Explore Historic Whaling Destination With Early Bird Booking Discounts On Poseidon Expeditions’ Polar Ice Edge Cruises

The Sea SpiritPoseidon Expeditions, a specialist in active adventure cruises in the high latitudes, invites passengers on any of its 2020 Arctic cruises to linger in Longyearbyen, a coal-mining community on the only populated island in the high Arctic wilderness between Norway and the North Pole.

This one-time whaling hub on the island of Spitsbergen is the gateway for Poseidon’s Polar Ice Edge cruises, Arctic Wildlife Safari and Best of Svalbard, departing in spring 2020. The town’s human history is worth more than a one-night pre-embarkation pass through.

The year is 1906. An American, John Longyear, founded the Arctic Coal Company on the heels of a by-then-defunct whaling industry; his name was burnished on the outpost. Colorful wooden structures (constructed after 1943 when the Nazis destroyed the town) have been rebuilt on stilts because the frozen permafrost underfoot wobbles about.

The island, part of the Svalbard Archipelago, was of strategic importance to the Allies during WWII, and its coal was coveted. A visit to the Svalbard Museum shares this and many other stories; other tales of North Pole expeditions are revealed at the Spitsbergen Airship Museum.

The archipelago boasts one of the Arctic’s highest concentrations of polar bears. They are the world’s largest land carnivores and have become a symbol of the imperiled Arctic wilderness.

Poseidon Expeditions’ 114-passenger Sea Spirit on its up to 12-day cruises here comes as close as is safely possible to the jumbled and broken edge of the polar ice cap where polar bears stalk the frozen sea in search of seals. The ecosystem of Spitsbergen is almost entirely protected in a network of nature reserves and national parks. This region is also home to walrus, Arctic fox, reindeer and a variety of whales and seals.

To round out the Arctic experience, guests explore on this cruise other places rich with history: remnants of whaling camps, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole (think Roald Amundsen and Walter Wellman) and even an abandoned polar research station. Human habitation in this region can be found only at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, complete with museum, gift shop and post office.

The rates for the nine-day Arctic Wildlife Safari – West Spitsbergen & Polar Ice Edge, offer an early booking discount plus extra savings on the May 31-June 8 and June 7-June 15 cruises if booked before Oct. 31, 2019.

Discounted prices start at $6,486 per person double (from the regular rate of $8,095 pp, dbl) with similar savings on all other cabin classifications. On the June 7 departure guests receive a bonus, the opportunity to mingle with Dr. Erin Curry, a Polar Bear Reproductive Physiologist from the Cincinnati Zoo.

On the Svalbard & Polar Ice Edge – Best of Svalbard cruises the discounted rates begin at $8,286 per person double (from the regular rate of $10,095 pp, dbl) on the 11-day, June 21 departure. On the June 30, 12-day departure, discounted rates begin at $9,276 per person double (from the regular rate of $11,195 pp, dbl). Similar savings are offered on all other cabin classifications if booked before Oct. 31, 2019.

(Poseidon Expeditions)