Spitsbergen Encounter Arctic Cruise | Polar Unbound | Norwegian Arctic Tour |

Discover the whaling history, rich wildlife and magnificent landscapes of Spitsbergen on this 9-night expedition through the Svalbard archipelago. Witness beluga whales in the waters near Bourbonhamna, spot bearded and ringed seals while cruising along the base of the Lilliehook Glacier, travel 81 degrees north to see polar bears in Phippsoya and hike to the former whaling station of Smeerenburg. Our high ice classification vessel enables you to venture further than many other expeditions, while onboard polar experts will provide a comprehensive insight into this fascinating destination.

Itinerary

Longyearbyen

Embark your ship in Longyearbyen and set sail into Isfjorden during the early evening hours, with the sun still bright in the sky with almost 24 hours of daylight. Meet your Expedition Team during an introductory briefing and get acquainted with your fellow passengers as you enjoy a welcome dinner. 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Dinner

Bourbonhamna

Today we will transit the narrow sound near Bourbonhamna where beluga whales are frequently spotted. Then step ashore to explore an old hunting cabin and whale bones which are now protected by the state as we keep an eye out for wild reindeer which inhabit the region. 
 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lilliehook Glacier

Soak up the spectacular views of the Lilliehook Glacier as we explore the surrounding waters by zodiac, with its face stretching almost seven kilometers in length. We’ll be on the lookout for bearded and ring seals which are both known to frequent this fjord, together with a number of different seabird species. 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Monaco Glacier and Liefdefjorden

We’ll continue cruising along the north coast of Spitsbergen towards the Monaco Glacier which offers a spectacular setting for kayaking and zodiac excursions. The coastal plain at the mouth of Liefdefjorden is also an outstanding hiking destination and offers a good chance of seeing polar bears which come to feast on ringed seals and bird’s eggs.

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Phippsoya

Today we will venture 81 degrees north to Phippsoya which lies just 540 nautical miles from the North Pole. We’ll navigate its ice pack in comfort while keeping an eye out for polar bears which frequent this region.

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hinlopen Strait

Today we will cruise through Hinlopen Strait which separates Spitsbergen and Nordaustlandet and sail past the bird cliffs of Alkefjellet where 60,000 pairs of Brünnich’s Guillemot nest. We’ll also visit nearby Murchison Fjord to go kayaking or on a zodiac excursion between the two islands, then embark on a hike to soak up the breathtaking vistas. 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Smeerenburg

Jump aboard the zodiacs to explore Fuglesangenoya which is home to a large colony of dovekies. Then hike along the shores to the old whaling station of Smeerenburg (which translates as “Blubber Town”) to witness its old blubber ovens and learn about the importance of the whaling industry in the discovery and exploration of the Svalbard archipelago. 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Prince Charles Island

Today we will visit the walrus colony of Prince Charles Island which provides an incredible sight (and smell) on approach. Then spend your final night on board with a special celebratory dinner attended by your Captain to reflect on this incredible expedition. 

ACCOMMODATION : Akademik Ioffe or Akademik Sergey Vavilov
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Longyearbyen

We will arrive back in Longyearbyen in the morning to disembark the ship and be transferred either into town or to the airport for your return flight home.

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
Jun 19, 2019 to Jun 28, 2019
Akademik Sergey Vavilov * Photographic Symposium
$5,895£0€0$0$0$5,895£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW

Supplementary Information

*June 19 - 28, 2018 Is a Photographic Symposiums, hosting a team of up to five professional photographers. Special workshops and excursions based on light, are available.

Date: June 19 - 28, 2018
Rates: Starting at $5,695
Charter Flight: $1,995
Sea Kayaking Option: $695
Ship: Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Cabin Options:

 One Ocean Suite                         $11,395 Per Person
 Shackleton Suite $10,295 Per Person
 Superior $9,395 Per Person
 Twin Private $8,195 Per Person              
 Semi Private                                             $7,195 Per Person
 Triple Share $5,695 Per Person

 

Date: June 28 - July 7, 2018
Rates: Starting at $5,695
Charter Flight: $1,995
Sea Kayaking Option: $695
Ship: Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Cabin Options:

 One Ocean Suite                         $11,395 Per Person
 Shackleton Suite $10,295 Per Person
 Superior $9,395 Per Person
 Twin Private $8,195 Per Person              
 Semi Private                                             $7,195 Per Person
 Triple Share $5,695 Per Person

 

Included: 
•    Full service of our Adventure Consultants
•    Educational presentations from ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammal experts
•    Photography advice and instruction from the resident photographer
•    All zodiac and landing excursions
•    Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness and yoga
•    All meals during the voyage
•    Coffee, tea and hot chocolate available anytime
•    Access to an English speaking medical advisor
•    Access to wellness area (finnish sauna, hot tub, sea water pool, natural essential oils)
•    Use of multi-media room
•    Expedition gear package for duration of the voyage (windproof/waterproof jacket and bibs, insulated rubber boots, water resistant binoculars, waterproof backpack, trekking poles)

Not Included:
•    Sea kayaking excursions (See note below)
•    International and National Airfare
•    Visa and passport fees, Airport taxes
•    Pre and Post cruise hotel accommodations
•    Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
•    Items of a personal nature
•    Massages
•    Personal laundry service
•    Postage and telephone calls
•    Travel medical insurance, including medical evacuation (Mandatory)
•    Trip interruption and cancellation insurance
•    Gratuities

Note: Sea kayaking excursions are offered at an extra cost of USD $695 (Arctic) and USD $795 (Antarctic) per person. Pre-registration is required at time of booking.  Confirmed access to kayak at any offered excursions.  Limited to 16 passengers per voyage.  Includes high quality kayaking equipment. 

Images & Videos

Ship Details

Both the Vavilov and Ioffe ships are amazing vessels. They are sister ships, so very similar in many ways.  Please see below for specifics for each ship.

Akademic Vavilov

The Scandinavian-built Vavilov sails like a silent dream out on the water. Highly maneuverable yet remarkably stable, the Vavilov was built for both science and adventure. It can endure voyages of any arctic condition while maintaining a cruising speed of 14.5 knots.

The Vavilov and the Ioffe together are two of the most capable adventure vessels around.

From Peter Grubb - Founder of ROW Adventures
"The Vavilov and it's sister ship, the Ioffe, are 2 of the most advanced research vessels afloat. The Vavilov is impressive and neat as a pin,..which is refered to as 'Bristol Condition' in sailing terms. The ship is operated by one of the largest and oldest shipping companies. Our team has sailed on this ship many times and are always impressed with the service and the ship."

Ship Specifications:

  • Staff & Crew: 53
  • Guests: 92
  • Length: 117.04m
  • Breadth: 18.28 m
  • Draft: 6.09m
  • Propulsion: 5,000 KW diesel twin engine
  • Ice Class: KM*L1(1)A2, Canadian Type B
  • Cruising Speed: 14.5 knots in open water

Amenities:

  • One dining room with unreserved seating.
  • Theatre-style presentation room.
  • Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits.
  • Library with a collection of polar-themed books.
  • Ship-to-shore communications via satellite.
  • Clinic with licensed doctor.
  • Gym, sauna and swimming pool.
  • One elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

Akademic Ioffe

Primed for polar research, the Ioffe is an up-to-date, safe, spacious and all-around solid vessel. The common areas on board this boat are crafted with ultimate comfort in mind, whether you're attending an informative lecture or simply hanging out. With a fully stocked bar and variety of films available in the lounge, you can relax and unwind after a day of adventure just the way you want.

Other fabulous onboard facilities include an exercise room, ship store, massage room, sauna and pool. Then of course there's the great dining offered up in our superb dining room. An expert and professional staff member is always at the ready to tend to any need.

As it was originally crafted as a research vessel hailing from Finland, the Ioffe is a very graceful, peaceful and accommodating ship. You'll marvel at how quietly and smoothly she sails and appreciate the transformation she's undergone in order to shift her focus from science to adventure.

The last thing you'll want when you're trying to enjoy an Antarctic cruise is a rocky and noisy ship; such things are unheard of on the Ioffe thanks to her clever design. A ballast trimming system ensures that sea sickness is kept to a minimum, while noisy engines are situated far out of earshot.

Ship Specifications

  • Staff & Crew: 63
  • Guests: 93
  • Length: 117m
  • Breadth: 18 m
  • Draft: 6m
  • Propulsion: 5,000 KW diesel twin engine
  • Ice Class: KM*L1(1)A2, Canadian Type B
  • Cruising Speed: 14.5 knots in open water

Cabins and Amenities:

  • All cabins have exterior views.
  • Cabins have either shared, semi-private or private facilities (See deck plan).
  • One dining room with unreserved seating.
  • Theater-style presentation room.
  • Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits.
  • Library with a collection of polar-themed books.
  • Ship-to-shore communications via satellite.
  • Clinic with licensed doctor.
  • Gym, sauna and swimming pool.
  • One elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

Staterooms

Ship Photos

The Vavilov
Views from the hot tub
Antarctica landscape
BBQ in Antarctica
Zodiac in Antarctica
Massage on ship in Antarctica
Bridge of Arctic and Antarctic Expedition ship
Conference room in the Library
One Ocean Suite
Shackleton Suite
Superior Suite
Twin Private Suite

Deck Plans

FAQ & More

Are Children allowed? What is the age limit?

Yes! Although these trips are not directed towards children, we love to have families with children on our departures. Please contact us for more information if you are considering traveling with anyone under the age of 16.

Can you help purchase my airline tickets?

Unfortunately, we are not licensed to purchase air but we are happy to recommend our flight broker.  When travelling to Antarctica the closest international airports are either Buenos Aires or Santiago with connections to either Ushuaia or Punta Arenas.  For our Arctic voyages Edmonton, Alberta or Ottawa, Ontario are the usual arrival and departure cities pre and post charter flight.  We charter our own aircraft for travel into the High Arctic in addition to your scheduled air.  

Can you make pre and post cruise travel arrangements for me?

We would be happy to arrange airport transfers and pre and post hotel arrangements for you in your arrival or departure destinations.

What is included in the trip price?

Trips include all meals/afternoon teas, use of our onboard expedition rubber boots, wet weather gear (you are welcome to bring your own as well), shore excursions, landings, educational presentations, expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff, an ER trained English speaking physician, guided hikes/walks, complimentary tea and coffee 24 hours per day, access to our multimedia room and download stations and accommodations on board. Please see our full list of inclusions and exclusions on the trip pages.

What facilities are available on board?

We have a dining room, library, lounge, bar area, sauna, multimedia station, open bridge, and excellent outside viewing decks. See our ship details page for more information.

What is the electrical current on board?

The electrical supply on board is 220 volts 50 Hertz. You will need a European two (round) pin plug adapter, available at duty free or electrical supply shops.

How difficult is it to get in and out of the landing Zodiacs?

We are happy to offer assistance getting in and out of the Zodiacs and staff will always be on hand. Where there are wet landings you will be required to disembark the zodiac into ankle deep water - making rubber boots a must.

Is there email/internet access on board?

Yes, there is email access available through our satellite communication equipment for an extra charge.

What phone number should I give as an emergency contact number while I am on board?

A phone / fax number as well as email address for the ship will be provided to you in your final document package.

Do I need to bring my own rubber boots?

High quality insulated rubber boots are available in a large range of sizes. Please just note your size preference when providing final documentation.

Is there a Doctor on board?

Yes, there is an English speaking Doctor on board for every trip.

What Nationalities are typically on these trips?

We have guests from all over the world on these trips. The expedition staff and all safety briefings are conducted in English.

When is the best time to go to the Antarctic and the High Arctic?

The Antarctic season runs from November through to March and each month offers its own special features. Operating through the whole season allows us the full spectrum for several key reasons, including untouched winter snow, great whale and seal action, good weather, and even a little star gazing. The Arctic season runs from July through to September. We choose our operating dates carefully based on historical patterns in the ice, which allows for optimal viewing for all wildlife (walrus, polar bear, seals, whales) not to mention the access to special landing sites.

Can I travel as a single?

We have many guests who come alone and while some choose to purchase the single cabin option, others choose to share; we will pair single travelers of the same gender together at no extra charge.

How many people are on the ship?

We try to limit the number of people we carry to a maximum of 96 passengers. We believe that small groups of people are the best way to experience the Polar Regions.

How much room is there for luggage?

There is storage space for empty luggage in the cabins under your bunk. Alternatively we can stow your baggage safely elsewhere on the ship. There is ample space for your clothing in cupboards and drawers in your cabin.

Does the crew speak English?

The ship's crew is Russian and they handle the day to day running of the vessel (engine room, bridge, outer decks, dining room service). The officers and the Captain on the bridge speak English. Some of the crew speak only a little English, but are always willing to use it.  All of our expedition staff, who guide the activities and tours speak English as well as various other languages on specialty departures.

What should I pack to wear on the ship?

Living aboard calls for comfortable and casual attire.

Do I need gloves?

Yes – please pack two or three pairs of gloves. It is important to have spare dry gloves in case one set gets wet.

How can I dry any wet clothing?

Your wet gear will dry very quickly in your cabin. There is also a laundry service for an additional fee.

How frequently can I get off the ship?

We get off the ship as much as possible, usually two to three times a day when we are around the Antarctic Peninsula coastline. We spend between two and six hours at each location depending on the prevailing conditions.

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is mandatory. You must be covered in case of a medical evacuation.

What currency is required and how much should I bring?

We recommend that you take US dollars for use on board the ship. It is better to carry US dollars cash for any desired tipping. For Arctic departures we recommend carrying some Canadian currency just in case you are tempted to purchase local crafts from skilled artisans. Danish Kroner is used throughout Greenland.  ATM machines are available in Illulissaat, Greenland.

Do I need a parka?

Expensive specialty gear is not required, but you should have warm, waterproof clothing available upon your arrival at your Antarctica or Arctic embarkation point. We also offer waterproof jackets, bib pants and rubber/Wellington/gum boots for hire while on board.

How do I keep my cameras dry?

A waterproof camera bag is a must. We have them available for purchase/rent as well.

Should I take one camera or two?

It is not a bad idea to take two cameras - particularly between couples. Bring plenty of film/disk space and extra batteries.

Tipping?

Tipping is a very personal matter, we recommend US $10 per passenger per day that you are on the ship. It is better for the crew if we can give them US dollars cash.

Do you have facilities on board to download digital images from my camera?

Yes. We have a multimedia download station. Please remember to bring your download cord for your camera (that can be plugged into a USB port). We also have DVDs onto which you can burn your images.

Should I be concerned about Seasickness?

If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness, then it is a good idea to talk to your own doctor. Come armed with motion sickness tablets. There will be a doctor on board and the ship is equipped with a small treatment facility.

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