Home » Arctic » Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth: G Expedition
Duration: 11 days
From close-up encounters with icebergs and glaciers to the region’s plentiful wildlife, this is a voyage of nonstop highlights as we attempt to circumnavigate Spitsbergen aboard the outstanding G Expedition. Always on the lookout for wildlife, you’ll explore this landscape not only by ship but also on foot and by Zodiac. Roaming polar bears, lounging seals, grazing reindeer and colonies of birds all co-exist in this harsh land we dare only to explore a couple months of the year
Witness the spectacular wildlife and scenery of Svalbard
Witness Roaming Polar Bears
Learn about the nature and history of the Arctic from the expert guides
Opportunity to kayak in the Arctic
Excellent service and staff on board
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Embark ship in Longyearbyen
Days 2-10: Exploring the Svalbard Archipelago / Spitsbergen
Day 11: Disembark in Longyearbyen
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on archipelago of Svalbard with a population of about 2,060 people and about as many snowmobiles. Most of the inhabitants are Norwegians, and some are Russians. Located in the Advent Fjord at the entrance of the Advent Valley, this community has an infrastructure fit for a much larger city. Within the islands, there are four inhabited settlements and some scientific stations. Barentsburg, a Russian coal mining settlement, has approximately 850 inhabitants. Sveagruva, the functional Norwegian mine has around 100 inhabitants and Ny Ålesund, a scientific settlement has between 30 and 150 inhabitants, depending on the season. All settlements are found on the west coast, the part of Spitsbergen with the mildest climate due to the warm Gulf Current.
Longyearbyen is located at 78°13N 15°33E. The Governor of Svalbard resides there. Due to its location far north of the polar circle, it is polar night from mid-October to mid-February and polar day from mid-April to mid-August. Longyearbyen has an arctic tundra climate.
History and present day facilities: The settlement was founded in 1906 by John Munroe Longyear, main owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston. "Byen" is Norwegian for "the city". It was destroyed by the Germans in 1943 and rebuilt after World War II, with the old foundations still visible in some places. Until the early 1990's the coal mining industry was the major employer in Longyearbyen. The daily life revolved only around the mining business. Today, the community offers a wide range of activities and facilities. There is a bank, post office, hospital, public library, cafes/restaurants, tourist information, a swimming hall, a climbing wall, a big sports hall, a grocery store, three pubs, three hotels, one church, several tourists shops, there are various forms of lodging, from hostels to modern full-service hotels, a cinema (Sundays) and one night club. During summer, most of the people you meet here will be tourists or young people working to accommodate the visitors. A very friendly and international atmosphere reigns. And, of course, Longyearbyen has its own international airport.
Day 2-10: Svalbard Archipelago / Spitsbergen
Each day will be planned to take advantage of local ice and weather conditions. Distances are relatively short in the Archipelago and as there are no ocean crossings, the seas are normally calm. Svalbard is one of the few places on the planet that offers such a wealth and diversity of natural and cultural history sites. During these six days we will visit ice covered seas, fjords with breathtaking mountain scenery and glaciers flowing into the sea around us. We will spend time steaming through the ice in search of polar bears hunting seals. Ivory gulls will be a highlight for the birders, while we keep a constant lookout for walrus hauled out on ice floes or on sandy beaches.
We will visit, ice permitting, spectacular bird cliffs filled with thousands of murres (guillemots), as well as kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. A little auk colony will also be on our agenda. Our shore stops will be highlighted with flowers nearing, or at the peak of, their bloom. We will have the opportunity to observe and discuss some of their adaptations to what we consider a harsh environment. At one or more of our stops, we hope to see Svalbard’s unique subspecies of reindeer. They are much smaller than their southern relatives, but still carry impressive antlers. We also have the possibility of Arctic foxes. This is also a land of history: from whaling to reaching for the pole, to trapping, coal mining and war. We will visit some of these historic sites. We may cruise in Zodiacs along the ice edge viewing seals or walrus, in fjords with glaciers spilling down to the sea or in front of spectacular seabird cliffs. We will have opportunities to walk on shore, observe and photograph the Arctic flora and fauna. As we are in the land of the polar bear, your expedition staff will carry rifles and flare guns on shore for your protection. Krossfjord, Konigsfjord, Monaco Glacier, Hinlopen Strait, Northeast Land, Edgeoya, Hornsund and Bellsund are just a few of the places that we may visit. By not having a set itinerary, we take on an expedition spirit and are free to take advantage of the best that Svalbard has to offer. The evening of our last full day of adventure will find the expedition ship anchored off Longyearbyen.
Day 11: Longyearbyen
Disembark the G Expedition after breakfast.
Departs - Selected dates (listed below)
Ship Cabins: G Expedition
Category 1A Quad
2 x bunk beds
Category 1 Triple
1 x bunk, 1 single bed
Category 2 Twin
2 x single beds
Category 3 Twin
2 x single beds
Category 4 Twin
2 x single beds
Large Private bathroom
Category 5 Suite
Second room / office
Large Private bathroom and shower
Walk in robe
Ship Deck Plan
Recently renovated in 2009 with $13million refurbishment
Among the most comfortable and spacious expedition ships in its class
Large common areas and observation decks provide superior views
Crew among the most experienced and skilled in the industry
Safe, stable and fast
Responsible. Environmental policies that meet and exceed industry regulations
The G Expedition provides an intimate small-ship cruising
experience. Completely refurbished in 2009, she boasts spacious cabins,
each featuring ocean-facing windows or portholes and private en-suite
facilities. Large common areas and observation decks provide panoramic
views of the distinctive landscapes of some of the world's most remote
regions. The Expedition's spacious confines can hold as many as 140
passengers, but our commitment to keeping group sizes small means you'll
never have to share it with more than 131 others. Many expedition
cruise operators offer you a choice of space, comfort or expertise; the G
Expedition delivers all three at a price few can top.
Facilities and amenities
360° Observation Deck
All cabins with private ensuite and outside views
Raised Canada Goose Observation Deck
Fleet of 14 zodiacs with four stroke engines
Complimentary Wellington Boots for duration of your cruise
Complimentary destination guides for every passenger
Large headed Mud Room
Lonely Planet Library
Fine dining – international cuisine in one sitting
Large aft deck with barbeque facilities
Polar Bear Pub
Computer Room with internet where available
With a focus on safety, comfort and the unique demands of polar
travel, the crew of the G Expedition is committed to the ship’s
continued safe operation.
Forward-looking sonar reduces the risk of its grounding on uncharted reefs or rocks.
Designed to Ice Class 1B specifications for service in sea ice.
Four totally covered lifeboats provide capacity for all passengers
and crew, while six liferafts boast a capacity of 150 persons.
Full immersion cold weather survival suits for all passengers and crew
Built: Helsingr Skibsvaerft, Denmark, 1972 (2009)
Ice Class: Swedish/Finnish 1B
Length: 105m (345 ft)
Breadth: 18.6m (61 ft)
Max Draft: 4.7m (15 ft)
Gross Tonnage: 6334 GRT
Cruising Speed: 14.5 knots
Stabilizers: Fins, Type Brown/AEG
Max Group Size: 132
(Max Passenger Capacity: 140)
Activities/shore excursions as specified
Lectures and presentations by expedition leaders and naturalist staff
Use of waterproof boots
All meals throughout the voyage
What's not included?
International and internal airfares
Arrival/departure taxes or reciprocity fees, visa fees where applicable
Optional sea kayaking - AU$799 (2018)/AU$909 (2019) per person (selected departures only)