Enjoy breathtaking scenery from your suite’s private verandah as Scenic Eclipse navigates spectacular waterways like Magdalena Fjord, and join Discovery Team specialists on Zodiac cruises along calving ice fronts of the Waggonway or 14th July glaciers. As you slowly move amongst the brash ice and bergy bits, watch for polar bears on shore and reindeer grazing on tundra hills.
In Kingsfjorden, we may visit Ny Ålesund, a mining town turned polar research centre, or farther north, Amsterdamoya, where our Discovery Team historian leads us to Smeerenburg (literally Blubber Town) the remains of a 17th Century Dutch whaling settlement, where walrus often haulout. Just across the channel are the ruins from the Swedish balloon expedition base camp, where Andrée and his two co-pilots launched, never to be seen alive again. Today delightful harbour seals remain to entertain.
North of Spitsbergen, Scenic Eclipse aims for the Arctic pack ice, an ethereal world where walrus bob on ice floes, polar bears hunt seals and beluga whales rise in open leads. Scenic Eclipse, is built to Polar Class 6 standards and its state-of-the-art design allows us to push deeper into the pack thus improving our chance to see more and reach places other ships can’t, including beyond 80 degrees latitude to Seven Islands, Svalbard’s northernmost island group.
If ice conditions allow, thrill to a passage down Hinlopen Strait, which separates Spitsbergen from Nordaustlandet, an ice-capped polar desert where female polar and cubs prowl. Vegetation is sparse, but fossils are many and walrus frequently sleep on its cobbled beaches. Across the way are soaring birdcliffs that literally buzz with some 200,000 nests of Brünichs guillemots, kittiwakes and gulls. Carry binoculars to spy Arctic foxes scavenging for fallen eggs and chicks along the base.