Explore the museums and galleries of Reykjavik, Iceland’s artistic capital city.. Cruise between the mountains of Skjoldungen to view glaciers deep within the fjords surrounding Greenland’s icy island.. Keep an eye out for reindeer and polar bears at various landings in Spitsbergen.. Learn about the historic whaling industry in Smeerenburg, including seeing old blubber ovens from the 16th century.
Nothing quite says adventure like approaching a shimmering glacier in a Zodiac or stopping in your tracks because you think you might have spotted a polar bear in the distance. But when you undertake an expedition in the Arctic, moments like these are the norm, not the exception. From the icy islands of Spitsbergen, the abandoned Arctic ghost towns of Greenland, to the creative and cosmopolitan Reykjavik, each day will be full of surprises. So, charge your camera and pack your warmest clothes – this is an adventure for the ages.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 12 Dinner Included: 13
Welcome to Iceland! Your Arctic voyage begins in Reykjavik Iceland’s artistic capital city. You can arrive in Reykjavik any time today and make your way to your included hotel. You will have the day to explore the city on your own so you may want to visit one of the many museums, cathedrals or galleries – or perhaps seek out one of Iceland’s famous hotdogs from a popular street stall.
After a free morning to continue exploring the city, you’ll make your way to your ship in the afternoon to board your vessel and begin your expedition. After you board the ship and set sail you’ll be able to enjoy a range of activities on board – but don’t forget to keep an eye out for Arctic animals in this wildlife-filled water.
Today you’ll cruise across the Denmark Strait, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the wildlife and storied history of Greenland, from your Expedition Team. Hear about the fascinating geology, ecology and climate of the area and get a taste of the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep watch for the seabirds you’ll likely see soaring above your ship, as well as the whales that can be encountered here.
Your exploration in East Greenland begins with one of the least visited and most remote parts of the island. Your days sailing along the coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each excursion presenting new adventures. The region is a sight to behold, boasting a mesmerizing maze of vast glaciers, steep mountains and breathtaking fjords. One location you’ll hopefully visit if conditions allow is Skjoldungen, where you’ll cruise between the mountains to view glaciers deep within the fjords surrounding this island. The narrow part of the fjord provides an ideal place to put your Zodiac in the water for deeper exploration. If conditions allow, you may also visit the site of an abandoned Inuit settlement, whose inhabitants were relocated to larger, more accessible towns around 1961. Exploring ashore, you’ll experience a true Arctic ghost town, complete with abandoned buildings, furniture and even shoes. Take a hike across the rugged terrain for impressive views of snow-capped mountains, deep green waters and the surprisingly colourful Arctic tundra. If you’re feeling even more adventurous perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an optional paddling excursion, an unforgettable opportunity to glide past icebergs and glaciers and capture some photographs from a unique perspective. Another possible destination is Lindenow Fjord, a great spot for Zodiac cruising if conditions are right. This rarely visited deep fjord is fed by a number of glaciers and offers ample opportunities for your camera to get a workout. You’ll also want to keep watch for bearded seals, as they’re known to haul out on the ice floes.
As you continue to cruise north, the Greenland Sea is your pathway toward Svalbard. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds and may want to take in a presentation, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie—there are many ways to keep entertained during your time at sea.
The next few days will be spent exploring the island of Spitsbergen – the variety of incredible wildlife and geological formations found here is astounding. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but you’ll have the chance to visit a number of landing sites, all with their own unique appeal. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns, while Alkefjellet is home to nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). If you’re looking for confirmation that reindeer are real, then you’ll want to have your camera ready for visits to sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. As for the largest land carnivore in the world, searching for polar bears is a constant activity – Phippsøya and Isbukta are two of the bears’ preferred places for hunting.
A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see old blubber ovens from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg. Colourful tundra meadows are complemented by glaciers, and sometimes there is a rare chance to spot beluga whales.
Fly Longyearbyen to Oslo
Today your ship will dock in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, marking the end of your Arctic expedition. If you have extra time, you may want to visit the Svalbard or North Pole museums to learn more about the local history, or perhaps grab a beer at the Svalbard Brewery. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.