Summary : Cruise aboard the all-balcony Le Boreal to pristine and rarely seen Arctic islands, including the polar bear haven of Svalbard, glacier-covered Jan Mayen and Iceland's verdant West Fjords. Sail through the Arctic's wild and culturally rich regions of Norway, Greenland and Iceland. Experience luxury and travel in the company of a world-class Expedition Team, seasoned experts ranging from research scientists to field naturalists. Explore pristine Svalbard in search of Arctic wildlife. Visit remote Jan Mayen Island, home to an incredible birding sanctuary. Discover stunning Scoresby Sound in East Greenland, where you visit the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit. Hike through Iceland's Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, a spectacular wilderness at the edge of the Arctic Circle. Embark on a special excursion deep inside of Iceland's luminous Langjökull Glacier on this trip of a lifetime!
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
NEW in 2018 – Butler Service in Suites.
$15,495 to $32,495
Arrive in Oslo, Norway’s modern yet timeless capital, coexisting in close harmony with nature. On arrival, transfer to your hotel and then meet your local guide for an afternoon walking tour. This evening, join fellow guests for a welcome cocktail reception.
Board a charter flight to Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard (flight not included in fare), also known as Spitsbergen, the sovereign Arctic archipelago of Norway. It is one of the most remote group of islands on the planet, with nearly two-thirds of its surface covered in luminous glaciers. Tour the tiny town and its Arctic Museum. Following lunch, board your expedition cruiser.
Very few people have the opportunity to view the remote wilderness of the Svalbard Islands. In the Svalbard archipelago, polar bears, walruses, Svalbard reindeer and an incredibly rich variety of birds are abundant, as are cathedrals of ice, glaciers and craggy mountain peaks. An amazing amount of diminutive flora surrounds this barren landscape, which comes alive with color under summer’s midnight sun. Your captain and Expedition Team determine the day’s best sightseeing opportunities, which may include these extraordinary regions:
A stunning fjord with rugged rock walls, Magdalenefjoren surmounts blue-hued glaciers crisscrossed by crevasses, with birds perched in the high cliffs. This “glacier coast” provides magnificent views of the slow-moving ice masses traveling out to sea as well as beaches frequented by walruses.
Once a mining town and launching pad for early Arctic expeditions, Ny Alesund is now home to a polar research station where scientists study meteorology, seismology, atmospheric sciences and marine biology. Conditions permitting, visit the small community, including a museum, art gallery and the northernmost post office in the world.
Le Boreal navigates this passageway between the main island of Spitsbergen and the island of Nordaustlandet to deliver you to the Alkefjellet or “auk cliffs,” towering rock faces that drop directly into the sea and provide a home to colonies of auks.
Located in the center of the southern entrance to Hinlopen Strait, this island named after Swedish botanist Peter Fredrik Wahlberg is a favorite summer haul-out for walrus.
Monaco Bay and Glacier:
Located in Northwest Spitsbergen, Monaco Bay is frequented by a variety of wildlife populations, including polar bears, walruses, harbor and bearded seals, and a multitude of seabirds.
Liefdefjorden (Loves Bay):
In far northern Svalbard, this is an excellent area for spotting polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.
Throughout your landings and days of cruising in Spitsbergen, your primary objective will be to search for polar bears as they hunt in their true natural habitat — be it on land or among the ice floes. Each landing is under the close supervision of your bear guardians, who have the best knowledge about where to find the white giants.
Head toward remote Jan Mayen, spend the day at sea with new friends and the Expedition Team, who continue an engaging lecture series.
At the confluence of the Greenland and Norwegian seas, arrive at Jan Mayen, a fascinating and rugged island dominated by the 7,500-foot Beerenberg Volcano, which today stands as the world’s northernmost active volcano. With special permission and conditions permitting, land on this rarely visited island to see its meteorological station Olonkinbyen and discover its phenomenal bird colonies. Designated by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA), Jan Mayen supports large breeding colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, thick-billed guillemots and black guillemots.
For the next three days, explore the rarely visited east coast of Greenland and Scoresby Sound, the largest and longest fjord system in the world. Embark on twice-daily Zodiac excursions through the fjord’s glistening and intricate network, taking in its islands and icebergs, and searching for common residents that include the musk ox and reindeer. Ice conditions permitting, disembark for a visit to Ittoqqortoormiit, a small settlement founded in 1925 and one of the most isolated villages in Greenland.
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea cruising the relatively narrow strip of water that separates Greenland from Iceland, and connects the Arctic Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Watch for seabirds and whales from the deck in between insightful lectures presented by your Expedition Team.
Today, explore the spectacular Hornstrandir Peninsula, an unspoiled wilderness on Iceland’s remote Westfjords. Designated as a nature reserve in 1975 and free of any roads, Hornstrandir still appears as it would have when the Vikings first arrived. Your treks this morning reveal tranquil wildflower meadows, striking waterfalls and other geological features. This afternoon, visit the small village of Hesteyri, where you are welcomed by the local villagers.
The glacier-carved West Fjords continue to provide a scenic backdrop as you journey to the Langjökull Glacier. Disembark for a memorable adventure in the tiny port of Akranes, where you board special glacier trucks for an exciting trip to the Langjökull. Stop en route at the shimmering Hraunfossar waterfall before arriving at Langjökull, where you enter a labyrinth of ice tunnels and caves that lead to the heart of the glacier, all revealing breathtaking depths of ice and shades of blue. Following lunch in Húsafell, return this afternoon to Akranes to board Le Boreal.
This morning, disembark in Reykjavik and transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or continue on in Iceland with an optional Reykjavik extension.
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.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $50,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Optional Post-Trip Extension:
Reykjavik, Iceland: Choose from exploring Iceland’s Golden Circle, including Thingvellir National Park and the Gullfoss waterfall, OR drive the rugged Thórsmörk in a 4x4 vehicle. On the following day, choose from visiting the Skógafoss waterfall and enjoy lunch, OR experience the Blue Lagoon. Stay at the Radisson BLU 1919 Hotel. From $2,595 per person. (4 Days) Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One night pre-cruise accommodation in Oslo, Norway; accommodation and meals on the ship; arrival transfer to the starting hotel on Day 1 of the itinerary; transfer to the airport on the day of debarkation; fully guided sightseeing as noted in the itinerary including park and entrance fees; complimentary standard bar drinks, beer, house wine, soft drinks, coffee, juices and bottled water (excluding premium wines, spirits and Champagnes) while on board; butler service in Suites; on loan: boots, walking poles and pants; parka and backpack to keep; and gratuities for the ship’s crew and Expedition Staff. Subject to change without notice.
International airfare; charter flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen; passport and visa expenses; laundry; premium wines, liquors and champagnes; communication charges and internet access; all items of a personal nature; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © A&K Image Library