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National Geographic and PONANT announce new partnership

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Polynesian Paradise with Aranui 5

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"As seen in Choice Magazine - July 2018 - this article offers an in depth review of the stunning Aranui 5- part cargo ship part cruise ship!"

CRUISE AWARDS 2018

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We have a range of cruises on the Danube, Rhine, Rhône and Saône in 2019, aboard the state-of-the-art fleet owned by Amadeus. Cruise through Lyon, Amsterdam, and other scenic routes in true comfort and style. Click here for more info!

Croatian Cruises in 2019 & 2020

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We have a wide variety of special interest cruises in Croatian next year. Call us or click here for more info.

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Hondius

Around Spitsbergen – Kvitoya, In the realm of Polar Bear and Ice

Hondius is the first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel in the world, optimized for the most innovative exploratory voyages throughout the Arctic and Antarctica. The main focus of the ship's design revolves around discovery, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities and the related shore activities. A swift zodiac embarkation is guaranteed with two separate gangways and in addition a zodiac embarkation indoor-platform which can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking. The vessel can carry up to 174 passengers accommodated in contemporary designed cabins and suites. Its distinctive informal cozy public areas include a dining room, and a large observation lounge and bar area. The adjoining lecture room will be reserved for a wide variety of interactive workshops and exhibitions.

 

Info

 

Embark

Embark the ship in Longyearbyen.

Day 1: Longyearbyen

Arrive in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago. Before embarking there is an opportunity to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth a visit. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden and your voyage will begin.

Day 2: Cruising Krossfjorden

Heading north along the west coast, the Hondius arrives in Krossfjorden, where you will have an opportunity to take the Zodiacs for an exhilarating cruise along the sculpted front of the 14th of July Glacier. Here, you will find a colourful variety of flowers bloom, while large numbers of kittiwakes and brünnich's guillemots nest on the nearby cliffs. In the afternoon your cruise continues to Ny Ålesund, the world's most northerly settlement. Once a mining village, served by the world's most northerly railway, Ny Ålesund is now a research centre. Visitors interested in the history of Arctic exploration may wish to walk to the anchoring mast used by Amundsen and Nobile in the airship Norge in 1926 and by Nobile in the airship Italia in 1928 before their flights to the North Pole.

Day 3: Seven Islands

The northernmost point of your voyage may be north of Nordaustlandet, in the Seven Islands. Here you reach 80° north, just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walrus inhabit this stark desolate landscape. Later in the day the ship may roam for several hours among the pack ice in search of wildlife.

Day 4: Schweigaardbreen

Pushing east to Nordaustlandet, you reach the area where the Italian captain Sora tried to rescue the Nobile Expedition in 1928. The focus here is the great glacier front of Schweigaardbreen, though you may also land at Firkantbukta, getting the chance to gain some altitude and take a few higher-elevation photos. Alternately, you could make a Zodiac cruise near Storøya, where you might encounter walruses.

Day 5: Kvitøya

Today the ship will try and reach the rarely visit, Kvitøya, far east and close to Russian territory. Kvitøya is a giant ice cap covering the island leaves only a small area bare. You will land at the western tip of Andréeneset, where the Swedish explorer S. A. Andrée and his companions perished in 1897.

Day 6: The longest glacier in Spitsbergen

South of Nordaustlandet you may land on Isisøya, formerly a Nunatak area surrounded by glaciers but now an island surrounded by the sea. Later the ship may also pass by Bråswellbreen, part of the largest ice cap in Europe and famed for its meltwater waterfalls.

Day 7: Freemansundet

Today land at Freemansundet, though polar bears sometimes make this impossible. Potential stops on Barentsøya include Sundneset (for an old trapper’s hut), Kapp Waldburg (for its kittiwake colony), and Rindedalen (for a walk across the tundra). You might also cruise south to Diskobukta, though Kapp Lee is more likely your destination. On Kapp Lee is a walrus haul-out, Pomor ruins, and the chance for hikes along Edgeøya.

Day 8: Land of the pointed mountains

You start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, taking in the spire-like peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named this island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this area as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.

Day 9: Bell Sund

Today the ship arrives in Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. While cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 10: Longyearbyen

Your voyage ends in Longyearbyen where you will disembark.

Disembark

Disembark the ship in Longyearbyen.

Includes

  • 9 Nights' accommodation on board the Hondius
  • Full Board including snacks, coffee and tea
  • Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes aboard the vessel
  • All shore excursions and activities through the voyage by Zodiac
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
  • Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to and from Longyearbyen - please request details when you make your reservation
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material
  • Fuel Surcharges, where applicable, are shown separately on the website and must be paid at time of booking

Excludes

  • International transportation
  • Visas where required
  • Government arrival and departure taxes
  • Meals ashore
  • Cancellation and personal insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Gratuities
  • Beverages
  • Laundry
 

Sailing dates