Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Rare Arctic Wonders Await Travelers on Hurtigruten's 9-Day "Kingdom of the Polar Bear"

Majestic polar bears and Svalbard reindeer roaming icy tundra, Moffen Island's walrus colony, and Hornsund Fjord, with its dramatic vertical cliffs and imposing glaciers, are among the rare Arctic wonders travelers can experience on  Hurtigruten's 9-day "Kingdom of the Polar Bear."   The MV Polar Star, specifically designed to explore areas inaccessible to most other ships, travels roundtrip from Longyearbyen to the farthest corners of Spitsbergen and explores a diverse and fascinating landscape of Arctic tundra, impressive fjords, stunning national parks and scenic islands.  Guests experience the impressive culture of Spitsbergen firsthand with an array of ports and excursions ranging from a charming folklore show in Barentsburg to Sjuøyane ("Seven Islands"), the northernmost point in the Svalbard Archipelago and the closest most will ever get to the North Pole.  Prices for the voyage, which has 11 departures between June 9 and August 18, range from $6,419 to $10,080 per person, double.

After a day of guided sightseeing in Longyearbyen that includes the Svalbard Museum and Svalbard Gallery, the MV Polar Star embarks on its roundtrip journey, stopping first in Barentsburg and then Ny Ålesund, the northernmost permanently inhabited Arctic Research Station.  Venturing past the "Seven Icebergs" and entering North West Spitsbergen National Park, guests explore the whaling history of breathtaking Magdalenefjorden before sailing past the walrus colonies of Moffen Island and across the 80th parallel towards the North Pole.  After passing through scenic Sorgfjorden and navigating the Hinlopen Strait, the ship arrives at the face of Bråsvell Glacier – a seemingly infinite branch of the Nordaustlandet Nature Reserve –continuing its journey past snow-capped peaks to stunning Hornsund, a spectacular fjord defined by steep cliffs and mammoth glaciers. 

Fares include the cabin grade of your choice; transfers as applicable; all meals on board, with a selection of drinks for those in suites; one night in Longyearbyen before the voyage, including breakfast and sightseeing; roundtrip economy class flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen; and a wind and water proof jacket.  International flights are additional.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic's Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring.  The company's fleet of 14 intimate ships, carrying 100 to 646 passengers, allows passengers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere.    Additional information on all of these adventures, as well as brochures and reservations, can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten's visitor-friendly web site, www.hurtigruten.us; or by phone: (877) 301-3117; fax (888) 524-2145; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day.