Welcome to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight service, you are free to explore this fascinating city. Reykjavík is home to a wealth of cultural institutions including museums, galleries, and the Hallgrímskirkja church. Leisure possibilities inside the city include parks, gardens, and thermal baths. You can also take advantage of Reykjavík’s wide range of shopping possibilities, excellent dining options, and famous nightlife. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage.
In the afternoon, we welcome you aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Arctic dreams coming true as we slip our moorings and sail out of the harbor.
Our expedition day in the Westfjords area reveals the rare beauty of the part of Iceland where mass tourism disappears – only about 10% of Iceland's visitors ever see the region. Taking advantage of every weather favorable condition, we choose the best places to discover breathtaking coastal fjords, jagged bird cliffs, and tiny fishing villages embracing traditional ways of life.
The tiny island of Grimsey lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Grimsey is remarkable for majestic basalt rocks and bird colonies where one can see the Atlantic puffins, known also as the "clowns of the sea".
Jan Mayen hosts the landscapes of breathtaking beauty and northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet – the Beerenberg. The island is wild and uninhabited not including members of Norwegian weather station. The signboard at the entrance door says (translated from the Norwegian): “Theory is when you understand everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody understands why. On this station, we combine theory and practice in a way that nothing works and nobody understands why”. Northern fulmars, Kittiwakes, and Brünich’s guillemots breeding on steep cliffs and slopes represent the birdlife of Jan Mayen.
The lectures of our invited speakers prepare us for meeting with the unique Arctic wildlife and awesome landscapes of Spitsbergen.
This is a real expedition in a true High Arctic wilderness. As such, our route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions we encounter. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. We exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, to discover incredible scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us.
We anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands in the western part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
To complete the Arctic experience we also explore places rich with history. Our area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and even an abandoned polar research station.
Human habitation in this area can be found only at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, complete with museum, gift shop, and post office.
The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After breakfast we say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. We provide a transfer to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. In this case, be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of quality shopping and dining opportunities in this fascinating Arctic settlement.
* Itinerary may be subject to change