Hello Svalbard Reindeer of Hornsund - Cruise Day 2

Our first full day of excursions!

Most cruise days consisted of a morning and afternoon excursion with, of course, limited predictability as on Arctic cruises many factors (wind, waves, pack ice, etc) influence your itinerary. Buffet breakfast or lunch preceded each excursion and dinners were a more formal affair. However, given this is an expedition ship, no formal attire whatsoever is required when dining (though most spiffed up a bit). My husband, the foodie, will be writing a bit about the food, but in brief, I’ll say that it was delicious and overly plentiful. If we weren’t eating a meal, we were being offered a snack, afternoon tea, bedtime chocolates… aboard Swan Hellenic everything, including alcoholic beverages, is included.

swimming pool swan hellenic

To Glaciers via Zodiac

Cruising in early June meant the pack ice was still hugging the coasts of Svalbard throughout most of the north and some of the east. Thus, circumnavigation wasn’t going to be possible so we headed south from Longyearbyen to Hornsund.

Cruise Day 2 consisted of a morning zodiac ride in Hornsund where we attempted to approach a glacier. We planned an hour outing but, unfortunately, we were cut a bit short. Rapidly moving ice was a concern for the expedition team getting the zodiacs stuck in the ice. Nevertheless, the entire day was incredibly sunny and the temperature was mild. It was even pleasant enough to enjoy an outdoor lunch on our return. 

The Polish Polar Station

The afternoon excursion was a hike nearby the Polish Polar Station. This was a “wet” landing so you’ll hop off the zodiac into the arctic water..not a concern with the knee high waterproof boots. We enjoyed a leisurely hike for about 2 hours along the arctic landscape encountering  our first wildlife, Svalbard reindeer, little auks, and arctic skuas. En route back to the ship we stopped by another glacier and made a few detours to see icebergs a bit closer. 

The downtime between excursions is at your leisure. Between arrival from the morning excursion, lunch and debarking for the afternoon excursion, there isn’t a ton of time. There is plenty to do aboard with the gym, sauna, and pool, though today we found ourselves sitting on the stern deck mesmerized by the mountains covered in snow as we glided along the very smooth seas.