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Arctic Discovery – Svalbard, Greenland and Norway

Arctic Cruise Information

Summary : Combine remote wilderness with rural culture, giving you a genuine glimpse of life in the Arctic. Kayak in small bays to witness calving glaciers, marvel at sculpted icebergs as well as the world’s largest fjord, volcanoes, polar bears, reindeer, musk oxen and visit Inuit communities. This expedition will leave you with spectacular photos and a lifetime of stories to share.

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


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Day 1
Longyearbyen, Norway

Arrive in Longyearbyen, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and taken on a sightseeing tour to explore the remote outskirts and ‘Capital’ of Spitsbergen, including a stop at the local museum. After the tour, you will be transferred to the port in the late afternoon to embark the Greg Mortimer. Your voyage commences, cruising out of the beautiful Isfjorden, escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. Find a spot on one of the observation areas watching for seabirds, including graceful ivory gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots.

NOTE: Sometimes our ship is unable to dock in Longyearbyen port due to space and capacity. In these instances, we reach the ship by Zodiac. Please ensure that you keep your wet weather gear in your hand luggage to use in the Zodiacs if the situation arises. Our crew will transport your luggage separately and leave it in your cabin. Please ensure all your luggage has your cabin tag/number attached.

Day 2 – 3
West Coast of Spitsbergen

Cruise northwards along the west coast of Spitsbergen, stopping at intriguing places like Kongsfjorden or Magdalenefjorden. Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) is incredibly scenic, the fjord is headed by two giant glaciers. There’s ample time ashore for hiking on the lush tundra amongst the summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where even a few puffins may be nesting between the cracks in the cliffs.

Keep watch for polar bears and Arctic fox and feel a sense of history at the 350-year-old remains of a Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya. The name Smeerenberg literally means blubber town in Dutch. It is a place of extraordinary legends, of thousands of men living there during the 1630s, a town complete with shops, gambling dens and the like. However, in reality, only 400 men and fifteen ships visited Smeerenberg during its peak in the 1630s for whaling purposes.

Day 4 – 5
Greenland Sea

Cruise southwest across the Greenland Sea – the main outlet of the Arctic Ocean – where you may encounter pack ice and if lucky, you will see polar bears hunting for prey. The strong icy currents have isolated East Greenland from the Polar Basin, attracting large numbers of fish, seals and whales. Climatic conditions and the concentration of ice in the vicinity often create thick morning fog that vanishes with the onset of the midday sun. Your experts will inform and entertain with fascinating discussions on plants, animals, ice, and early explorers like Nansen, Andree and Scoresby.

Approach East Greenland to perhaps encounter more pack ice and keep an eye out for seals and a variety of seabirds, including northern fulmars and migratory Brünnich's guillemots. Conditions permitting, there will be a good chance for kayakers to launch their sea kayaks today. The rest of the group may have the opportunity to make your first landing on the Greenland coast, weather permitting. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months each year. Home to polar bear, snowy owl and musk ox, it's the world's largest national park, covering 972,000 square kilometers; most of which is inland ice and the rest a composite fjord landscape.

Day 6 – 12
East Coast of Greenland / Volquart Boons Coast

Approach the East Coast of Greenland to encounter some of the sea ice that streams down the coast from the north. Keep a sharp eye out for polar bears who frequent the drifting ice. Weather and sea ice conditions permitting enter Northeast Greenland National Park as far north as Dove Bay, a beautiful, remote and seldom visited location along the coast. If so search for the evidence of a Paleo-Eskimo settlement near Haystack Mountain. Or perhaps make landfall on Clavering Island to visit Eskimonaes, the original headquarters of the famous Sirius Patrol.

Attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely-visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration that lies within the North East Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. Then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with passage dependent on ice conditions. Aim to reach Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord and a favorite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers dump into this fjord, the birthplace of the famous big Greenland icebergs. Visit the remote Inuit community of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresby Town) and hike across the tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 1,500 years ago by Paleo-Eskimos. This area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking in its maze of calm, interconnecting waterways. If lucky you may see musk oxen, Arctic hare and seals, and maybe if extremely lucky even a polar bear or narwhal. Other landings along the coast may include:

Cape Humboldt:
A beautiful bay on Ymer Island. There is a good chance to take a tundra walk and witness musk oxen graze. Keep a lookout for Arctic fox and ptarmigan and the elusive Gyrfalcon. A lone trapper's hut looks over the bay and magnificent icebergs.

Sefstrom Glacier:
Fans out and blocks nearly half of the rugged Alpefjord. Zodiac access allows us to observe the dynamics of a glacier face and to cruise the beautiful hanging gardens with Arctic flora growing in the autumn light.

Scoresbysund’s colorful Inuit community of approximately 500 people. You are free to explore the village, the fascinating museum or sit quietly in the beautiful Lutheran Church. The people are friendly, and the young children vie for our attention from underneath their Arctic seal skin and fox-fur jackets.

In Scoresbysund, it offers good walking and delightful views across the sound. Kayakers will have good opportunities to explore the lonely beaches. It has always been an important hunting site for the indigenous people and it contains many ancient gravesites.

Røde Ø (Red Island):
Has one of the best iceberg cruises you can find at either pole. Cruise among the beautifully carved blue icebergs with a fantastic contrasting red island as a background.

Other possible landing points in the area include: Rypefjord, Nordvestjjord, Fonfjord, Bjorn Oya, Milne Land, Øfjord, Denmark Island

Day 13
At Sea

During your sea crossing to Jan Mayen Island, experts will offer informative and entertaining talks and presentations about Arctic exploration and to prepare you for your visit to Jan Mayen, one of the world’s most remote and fascinating volcanic islands. You may wish to enjoy a massage in the wellness center, soak in the hot tub, or organize your photos freeing space on your memory card for the coming days.

Day 14
Jan Mayen

The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge volcano (2,277 meters) is the world’s northernmost active volcano, and last erupted in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is friendly, try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. If conditions allows, walk from Kvalrossbukta to Olonkinbyen (approximately three hours walk to visit the station). Zodiacs will be waiting at a small bay to transport the group back to the ship.

Day 15
At Sea

Continue your voyage east, sailing to the Norwegian coast. The expedition team will share their knowledge of Norwegian maritime history and fascinating Norse culture through informative talks and lectures.

Day 16 – 20
Norwegian Coast

Lofoten is a Norwegian archipelago known for its dramatic scenery, with mountain peaks such as the Svolværgeita rising from the sea and reaching up into the sky. The archipelago offers superb opportunities for kayaking excursions through the fjords to spot seals, sea eagles and even whales. Leknes and Svolvær are the two main ports - wildly beautiful places of marsh and rock, green fields and still lakes, dramatic mountains and white sandy beaches by crystal-clear seas. Lofoten is dotted with picturesque villages and fish-drying racks, as stockfish-dried cod has been the main export since the Middle Ages.

Learn about Norway’s oldest export produce at the Lofoten Stockfish Museum, enjoy a Zodiac cruise through spectacular Trollfjord, a two kilometer-long, 100-meter-wide gorge with steep mountains of up to 1,000 meters surrounding the fjord, and perhaps visit Norway’s oldest and best-preserved fishing village at Nusfjord.

Sailing south, the hope is to stop at Reine, one of the most picturesque fishing villages in Lofoten, with red and white fishermen huts dotting the shoreline surrounded by soaring granite peaks rising out of Reinefjorden. Further south, you may land at Torget Island to inspect the bizarre rock formation - Torghatten, a legendary hole in the mountain supposedly created by a troll's arrow. En route to Bergen, you may also visit the charming fishing villages of Sor-Gjaeslingan.

As the ship heads farther down the coast, visit the beautiful and historic stave church at Kvernes or the scenic former fishing village of Grip along the outer coast. The island of Runde is one of Norway’s premier seabird nesting islands and is home to several sea eagles as well.

Day 21
Bergen, Norway

Disembark in historic Bergen, located in the heart of the Fjord Norway region in the southwest coast. It’s the country’s second-largest city and is surrounded by mountains and fjords including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Bid a fond farewell to your fellow expeditioners and transfer to the Bergen airport.


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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $250,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Photography Program: 
Richard l'Anson, a photography expert will offer complimentary lectures and presentations to help improve your skills. Whether a beginner or experienced photographer, you will find the presentations and informal tuitions, while either on board or during landings and excursions, will help you capture those memorable moments. Scott is an international award-winning wildlife, nature and underwater photographer. A member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Scott has spent over a Richard is a Canon Master who has published 12 books including five editions of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography, featured in the television documentary Tales By Light (available on Netflix) and is a Travel Photography Scholarship Mentor for World Nomads.

Exploration by kayak is an ideal way to surround yourself in the sights and sounds of the Arctic - paddling among icebergs and brash ice, observing wildlife in an unobtrusive manner. Some kayak excursions may be long in duration and on choppy water, so a reasonable level of kayaking experience is required to participate in this activity. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.

Transfer from airport to ship if on group flights; group tour of Longyearbyen prior to embarkation; transfer from ship to airport or downtown Bergen on disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; printed photo book from your voyage (post voyage, one per booking); gear to keep (expedition jacket); gear on loan (boots); all meals onboard ship; house wines, beers, and soft drinks with dinner onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; optional activity supplements; alcohol and beverages not mentioned as included; items of a personal nature such as Wi-Fi, laundry service, spa charges, medical expenses; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport arrival or departure taxes; gratuities (NOTE: Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your bill. Please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed); fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos ©: Michael Baynes (coastal village, kayakers, Norway, puffin, reindeer, tundra hike, Zodiac cruising); Mark Perraton (polar bear)

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