Location of Adventure
Group Size Limit
Approximately 148 Travelers
An important feature of any Lindblad Expeditions adventure cruise is the small ship size. Smaller ships are able to access more remote areas off limits to large cruise ships, and guests aboard enjoy more intimate nature encounters as well as more personalized interactions with the ship's naturalist staff. Guests are divided into smaller groups for Zodiac excursions, kayak outings and hikes ashore.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
Includes two hotel nights, shipboard accommodations; most meals; excursions; services of Lindblad's Expedition Leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; bar tab; crew tips; use of kayaks; all port charges and service taxes.
Air transportation; personal expenditures such as emails, laundry, DVD of voyage highlights, etc.
Easy to Moderate
This is an active expedition that requires mobility and good health. In order to participate, you must be able to walk unassisted for a minimum of one mile over rough and uneven terrain including rocky beaches, ice and snow. To participate in excursions ashore, you must walk down a steep gangway (steel ramp with stairs) and climb into and out of rigid inflatable Zodiac rafts, which can sometimes be unstable, depending on water and wind conditions. Travel via Zodiac occurs over variable conditions and can sometimes be quite bumpy. If it's windy, you may get wet from sea spray. Travelers with back problems or other health issues that could be exacerbated by such conditions should take this into consideration. Travelers must be prepared for any type of weather, including extreme conditions that may involve high winds, rain and snow. While seas are generally calm on this expedition, it's possible we could encounter rough conditions, which may cause issues for travelers prone to motion sickness. The National Geographic Explorer is fully stabilized, but we recommend that you discuss preventive medication with your physician, if you are susceptible to motion sickness. The ship carries a qualified physician who is available at any time in case of emergency, and whose services are provided free of charge, however, the limited infirmary carries only basic medicines and equipment.
Important Information About This Trip
The Arctic travel season encompasses summer’s long, bright days from mid-May through August, when ice floes ease access for a journey through the northern ocean. This is a time of nearly continuous daylight, where exposed landmasses warm along with ocean currents, and the midnight sun never dips below the horizon above the Arctic Circle. Each summer month brings its own wondrous burst of wildlife in the Arctic, giving travelers insight into rapid seasonal shifts. Details outlined below offer an idea of the wildlife sightings and natural phenomena you might encounter at different points during the Arctic summer, depending on your destination and itinerary chosen. Many of the wildlife species highlighted in a given month remain present throughout the entire summer, maximizing their habitation of the warm air and rich Arctic waters.
By mid-May, sea ice has melted enough for expeditions to set out across the Arctic, but expect some crunching through pack ice. Average summer temperatures in Svalbard range from 39-42°F throughout the summer, but conditions can change quickly with the mixing of cold air from the north and mild humidity from the south. Rain is not uncommon, with western Spitsbergen being generally the warmest and wettest part of the archipelago.
Visitors can expect to see:
- Polar bears, hungry at the end of a long winter, riding ice floes in the hunt for ringed seals
- Walrus fishing at the edge of the ice
- The arrival of more than 200 species of migratory birds preparing to nest during the Arctic summer
By the end of June, the sun rides high above the horizon for 24 hours a day, making this the warmest time of the year in the High Arctic.
Visitors can expect to see:
- Plenty of snow and ice, with polar bears and walrus cruising along on the ice floes
- Orca, minke, humpback, fin and blue whales plying the ocean waters, and maybe even an elusive narwhal, famed for its long, spiraled tusk that can grow up to 9 feet long
- Abundant birds flocking to prime summer breeding grounds, including barnacle goose, common eider, northern fulmar, purple sandpiper, great phalarope, Arctic skua, great skua, glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, ivory gull, Brunnich’s guillemot, little auk and snow bunting.
Since the areas we travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for our guests' safety. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat, we request that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We will add the cost of a medical evacuation policy to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, contact number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
Also, to ensure quality medical care in the event of a medical emergency, as well as peace of mind from the time you book your trip to the time you return home, we highly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Plans may cover everything from medical treatment and trip cancellations and delays, to lost luggage. We offer both medical evacuation and comprehensive travel policies through Travelex. Please contact our office if you would like more information about either of these plans.
Getting There & Getting Home
Please note that the start date of this trip (Day 1) is the date that you leave your home airport. You will need to arrive in Oslo on Day 2 of the itinerary and depart Oslo on the final day. For exact timing, please contact your Adventure Specialist.
We can best serve you if our Natural Habitat Adventures Travel Desk makes your reservations, as our staff is intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient travel. Please call us at 800-543-8917. Note that while we offer you the best possible rates available to us on airfare and additional nights' accommodations, you may find special web rates or better fares online.