Magdalena Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are no cars, no shops, no houses and no roads in this pristine, glistening fjord. The only trace of human life comes in the form of centuries-old whalers’ graves and the remains of whaling vats in this north-westerly region of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago (above, at sunrise).
And Saga Cruises' Saga Pearl II will dock here for the last time during its Arctic Explorer voyage, departing June 22, when passengers will wake up surrounded by snow-capped mountains and giant glaciers.
The ORCA charity team will also be on board to help passengers watch for wildlife and record sightings. On the ship’s last visit to the region, more than 400 mammals were seen, including blue whales and humpback whales.
Nearby Ny-Ålesund will also become a final port of call, also as a result of the heavy oil ban from January 1, 2015, which means no conventional ships can sail within the borders of Svalbard’s national parks on the east and west coast of the archipelago. Polar bearnumbers equal people in Ny-Ålesund’s shimmering, icy landscape, which is the world’s most northerly inhabited settlement. Wildflowers clothe the landscape in June as warmth from the midnight sun brings them to life after the long, dark polar winter nights.
Saga Pearl II will also call in atLongyearbyen, the largest and oldest settlement on Spitsbergen, where passengers can join a glacier hike or dog-sledding trips. During the sailing to Spitsbergen, the ship will visit theLofoten Islands, where sea eagles make their home and Tromso, with the world’s most northerly botanic garden, as well as Stavanger, Geirangerfjord and Bergen on a historic cruise, which promises holiday memories that can never be repeated.
This amazing 15-night cruise costs from £3,099 per person, departing Dover on June 22, and includes Saga's standard VIP door-to-door travel service, all meals, 24-hour room service, all gratuities, porterage, travel insurance and cancellation cover.
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