July 10th - 24th, 2015
Join Dan and Tanya on an 11 day voyage in Norway’s archipelago! The ship is not too small but not too large – 54 guests. It has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising due to its strength, maneuverability, and small number of cabins. Polar bears create an unforgettable spectacle whether hunting seals on pack ice, shepherding cubs along the beach, or swimming near our Zodiacs. High above the Arctic Circle, we’ll explore deep fjords, polar deserts, tundra tinged with wildflowers, and vast glaciers calving into the sea. Summer in the Arctic! On foot and by Zodiac, we’ll visit abandoned whaling settlements, search for walrus, Arctic fox and reindeer, and revel in millions of migratory birds, including little auks, guillemots, and puffin. The seas are alive with whales along with bearded and possibly ringed seals.
LIMITED SPACE – NOW BOOKING – Please note there will be new regulations from the IMO starting as early as 2016 for Arctic and Antarctica tourist ships. Up to 80% of the ships now working in these areas will most likely not meet the new regulations, limiting access to the general public. 2015 may be our last year to offer this tour.
2015 Svalbard Photography Tour Travel Plans
What makes this tour special is that it will have a “flexible” schedule, meaning if we find polar bears out on the ice we can stay with them to maximize photography opportunities as long as we get back to port on departure date. This is important when looking for a ship in this region, as you don’t want to be stuck on a vessel that cannot get into the ice or one that has a strict schedule. As with all wildlife, polar bears are not guaranteed. This trip is weather dependent and will vary depending on where the ice is moving; each year is different. This will be a great opportunity for anyone who has always wanted to visit this region of the world.
This tour reveals the diversity of Spitsbergen’s archipelago and takes us into the kingdom of the polar bear. We explore the coastline, with no open sea crossings, against a backdrop of spectacular glacially-covered peaks. We discover deep fjords in the west, mysterious, fossil-rich desert plains in the east, and best of all, seals and whales in the arctic pack ice. This voyage offers the best chance for seeing reindeer and polar bears and features wildflower walks across sweeping tundra, trapper camps and historical remains of whaling stations.
Friday, July 10
Depart U.S./Canada to Oslo, Norway
Saturday, July 11
Arrive in Oslo, Norway any time of day. Guests will be greeted at the airport and transfers will be provided by Airport Express Train to the Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania for a two-night stay. Depending on the time of day you arrive, you can explore the city on your own or just relax after your long flight.
Please Note: Airport is 50km from the city center
Sunday, July 12 (B, D)
After breakfast we’ll explore and photograph the historic Viking city of Oslo. More details to come. This evening there will be a welcome dinner and drinks to get to know your fellow travelers before we depart to Longyearbyen for our arctic adventure. Overnight Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania
Monday, July 13 (B, D)
Today we’ll fly from Oslo to Longyearbyen. After a short sightseeing tour upon arrival, we’ll board our vessel, the Polar Pioneer and enjoy 10 nights / 11 days expedition.
Tuesday, July 14 – Wednesday, July 22 (B, L, D)
Wake to spectacular alpine peaks and glacier valleys of Spitsbergen’s rugged west coast. In Magdalene fjord, we Zodiac cruise a safe distance from the aqua-blue ice cliffs of 14th July Glacier or Waggonway Glacier, and take long walks among summer flowers, alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Thanks to the nutrient-rich Gulf Stream and relatively mild temperatures, Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres fill the cliffs. We may visit the remains of a 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement on Amsterdam Island and hear of Swedish explorer Andrée’s ill-fated attempt to balloon over the North Pole.
We’ll enter the Arctic Ocean and the world of pack ice. Beluga whales may rise up in open leads, walrus impossibly crowd ice floes, and polar bears stalk ringed and bearded seals. In coastal mountains, we visit trapper huts and stay alert for reindeer and Arctic fox. Delightful walks reveal exquisite tundra berries and flowers including purple saxifrage, yellow spider plants and Svalbard poppies. We attempt to cross latitude 80° North before turning south to Wood fjord.
We attempt to pass through narrow Hinlopen Strait, a channel flanked by austere, cream-coloured slopes rich in fossils between Spitsbergen and ice-capped Nordaustlandet. This polar desert is a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even in summer, pack ice could bar our way, but there is much to strive for. We Zodiac beneath Alkefjellt, sheer basalt cliffs rising more than 250 metres – literally buzzing with some 200,000 nests of Brunnich’s guillemots. On walks we seek eider ducks, Arctic foxes and elusive Svalbard ptarmigan. As we pass Barents and Edge islands, we cross polar bear migration routes.
If ice conditions allow, we round South Cape and sail north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, deep fjords with stunning glaciers and wildlife. If ice bars our way, we simply adjust our itinerary, backtrack and delve deeper into the wonders of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts.
A midnight cruise of glorious Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen, the end of our voyage and a group transfer to the airport.
Thursday, July 23 (B)
Disembark ship for return flight home. Please book domestic flights shown in the Flights To Book section to ensure you remain with the group for transfers.
54 Passenger Ship
Price per person, based on double occupancy
Triple, shared bath: $6675
Double, shared bath: $8145
Double, private bath: $9330
Single Supplement: Please inquire
**Fuel surcharge may apply depending on fuel price increase.
$2500 Per person due at time of booking
Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, or check accepted
Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.
July 15, 2014: $4000 First Installment
February 15, 2015: Final Payment
Check only for first installment and final payment.
Please make check payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:
810 N. Wallace, Suite E
Bozeman, MT 59715
- Airport transfers to/from hotel in Oslo, Norway by Express Train to city
- 2 nights accommodation in Oslo
- Welcome dinner and drinks in Oslo July 12
- Full day walking tour around Oslo with Daniel J. Cox and Wolfgang Kaehler
- Airport transfers in Longyearbyen to/from ship
- Sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen
- Personal guidance and group workshops with Daniel J. Cox and Wolfgang Kaehler
- 10 nights accommodations on ship (all public areas are open to all passengers)
- All meals on board ship
- All shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs
- Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
- Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
- Flights to and from Longyearbyen
- Domestic flights Oslo-Longyearbyen and Longyearbyen-Oslo
- Visa, passport and vaccination charges
- Airport departure taxes
- Optional excursions not included in the ship cruise itinerary or in Oslo
- Laundry, postage, personal clothing, phone calls and other miscellaneous personal expenses
- Travel insurance
- Emergency evacuation fees/insurance
Flights to Book
July 10, 2015
July 11, 2015
Arrive Oslo (OSL), Norway any time of day
July 23 or 24, 2015
Depart Oslo (OSL). Your flights must connect with your domestic flight times. (LYR-OSL)
July 13, 2015
Flight SK 4414
Depart Oslo (OSL) 9:55am to arrive in Longyearbyen (LYR) 13:55
July 23, 2015
Flight SK 4425
Depart Longyearbyen (LYR) 14:45 to arrive in Oslo (OSL) 19:00
Please book these domestic flights to ensure you remain with the group for transfers.
Emergency Evacuation Insurance
All guests MUST carry emergency evacuation insurance. It is required by our tour operators and the information will be collected prior to trip time. We recommend InsureMyTrip.com and/or Global Rescue (use code natexp).
Daniel and Tanya will be teaming up with fellow photographers Wolfgang and Michelle Kaehler to offer guests a memorable photographic adventure.
Terms & Conditions
Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.
By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY
Accommodations for 2015 Svalbard Photography Tour
July 11 and 12, 2 nights in Oslo, Norway
Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania
This hotel is situated opposite Oslo Central Station and the Airport Express Train which takes you to the city center from Oslo Airport Gardermoen in only 19 minutes. Oslo’s attractions and shopping opportunities are right outside the door which makes it the perfect place for exploring. The main street Karl Johansgate, is only a 100 meters walk from the hotel.
July 13-22, 10 nights
Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1985 as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the USSR’s northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St. Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 54 passengers. A combined bar/lounge/library area (stocked with a good collection of polar books) was also created by simple internal restructuring.
This class of vessel has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising, due to its strength, maneuverability and small number of cabins. All cabins have outside portholes plus ample storage space. The Russian captain and crew are among the most experienced ice-navigators in the world and their enthusiasm is legendary.
The spacious bridge is always open and the decks are ideal for viewing. The chefs are European, and the dining room is attended by Russian stewardesses.
Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel as such, but this is the most popular ship for travel to the Polar regions. The accommodations are simple yet comfortable, and the meals are wholesome and uncomplicated. A small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors enable us to travel from ship to shore.
Helpful Information for 2015 Svalbard Photography Tour
A list of camera gear suggestions will be sent to each guest along with a “goodie box” to get you prepared for the trip. Closer to trip time, Daniel will call you to say hello and answer any camera gear questions you may have.
NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Everyone is welcome, regardless of skill or equipment! The majority of our guests are amateur enthusiasts who love traveling and taking pictures during their vacations. Our groups are non-competitive and friendly – we’re here to have fun! This trip is perfect for the guest who wants more than just a cruise. Daniel will work with each guest individually to help them advance their photography skills. Non-photographing spouses are always welcome as well.
There is ample storage space in your cabin on the ship. Your empty baggage can be stored safely elsewhere on the ship if need be.
THE SHIP CREW
The crew of the Polar Pioneer are all Russian. They are undoubtedly the ice-masters of the world. The Captain and most of the watch officers speak English. Whilst some of the crew speak only a little English, they do like to practice their English skills on willing passengers.
AIR CONDITIONING AND WEATHER
The vessel is air-conditioned and the temperature ranges for 15°C to 25°C. On Polar Pioneer you can control the temperature of your cabin by adjusting the airflow through the roof vent and turning your heater on or off.
Clothing dries very quickly inside your cabin. There are no passenger laundry facilities for you to do your own washing, but there is a laundry service on board the vessel. Prices will be listed in your cabin. All cabins have a sink.
Shipboard clothing is informal and casual. Depending on your destination; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in our polar regions. Be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings!
Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary.
You can get away without a padded ski jacket or down parka if you don’t have one, however, a wind and waterproof jacket is a must! Polar expedition jackets will be provided onboard.
It is most important that you bring a good pair of walking shoes. Gumboots will be provided on board. If you have concerns regarding extra small or large sizing, or hard-to-fit feet, we recommend you bring your own pair.
HOW OFTEN WILL WE GET OFF THE SHIP?
We aim to get off the ship as much as possible, usually two, and sometimes three times a day depending on weather and itinerary. Weather permitting we spend between one to four hours at each location. We come back to the ship for meals.
Travel insurance, including medical evacuation cover, is mandatory for all guests. We advise you have insurance for voyage cancellation to ensure you will be covered financially if you are forced to cancel your voyage due to circumstances beyond your control. We will do our best to resell your space if needed.
Tipping is a very personal matter, however, we recommend $10-12 per passenger, per day that you are on the ship. It is better for the Russian crew if you can give them USD cash. The Russian crews work extremely hard to ensure you have the best possible experience. They are paid by the Russian ship owners and do not receive large wages.
Walking plea are a good idea, especially if you have trouble walking over uneven ground. Some of the landings can be on slippery rocks or deep snow, and we may go for extended walks to see different parts of our landing point.
Computers to download your digital images are not provided. We recommended you bring a laptop computer or similar downloading device to download your images.
The electrical supply on board Polar Pioneer is 220 volts, 50 hertz. You will need a European round two-prong plug adapter.
INTERNET AND TELEPHONE
There is no Internet access on board the ship, however, you can pay to send and receive emails only. On Polar Pioneer, the prices start from approximately 20 US cents per one kilobyte. Wi-fi access is available for laptops, with an email account set up for US$5, with the same download/sending fees.
A satellite telephone is available for use, and prices start from US$10 for 5 min.
Please Note: Due to the remote location of your voyage, making contact with the ship via telephone can be difficult and expensive. In case of emergency, it is recommended your family and friends contact our office and we will do our best to get the message through to the ship.
SPECIAL FOOD NEEDS
The chefs will take your dietary requirements into their meal planning and ensure you receive tasty, healthy meals. Please ensure you list any dietary requirements on your personal details form.
BATHROOMS WHILE ON SHORE
Our expedition staff will instruct you with these types of rules on board. Generally on our polar voyages we avoid going to the bathroom ashore, however, in an emergency we ask you to find a discreet location near the shoreline to relieve yourself.
TOILETRIES ON THE SHIP
No, please bring your own shampoo and bathroom toiletries.
To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you participating.
PAYING YOUR BILL BEFORE DEPARTURE
The hotel manager will organize this on board. All major credit cards are accepted, or if you are paying cash they except US dollars.
There is a ‘No Smoking’ policy throughout the interior of the ship. The expedition leader will advise you about designated smoking areas.
There are no hairdryers.
Seasickness depends so much on the individual. Experience in the past has determined that a small percentage of people are seasick on any trip and most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. Come with motion sickness tablets. There will be a doctor on board Polar Pioneer to assist with any bouts of sea sickness.
As with all wild animals, we cannot guarantee you will see polar bears. However, the time of year we visit is when bear numbers are at their peak, and the experienced leaders and crew are aware of the bear’s habitats and are well trained to spot these marvelous creatures in the wild.
MONEY TO BRING
We recommend that you take US dollars for exchanging in Norway. It is better to carry US dollars for tipping and payment of bar bills on board the ship. You can also pay with all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
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Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers
"If you ever want to travel to another country and you want to go first class, travel with Natural Exposures. They are number one in showing their guests the best time ever in the classiest way. I would recommend Natural Exposures Tours to everyone. If you want to go in style, go with NE!"
Michelle Duggan, Massachusetts
"Tanya and Dan’s logistic skills provide a seamless photo tour where one can truly enjoy the experience. With unlimited photographic opportunities Dan’s instruction has taken my photography to a higher level."
Linda Henry, Oregon
"What a trip
What a group
What a fabulous everything
To our next encounters with nature"
Maud and Leon Soriano, Florida
"I just wanted to again thank you for a wonderful week of photography and relaxation away from the office. It was a really a good group."
Sue Wolfe, Texas