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, 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:
Magdalenefjoren: 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 travelling out to sea as well as beaches frequented by walruses.
Ny Alesund: 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.
Hinlopen Strait: 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.
Whalbergoya: 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.
As Le Boreal plies 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 todays 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 West Fjords. 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 Heysteyri, 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 Le Boreal in Reykjavik and transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or continue on in Iceland with a Reykjavik extension.
Please note: This itinerary is provisional and subject to change due to ice, weather, wildlife and other conditions beyond our control. The final itinerary will be determined at the sole discretion of the Captain and Expedition Leader.
* Itinerary may be subject to change