Tromso, Bear Island and Spitsbergen (Ocean Nova ) 2015 Trip Notes

Set sail from Norway and discover the history, landscapes, icebergs and wildlife of Spitsbergen. Travel along fjords, witness glaciers, encounter wildlife and be enchanted by this Arctic wonderland.

    • 12
    • BQML
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $6,995
      CAD $8,015
      AUD $8,095
      EUR €5,105
      GBP £4,245
      NZD $8,825
      ZAR R77,710
      CHF FR6,475
      *
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    • Polar, Wildlife
    • Comfort
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Last Modified: 31 Mar 2014
Tromso, Bear Island and Spitsbergen (Ocean Nova ) 2015
Trip code: BQML
Validity: 09 Jun 2015 to 21 Jun 2015
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating MealsSafety
Physical ratingTransportTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxEmergency contact
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Wildlife, Polar
Map
Tromso, Bear Island and Spitsbergen (Ocean Nova ) 2015
Itinerary
Day 1 Tromso
You may plan to arrive early to see all that Tromsø has to offer before
boarding the Ocean Nova in the afternoon.
Accommodation
Cruise ship (1 nt)
Day 2 Hammerfest
Hammerfest is known as the center of Sami culture, the northernmost
indigenous people of Europe. It’s also the oldest town in Norway, though
it was almost completely destroyed in WWII. You’ll also be invited here
to join the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, which is neither royal
nor ancient (founded in 1963) but membership does include a hat and a
pin.
Accommodation
Cruise ship (1 nt)
Day 3 Porsangerfjorden/Nordkapp
Porsangerfjorden is Norway’s fourth longest fjord at 76mi (123km), and an amazing example of the legendary Norwegian fjords. We’ll visit one of the small settlements for a taste of smalltown Norway. As we head out to sea, we’ll pass by Nordkapp, with its 1,000ft (307m) high cliff face.
Accommodation
Cruise ship (1 nt)
Day 4 Bear Island
Today we will have a full lecture schedule in advance of our landing at Bear Island, the southernmost island in the Svalbard Archipelago. It is poorly named as we rarely find polar bears here, but we will encounter hundreds of thousands of sea birds. It has been identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’ by Bird Life International on account of the great numbers of northern fulmars, black-legged kittiwakes, little auks and thick-billed guillemots. We will also find the remnants of a whaling station in Walrus Bay and a coal mining station in the north. Due to the cold and dry climate, you’ll find the ruins to be remarkably-well preserved.
Accommodation
Cruise ship (1 nt)
Days 5-11 Exploring Spitsbergen
We’ll sail around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as some stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife.
Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary, however we do have some favorite destinations, including the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Monaco Glacier and Gashamna. The destinations visited on your voyage will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed, with Hornsund being one of their preferred hunting areas.
Poolepynton is great for walrus viewing and photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget. These lumbering giants of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene, as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.
If you’re itching for a more personal and intimate view of the Arctic scenery, consider booking the optional kayaking excursions which will give you several occasions to paddle during your voyage to some of the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen. Smeerenburg is a great place for a snowshoeing excursion, if conditions permit. You can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historical site remembers the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme Arctic conditions.
There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day you’ll see something new, whether it is a rare bird species, a polar bear on the hunt, or a century-old abandoned hut.
Accommodation
Cruise ship (7 nts)
Day 12 Longyearbyen
Your adventure ends in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here we’ll transfer you directly to the airport for your flight home.
      Itinerary disclaimer
      Polar travel requires an amount of flexibility as weather, ice conditions and wildlife can all affect where your ship is able to access, and where your Expedition Team think you will get the best experience possible from your trip. On board, daily updates are given to advise what the specific itinerary will be for the next day based on local conditions. Published itineraries are subject to change when local conditions dictate.
      Culture shock rating

      This is the least confronting of Intrepid's product range. English is the native language and the food, customs and access to services will be similar to home.
      Physical rating

      These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
      Included activities
      Please note that some of our included activities are contingent on weather conditions. We'll arrange an alternative if an included activity is deemed unsafe.
      Optional activities
      OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES - ARCTIC
      On some voyages we offer optional activities such as kayaking. Numbers on these activities are extremely limited so it is important that you book in advance. Your consultant can advise which activities are available on your voyage and the cost.
      On some voyages there is also the option of a photography program. This includes a series of photography-focused lectures and shore excursions. There is no cost for this activity and it does not need to be booked in advance.
      Some voyages also offer snowshoeing. There is no cost for this activity and it does not need to be booked in advance.
      Tipping
      The voyage price does not include the customary gratuity to the ship’s personnel, which is divided amongst the crew, Expedition Team and Hospitality Team. We suggest this guideline for your convenience: aboard ship US $13 to US $15 per traveller, per day. The amount you choose to give is at your discretion. It can be added to your shipboard account.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      ARCTIC DEPOSIT:
      An increased non-refundable deposit of A$2000 is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. If the tour is cancelled inside 90 days the full amount is forfeited.
      Group size
      Maximum of 83 travellers per group.
      Your fellow travellers
      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
      Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
      Single travellers
      POLAR VOYAGES
      Single occupancy is available in most cabin categories for 1.7 or 2 times the twin berth price (dependent on which cabin category). Single travellers wishing to share will be matched with another solo traveller of the same sex. Please note that it is not possible to share with a stranger in all cabin types. Please speak to a consultant for full details.
      Accommodation
      Cruise ship (11 nts)
      All passenger cabins have exterior views, private facilities and climate control. Cabins are cleaned daily. Linen and towels are provided. There is a hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.
      The different types of cabins available and their prices can be accessed via the Dates & Availability link.
      Meals
      11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room. Hours of operation will be posted and are subject to change to accommodate the expedition. Coffee, tea and cocoa are available around the clock. The tap water on board is safe to drink.
      We're able to meet most special dietary requests, as long as you have clearly indicated your requirements far in advance of your voyage. Kosher food cannot be prepared.
      Transport
      Zodiac , Ship
      During the expedition we visit remote and isolated sites that are accessible only by Zodiac landing craft. The flat bottom design permits the craft to land directly onto the cobble and ice-strewn beaches although you should expect to walk through shallow water to reach the shore.
      Joining point
      Tromso
      Tromso
      NORWAY
      Arrival complications
      We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
      No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
      Finish point
      Longyearbyen
      Longyearbyen
      Svalbard
      NORWAY
      Emergency contact
      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Quark Expeditions can be reached on tel: +1 416 504 5900 (business hours - US & Canada Eastern) or 001 647 449 5303 (after hours). For further contact details please use the following page:
      Emergency funds
      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
      Visas
      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
      We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
      Issues on your trip
      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
      What to take
      Clothing on board ship is generally informal. For outdoor wear, please bring wind and waterproof outer layers. Tight clothing is not recommended as it does not allow insulating air to be trapped.Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like fleece, retain heat. We do not recommend clothing made of cotton. Plan to dress in layers.
      Essential Gear:
      Boots - Rubber boots are provided on a loan basis for the duration of the voyage. You do not need to bring these with you.
      Parkas - A complimentary parka will be provided on the ship.
      Pants - Waterproof pants are essential for zodiac travel as well as activities on shore. These, over a pair of warm pants, will keep you warm and dry.
      Gloves - To keep your hands warm and dry, pack a minimum of two pairs of gloves: a pair of thin polypropylene gloves to be worn underneath warm outer gloves. We strongly recommend that you bring at least one other set of gloves in case on pair gets wet or lost.
      Hat and Scarf - Pack a warm, woollen hat or cap that covers your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection. A peaked or brimmed hat helps protect against the sun but needs some kind of retainer for windy conditions.
      Socks - For maximum warmth we suggest that you wear two pairs of socks inside the rubber boots that are loaned to you. In addition, pack warm, long wool or cotton socks to be worn over a thin pair of silk or polypropylene socks. Bring several pairs.
      Outer Clothing - Pack woollen or fleece sweaters and tops, plus several turtlenecks for layering.
      Underclothing - Pack silk or polypropylene underwear since it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Many polar travellers prefer a lightweight version but this depends on your own personal thermostat.
      Day Pack - To keep your hands free for shooting photographs bring a water resistant or waterproof daypack
      Shoes - Bring shoes with non-slip soles for walking around the vessel. Slip-on sandals are not suitable for use on board ship.
      Swimsuit - There may be an opportunity for a polar plunge during the voyage so we recommend that you pack a swimsuit.
      Children - Children will be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.
      Health
      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of staff, any traveller is found to be unfit to complete the itinerary on the day of embarkation, they may be denied boarding and excluded from the trip without refund.
      If you are taking prescribed medication, carry an extra week’s supply just in case of flight delays or other unforeseen circumstances. If you have particular health needs, please bring with you a signed and dated letter from your physician explaining your health problems and/or the dosage required for the prescribed medication. The letter will assist our doctor on board, and any emergency medical personnel to care for you should you become ill. Please hand the letter to the expedition doctor once you are on board.
      There will be a licensed English-speaking physician on board. Your vessel will have a medical clinic with a limited supply of prescription medicines and basic first aid equipment. The clinic will not be stocked with every drug or piece of equipment required for every medical problem. If you are under regular treatment for any ailment, you must bring a sufficient supply of medicines for yourself. We cannot accept responsibility for not having a specific brand or type of drug on board.
      You should anticipate some rough seas. The motion-sickness medication that is available on board is for emergencies only. To avoid motion sickness, avoid alcohol, tobacco, excess liquids, and confined spaces. Most people feel better on deck looking at the horizon or lying still with their eyes shut. You will definitely feel better with some food in your stomach, such as dry toast or crackers.
      Safety
      As a ship registered for international voyages, the ship must comply with a variety of regulations, codes and industry standards. This regime of requirements ensures that internationally accepted standards for safety and environmental protection are developed, implemented and monitored within the company management system onshore and on board the ship. The ship adheres to regulations set by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) including ISM Code (Safety Management System), ISPS Code (for ship and port security), SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Prevention), the flag state and the classification society on an accredited system. In addition, as the ship spends considerable time in the Arctic waters, Quark Expeditions, Inc is a full member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and a full member of AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators).
      CHILDREN: The minimum age for travel is 8. If a child is travelling without their parent/legal guardian, their parent/legal guardian will need to fill out a waiver form. Children will also be required to bring their own life jacket and rubber boots as child sizes are not provided on board.
      Travel insurance
      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
      When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
      If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
      Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
      As a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operatiors (AECO), Quark Expeditions are supporters of responsible tourism that mitigates the impact of our shore landings on the landscape or wildlife. Quark was the first operator to offer inclusive Carbon Neutral voyages on the Ocean Diamond. By doing so we have enhanced our commitment to ecological sensitivity and to minimising our impact on the areas we visit including:
      • Having our vessels burn Marine Gas Oil (MGO) a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor.
      • Conforming to all international regulations/policies governing disposal of waste at sea.
      • Serving only sustainable seafood.
      • Using only eco-friendly laundry chemicals and room amenities.
      • Removing disposable water bottles from the ships.
      • Making all our voyages virtually paperless by 2014 and having any paper used be 100% recyclable.
      IAATO and AECO members also operate according to established rules of conduct, which, while you travel with us, we ask you to respect. A copy of the IAATO or AECO guidelines will be provided prior to travel and staff will brief all passengers prior to the first landing.
      For more information on the responsible travel guidelines to Antarctica established by the IAATO please visit: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller.php
      A couple of rules
      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
      The Intrepid Foundation
      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
      Once you’ve left your feedback with us you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.