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Spitsbergen – Northeast Greenland, Aurora Borealis

Arctic Svalbard Cruise Information

Summary : Embark on a voyage filled with the amazing colors of the Arctic. Start in Spitsbergen and sail across the Greenland sea to the coast of Greenland before crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland. Watch for whales and magnificent ice sculptures; discover tundra populated by musk oxen, Arctic hares, and ptarmigans; sail through pristine fjords surrounded by towering mountains; visit the remains of ancient Inuit settlements; and hope to glimpse the Northern Lights.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins


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Day 1
Longyearbyen, Svalbard / Embark

Touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred plant species have been recorded in it. In the early evening, the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Day 2

Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers—and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

Day 3 – 4
At Sea

You may eventually see the jagged edge of east Greenland's sea ice flashing into sight ahead, depending on the conditions. Keep watch for whales and migrating seabirds here.

Day 5
Clavering Ø, Northeast Greenland

Arrive at Clavering Ø in remote Northeast Greenland. The island was named by the second German North Polar Expedition 1869–70 as “Clavering Insel” to commemorate Douglas Charles Clavering (1794–1827), commander of the Griper on an 1823 voyage which explored the area and, at the southern shore of this island, made the first (and last) encounter that Europeans made with the now extinct Northeast-Greenland Inuit.

The Second German North Polar Expedition in 1869, found the remains of many former settlements, but the population had apparently died out during the intervening years. Bones of muskoxen and Arctic hare suggest that the Inuit hunted in this area. Today you might encounter muskoxen in this region.

Day 6

Approaching Greenland, you may sail through the sea ice into Foster Bay and land at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (where Norwegian trappers hunted for polar bear and Arctic fox in the first half of the 20th century), there is a sprawling tundra populated by muskoxen, with geese floating the small lakes. From here, sail through Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, surrounded by towering mountains and bright interior icebergs. An alternate route is Sofia Sound, a narrower waterway.

Day 7
Islands of Antarctic Sound

Arrive at Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt and the intended landing site. In the afternoon you head into Antarctic Sound, where you find the islands of Ruth, Maria, and Ella. Maria is the most likely spot for a landing.

Day 8
Segelsällskapets Fjord / Alpefjord

In the morning, enter Segelsällskapets Fjord, with the streaked slopes of the Berzelius Mountains bordering the north side. Land on the south shore, where ancient sedimentary formations lie right at your feet. A hike takes you near a small lake with good chances to see muskoxen, Arctic hares, and ptarmigans. In the afternoon the ship ventures into Alpefjord, aptly named for the spire-like peaks that thrust up around it. You may then embark on a Zodiac cruise around Gully Glacier, which once blocked access to the interior of these waters. Continuing deep into the fjord, experience a definitive Greenland adventure.

Day 9

Spend the first half of the day in Antarctichavn, an extensive valley where you can spot groups of muskoxen. At this time of year, the sparse vegetation is dressed in the fiery colors of autumn.

Day 10

Reach Scoresbysund today, sailing along the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. You may enjoy a Zodiac cruise past one of the glacier fronts, along with a visit to the basalt columns and ice formations of Vikingebugt.

The afternoon goal is to visit Danmark Island, where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular stone tent rings indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, with easy identifiable entrances, bear-proof meat caches, and grave sites. In the evening, continue sailing the berg-crowded fjords to the west.

Day 11
Røde Ø

The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, one of the world’s most cherished iceberg attractions: The austere blue-white of the icebergs is a sharp contrast to the brooding red backdrop of the sediment slopes. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord with the chance to see muskoxen and warm autumnal foliage.

Day 12

In the morning, you'll encounter colossal icebergs, some over 328-feet high and more than .62-miles long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 1,312-feet deep. Later, land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.

Day 13
Hurry Inlet / Ittoqqortoormiit

Today, make a tundra landing on Liverpool Land in Hurry Inlet. The afternoon stop is Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement in Scoresbysund at about five hundred inhabitants. Buy stamps for your postcards at the post office, or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and muskoxen. Sail south in the afternoon, passing the picturesque landscapes of the Blosseville Coast.

Day 14
At Sea

A sea day offers the opportunity to spot whales and seabirds, and—at night—the magical northern lights.

Day 15
Akureyri, Iceland / Disembark

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. Disembark in Akureyri, where you can transfer by chartered bus (a six-hour drive that you must book in advance; see Additional Costs) to Reykjavik's city hall, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.


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 travel insurance including medical, accident, and a minimum of $50,000 in repatriation/evacuation insurance. Furthermore, the shipping company strongly recommends obtaining trip cancellation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Arctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Please Note: All voyages will operate subject to a minimum of 70 participants.

Pre-scheduled airport/ship transfers and baggage handling in Longyearbyen (select flights only; please inquire for details); shipboard accommodations; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; snacks, coffee, and tea; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; AECO fees and governmental taxes. Inclusions subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; transfers to/from the vessel outside Spitsbergen; transfer supplement for bus shuttle between Akureyri (ship) and Radhus Reykjavikur / City Hall in Vonarstraeti (6 hours); pre- and post-land arrangements; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance that includes medical, accident, and repatriation/evacuation (required); baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges, and telecommunication charges; gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.

PHOTOS: © Tobias Brehm (Aurora Borealis), © Amos Nachoum (Hiking), © Rob Tully (Greenland landscape, Tundra Hiking, Ittoqqortoormiit), © Erwin Vermeulen (whale tail, sunset, muskoxen), © Oceanwide Expeditions

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