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Arctic Saga - Exploring Spitsbergen

Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 9,091

This Arctic expedition is an ideal introduction to the polar regions. Venture to the Faroe Islands, remote Jan Mayen, and the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen to learn about fascinating cultures, spot migrating whales and flocks of seabirds, and experience the dreamlike wonder of the Midnight Sun.


This 14-day Arctic vacation takes you to the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen, and Spitsbergen. It features first-class accommodations aboard a sea vessel, shared tours, and is a great intro to the Arctic.

Your journey begins in Aberdeen, the northern Scottish city known as the “Granite City.” You’ll have a night here to admire the Victorian homes in the old town, visit a museum, and soak up the atmosphere of northern Scotland. In Aberdeen, board the Ocean Adventurer, your 4-star cruise vessel that’ll be your home for the next 12 nights. This ice-strengthened vessel has comfortable rooms, a library, lounge, dining room, and bar, making it an ideally-equipped base for your adventure across the Arctic.

First stop is Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in the UK, set halfway between the Shetlands and the Orkneys. You’ll have a day to visit this remote settlement, peruse the local museum, and spot some of the fascinating wildlife, including orcas in the waters and puffins that crowd the coastal cliffs in the spring and summer. Continue to the Faroe Islands, this remote island group that is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark. You’ll have two days to explore these 18 islands, spot the fascinating birdlife, and learn about the history of the islands. One day, journey through green valleys and cruise along dramatic cliffs to see seabirds. Another day, visit the capital of Torshavn, established in 825 A.D., to see its wooden homes with sod roofs, historic 16th-century fort, and old pubs along the harbour.

Turn northwest and spend two days crossing the Arctic seas en route to Jan Mayen. During your journey, you’ll learn about the history and geography of the region and have the chance to spot migrating humpback whales if you’re lucky. Reach Jan Mayen, the remote island north of the Arctic Circle, and enter an elite company of Arctic explorers. The island is often shrouded in fog and rarely visited by humans, aside from the small crew of Norwegian researchers that man the meteorological station at Olonkinbyen. You’ll spend two days exploring this island on land and by sea on zodiac cruises. Visit the sole settlement, spot the remains of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station, and, if you’re lucky, admire the asymmetrical cone of Beerenberg Volcano when the fog clears. You’ll also enjoy access to the immense amount of birdlife in the nature reserve, including fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, and Brunnich’s guillemots.

Head back to sea and spend another day crossing to your final destination, Spitsbergen, the northern Norwegian island in the Svalbard Archipelago. You’ll have three days to explore this island, with each day determined by weather conditions and the interests of the group. You could explore the southerly fjord of Hornsund, see the old science station at the bay of Ibsjornhamma, watch Svalbard reindeer cross in front of a glacier, or visit the remnants of the mining colony at Bellsund.

At the end of your journey around Spitsbergen, you’ll disembark in Longyearbyen, its largest settlement, to prepare to return to the continent.


 

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Duration
14 Days
Prices From:
US$ 9,091

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Embark in Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Arrive any time on Day 1 and make your way to your included hotel. The gateway for your arctic adventure, the Scottish city of Aberdeen has many monikers, but its most famous is Granite City, as it was once the granite capital of the world. Wandering the streets, you'll soon see why, as the Victorian buildings sparkle in the sun. A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theaters, shops, cafés and restaurants to explore.

Overnight at a Hotel in Aberdeen.

Day 2

Embarkation Day

Today you will have some free time before being transferred to the port to board your ship. As you set sail this afternoon, you'll want to be out on deck, camera in hand - the area's coastal waters offer excellent possibilities for spotting bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and minke whales.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration12 Nights
Accommodation

Ocean Adventurer

More Info

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    Ocean Adventurer


    The new and improved Ocean Adventurer is designed to carry 132 travelers in comfort to the most remote corners of the world. Originally built in Yugoslavia in 1976, this nimble, ice-strengthened ship has become a passenger favourite over the years.

    The new and improved Ocean Adventurer is designed to carry 132 travelers in comfort to the most remote corners of the world. Originally built in Yugoslavia in 1976, this nimble, ice-strengthened ship has become a passenger favourite over the years.

    Facilities

    • Activities Desk
    • Bar
    • Dining Room
    • Exercise Room
    • Internet Access
    • Library
    • Lounge

    More Details

Day 3

Exploring Fair Isle

The U.K.'s most remote inhabited island, the extraordinary Fair Isle is located halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Boasting a rugged beauty, Fair Isle's landscape is diverse, with fields and moors dominated by seaside cliffs and an astounding amount of sea stacks, natural arches and caves.

Despite its small size, the island offers activities for history, nature and photography buffs alike. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in local artifacts, photos, knitwear and other historic memorabilia. Don't forget to snap a shot of the circa 1935 classic red phone booth by the post office!

In terms of wildlife, orcas are native to the waters around Fair Isle, and they sometimes come close in pursuit of seals. But the island is best known for its coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds in spring and summer. The star attraction is the Atlantic puffin, a clown-like bird that clings to the steep slopes. Photographers will surely want to capture pictures of their bemused expressions, and Fair Isle's easily accessible grassy banks make it one of the best places in the Shetlands to observe these colorful creatures. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, storm petrels, razorbills and guillemots are also likely to be spotted, soaring over the open waters.

Visitors to this community of crofters, artisans and artists may be able to pick up a traditional Fair Isle sweater to keep you warm during the rest of your arctic voyage. Be sure to pick one up, along with a matching hat, scarf and mittens, at the town hall.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Exploring the Faroe Islands

Known for its beautiful, unspoiled landscape, with verdant pastures giving way to rugged, steep cliffs, the Faroe Islands have a storied past, though the details of the archipelago's early history are a bit hazy. The first settlers may have been seventh-century Irish monks seeking solitude on these islands far removed from any continent. Their isolation ended in 800 AD, with the arrival of Norse farmers, and Norwegian colonization continued throughout the Viking Age. Today, many of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, now a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, are descendants of Norwegian Vikings.

You will have two days to explore this unspoiled and seldom-visited archipelago made up of 18 rugged islands located about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The mighty North Atlantic is omnipresent wherever you go with no place on the Faroe Islands farther than 3 miles (5 km) from its shores. The sea has always dominated life on the Faroes - throughout history as much as today: rich fisheries, magnificent ocean views and thriving sea bird colonies make up this rare Nordic jewel - often referred to as Europe's best kept secret.

You will spend a day exploring the outer islands of the archipelago which are separated by narrow sounds and fjords and delight in their surreal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, green valleys engulfed by steep dramatic mountains, protecting small picturesque villages with colorful turf-topped housed. Wind, weather and sea conditions will influence and shape your activity options, but you will of course always keep your eyes out for marine and bird life especially the iconic Atlantic puffin.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Exploring the Faroe Islands

Your second day in the Faroes will be dedicated to the capital city of Torshavn, where the Vikings established their government in 825 AD. One of the world's smallest capitals, the picturesque Tórshavn has a relaxed vibe and a number of historical and cultural sites. Meander the maze of narrow laneways of the Old Town, admiring the quaint wooden houses with traditional sod roofs and white paned windows. If you're looking for more action, a hike up to the historic fort, built in 1580 to guard against pirate raids, offers stunning views of the port below. Or perhaps you prefer to wander the charming harbor, filled with cafés, pubs and old warehouses, and simply gaze out at the sea while sipping a latte.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

At Sea

Say goodbye to the Faroes as you cruise toward the world's most northerly volcanic island, Jan Mayen. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside your ship, attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

At Sea

With your binoculars and camera at the ready, keep your eyes peeled for the blow of a humpback, blue or fin whale. Encounters with minke whales or orcas are also possible, since their curiosity can bring them near the ship. If you're lucky, you may even see harp seals.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Exploring Jan Mayen

North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, is the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants.

Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as you approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island's highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 meters) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. During the summer months, the island's lower landscape is covered with grass, moss and a smattering of hardy flowers that add a cheery pop of color to the otherwise barren black lava terrain.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Exploring Jan Mayen

One site that you will hope to visit is Olonkinbyen and the surrounding area. Named after Russian-Norwegian polar explorer Gennady Olonkin, it's the island's only settlement and the location of the meteorological station, where you may have the chance to learn about polar research while seeing how weather is monitored at the top of the world. Another option might be the black sand beach at Kvalrossbukta, where the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a large fulmar colony can be found. In 1632, two Basque ships landed at the small bay and plundered the station. A Dutch party was sent here the following year to protect the land stations during winter, but all seven men perished from scurvy. Whaling in the area came to an end about 20 years later.

If you're fortunate, you may view the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich's guillemots (thick-billed murres). And if you are fortunate, you might see ''sea parrots,'' the Atlantic puffin again. The waters here are rich feeding grounds for marine life, so keep a lookout for minke, fin, blue or humpback whales.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

At Sea

As you sail farther north, spend some time with your shipmates in the lounge, swapping stories and photos, or pause for a moment on the bridge, joining in as your Expedition Team looks out for whales, seals and a variety of seabirds.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 11

Explore Spitsbergen

Rugged, wild, unspoiled and situated entirely within the Arctic Circle, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is unforgettable. From immense glaciers to polar deserts, the landscape here is as varied as the wildlife.

As you explore the fjords of the southwestern corner of this magical island, it won't take long for you to see firsthand why Spitsbergen is the ''wildlife capital of the Arctic.'' Some areas we hope to visit include Hornsund and Bellsund fjords and the Lilliehöök Glacier.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Explore Spitsbergen

The possible landing sites at Hornsund, the island's most southerly fjord, have rich histories. En route to Isbjornhamna, a bay at the southern end, where you will hope to explore the former science station, you may have the opportunity to discover old whale bones. You may spot Svalbard reindeer and colonies of delightful little auks.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13

Explore Spitsbergen

A 12-mile (20 km) long sound, Bellsund lured miners a century ago to its natural resources. Today, visitors come to Bourbanhamna and Calypsobyen to see historic mining and trapper sites and marvel at the magnificent vistas. It may also be possible to hike along the colorful tundra, dotted with flowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Viewing reindeer here is likely, as they frequent the area.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 14

Disembark in Longyearbyen

The time has come to say farewell to your newfound friends and Expedition Team. After disembarking, spend the day exploring the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen or catch your homeward flights.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2021: Ocean Adventurer: May 1

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks on board throughout your voyage
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader
  • A daily program of lectures by noted naturalists
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by an Expedition Team and Special Guests as scheduled
  • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • An official Expeditions parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • A selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard ship
  • Arrival transfer from Longyearbyen airport to your hotel if you arrive one day prior to embarkation
  • On embarkation day transfer from your hotel or Longyearbyen airport to the ship
  • On disembarkation day group transfer from the ship to airport or local designated drop-off location
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of 100,000 US dollars per person

PRICE EXLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire

TB QUARKEXABE0121CRDIS: AS6
1 May 2021
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