Arctic Cruise: Day 1

The word Antarctica comes from the Greek language, antarktikos, which means “opposite to the Arctic”. In turn, Arctic comes from the Greek word arktikos, which means “of the bear”, in reference to the northern constellation called Osa Menor, in which is the Polar Star, which marks the North Pole. An Arctic Expedition was a bucket list dream come true! Sadly our rustic Photographic Expedition Ship was delayed on a final inspection at the last minute so we were forced to switch to a Luxury Cruise with Ponant, the only other vessel sailing in the same timeframe. 'The scenery in this part of the world is simply spectacular. Icebergs, sea ice and volcanic mountain landscapes extend as far as the eye can see. And amidst it all roams the polar bear, king of the Arctic, in complete peace and tranquillity. To take an Arctic cruise is to allow yourself to be transported to a world where man is simply a spectator and nature reigns supreme.'

Itinerary: Longyearbyen – Hornsund – Negribreen – Wilhelmoya – Texas Bar – Monaco Breen – 81 Nord – Ny-Alesund Glacier – 4 July Glacier

DAY 1 – Friday, 24 June 2022

Paul and I had enjoyed the morning visiting the Eider duck nesting site, the museum and a then had a lovely lunch at the hotel. We met up with our friends at 3pm in Reception and took a taxi to the Ship called L’Austral – an impressive vessel with 132 staterooms. We were first directed to the Hospital as we were required to take Covid tests prior to boarding but there were no facilities in Longyearbyen. We had done lateral flow tests prior to paying for the new vessel and had all tested negative. We were joking with the nurse and Paul was requesting a nurse inspection in cabin – lol – much hilarity ensued and then his face changed… Paul tested positive! Panic ensued and I phoned the lovely lady who had assisted us in making the reservation … unfortunately SAS was on strike and there were no flights out of Longyearbyen until5th July and every single hotel was full!! The captain said he had to deal with the safety briefing and drill and would come back once completed. I had requested that we remain on board but in isolation which he was considering. We knew we were safe when the gangplank lifted… however, I had to move to my own cabin and the three of us had to remain in quarantine for 48 hours and could be released if negative then. Paul had to stay in isolation for 5 days! But better than camping in Longyearbyen and we were fortunate enough to have very nice rooms with balconies. Not the start we had expected with initial disappointment – but you have to make the most of a bad situation – which we did!

I was then moved to my new room for 48 hours of isolation on the 4th Floor. Paul and Tony & Nessy were on the 5th floor with rooms opposite each other – fortunately we had balconies which was very pleasant. I ordered room service for one 🙁 and watched a film and ended up going to be at 3am – and it was of course still light! One amusing thing happened – I had ordered a toothbrush and toothpaste from Housekeeping as Paul and I had only brought one between us … I thought that I heard them knock on the door so I stepped outside and no one was there but my door slammed shut – locked! I was in my robe without shoes and had to go to the Concierge amongst all the guests dressed in ball gowns for the gala Captain’s Dinner to collect a key! Rather embarrassing! 🙂 The views from the balcony were spectacular!

Go Back to: Longyearbyen

Go Back to: Norway

Go To: Arctic Cruise – Day 2

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