Summary : Explore Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland on an adventure that cannot be compared to anything else in this hemisphere. As you reach the least-visited national park in the world you might sail for days without seeing another vessel. The chances of meeting a polar wolf or a polar bear are far greater than meeting another human being.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
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$8,956 to $34,305
Norway's capital Oslo is often referred to as "the blue, the green and the city in between". Forests, lakes, hills and a fjord surrounds this city. Downtown you will find unique architecture, a thriving cafe and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, endless shopping possibilities, and a large and visible immigrant community who add their own colourful touch to the city. You leave Oslo in the evening, heading for the High Arctic - Svalbard.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. In the midst of this mighty wilderness, is the Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen. After an overnight stay, you join an excursion to learn more about this remote area before embarking the MS Spitsbergen.
The first national park you will visit covers the northwest corner of Svalbard. The area is characterized by enormous inland glaciers and a landscape of contrasts, both lush pastures and barren moraines. You will continue into Kongsfjord and Magdalenefjord, offering spectacular scenery and interesting history. At 78º 55’ N, you will visit Ny-Ålesund, the starting point for numerous expeditions towards the North Pole in the old days. Today it is home to an advanced High Arctic research station.
Within the Svalbard Archipelago, there are about 3,000 polar bears – far more than the human population and probably one of the largest polar bear concentrations on Earth. That said; polar bears are solitary animals with no set colony or living area. They roam to wherever they can expect to find food. While there are no guarantees of sighting these top predators, the more eyes scouting through binoculars, the better chance you have of spotting the King of the Arctic. The polar bear is a marine mammal, so you are most likely to observe one close to or even in the water. Whenever close to drift ice, you will look carefully, because there is a chance that a polar bear uses this ice floe as a platform when at sea.
As you arrive in the largest national park in the world, the splendid isolation of this journey begins to take hold. Apart from some abandoned trapping stations, a weather station and the traditional Sirius sled patrol, there are no traces of humans here. Within the borders of Northeast Greenland National Park there are only about 30 souls that overwinter. In the very short summer season, when the waters around are not frozen, only 500 expedition guests visit the park. Once inside the fjords of Northeast Greenland, your sense of distance, size and shape of landscapes will be challenged. These are the largest fjords in the world and the alpine landscape, with hanging glaciers and vertical granite faces reach as far as the eye can see. As well as wildlife like musk oxen, arctic fox, hare and wolf, you may see a variety of sea birds, and remember, where there is ice, there might be polar bears! You will call on the very isolated research station, Danmarkshavn. Sailing into fjords like Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord or Alpefjord is an unforgettable experience. The majority of your landings are performed as pure wilderness expeditions. You might meet the Sirius Patrol (The Danish Navy) that supervises the park using traditional methods, like mushing dogs. Before the Danes acquired sovereignty of this area, the Norwegians claimed it. A natural place to attempt a landing is Myggbukta (Mosquito Bay), where the legendary Governor of North East Greenland had his base. Your expert guides and lecturers will safely lead you on hikes and small boat trips in addition to giving briefings and lectures about the places you explore.
In Ittoqqortoormiit you can visit the museum, church and a photo exhibition, or explore on your own. The trappers living in this town are the only people that are allowed to hunt within the Northeast Greenland National Park. You will probably see that they are drying animal skins and storing their dog sleds outside their houses.
As you leave Greenland, you will sail towards the western coast of Iceland. This is an excellent Day to attend to lectures and prepare for our return to “civilization”.
As you reach the west region of Iceland, you will understand why this area is dubbed “The Sagaland”. Take your time to explore Stykkishólmur’s diversity with lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity, and hot and cold springs. Participate in a range of exciting excursions such as kayaking, hiking, and horseback riding.
Iceland's capital offers visitors a rich urban life. Relatively close to Reykjavik you will find glaciers, waterfalls, geysers and mountains. Reykjavik itself hosts fine restaurants, museums and shops. You will arrive in the morning hours, and this is where your voyage ends.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic 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.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for fishing during the voyage. Spend 2.5-3 hours fishing with an officer and members of the crew and preparing your catch. When you return to the ship, you will be invited to meet the chef, prepare your catch, and have it served for dinner. Included: Waterproof clothing and a fishing rod. Maximum participants: 3 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: $166 per person, per excursion (pre-bookable, please inquire)
Embark on a 2-4 hour kayaking excursion accompanied by expert guides in a stable double kayak. Included: head-to-toe kayaking gear, including a dry suit; snack and/or lunchbox as needed. Outings are subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to pre-book kayaking.
Taught by two professional photography instructors, this pre-bookable photography school program covers basic image editing, wildlife and landscape photography, and DSLR video instruction. This program is designed for proficient beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated work station with software provided, priority access to the Photo Optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens cleaning kit. Min/max participants: 2-10 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Science Center: Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.
Economy class flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen; one hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage, including breakfast and lunch; transfer from the hotel to the ship, including an excursion in Longyearbyen; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Arctic Superior Suites (P, U, QJ, YA) include an Arctic Pure amenity kit (bathroom). Expedition Suites (Q, MG, MX) include a soft drink package, a wine package, an Arctic Pure amenity kit (bathroom), a fleece blanket/throw, a cabin kit (bathrobe and slippers), an espresso maker, sweets/snacks and sparkling wine (on embarkation day), a separate check-in with sparkling wine, and a suite breakfast. Subject to change without notice.
International flights to/from the U.S.; travel insurance; luggage handling; optional excursions and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.