A Unique Expedition That Takes Guests to The Front Line of Climate Change Research in The Arctic
New York, NY — As a leader in Expedition Cruising, with voyages to some of the world’s most remote regions, Hurtigruten makes every effort to educate its guests on a host of subjects — culture, geography, historical aspects, botany, wildlife – and most importantly these days, some of the reasons for and effects of climate change on these destinations and its wildlife. That topic is the primary focus on a just-announced new voyage — “Climate Pilgrimage” — to Northern Norway and the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. The 11-day voyage, aboard one of the world’s newest, state-of-the-art, polar-ready cruise ships, MS Fram, offers guests the opportunity to visit research stations, track wildlife, participate in field studies and meet with some of the field’s top research scientists – getting the story from those who are best informed. The May 29, 2010 departure is priced from $4,823 to $9,516 per person, double.
The first two days are spent in Norway’s Tromso, visiting the Polar Environmental Centre, where climate scientists discuss the task at hand and the status of the research being done. A stop in Europe’s northernmost cities, Honningsvag, includes a visit to the North Cape Plateau, and a stop at Gjesvaerstappan – a unique bird cliff where the Norwegian Polar Institute has done research on a host of seabirds including puffins, gannets, auks and guillemots.
The remainder of the trip is spent exploring the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen where polar bears, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes, whales, walruses and ringed and harp seals and dozens of other animals and migratory birds still roam the stunning landscapes of their natural habitat — a natural classroom to learn about and see the effects of climate changes. On Bjornoya (Bear Island), participants observe the changes to bird habits at one of the largest concentrations of seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere. Research in Hornsund, Spitsbergen’s most southern fjord, includes polar bears and the feeding grounds of auks, while in Bellsund, guests learn about the phenomenon call surging glaciers. Ny Alesund has been the jump off point for several historic attempts to reach the North pole – Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are some examples of explorers. Guests will explore a large glacier front and possibly enjoy an Arctic beer at one of the world’s northernmost pubs.
The warming of the Arctic now allows vessels to cross the 80th parallel – something not possible less than 20 years ago. Walruses, whales and polar bears rule this region and the MS Fram will treat guests to a close look at the marginal ice-zone and its large yearly variations. The final two days are spent exploring Isfjorden, Spitsbergen’s largest fjord system, observing giant bird cliffs, and visits to the University Centre of Svalbard and Svalbard Museum in Spitsbergen’s capital town of Longyearben.
Fares include the cruise and all meals onboard, flights from Spitsbergen to Oslo, lectures and excursions by experienced biologists, geologists and other scientists, applicable land transfers, port fees and some land excursions. Transatlantic airfare, optional excursions, gratuities, and fuel surcharges and taxes 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. Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from Hurtigruten Inc., (800) 323-7436; fax (954) 486-9340; for brochures (800) 582-0835, 24 hours a day; www.hurtigruten.us.
Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.