Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen
Ny Alesund is a very small, rough Arctic settlement located on the northwestern side of the island of Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is one of the Svalbard Islands, situated halfway between the northern tip of Norway and the North Pole. Mountains and ice dominate the harsh landscape here, with glaciers covering about two-thirds of the total area.
The history of Spitsbergen dates to Dutch explorers sailing here in search of the northeast passage to China during the 16th century, and continues on with hundreds of whalers frequenting the island in the 17th century. Ny Alesund began as a coal-mining establishment back in the early 1900s, and also at that time the settlement acted as an outpost for the North Pole expeditions of Roald Amundsen, Byrd and other explorers. A tragic mining accident in the 1960s caused the mining industry's collapse and Ny Alesund then began a new life as a base for scientific research within the international community.
The climate is described as relatively mild, considering the northern position of the Svalbard Islands - albeit highly changeable - with polar nights and midnight sun. Birdlife is plentiful, and reindeer and polar bears inhabit the deep interior areas. Spitsbergen Island has an interesting population mix of Norwegians being outnumbered by Russians.
Note: Your Princess ship will anchor in Ny Alesund and use launches to transport passengers ashore - weather permitting.