Join us on an unforgettable five-star Arctic expedition cruise with the Polar specialists, Ponant. Sailing on a luxury mega-yacht you will experience, up close, the Arctic at its most exuberant: ice-choked fjords, soaring icebergs, tundra flowers in bloom, and wildlife in its natural habitat: Beluga whales, walruses, Arctic fox—and the kings of the Arctic, Polar bears, hunting in the midnight sun. Members have exclusive rates, saving £1,600 to £4,600 per person off rack rates Cruisetotheicerealm ofthePolarbear 234 TO take a five-star Arctic expedition cruise at the best time of the Polar year is to fully experience its rich beauty, to glide among tow- ering icebergs and encounter the iconic wildlife first-hand, includ- ing those emblems of the Arctic, Polar bears. We shall experience this unbelievably spectacular ice realm from a luxurious mega-yacht, purpose-built for Arctic expeditions, part of the Ponant fleet, which has 30 years’ expertise in Polar exploration. Captains, navigators and naturalists have a lifetime of specialist knowledge of this remote region. This will be the cruise of a lifetime, perfection in which to be- hold these strongholds of precarious beauty and endangered wildlife. We chose Ponant for our Arctic exploration because of their ex- tensive knowledge of the Polar region and their environmental cre- dentials, as well as the luxury, comfort and culture of life aboard their all-but-private yachts. This is the cruise company—and the exact ship—also chosen by experienced top-line travel specialists such as Abercrombie & Kent, for example. Ponant was founded by mariners from the French Merchant Navy, and as such their focus is on maritime exploration and endeavour. On board our yacht, on our Zodiac inflatables and on our hikes, we shall be at one with our surroundings, silently exploring the dramatic mountain scenery and tidewater glaciers, with some of the Arctic’s finest wildlife viewing opportunities and, in every step, a history of Man’s search and discovery in this pristine yet hostile environment. On this voyage, like the Polar adventurers of old, we shall ven- ture to the edge of the North Polar ice cap. Here, at the dynamic boundary between implacable ice and bountiful sea, we shall have a rare opportunity to dream about the Polar explorers while experi- encing raw Nature and events which, even now, are seldom experi- enced in real life. Our destination, Spitsbergen, is the ultimate for incredible sights of Arctic animals and scenery. From Polar bears to blue whales, Spitsbergen boasts wildlife not found in other parts of the Arctic. Snowcapped mountains and blue glaciers provide a dramatic background for portraits of charismatic Arctic wildlife. With a full itinerary of spellbinding destinations, and at this time of year, with daylight around the clock, opportunities for wondrous sights are limitless. And the islands and fjords of Spitsbergen—one of the High Arctic’s most pristine and protected environments, the last islands before the Pole—guard some of the world’s most magical and unique opportunities for Zodiac expeditions. Within its thick and bright ice armour, Time seems to stand still in Spitsbergen—and our yacht Le Boréal will glide quietly through the icy scene to reveal a Nature coloured by Polar hues. Icebergs, icecaps, ice floes—a fascinating universe where more than half the landmass is covered in glaciers, ice carpets which collapse into the sea in jagged heaps. At the icy edge, Polar bears hunt in the midnight sun. Svalbard boasts one of the Arctic’s highest concentrations of Polar bears, the world’s largest land carnivores and a symbol of the imperiled Arctic wilderness. This is one of the best places in the world to view Polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat: the pack ice. Our departure port is Longyearbyen—Long Year Town— capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago and northern- most capital on the planet. The landscapes of this former mining town are breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched Nature, make you feel you’re in unexplored territory. We sail first to Cross Bay’s plu- tonic rocks and tundra, past mountain slopes carpeted by flow- ers, amid 14 Alpine glaciers plunging into the sea. In this setting of wild beauty we’ll set off to discover magical Lilliehöök Glaci- er, almost a circle of ice, 7km across, surrounded by icebergs. We sail on to the 14th July Glacier, named by Prince Albert I of Monaco after his expedition early in the 20th century. The glacier is a haven for birds—Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins and more—as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. Arrive at the glacier, admire the wall of ice and the reflection of its cliffs in the water—then see a section of tons of ice come loose and crash into the sea! In a spectacular landscape of snow-topped mountains, deep fjords, beaches and majestic glaciers, Magdalena Bay is one of Svalbard’s unmissable places. Here we expect to see whales, walruses, seals, Polar bears and Arctic foxes. Gravneset, in Mag- dalenafjorden, is home to what remains of a 17th century whal-