Haverford College Presents

Arctic Expedition: Under the Midnight Sun

with Helen White
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies

June 14 to 24, 2019

A Note from President Benston

Dear Friends,

In the spirit of our evolving summer tour tradition, I recommend to you this Arctic voyage as an experience of learning and wonder true to the Haverfordian ideal of adventurous discovery. Throughout this trip you will enjoy ample opportunity to engage in conversations that deepen old friendships and forge new ones, while drawing inspiration from insights offered by the extraordinary leader of the Bi-Co Environmental Studies Program, Helen White. Whether you have already seen in person the High Arctic’s pristine fjords, glimmering glaciers, and noble wildlife, or this is your first journey there, I can think of no better guide to this part of the world than Helen, whose imagination and eloquence will add special brilliance to this luminous landscape.

Bon voyage!


Join Haverford alumni, family, and friends for this unique 11-day itinerary featuring an extraordinary seven-night cruise through the otherworldly Arctic Circle on the five-star, eco-friendly ship, L’Austral, exclusively chartered for your expedition.

Travel during the region’s most enchanting season, when shimmering ice basks in the midnight sun’s ceaseless glow. Sail the shores of secluded Spitsbergen, the jewel of Norway’s rarely visited Svalbard archipelago; see glaciers crease and calve in luminous blues; and look for the enigmatic polar bear. Survey an ethereal topography of red sandstone mountain ranges, lush green tundra, and awe-inspiring ice formations. Enjoy Zodiac excursions led by a team of expert naturalists in diverse, serene terrains, where remarkable wildlife—including whales, walruses, seals, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes, northern fulmars and Arctic terns—roam freely.

Complimentary Wi-Fi and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise. The program’s flight to Longyearbyen originates in Paris; spend one night in a downtown Paris hotel before the flight and one night in the deluxe Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel upon return from the Arctic. Paris Pre-Program Option available.

For more information, contact Sara Goddard at 610-896-4279 or sgoddard@haverford.edu.


Day and Destination

Day 1 - Depart from the U.S. or Canada

Day 2 - Paris, France

Day 3 - Paris | Fly to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway | Embark L’Austral

Day 4 - Hornsund for Burgerbukta and Samarin Glacier

Day 5 - Bellsund for Calypsobyen and Camp Millar

Day 6 - Cruise the Arctic Ice Pack | Polar Bear Search

Day 7 - Woodfjorden for Makeoyane | Manaco Glacier

Day 8 - Raudfjorden | Smeerenburg

Day 9 - Ny-Alesund | Kongsfjorden for King’s Glacier

Day 10 - Longyearbyen | Disembark ship | Fly to Paris, France

Day 11 - Paris | Return to the U.S. or Canada

Activity Level: Active

The carefully planned excursions offered on this cruise are designed to highlight as much of the destination and important sights while in port. While ashore in Svalbard, the terrain is rugged, and therefore, a fair amount of walking on uneven and/or slippery terrain is to be expected. This is an expedition-type cruise involving shore landings by Zodiac inflatable landing crafts. Passengers must be able to negotiate a steep gangway and get in and out of the Zodiac inflatable landing crafts with minimal assistance.

*Itinerary is subject to change.

Included Features

In Paris, France

  • One night upon arrival in a centrally located downtown hotel, with breakfast.

Flight from Paris to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway

On board the exclusively chartered, Five-Star L’Austral

  • Seven-night round trip Longyearbyen, cruising to Hornsund, Bellsund, Woodfjorden, Raudfjorden, Smeerenburg, Ny-Alesund and Kongsfjorden, weather, ice and sea conditions permitting.
  • Elegantly appointed, Five-Star Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
  • Souvenir polar-grade red parka to wear.
  • All meals—early continental breakfast, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner—throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • Onboard expedition team of naturalists who provide a series of lectures about local wildlife and topography.
  • Exploration by Zodiac landing craft, accompanied by an expert naturalist guide from the expedition team.
  • Cruise into secluded fjords and bays to search for the elusive polar bear.
  • Zodiac cruise of sheltered Burgerbukta, where glacial-blue ice fronts snow-stripped cliffs.
  • Shore excursion to remote Samarin Glacier, a dramatic landscape of otherworldly ice formations.
  • Shore excursion to Calypsobyen, a former coal mining settlement now populated with Arctic foxes and terns.
  • Shore excursion to Camp Millar, once a gold mining base and today a favored grazing ground for the endemic Svalbard reindeer.
  • Cruise of stunning Woodfjorden, where glacier-fronted shores lead to majestic alpine summits and red sandstone mountains.
  • Cruise to Monaco Glacier, an actively calving ice sheet at the end of scenic Liefdefjorden.
  • Hike along the shores of awe‑inspiring Raudfjorden.
  • Excursion to historic Smeerenburg, a former whaling station and now a prized resting shore for walruses.
  • Walking tour of Ny-Alesund, a research town and one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities.
  • Zodiac cruise of spectacular Kongsfjorden, a fertile environment for birds and bearded seals, to stunning King’s Glacier.

Flight from Longyearbyen to Paris, France

In Paris, France

  • One night on return from the Arctic in the deluxe Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel, with breakfast.

Enhanced Travel Services

  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad if your arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
  • Experienced naturalists and local guides for included excursions.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Complimentary bottled water in your Suite or Stateroom aboard ship.
  • Hospitality desk in the hotel and aboard ship.
  • Experienced Gohagan & Company Travel Directors at your service.
  • Automatic $250,000 flight insurance policy for each participant ticketed on flights by Gohagan & Company.

About the Ship

The exclusively chartered, Five-Star L’Austral features only 110 Suites and Staterooms, distinctive French sophistication and complimentary onboard Wi-Fi.

Elegantly Appointed Suites and Staterooms, 95% with Private Balconies
Each deluxe Stateroom and Suite (200 to 484 square feet), features a private bathroom with shower, luxurious Five‑Star hotel amenities and minibar with complimentary beverages; most have two twin beds that convert into one queen bed. Enjoy accommodation amenities including individual climate control, satellite flat‑screen television, safe, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, plush robes and slippers.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine is served in the stylish, spacious Le Coromandel dining room in single, unassigned seating; alfresco in the casual Le Rodrigues Restaurant; or from

24-hour room service. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise. Continental and buffet breakfasts, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and a four‑course dinner are served daily. Wine is served with lunch and dinner.

Spacious Public Areas/World-Class Service and Facilities
In keeping with the low passenger density, the public areas are spacious and inviting, and they can accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy views from the Panoramic Lounge, nightly entertainment in the Main Lounge and lectures, cultural performances or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. There is a library, Internet salon, Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa, Turkish bath‑style steam room, full range of fitness equipment, two elevators and an infirmary staffed with a doctor and a nurse. The highly trained and personable, English‑speaking, international crew provides attentive service.

Respect for the Environment
The state-of-the-art propulsion system and custom-built stabilizers provide an exceptionally smooth, quiet and comfortable voyage. By design, the ship is energy efficient and environmentally protective of marine ecosystems and has been awarded the prestigious “Clean Ship” designation due to its advanced eco-friendly features, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels. The ship has two tenders and 10 Zodiacs.

Paris Pre-Program Option

Spend an additional night in the “City of Lights”—the signature cosmopolitan site of love, literature and style, Paris pervades in our cultural consciousness as a glowing gem of artistic and aesthetic triumph. See many of its most iconic landmarks on a guided city tour before delving into the remote landscapes of the far Arctic.

The Pre-Program is available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Travel Tips & Resources

Passports: You will need a signed and valid passport for all international travel. Apply well in advance as passport processing times have increased due to high volume.

Health & Safety:

The Travel Program outlined here is subject to the features, final pricing, and terms and conditions set forth in the published Travel Program brochure.

Summon your adventurous spirit and join Haverford College for a truly memorable travel experience. Visit stunning destinations with well-read, curious travelers, learn from subject matter experts and guest lecturers, and relax in comfort while experienced tour directors and local guides take care of the details.

For additional information about the Haverford Travel Program, contact:

Sara Goddard
Assistant Director of Individual Giving