HOT DEAL for 2019
Open only to Wanderlust UK readers, get £500 off per person when you book on our exclusive June 14th, 2019 departure on the MV Polarfront for your once-in-a-lifetime Svalbard Arctic adventure. Currently Wait Listed!
*see below for details and contact us to book: firstname.lastname@example.org
Towering mountain peaks, a massive glacier spilling down the valley in between, and then someone on the bridge hollers, “Animal on the fast ice!” We mobilize quick, lowering the zodiacs and zoom up to the ice edge for a closer look.
This is the magic of Svalbard.
In June 2019 join us as part of a group of 12 intrepid guests to journey around some of the most majestic islands of the Arctic, on the lookout for whales, polar bears, walruses, arctic foxes, and much more. Not to mention hiking across the tundra, taking in colossal glaciers crackling under the summer sun, and gazing up at jagged peaks that relatively few have laid eyes upon.
We’ve chosen June for this voyage as the weather tends to be quite stable and with luck, the winter sea ice will still be far enough south to offer us opportunities for polar bear sightings.
In Svalbard, Nature is Queen.
THE EXPEDITION SHIP
Guests will travel on board the newly refurbished ship, the Polarfront, an excellent polar vessel that offers big ship sophistication in a small ship package.
She offers large, tastefully appointed twin cabins (both lower berths), a common lounge and polar library.
an outdoor hot tub
a mudroom for your wet outer gear
a French chef
Not to mention, the bridge is always open.
Come and experience Svalbard in style, comfort, and class without taking away from the real expeditionary feel.
WHY WE LOVE THIS SHIP
Her spacious forward & rear decks low to the water – ideal for getting closer to wildlife on the ice –
and a bird’s nest in the front for getting those high up panorama shots if photography is your thing
A mudroom for your outdoor wet/muddy field clothes and boots so you leave them in a warm, protected space just off the main deck rather than bring it in to your clean suite
Extra electrical outlets in the suites and common areas for charging camera batteries and laptops
Heated towel racks in each bathroom so you have warm towels when you come in from the cold + can dry your gear faster
Her compact size means we can avoid the competing interest groups of the larger ships and just do we really want to do!
DATES: June 14th – 24th, 2019
RATES: All rates are per passenger based on shared cabins. If you prefer a suite to yourself, the rate is 1.7x the cost quoted below.
Polarfront Suites: 9950 EUROS
Deluxe Suites: 11550 EUROS
Owner’s Prestige Suite: 13550 EUROS
* see explanation of suite differences in FAQ at the bottom of this page
PASSENGERS: Twelve (plus two expedition guides)
LANGUAGE: The official language of the tour will be English
READY TO BOOK, OR HAVE A QUESTION WE CAN HELP YOU WITH?
Use the contact form below to get in touch and we’ll send you the current availability + Booking Form asap.
June 14th – Embarkation day:
Board the Polarfront at 4pm from the dock in Longyearbyen and enjoy a welcome cocktail with the captain.
June 15th through 23rd – Expedition days:
While there is a carefully planned daily schedule based on distances between points of interest and the location of the ice in any given season, our timetable in Svalbard by nature must be flexible.
We usually begin by heading North towards the ice edge which is a great place to scout for polar bears, but that’s not the only goal. We’ll use our planned itinerary as a rough guide so that every day the conditions are maximized for the best wildlife watching opportunities, be they land or sea-based.
Every morning your Expedition Leader will work with the bridge officers to make decisions about the day, taking into account ice situation and the weather, looking at whether Plan A makes the most sense or if Plan B, C, or D will be better for us. If we come across something amazing, we would never just pull the plug because we have something else “scheduled” for the afternoon. While the captain has final say on all decisions made, we will always check in with the group and take into account your wishes.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Svalbard has a little bit of everything, including massive scenic fjords from which artfully sculpted glaciers emerge to meet the sea, up to the high snowcapped peaks, and all the way down to Arctic tundra covered in colourful vegetation such as mosses and lichens that the Svalbard reindeer love to feed on. It’s not uncommon to find seals or walruses resting on ice floes at the mouths of these fjords, and if we’re lucky, we’ll spot a whale or two as we sail up the west coast.
We’ll plan to stop in at the world’s northernmost civilian settlement, the research village of Ny Ålesund, which also boasts the world’s northernmost post office. At the height of the summer season, there are about 120 inhabitants working amongst the 15 permanent research stations.
It’s from here that Amundsen and Nobile initiated their courageous attempts to reach the North Pole by airship, and there are a couple of monuments dedicated to their efforts that are worth visiting.
From there we’ll continue heading north, poking into other landing sites and fjords of interest, getting out into the two zodiacs to make landings where we’ll plan hikes to stretch our legs and optimize our chances for excellent photographic opportunities.
To the Right you can see a sample Svalbard itinerary, but please keep in mind that our actual route will be entirely dependent on weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. >>>>>
We’ll be constantly scouting for these beautiful Arctic bears – Ursus maritimus in Latin – and if we find them, get as close as we can without disturbing them or putting passengers at any risk. Again, getting out into the inflatable zodiacs is an excellent way to safely observe the wildlife from proximity.
Weather and ice conditions permitting, we’ll sail into Hinlopen Strait and plan to visit Alkefjellet (‘Bird Mountain’), a series of otherworldly basalt cliffs stretching a number of kilometres in length and in some places, up to 100 meters high, (click on the underlined text to see an amazing video!) on which we’ll find thousands of nesting birds and the occasional Arctic fox hunting nearby.
Nordauslandet, Bråsvellbreen, Barentsøya, and Edgeøya are all locations that we may also explore, weather and ice permitting, and offer magnificent scenery with vast tundra which hold the prospect of continued incredible landscapes and wildlife sighting opportunities.
During the entire expedition, we’ll be on the lookout for polar bears, which can be spotted on land just as often as on the sea ice. There are an estimated 3000-4000 animals in the region and the population is considered to be stable. This powerful animal is amazing to behold in the wild, with males weighing up to 700kg when they are at their healthiest.
June 24th – Disembarkation day:
Disembark in Longyearbyen around 8:00am
What guests are saying…
We feel incredibly privileged to have been able to explore the most northerly islands of Svalbard, observing polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes, Arctic Reindeer, etc in their natural environment. Colonies of Arctic birds and tiny beautiful Artic wildflowers also entranced us.
Twin Tracks had chosen the spacious and comfortable Polarfront vessel for our expedition which added to our enjoyment. The French owner, Captain and crew made every possible effort to provide an open and friendly environment, enhanced by luxurious cabins and excellent French cuisine.
Heather Thorkelson of Twin Tracks helped us to prepare well for our small ship cruise around Svalbard and answered all our queries without any delay. As the pictures above testify, we were treated to an unforgettable experience all round and we cannot thank Twin Tracks enough for a very special adventure which will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Lynn Jones, UK – Guest on board the June 2018 expedition
The Polarfront owners, captain and crew have over three decades of combined experience in Svalbard and are commited to delivering a best-in-class experience, keeping safety and environmental protection in mind.
This wonderful small ship is being purpose-retrofit for custom groups like wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, adding a number of features to modernize the ship for the digital age as well as ensuring she is the most comfortable small ship option in Svalbard with all lower berths and all en suite cabins.
Below you can view the deck plan, and a typical suite layout.
TYPICAL SUITE LAYOUT
Drag the images below with your mouse to get a 360° tour of the Harmattan suite + the panoramic lounge
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
All nights onboard the Polarfront
All meals onboard the vessel (including non-alcoholic drinks as coffee, tea, water and breakfast juice)
- House wine + beer with lunch and dinner
Expedition leader + guide, as well as ship’s crew
Excursions with two Mark V Zodiac boats
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:
All flights to and from Svalbard (Longyearbyen)
Overnight accommodation before + after the expedition
Premium alcohol + souvenirs purchased onboard
Tips for the vessel’s crew members (not required but recommended)
Cancellation/trip interruption + medical evacuation insurance
YOUR EXPEDITION GUIDES
Ecologist, Conservationist, Adventurer, Author, and TV Host
Ecologist Chris Morgan is no stranger to adventure. Over the last 20+ years he has worked as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide, and environmental educator on every continent where bears exist. From icy polar bear country at 81° North to tropical Andean bear forests on the equator, Chris has sought adventure among the focus animals of his life – the bears of the world. Carnivore work has also taken him to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Scotland, the Pakistani Himalayas, northern Spain, Turkey, Borneo, Siberia, and Alaska – destinations where his infectious enthusiasm for wild places and people has rubbed off on others.
Chris has hosted TV productions for PBS, National Geographic Television, BBC, Discovery Channel, and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. He is a familiar voice of the world-renowned television series PBS NATURE having narrated fifteen films since 2011 on topics ranging from lions to pelicans; the Australian outback to the Arctic tundra. 2015 saw Chris host 4 episodes of PBS Nature – ‘The Last Orangutan Eden‘ (produced by his Emmy-winning Wildlife Media partner Joe Pontecorvo), and the three part series ‘Animal Homes‘ (produced by Emmy-winning producer Ann Prum) which saw Chris travel the globe in search of the most fascinating animal architecture. Chris won ‘Best Host Gold World Medal’ from the 2016 New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards.
In 2013, Chris teamed up with the creators and cameramen from Frozen Planet and Planet Earth in ‘Great Bear Stakeout’, a two-hour special co-produced by BBC and Discovery. Morgan is host, contributor, and bear guide in this unprecedented and visually stunning film about Alaskan grizzly bears.
Chris hosts and narrates the film ‘Siberian Tiger Quest’ (Emmy nominated), which premiered as PBS Nature’s 2012/2013 season-opener. In this film, Chris embarks on a challenge to fulfill a lifelong dream – to find and film a Siberian tiger living wild and free in the forests of the far eastern Russian frontier. He was awarded “Best Host” by the International Wildlife Film Festival for his work. Chris received this same “Best Host” award a year earlier for his role in ‘Bears of the Last Frontier’, a PBS NATURE special he helped create. Chris is the featured character, host and narrator in this major three-hour mini-series that follows his 3,000-mile journey across Alaska by motorcycle in search of black, grizzly, and polar bears. Chris authored an accompanying book of the same title – a large format publication that showcases the experience, the bears, and behind-the-scenes insight and stunning photos from the production of the film.
Chris hosted ‘Grizzlies of Alaska‘ on BBC Two’s flagship wildlife series ‘Natural World’, and considered it a huge honor (Chris’s passion for wildlife was ignited when he was about 3 years old, in part part by Sir David Attenborough who has hosted and narrated countless episodes of the Natural World).
Chris is executive director and co-founder of Wildlife Media – a non-profit conservation organization that oversees ‘BEARTREK’, a global campaign and independent feature documentary for bear conservation. This epic, big-screen film about a global natural history adventure brings untold stories of bears and colorful cultures in Borneo, Peru, Alaska, and the Arctic. In addition to documenting Chris’s motorcycle conservation quest across three continents, ‘BEARTREK’ is a giant experiment that brings a new approach to raising awareness and funding for conservation through a high-end theatrical film, a campaign, and a social media movement, changing hearts and minds along the way. The film and campaign will be released in 2016.
Chris owns an ecology and environmental education organization in Bellingham, Washington State and is the co-founder of the acclaimed Grizzly Bear Outreach Project (GBOP). GBOP, now called Western Wildlife Outreach, has been praised as a model for effective education outreach in the North Cascades and Selkirk mountains and has taken great steps to engage rural communities in grizzly and black bear information dissemination since 2002. The approach has recently been expanded to include cougar and wolf education needs. Chris is an accomplished and engaging public speaker and presenter. He spent several years as a frequent lecturer at Western Washington University’s Huxley College of Environmental Science in Bellingham. He has a Higher National Diploma in Conservation Management (Farnborough, UK), a B.S. in Applied Ecology (East London, UK) and an M.S. in Advanced Ecology (Durham, UK.) In 2003 the Environmental Education Association of Washington honored Chris as Outstanding Environmental Educator of the year. In 2008 his contributions to grizzly bear conservation in the USA were honored with an award from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a government panel responsible for recovery of the great bear.
Chris guides expeditions to many locations around the world to introduce people firsthand to the wonders of wild places – often among grizzly bears and polar bears. He knows that conservation depends on people and if people don’t see the connection between their own well-being and wildlife, then nothing will change. You will often hear Chris say, “What’s good for bears is good for people.” Chris has an acute sense of the power of media to bring hearts, minds, and resources towards conservation. As one of the most gregarious, personable, and good hearted larger-than-life scientists you’ll ever meet, the response to his on-camera appearances has brought him incredible opportunities to promote the value of conservation for us all.
Chris spends much of his work, and playtime in the North Cascades mountains one hour from his home. Despite his varied activities within the realm of wildlife conservation, Chris says that he is never happier than when immersed in bear country – “the real world” as he calls it.
Rinie van Meurs
Polar Expedition Leader + Author
After a formal education in Forestry and Nature Conservation, Rinie started to travel around the world in search of wildlife and in particularly birds. However he was already attracted by the polar regions since he was a boy. After he finished his study, he went in the early eighties on private trips to Iceland and Northern Scandinavia; this was as Arctic as he could afford. However he knew, further north the pack ice in the high Arctic Ocean that was his goal. To explore one day the sea ice, as the early explorers did, that was something he could only dream of.
Until 1989, he managed to find a job on board of the “old” Plancius as a potato peeler for his first season in Spitsbergen. After he came back he knew he was definitely hooked on the high latitudes. Rinie became one of the industry’s first expedition leaders and a pioneer in exploring new landing sites in Spitsbergen and the Antarctic. Only around Spitsbergen he has made more than 200 expedition cruises. He knows Spitsbergen better than his own backyard!
Since ’89 then he has logged in his sea man’s book a total of over 300 expedition cruises including; East- and West Greenland, the Canadian high Arctic, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Norwegian Fjords, Geographical North Pole, Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, the sub Antarctic Islands of New Zealand, and many islands along the Atlantic Ridge.
During these years, spending so much time exploring the Arctic and having the opportunity to encounter so many Polar Bears in the ice, he has become absolutely passionate about these magnificent animals. Give him a ship with the right ice class and Rinie will take you to the Polar Bears. He has become an expert in leading Polar Bear trips. He is also leading every fall Polar Bear trips on the Hudson Bay. He has published four photo books on the Polar Regions of which one was about the Polar Bears of Spitsbergen. Currently, Rinie is working on his new book “On Melting Ice, the Fate of the Arctic Ecosystem”.
Passport – Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of travel and you are responsible for any visa required to enter Norway/the Schengen Zone. If you are unsure whether you need a visa to travel to Svalbard, please consult this list of countries.
Health requirements – you must be in reasonable health and have a reasonable level of mobility in order to join the expedition. The voyage is on board a ship and at times, the sea may be rough. This requires a degree of balance and agility so that you may safely move around the vessel. Also keep in mind that at times, we may offer a hike on land (which will always be optional).
Insurance Requirements – as the nature of our expedition involves visiting the remote wilderness, we require all passengers to take out appropriate trip interruption/cancellation and medical evacuation insurance. If you need assistance finding a travel insurance company, contact us using the contact form below and we can help.
What to bring – Based on our combined years of experience braving the wilds of Svalbard, we’ve created a handy PDF packing list that you can download here. Please note that rubber boots and waterproof pants + jacket are all required to participate in landings in Svalbard.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What is the difference between a Polarfront Suite, a Deluxe Suite, and the Owner's Prestige Suite?
Will we see polar bears?
What kind of footwear do I need?
What type of electrical outlets are on board?
Do I need to bring cash with me?
TERMS + CONDITIONS and HOW TO BOOK
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How to book
Terms and Conditions
GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
§ 1 Reservations and payment
1.1 Registration is completed and binding when Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc has received a signed Booking Form, which includes acceptance of these General Terms and Conditions, and the deposit amount of 2,000 EUROS per person.
1.2 The remaining portion of the travel price shall be paid in two installments; 50% of the travel price shall be paid no later than 270 days prior to departure date and the remaining balance no later than 100 days prior to departure date. Any partial or full fare not received within the deadlines outlined in this paragraph may result in the booking being canceled by Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc, in which case all amounts paid shall be forfeited.
1.3 If a booking is made three months or less before the departure date, the full price shall be paid in connection with the booking.
1.4 Payments must be made in EUROS by bank transfer as per the instructions on the Booking Form. Paying in USD is also possible if requested at the time of placing the deposit. The exchange rate shall be the amount stipulated at the date of payment at http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/, plus an additional 5% in favor of Twin Tracks (to cover banking fees and exchange rates) or such other amount as may from time to time be determined by Twin Tracks.
§ 2 Travel details
2.1 Voyage description and itinerary for each voyage, as well as other details for the travel and information as regards health requirements, insurance requirements, visa and other immigration issues and other, can be found on Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc’s website: www.polarfront.twintracksexpeditions.com. All information on the website is part of the agreement between Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc and the traveler.
2.2 The Traveler is responsible for fulfilling all requirements, including having a valid passport and necessary visas and other documentation, and for being able to carry out the trip, as well as for all injuries that he/she may incur during the trip. The Traveler is required to have insurance covering cancellation or trip interruption costs as well as medical evacuation costs. Any failure by the Traveler to comply with this provision and/or to provide proof of compliance with this provision 14 days prior to the departure, shall result in the cancelation of the trip and forfeiture of all amounts paid by the Traveler to Twin Tracks as liquidated damages.
2.3 Consumption of alcoholic beverages brought on board by the Traveler is not allowed unless expressly agreed upon beforehand with Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc.
2.4 It is not allowed to fly any UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) on ships operated by members of AECO or IAATO. As regards other non-member ships, the flying of UAV’s may be permitted but requires approval beforehand from Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc and shall under all circumstances be subject to local authorities’ restrictions and regulations.
2.5 Since the travel will take place out in the wilderness of nature, security is vital. The Traveler is aware of and accepts that adhering to safety routines and obeying the guides’ instructions is of critical importance. The Traveler acknowledges and accepts the inherent risks associated with arctic and remote expedition travel which may include bodily injury, risk of death and/or mental stress, anguish, and fatigue.
2.6 The travel is construed as a group travel, meaning that the price is based upon group participation. No refund will be made by Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc in the event a Traveler chooses not to participate in all parts of the program or if a traveler withdraws from the trip prematurely, irrespective of reason.
§ 3 Traveler’s cancellation
3.1 A Traveler must notify Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc in writing of any cancellation. In case cancellation is made more than 270 days prior to departure date, the traveler forfeits 200 EUROS or 10% of the deposit amount. In case cancellation is made less than 270 days prior to the departure date, the full fare that you have paid at the time of cancellation will be forfeited. All payments made by you are non-refundable in the case of your canceling your participation.
3.2 In order to minimize loss in the event of trip cancellation or interruption, each traveler is required to secure trip cancellation and interruption insurance as well as medical evacuation insurance for the period of travel in question. Any failure to comply with this provision that is not remedied within 14 days prior to the departure date shall result in the cancellation of the trip and forfeiture of all amounts paid to Twin Tracks as liquidated damages.
§ 4 Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc’s cancellation or alteration
4.1 The travels arranged by Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc are carried out in remote parts of the world where weather and ice conditions are extreme and unpredictable, and where unforeseen events outside the control of Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc may occur, requiring Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc to quickly adapt to new circumstances. Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc thus reserves the right to cancel, or, as the case may be, change the conditions for the travel or change the itinerary either before or during the trip. Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc always strive for making the voyage as best as possible for the travelers and a decision to cancel an initial plan or change the travel conditions (travel dates, travel route, etc) will always be made in the interests of the travelers and with safety in mind.
4.2 If the minimum number of travelers as listed in the voyage description is not met, Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc has the right to cancel the voyage. Such cancellation shall be notified to the travelers no later than 90 days prior to departure date. In case cancellation is made according to this paragraph, Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc shall repay all payment made from travelers but shall have no further obligations in relation to the Traveler.
4.3 Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc shall never be liable to pay any compensation (for airfares, visas, insurance or other) or damages because of a canceled or changed travel if:
(a) the cancellation or change of a travel is caused by the Traveler;
(b) reason for the cancellation is that the minimum number of registered travelers as stated in the voyage description is not met, and the cancellation has been notified in writing to the Traveler;
(c) the cancellation or change of the travel is due to a circumstance which was beyond the control of Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc’s and the occurrence of which were not possible to avoid or overcome, would create safety risks or are not economically reasonable to remedy; or
(d) the liability to pay damages cannot be considered reasonable.
§ 5 Price changes
5.1 Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc reserves the right to change the price for the trip due to fluctuations in currency or fuel costs or due to changes in taxes or fees which affect Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc’s costs for the travel. A potential increase in price should not exceed more than 350 EUROS per passenger, and if implemented, must legally be communicated to the passengers no later than 20 days before the voyage departure.
§ 6 Liability limitations
6.1 Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any loss or damage to any property or for any injury, illness or death to any person in the tour which results from any contact with or service provided by any agent, contractor, supplier or provider, nor for any such loss, damage, injury, illness or death if it occurs in transit to or from the tour.
§ 7 Complaints
7.1 If the Traveler considers Twin Track Expeditions Inc’s services to be deviating from what is agreed, the traveler must notify Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc in writing thereof immediately after having noticed such deviation. If not notifying Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc within this time, or notifying Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc more than one month after finishing the trip, the Traveler may not invoke any deviations from the agreement in relation to Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc.
§ 8 Applicable law
8.1 Canadian law shall govern the agreement between Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc and the Traveler.
These General Terms and Conditions are applicable to all bookings of travels from:
Twin Tracks Expeditions Inc. 5031 Barron Cres NW Calgary, AB T2L 1T8 Canada