holidays will give you an insight into a beautiful wilderness and the culture of Greenland.
Just to say I did have a fantastic trip.I would recommend the M/S Stockholm to anyone - the crew were so friendly, the food (and wine!) excellent and the whole experience was so much more intimate being on a small boat. We were very lucky with our polar bear and walrus sightings, with one bear coming right up to the ship, and standing up putting his paws on the boat for a better look and smell. We saw several females with a cub each, taking it in turns to feed on a dead whale in the fjord, and also saw one female with two cubs on a large iceberg.
A fantastic place, and I can see why people go back - there were two couples on the trip that had already been three times!
Ms. H. - Essex
CAPITAL Oslo, Norway; Nuuk, Greenland
TIME ZONE Norway GMT +1 hour, GMT - 3 hours for Greenland
To Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Flight time approx. 5.5 hours
To Kulusuk, Greenland
Airlines Icelandair & Air Iceland
Flight time approx. 5 hours but overnight in Iceland required
Consult your G.P. but there are no major health issues in this region.
The harsh polar climate and pack ice means that is only possible to cruise in the waters of Svalbard between June and September each year. At this time there is constant 24h daylight and of course the midnight sun is high for most of this period. The weather pattern is often stable with long sunny periods. There may be an occassional snowfall or rain but it is quite unusual, the region is classified as a semi-desert with most precipitation falling as snow. Temperature encountered are likely to be between -5 and +5 °C although with wind chill it can feel colder.
Similarly sailing in Greenland takes place between July and August when the weather pattern and sea-ice conditions are favourable although temperatures can become warmer than in Svalbard further north.
Below we have selected 3 of the best boats in Arctic waters. Arctic cruises are a once in a lifetime experience for many and shunning the large ships we can guarantee exceptional experiences on these vessels. Stockholm is a fabulous ship brimming with heritage atmosphere and gets into incredible locations in the Svalbard Archipelao that no other ship can follow. Quest is a mid-size Arcti cruise ship of Scandinavian design, of a lower budget than Stockholm but using the same great guides. For those that like wilderness adventures then the sailing yacht Aurora is just perfect. Sailed by Siggi, the owner, she explores the fjords of south eastern Greenland each summer.