North Norway, Aurora Borealis & Whales

Norway

The North Norway cruise follows the path of more than one kind of whale as it travels amongst the fjords of Tromsø. The long Norway nights offer travellers on this expedition an excellent chance to take in the beauty and wonder of the Northern Lights

  • The mystical winter beauty of the sub-Arctic Norwegian coastline
  • Small-group travel, sailing aboard a charming and historic schooner
  • Opportunities to see sperm whales and other whale species gathering to feed on herring shoals
  • Look out for white-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey in Europe
  • Hikes along the scenic coast or in small fishing villages
  • Great opportunities to catch sight of the aurora borealis - Northern lights
The coasts and fjords of Norway are renowned for their beauty. In the far north of the country, about 350 km (217 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, lie the islands of Kvaløya and Senja. Enormous schools of herring gather in the fjords around these islands to live out the winter. This abundance of food creates one of the largest concentrations of biomass on Earth, which in turn attracts large numbers of whales. It is these giants of the sea that this voyage is dedicated to finding. During winter the daylight is limited, but the nighttime hours are far from wasted: North Norway is one of the best areas in the world to see the northern lights, a magical phenomenon that can only be fully appreciated when the sky is clear and dark, with minimal light pollution. This voyage offers ample opportunities to admire the auroras from the remote bays and fishing villages where you’ll spend the night.

Stewart's Take

Explore the beauty of northern winter and its legendary cetacean visitors!

Overview

The North Norway cruise follows the path of more than one kind of whale as it travels amongst the fjords of Tromsø. The long Norway nights offer travellers on this expedition an excellent chance to take in the beauty and wonder of the Northern Lights.
South route: (around Senja) Day 1: Paris of the North Your adventure begins in Tromsø, nicknamed the “Paris of the North,” located in an area rich with Norse and Sámi history. Enjoy exploring this sub-Arctic Norwegian town, said to have been inhabited since the last ice age. We aim at departing from Tromsø in the evening of day one, all passengers are kindly asked to board the vessel by 17:00. Day 2: In search of Norway’s whales The itinerary depends largely on the weather conditions, the amount of daylight during the voyage, and the expected location of the whales. You might sail clockwise or counter-clockwise around the island of Senja. Day 3 – 6: Whales of the shelf You spend the next several days along the north coasts of Senja and Andfjorden, areas where many whales have been spotted in recent years. Keep a look out for sperm whales and other whale species here. Near Andenes, along the edge of the continental shelf, whales dive particularly deep to feed on giant squid. You may also see white-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey in Europe, vying for their share of the herring. In the afternoon, you find a place for the night in one of the scenic fishing villages nearby, such as Skrolsvik, Andenes, Gryllefjorden, Hamn and/ or Sommarøy. Once the sun has set, you can make short hikes along the coast or in small villages – and maybe even catch sight of the aurora. Day 7 – 8: Under the northern lights Continuing your circumnavigation of Senja, you sail to the small island of Sommarøy. Here there are good opportunities to see the northern lights as well as embark on pleasant hikes. You spend the last morning of the cruise exploring the island’s small bays and white beaches. On day seven, you sail back to Tromsø and arrive around midday. You’ll have enough time to shop for souvenirs in town, visit a museum, or simply take a walk in the fresh winter air. After spending the last night on board, you disembark on day eight (Saturday) with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. Important note: Tromsø is the base and gateway in which our voyages start and end. These voyages focus on viewing the aurora borealis and whales, and the expedition leader determines the final itinerary to be introduced during the welcome briefing on day one. The map shows two possible routes that we may take in order to raise our chances for wildlife sightings: One route (the described one) heads south around the island of Senja, mainly in the period from mid-January till March. The other route (represented by the dotted line) heads north to the Kvaenangen fjord, very likely to be visited during November to mid-January. Because of the seasonal occurrence of herring and whales in these fjords, the whale safari cruises take place in winter, when the Northern Norway days are short and the nights long. Whale watching (orcas and humpbacks) is highly dependent on the variable herring stocks in the area, and this is ultimately unpredictable. Other whales (i.e., sperm whales) are not dependent on herring, which is why we have a good chance of seeing them in specific areas, such as along the south route near Andenes. Our chances of seeing orcas are minimal, while the odds of encountering other species (for instance, humpbacks) are higher. The expedition leader will adapt the sailing plan to maximize your chances of seeing whales.

S/V 'Rembrandt Van Rijn'

Rembrandt van Rijn sailing ship

‘Rembrandt Van Rijn’ was built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in he Netherlands in 1994 and sailed in Spitsbergen (1994 – 1996) and in Galápagos (1998 - 2001). The vessel underwent a complete rebuilding and refurbishment program until 2011. The communication and navigation equipment has been completely renewed according to the latest SOLAS regulations.

For full information about this vessel click here:

Included
  • Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
  • All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Free use of snow shoes.
  • Transfers and baggage handling between airport and ship in Greenland harbours on the chartered group flights.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • AECO fees and governmental taxes.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Excluded
  • Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
  • Pre- and post- land arrangements.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Meals ashore.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory).
  • Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
  • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Rates, Share and Sole Use policy All rates are quoted per person, based on shared occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with another person of the same gender at the shared rate. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 60 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 20 % of the total price. If cancellation is received between 89 days and 60 days prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of 50 % of the total price. If cancellation occurs less than 59 days up to and including the day of departure: 100 % of the total price. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Oceanwide Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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