Spitsbergen and the Svalbard archipelago offer tremendous wildlife and birdlife experiences, as well as a fascinating lesson in glaciology. Polar bears, beluga whales, Atlantic puffins and walrus can be found along the shorelines of the Svalbard archipelago. The islands are the northernmost inhabited places on the planet and would be permanently locked in ice, if not for the moderating influence of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Our series of voyages focus on the western quarter of the island group. This area has the highest concentration of wildlife and places of historic and scenic interest in the archipelago. The unique ice capabilities of our ship allow us to venture to the edge of the permanent Arctic pack ice where few other vessels can, at around 80 degrees North latitude. It is in this vicinity we typically enjoy our best encounters with polar bears. Make sure you bring your camera and consider even joining one of our photography symposiums.