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Iceland, Norway and Svalbard

Arctic Iceland Cruise

Summary : This extraordinary voyage departs from Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, and finishes in Longyearbyen, in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, via the scenic coast of Norway. Your route starts at the doorstep to the Arctic and takes you deep into its wildest realm. Begin with charming villages, natural beauty, and abounding birdlife along Iceland’s west and north coasts. In Norway, explore the country’s best coastal destinations, including magnificent fjords and the spectacular Lofoten islands. In Svalbard, experience Spitsbergen’s scenic splendor and legendary abundance of Arctic wildlife.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrive in Reykjavik and feel free to explore this fascinating city on your own before settling into your included hotel for the night.

Day 2
Reykjavik, Iceland / Embark

In the afternoon, embark the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Arctic dreams coming true as the ship slips from the moorings and sails out of the harbor.

Day 3 – 5
Explore Iceland

From Reykjavík, head northwest through the bay of Faxaflói, where it is possible to encounter your first whales. After rounding the dramatic Snæfellsnes peninsula, continue north through Breiðafjörður where seabirds nest on numerous islands. Continuing in a clockwise way around Iceland, encounter the scenic Vestfirðir (Westfjords) where deep fjords and rugged mountains create one of the country’s most scenic coastlines. After passing the wild Hornstrandir peninsula, head east through waters known for whales toward Tröllaskagi and the island of Grímsey.

The exact route and exploration opportunities are dependent on the weather in this surprisingly wild part of Europe. Possible sites of exploration include:

Snæfellsnes:
The famous Snæfellsjökull volcano and picturesque Kirkjufell mountain are dominant features in the impressive landscape of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A rich cultural and literary history and the success of fishermen and merchants are evident in local fishing villages.

Flatey Island:
The unassuming island of Flatey has a long and storied history as a cultural and artistic center and was even a hub of commerce with a huge population at one time. The island’s “old village” contains some beautifully restored old houses once belonging to these original inhabitants. Today the island is home mostly to various species of migratory bird, especially the puffin.

Látrabjarg:
The impressive sea cliff of Látrabjarg is the summer breeding site for millions of seabirds including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots, and razorbills. At 14 kilometers long and up to 440 meters high, this is Europe’s largest bird cliff and a stunning monument of Nature.

Dynjandi:
Located in Vestfirðir (Westfjords), these breathtaking waterfalls, also known as Fjallfoss, have a cumulative height of 100 meters. The thundering cataract can be appreciated from the shore or experienced more closely by hiking up along the river.

Siglufjörður:
Situated in a narrow fjord on the mountainous Tröllaskagi (“Troll Peninsula”), Siglufjörður is a quiet fishing town with multicolored houses arranged around a pleasant harbor. The popular herring museum pays tribute to the town’s heyday during the herring boom of the 1940s and 1950s with excellent exhibits, reenactments, and tastings.

Grímsey:
The small, green island of Grímsey, located 40 kilometers from the mainland, is the northernmost inhabited territory of Iceland. The Arctic Circle runs through the island. Attractions include a historical lighthouse and an old church constructed in 1867 mostly out of driftwood. Seabirds nest on the cliffs that make up almost all the island’s coastline.

Day 6 – 7
Across the Norwegian Sea

After your amazing time in Iceland, sail east toward Norway, crossing the Prime Meridian on the way. Your crossing of the Norwegian Sea—roughly along the Arctic Circle—coincides with the summer solstice. The sun will not set again for the duration of our voyage. Presentations and workshops, as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows and balconies.

Day 8 – 11
Exploration of the Coast of Norway

Arrive at the coast of Norway just north of the Arctic Circle near Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park, home to the second largest glacier in mainland Norway. Sail north through Vestfjorden toward the legendary islands of Lofoten. The amazing scenery does not end as you continue past the mountainous islands of Vesterålen, Senja, Ringsvassøy, and Sørøya. Finally we reach Nordkapp at the top of Norway.

The exact route and exploration opportunities are dependent on the weather along this wild and sparsely-populated coast. Anticipated sites of exploration include:

Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park:
The landscape in the western region of this gorgeous national park is dominated by verdant forests, high mountains, and glaciers. The goal is the picturesque Engabreen glacier—an arm of the immense Svartisen glacier—situated on a pretty lake accessible via pleasant hiking path.

Lofoten:
These famous islands are among the most scenic in the world. Nestled within the stunning scenery are small fishing villages and towns, such as Nusfjord and Leknes, where traditional character merges with contemporary charm. Scenic fjords such as Trollfjord showcase the islands’ wild side.

Tromsø:
Historically significant yet attractively modern, Tromsø is major cultural hub distinguished by its centuries-old wooden houses. The Polar Museum reveals Tromsø’s past as a starting point for Arctic expeditions. The city’s architecturally impressive Arctic Cathedral is evocative of a giant iceberg. Altogether this port of call is an excellent primer for our northward explorations.

Hammerfest:
Located on Kvaløya in the far northern county of Finnmark, this is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Hammerfest has a long history as a trading port and as a center of indigenous Sami culture. The island of Kvaløya is visited each summer by thousands of migrating reindeer.

Nordkapp:
Situated on the island of Magerøya, the area of Nordkapp (“North Cape”) includes the northernmost point of land on the European continent. The famous Globe Monument is situated at the top of a cliff 300 meters above the sea. A modern visitor center houses a variety of facilities.

Day 12
Across the Barents Sea

From the top of Norway, head north through the Barents Sea toward Svalbard. On the way, encounter the small, remote island of Bjørnøya (“Bear Island”), the southernmost island in Svalbard. The island is so named because Dutch explorer Willem Barents saw a polar bear swimming nearby when he discovered the island in 1596. Welcome to the Arctic!

Day 13 – 14
Exploration of Svalbard

Svalbard is a true High Arctic wilderness and this part of the voyage is a real expedition. As such, the route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions encountered. Your experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.

Approaching Svalbard from the south, the first opportunities for exploration will be on the southwestern part of the island of Spitsbergen. Take in stunning views of glaciers and towering mountains on our starboard side as you proceed up the west coast of Spitsbergen toward Isfjorden and the town of Longyearbyen.

Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The islands are alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.

Take every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, to discover incredible scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us. Possible areas of exploration include:

Hornsund:
One of the most scenic areas in Svalbard, the bay of Hornsund is surrounded by dramatic peaks and tidewater glaciers. At this time of year it is possible to spot polar bears hunting seals on sea ice that lingers in the recesses of the bay. The area is also historically significant, having been used in previous centuries by whalers, trappers, as well as scientific and exploratory expeditions.

Bellsund:
The gently sloping tundra plains around Bellsund are rich with wildlife such as reindeer and nesting geese. Excellent walking opportunities abound in this classic Svalbard landscape. The eerie remains of historical whaling and trapping operations can still be seen throughout the area.

St. Jonsfjorden:
At the head of this scenic fjord there is an impressive tidewater glacier. Here it is possible to witness the stunning spectacle of icebergs calving from the glacier face. These waters are home to seals and whales. Hikers have an opportunity to gain exceptional views over strongly glaciated terrain.

Alkhornet:
The lush tundra slopes below the bird cliffs at Alkhornet in Isfjorden are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. The sky and waters are full with seabirds coming and going. One can feel the living heartbeat of the Arctic in this place

Day 15
Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Disembark in the morning and transfer to the airport.

Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.

Bilingual Departure: English/German

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage including medical, evacuation, cancellation and trip interruption. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.

Photography Program: Included in price
An expert photographer will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.

Included:
1 pre-voyage hotel night in Longyearbyen; group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of US $100,000 per person (for those 85 years of age and younger); scheduled landings/excursions; meals on board ship; coffee/tea station 24 hours on ship; welcome and farewell cocktail on ship; a pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings; expedition parka (yours to keep); port fees; pre-departure materials; digital Voyage Log. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; visa and passport fees; luggage, medical and trip cancellation insurance; excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunications charges (telephone, faxes, and internet); gratuities to shipboard personnel; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos © Poseidon Expeditions

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