Abundant wildlife in Spitsbergen and stunning scenery in East Greenland combine to create a complete Arctic experience.
The northwestern part of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, offers dramatic scenery along with some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. This High Arctic wilderness is home to polar bears, a variety of whales and seals, a great abundance of nesting seabirds, and land mammals such as Arctic fox and reindeer.
In this multifaceted landscape of glaciers, mountains, and flowering tundra we also find historical sites and the Arctic research community of Ny Ålesund, complete with gift shop, museum, and post office. You may even get a chance to swim in the Arctic Ocean.
Northeast Greenland National Park and Scoresby Sund offer some of the finest scenery in the world. Extensive fjord systems provide access to the mountainous interior of Greenland where tidewater glaciers create colossal icebergs. Coastal plains are home to prehistoric-looking musk oxen and other wildlife.
Throughout this area we find ancient archeological sites and historical huts. We also have the chance to visit a modern Inuit village complete with Greenlandic sled dogs at Ittoqqortoormiit. To cap it all off, each night in Greenland brings a new possibility to see incredible displays of northern lights, also known as aurora borealis.
Before finishing our voyage in Reykjavík, we have the chance to explore along the west coast of this scenic and diverse country. In the ruggedly beautiful Westfjords we visit the historic fishing port of Ísafjörður. This small town embodies Iceland’s trademark blend of contemporary charm and rich cultural heritage.
ARI TRAUSTI GUÐMUNDSSON
Ari Trausti is an Icelandic geophysicist, lecturer, mountaineer, polar traveler, radio and television host, prize-winning fiction writer, and author of over 40 books. His science books focus on geology, volcanology, glaciology, astronomy, environmental science and mountaineering. His collection of short stories has received the Laxness Literary Prize.
Educated as a geophysicist in Norway and Iceland, Ari Trausti has worked as a consultant in geoscience, tourism, Arctic and environmental issues for over 30 years. He is an official guide/lecturer for Icelandic ministries, the office of the President and several scientific institutions. In 2007 and 2010, he received prizes for communication in science. He is an international member of the Explorers Club. Ari Trausti was a candidate for the office of the President of Iceland in 2012.
Day 1. Longyearbyen (West Spitsbergen, Svalbard) Welcome to Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight service, you are free to explore this fascinating Arctic settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of quality shopping and dining opportunities in the town center. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage. Day 2. Embarkation in Longyearbyen 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 into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as we sail through Isfjorden on our first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters. Day 3. Exploration of Svalbard Svalbard is a true High Arctic wilderness and this part of the voyage is a real expedition. 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. We anticipate exploring in the northwestern part of the island of Spitsbergen. 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 a wide variety of marine mammals. Polar Bears can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. Also in this area is Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers, complete with museum, gift shop, and post office. This was also a staging area for historic attempts to discover the North Pole. Day 4-5: Across the Greenland Sea From Svalbard we head southwest across the Greenland Sea toward East Greenland. In these far northern latitudes it is possible to encounter sea ice any time of the year. All along the way we remain vigilant for sightings of marine mammals such as whales, seals, and the majestic polar bear. As we head south, darker nights create a high possibility of seeing aurora borealis. Day 6-11: Exploration of East Greenland This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our itinerary and exploration opportunities in East Greenland are dependent on weather and sea ice conditions. Again you can be sure that our experienced captain and expedition leader will take advantage of every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, to discover incredible scenery, and to go ashore wherever possible. The Kaiser Franz Joseph and Kong Oscar fjord systems are part of Northeast Greenland National Park, the world’s largest national park. Scoresby Sund is the largest and longest fjord system in the world. We anticipate exploring these fjord systems to the extent made possible by ever-changing ice conditions. This whole area contains some of the Arctic’s most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by ice-clad peaks up to 2000 meters high, reach far into the mountainous heart of Greenland. Tidewater glaciers create colossal icebergs that float with wind and tide throughout the fjord system. On shore, fields of multicolored tundra are home to musk oxen and Arctic hare. The landscape—vast, open, and seemingly untouched since the beginning of time—is a hikers’ paradise. Throughout this area we also find ancient Thule archeological sites, historical trappers’ huts, and modern Inuit hunters’ cabins. The Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit is the only permanent settlement in the region. The community boasts an excellent museum, a gift shop, a post office, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs, and of course the opportunity to meet Inuit people. The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough stunning scenery to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions. Each night brings new possibilities for incredible displays of aurora borealis—the Northern Lights. This is the perfect time and one of the world’s best places to experience this otherworldly celestial phenomenon. Day 12: Across Denmark Strait After our amazing time in East Greenland we cross Denmark Strait toward Iceland, crossing the Arctic Circle on the way. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that this day at sea is not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows and balconies. Day 13: Ísafjörður, Iceland Situated in beautiful Vestfirðir (Westfjords), the town of Ísafjörður embodies Iceland’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and contemporary charm. Ísafjörður’s longstanding significance as a fishing and trading port are reflected in its many historical buildings and museums. The town contains the country’s largest collection of old timber frame houses, mostly constructed by foreign traders in the 18th century. The local folk museum contains the oldest house in Iceland, built in 1734. Yet the small, relatively isolated town has a surprisingly vibrant and modern feel to it. Day 14: Snæfellsnes, Iceland The famous Snæfellsjökull volcano and picturesque Kirkjufell mountain are dominant features in the impressive landscape of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A rich cultural and literary history and the success of fishermen and merchants are evident in local fishing villages. Day 15: Disembarkation in Reykjavík, Iceland After breakfast we say farewell in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and ending point of our expedition. We provide a transfer to the airport or to the city center if you wish to spend another day or more in Iceland before flying home. Reykjavík is home to a wealth of cultural institutions such as 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. And of course the entire country of Iceland is accessible through day tours or longer journeys by rental car. The options for additional adventures are endless!
Sail aboard the remarkably comfortable Sea Spirit and experience the polar regions in grand style with spacious suites. Carrying a maximum of 112 passengers this outstanding vessel, approved for polar waters, is equipped with rubber inflatable boats - called Zodiacs- for shore transfers and cruising. Kayaking and camping options are available on select departures. All suites have facilities en suite and exterior views. Deluxe Suites, Premium Suites and the Owner's Suite have private balconies for viewing the breathtaking landscapes of the Arctic, Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. Cruise with all the comfort of home - king-size beds (twin beds for those who prefer them), an open bar, balconies and a hot tub. Plus enjoy the amenities of a fine hotel, while a resident photographer helps you take brag-worthy photos.