Seek out polar bears while exploring the hunting grounds of this ruler of the Arctic.. Discover the history of Greenland with explorations of the ruins of ancient Thule settlements and learn about the Inuit life in Ittoqqortoormiit.. Experience how this incredible environment is ever-changing while cruising through freshly birthed icebergs in Scoresbysund.. Make a stop at Jan Mayen, a mysterious, rarely visited island in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Natural splendour, bountiful wildlife and a pioneering spirit all unite in the High Arctic, a region once reserved for only the hardiest of travellers but now open to anyone with a yearning for adventure. Starting out from the isolated Spitsbergen outpost of Longyearbyen, this expedition heads down through the Arctic Circle, taking in the islands of the Svalbard Archipelago, the north-east coast of Greenland and the journey over the Denmark Strait to Iceland. A highlight is a stop at Jan Mayen, a mysterious island deep in the North Atlantic Ocean, which is rarely visited and often shrouded in fog. Following in the proverbial wake of explorers past, you’ll be treated to stunning scenery of vast glacial walls, sprawling fjord systems and icebergs the size of skyscrapers.
Breakfast Included: 17 Lunches Included: 15 Dinner Included: 16
Welcome to Norway! Your arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. You can arrive any time on Day 1 and make your way to your included airport hotel. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy. You may wish to join your group and leader for dinner to get to know one and other before your Arctic journey begins.
This morning, you will transfer to the airport and board your private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before boarding the ship. 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. After you board the ship and set sail you’ll be able to enjoy great vistas of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this historic town.
Expect a new adventure every day as you explore the west coast of 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. 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.
While sailing south through the historic Greenland Sea toward Jan Mayen, your Expedition Team will keep you informed with presentations about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate and the incredible sights you will soon explore. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds and the team will also keep a lookout for the whales that frequent the waters here.
North of the Arctic Circle, about 450 km east of Greenland and 550 km north of Iceland, is the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants. Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as you approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 2,277 meters high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. If you’re fortunate, you may get a close-up view of the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as yo Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Your tour of Scoresbysund—the largest, deepest and, some say, most beautiful multi-armed fjord system in the world— will offer plenty of opportunities to explore ashore or by Zodiac cruise. At one moment you’ll be stepping back in time, exploring the remains of ancient Thule settlements with views of icebergs and towering mountains rising straight out of the sea, and the next you’ll be immersed in contemporary culture, meeting the locals and gaining an appreciation for their way of life in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland’s most remote community. At the mouth of the sound, this remote settlement boasts a blend of traditional and modern lifestyles and is actually closer to Iceland than it is to its nearest Greenlandic neighbours to the southwest. Here, you’ll have the chance to support local Inuit artisans by purchasing unique handicrafts.
In terms of wildlife, grazing muskoxen are a possible sight, as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population lives in this region. Polar bear sightings are also a remote possibility, as are encounters with more elusive arctic wildlife, such as the arctic hare. Seabirds to watch out for nesting atop the steep cliffs of the sound include little auks, fulmars and guillemots.
As we cruise south today, the Denmark Strait is your pathway toward Iceland. Take in a lecture, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie— there are many things to do during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.
Your trip ends after breakfast. After disembarkation, you will be transferred to central Reykjavik.