2015 Svalbard Arctic Total Solar Eclipse Overview

DESCRIPTION ARRIVE DEPART
Sunday – Monday March 15 - 16 Oslo Pre-Nights Option
Day 1TuesdayMarch 17Arrival Oslo, Norway
Day 2WednesdayMarch 18Depart Oslo for Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Day 3ThursdayMarch 19Longyearbyen
Day 4FridayMarch 20Total Solar Eclipse – Longyearbyen
Day 5SaturdayMarch 21Longyearbyen
Day 6SundayMarch 22Depart Svalbard for Oslo, Norway
Day 7MondayMarch 23Oslo – Onward
Monday – Saturday March 23 - 28 Add-on - Norwegian Coastal Voyage

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Tuesday, March 17, 2015Meals on your own

Arrival Oslo, Norway

Upon arrival in Oslo’s Gardermoen airport (code: OSL), and after you pass through immigration it’s an easy three-minute covered walk from the arrivals terminal to our hotel for the night. Take your time getting settled, then drop by the TravelQuest Hospitality Desk, located in one of our hotel’s meeting rooms, for important information on the next morning’s departure to Svalbard. For the rest of the day you’re free to relax in the hotel or discover Oslo, just 20 minutes away by train – or choose among the many other transport options for exploring this fascinating northern capital.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 2 – Wednesday, March 18, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner (Guesthouse package excludes lunch)

Depart Oslo for Longyearbyen, Svalbard

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After your morning checkout, it’s once again a quick walk to the departures terminal for our flight to Svalbard. We arrive in mid-afternoon at Longyearbyen Airport, where your TravelQuest representative coordinates the seamless coach transfer to our hotel. En route, a local expert shares important tips on Arctic travel and explains some interesting customs of the local people we’ll meet.

After checking in, join us for a special Wilderness Evening at Camp Barentz, located in the nearby Advent Valley. The camp is an oasis in the wilderness, its open fireplaces adding to the warm, welcoming atmosphere in a unique collection of buildings. Among them are an authentic gamme, a type of house built by native people in northern Norway, as well as a lavvo, the traditional tent of the Sami. The camp also features a replica of the cabin that Willem Barentsz and his crew made from their ship’s timbers when it became stuck in the ice off Novaya Zemlya following their discovery of Spitsbergen.

Our Camp Barentz hosts greet you with a traditional meal followed by coffee and cake. After an expert presentation on the King of the Arctic – the polar bear – you can meet the camp’s friendly huskies and listen as the hosts share their tales of Arctic adventure, along with some incredible photographs. Then it’s time to join your trip astronomer for an evening viewing of the stars and quite possibly the amazing aurora borealis – with plenty of hot drinks, plus a standing invitation to come inside whenever you feel like warming up a little.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, Spitsbergen Hotel or Spitsbergen Guesthouse (4 nights)
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 3 – Thursday, March 19, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner (Guesthouse package excludes lunch)

Longyearbyen

After breakfast, a local expert introduces you to Longyearbyen, explaining the area’s history and culture, along with its unique geology, flora and fauna. Your tour includes a visit to the award-winning Svalbard Museum and the renowned Galleri Svalbard. You’re free this afternoon to relax or enjoy one of many optional activities you can book on your own (see box). At day’s end, rejoin the group as we travel to the Longyearbyen Kulturhuset for our pre-eclipse briefing, followed by dinner.

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES

Please note: Final details of optional activities, including booking arrangements and pricing, will be announced closer to the trip departure date.

Some extra diversions you may want to enjoy during your time in Svalbard:

D3_5Nightly Aurora Borealis Viewing
One night of aurora viewing and photography – well away from the lights of town at Camp Barentz – is included in your four-night Svalbard stay. Conditions permitting, you’re welcome to book additional aurora-viewing excursions on any of the other three nights. As you scan the northern skies up until 1:00 a.m., you can warm yourself with hot drinks and occasionally retreat to a comfortable nearby hut – then catch a shuttle bus back to the hotel whenever you wish.

Snowmobile Safari to Elveneset and Mt. Tempelet
This overland excursion takes you through narrow mountain valleys and across a sweeping Arctic plain as you explore the wilds with a seasoned guide. Passing through Helveticadalen, you arrive at Elveneset overlooking the waters of Sassenfjorden, with superb views of Tempelet’s nearby peak.

Dogsledding through Spectacular Arctic Wilderness
From our hotel it’s a quick drive to the edge of town and Longyearbyen’s dog yard, where the experts will outfit you with more rugged Arctic gear before your introduction to dogsledding. Then, after helping to harness the dogs, you’re off to explore the wilderness in authentic style. With only two people per sled, you have plenty of chances to drive – or just sit back and enjoy the passing scenery. It’s an incredible experience befitting the equally incredible Arctic landscape.
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D3_3_2Ice Caving: Explore the Heart of a Glacier
Journey by snow cat up onto Longyear Glacier, then join your expert guides on foot, venturing into the melt-water channels deep within the ice. As the lamp on your helmet illuminates fascinating formations of ice and stone, the otherworldly experience will take your breath away.
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Champagne Tasting in an Arctic Cellar
The world’s northernmost wine cellar is located beneath the Spitsbergen Hotel in the Nordpolet spirits store, which offers a wide selection of quality Champagnes and noteworthy vintage wines in an unusual setting.

D3_2_2Advent Valley Snowmobile Safari
As you explore the beautiful Advent Valley, your guide will shed light on the fascinating history of Svalbard and the many interesting spots along your route. And on the way back to Longyearbyen, enjoy a hearty lunch at Camp Barentz.

Barentsburg Snowmobile Safari: Experience Russian Svalbard
Heading west through Colesdalen, make your way down the coast past Kapp Laila and Kapp Heer to the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, where you can enjoy a guided tour before lunching at the historic Barentsburg Hotel.

Tempelfjorden Snowmobile Safari: Toward the Glacier
This wilderness journey takes you out to the vast glacial face – more than a mile and a half (3 km) across – that towers over the ice at Tempelfjord. En route, you cross the Sassen Valley and pass Villa Fredheim – built by the renowned hunter Hilmar Nøis, who spent 38 winters on Svalbard.

Day 4 – Friday, March 20, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner (Guesthouse package excludes lunch)

Total Solar Eclipse – Longyearbyen

In the morning, well before the eclipse begins, we drive you to TravelQuest’s specially selected eclipse viewing site, which offers hot drinks, shelter from the elements and nearby toilet facilities.

Svalbard Weather Prospects for Total Eclipse Viewing

2015gifby Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

Spitsbergen Island offers the best land-based weather prospects for this eclipse. Average cloud cover at Longyearbyen is a promising 56%, with a very low probability of overcast skies. The high terrain surrounding the town forces the prevailing easterly winds to make a downslope run into the community, drying the air along the way. In recent years the waters around the island have been ice-free in midwinter, contributing to a very mild climate for such a northerly latitude. The average daily maximum in March is a tolerable -13°C (9°F). Temperatures can plunge to the -30s, though, so eclipse seekers should dress for cold and wind – even if it’s a good bet you’ll find a much more friendly climate.

Eclipse and Aurora Combined?

The high latitude of the March 20, 2015, eclipse may offer a special added treat to observers in Svalbard: a glimpse of the aurora, or perhaps of ice haloes, during the magical moments of totality. Admittedly, both are long shots – but if the magnetosphere is particularly active on the hour, or if a thin cirrus overcast is present with just the right orientation of ice crystals, the unlikely may come to pass.

 
After the eclipse we return for lunch. The rest of the day you’re at your leisure to enjoy another optional activity or just explore on your own around town. In the evening, join your fellow travelers for a celebratory eclipse dinner followed by another night of optional aurora viewing at Camp Barentz.

 

Day 5 – Saturday, March 21, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner (Guesthouse package excludes lunch)

Longyearbyen

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Today is yours to enjoy Svalbard as you wish. Relax at your lodge with a good book or choose from an array of optional activities (see the box above) that includes everything from ice caving to snowmobile excursions among the fjords and glaciers – or perhaps to an abandoned Russian mining town.

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Day 6 – Sunday, March 22, 2015Breakfast / Lunch

Depart Svalbard for Oslo, Norway

After breakfast, check out of your room and join our group transfer to Svalbard Airport for the return flight to Oslo – where once again it’s a quick indoor walk to your hotel for the night. The rest of your day you are free to enjoy Oslo or prepare for your onward journey. Dinner this evening is on your own.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Airport Hotel

Day 7 – Monday, March 23, 2015Breakfast

Oslo – Onward

After breakfast and checkout, take the walkway back to the departures terminal according to your flight time.


IMPORTANT: TravelQuest, working with our partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change at the discretion of expedition staff, depending on weather and other local conditions.

Add-on - Sunday, March 15, 2015 & Monday, March 16, 2015Breakfast

Oslo Pre-Nights Option

If you’d like to arrive in Oslo a night or two ahead of our Svalbard departure, TravelQuest has reserved a limited number of standard rooms at the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.

Cost: $220 USD per person, per night double occupancy. $345 USD per person, single occupancy and $260 USD per person triple occupancy. Rates include breakfast and tax.

 

Optional: Norwegian Coastal Voyage Post-tour Add-on

March 23–28, 2015

Experience authentic Norway on an unforgettable coastal journey from Trondheim to Kirkenes. Aboard Hurtigruten’s M/S Trollfjord you can search the Arctic night sky for the greatest lightshow on Earth — the Aurora Borealis, and visit Europe’s most northern point, The North Cape. Space is limited, so book early!

Add-on Day 1 - Monday, March 23, 2015Dinner

Arrive Trondheim, Norway

After breakfast and check-out from our group hotel in Oslo, you will make your way through the hotel walkway to Oslo’s Gardermoen airport (code: OSL) to catch your included flight to Trondheim. Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative who will take you to your waiting motor coach. From here you will embark on a guided city tour of Trondheim before arriving at your hotel for the night. This evening you are free to enjoy Trondheim on your own.

Overnight: Rica Hotel Trondheim Nidelven or similar

Add-on Day 2 - Tuesday, March 24, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Embark on the M/S Trollfjord – Depart Trondheim

After breakfast and hotel check-out, you will be met in the hotel lobby and transferred by motor coach to the Hurtigruten harbor, where you will embark on the M/S Trollfjord and begin your coastal voyage and hunt for the northern lights.

Overnight: M/S Trollfjord (4 nights)

Add-on Day 3 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Bodø – Lofotr Viking Feast

Early in the morning, we cross the Arctic Circle. This invisible border circles the earth at 66˚ 33’ north. Today you arrive in the scenic town of Bodø, situated along the strongest tidal current in the world – the Saltstraumen. You can either walk around the town or join the optional RIB safari excursion to Saltstraumen and see the Sea Eagles ($195 USD per person).

Later this evening, join your fellow travelers for the Lofotr Viking Feast held in the Lofotr Viking Museum – a recreation of the largest Viking building ever found. Here you will enjoy live performances of Viking history and be guests of the Chieftain and Lady of the house for a real Viking feast. Afterwards, you will return by motor coach to your waiting ship in Svolvær.

Add-on Day 4 - Thursday, March 26, 2015Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Tromsø – Polar History Walk

Tromsø is not just the largest town in northern Norway; it’ s also a town brimming with history. First, your guide will take you to the Polar Museum. On the way there you will pass the statue of Roald Amundsen, the hunting monument and the market square, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Arctic Cathedral. The Polar Museum is located in an old customs house from the 1830s and features exhibits from Norway’ s proud polar history; including the Arctic Ocean hunt and numerous polar expeditions. We will also see a film of the polar region made by the Arctic hunters. The tour continues to Tromsø’ s main street, Storgaten and on to Ølhallen, Tromsø’s oldest pub, which was a popular meeting place for fishermen, hunters and polar explorers. Here, you can taste beer from the world’ s northernmost brewery, Mack, whilst one of the locals tells stories about the old days. Afterwards your guide will then accompany you back to your waiting ship.
Add-on Day 5 - Friday, March 27, 2015Breakfast / Dinner

North Cape

Enjoy the magnificent sub-Arctic landscape as you cross the 71st parallel on our journey towards the North Cape, the northernmost point on the continent. The North Cape plateau itself rises 307 meters almost vertically from the ice cold Arctic Ocean. Stand and wonder at the view, but don’t forget to get some photographic evidence of this amazing place. After all, you can’t get any further north in mainland Europe! Your tour today includes a visit to the North Cape Hall, a modern centre where you can see an impressive 180° panoramic film about Finnmark and the North Cape, buy souvenirs, send postcards and relax whilst enjoying a bite to eat. You will even be awarded an official North Cape certificate to commemorate this once in a lifetime event.
Add-on Day 6 - Saturday, March 28, 2015Breakfast

Kirkenes – Tour Ends

After breakfast, you will disembark in Kirkenes and be transferred to the Kirkenes Høybuktmoen (KKN) airport for your included flight to Oslo where you will connect with your homeward flight.

PAYMENTS & TERMS

Prices are per person based on double occupancy.

Category Cabin Description Rate
Category U Outside cabins, decks 8 & 7. Separate beds, one bed can be turned into a sofa, and table. Upper decks. 118 sq. ft. $4,670
Category Q2 Mini-suites on decks 7 & 6, with view. Seating area, Queen bed, TV and mini-bar. Approximately 200 sq. ft. $5,520
Category MG Grand Suites on deck 8, with bay window. One room with Queen bed, seating area, TV, stereo, Internet access, mini-bar. Approximately 400 sq. ft. $6,285

 
 
Single room supplement $840
Note: limited single cabins available. Suites can only be booked in double occupancy. All other categories are subject to availability only.

Click for Ship Information

HURTIGRUTEN’S M/S TROLLFJORD PAGE

In 1893, Captain Richard With’s steamer, DS Vesteraalen, was brought into regular service along the coast of Norway, and Hurtigruten was established. The service offered several weekly departures, first from Trondheim to Hammerfest and later from Bergen to Kirkenes in only seven days. He called this important connection ‘Hurtigruten’ (the fast route).

120 years later, Hurtigruten still carries freight and passengers, but with an added focus on tourism as well. With their extensive maritime expertise, Hurtigruten’s captains ensure that guests and goods are safely carried from port to port. Today, as then, the Hurtigruten ships are a part of Norwegian coastal life.

The emphasis on board this coastal voyage ship is on relaxation and getting away from commercial entertainment, which is so often a part of conventional cruises. Hurtigruten aims only to get closer to unique environments and share the experience with fellow passengers.

M/S Trollfjord

Click for deck plans

Named after the famous Trollfjord, situated between the Vesterålen and the Lofoten Islands. the MS Trollfjord's is one of the newest ships in the Hurtigruten fleet. On board the ship you will enjoy a comfortable interior, with an extensive use of Norwegian wood and stone, a beautiful panorama lounge, and discover original paintings by the Lofoten artist Kaare Espolin Johnsen, paintings that were originally on board the old Hurtigruten ship MS Harald Jarl.

U - Outside cabins, deck 8. Separate beds, one bed can be turned into a sofa, and table. Upper decks. 118 sq. ft.

Q2 – Mini-suites on decks 7 & 6, with view. Seating area, Queen bed, TV and mini-bar. Approximately 200 sq. ft.

MG - Grand Suites on deck 8, with bay window. One room with Queen bed, seating area, TV, stereo, Internet access, mini-bar. Approximately 400 sq. ft.

Ships Specifications

Constructed: 2002
Passenger Capacity: 822
Gross Tonnage: 16, 140 tons
Overall length: 445 ft
Beam: 71 ft
Flag: Norway

SHIP AMENITIES

• Library
• Internet café - free wireless internet in public areas, not in cabins
• Panorama lounge
• Mutliple cafés and bars
• Horisont Gallery
• Shopping
• Fitness room
• Elevator serving all passenger cabin decks
• Formal dining room
• Theatre
• Two sun decks
• Jacuzzi
• Laundry rooms with washing machines, dryers and irons.
• Safes at reception area

An $800 USD per person advance payment confirms your space. The balance is due December 17, 2014. Cancellations must be made in writing via email, fax or mail. All advance payments, less a US$150 per person service fee, are refundable through November 21, 2014.There are no refunds after November 21, 2014. We highly recommend that all travelers obtain trip cancellation insurance.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES

All tour prices brochure are based on tariffs, taxes, costs, and United States dollar exchange rates that were in effect at the time of publication. Due to the volatility of currency markets, prices herein are subject to change. You will be advised of details and costs prior to departure.

Add-on trip includes:

• 5 nights accommodation
• Domestic flights from Oslo to Trondheim and Kirkenes to Oslo.
• Meals as noted in itinerary, including water, coffee and tea
• All tours, admissions and transportation as noted in itinerary.
• Airport/hotel and hotel/pier arrival and departure transfers (Trondheim) and pier/airport departure transfers (Kirkenes) for dates of the tour only.

Not Included

• Passport and visa costs
• Meals not included in the itinerary
• Alcoholic beverages and beverages other than coffee, water and tea
• Tips to driver and guides
• All expenses associated with non-included touring
• Transportation not included in the itinerary
• Items of a personal nature – laundry, phone calls, spa treatments, etc.

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