Day 1: Edinburgh / Leith, ScotlandThe expedition begins near Scotland's incomparable capital city. The royal capital of Scotland since the 11th century, Edinburgh is home to an extraordinary range of architectural contrast from dark, medieval, 16th century block towers to classical Georgian and Victorian masterpieces. A World Heritage Site, Edinburgh is home to over 16,000 buildings that are listed as being historically or architecturally important.
Board the expedition ship this afternoon in the suburb of Leith, to embark on your voyage to the Arctic. The ship will depart in the evening.
Day 2: KirkwallThere are few places in the world that offer as much as the Orkneys. Only six miles off the coast of Scotland, the islands are famous for their abundant marine bird life and dramatic coastal scenery. Your excursions for today will focus not only on this, but also on many of the mystical historical sites of the area. These excursions will include coach visits to the Ring of Brodgar, standing stones of Stennes and the 4,500-year-old village of Skara Brae. Also, see a famous Italian chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.
Day 3: LerwickContinue northwards to the remote Shetland Islands. The islands were under Norse rule until 1469, when they were given to Scotland as part of a Danish princesses dowry. The Shetlands are an engaging mix of Scotland and Scandinavia, with spectacular coastlines, varied and abundant bird life and a number of archaeological sites that date back thousands of years.
Day 4: NordfjordenDepending on time, you may stop in Olden for a short bus ride to the Birksdal area and a walk to a glacier. There is a trolly-like car available for people who are unable to walk the full distance.
Day 5: GeirangerSail deep into one of Norway's most beautiful fjords, deep towards the mainland. The fjord is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 6: Monks Island & AustrattSail towards Monks Island which is just off the shore of Trondheim. The Benedictine monks built a monastery in the 11th century. Now, it is a recreational area. Later, visit Austratt, which has been a residence for many noblemen and noblewomen who played a significant role in Norway's development.
Day 7: Torghatten & AlstahaugThe rugged coastline of central Norway features some of the world’s most beautiful nature. The mountain scenery and coastline offer breathtaking scenery and your Captain will negotiate with local Norwegian pilots to determine the best Zodiac shore landing options. The goal is to visit Torghatten, one of the most bizarre rock formations in Norway and a significant local landmark. Another goal for today will be to move towards the Treana archipelago that is comprised of over 1000 islands.
Day 8: Svartisen & VikingenSvartisen has a beautiful walk to a glacier with the chance of an easy walk along a road. It also has a more demanding walk all the way around a lake below the glacier.
Day 9: Lofoten Islands, Svolvaer & TrollfjordThe Lofoten Archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages by the sea backed with jagged peaks. Today, go ashore via coach on the island of Aa, where cod fishing is still a major part of the economy. In the evening, be sure to be on deck as you cruise into one of the most famous fjords in Norway, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord, and search the cliffs for Norway's mythical beings: trolls.
Day 10: TromsoTromsø, the capital of northern Norway, is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic" since so many Arctic expeditions originated from here. Spend the whole day learning about the history of past expeditions and exploring Norway's largest northern city. Also, enjoy a coach tour to some of the major sites including the Polar and Tromsø Museums and weather permitting, enjoy a stunning view from a cable car. You will also visit the Arctic Cathedral, whose unique architecture is evocative of snow and icebergs. Its stained glass windows are among the largest in Europe.
Day 11: At Sea / Bear IslandSail past Bear Island, Explore mist-shrouded Bjørnøya—a birdwatcher's paradise featuring spectacular views, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls.
Days 12 - 13: Hornsund and BellsundSvalbard is an archipelago of deep fjords, high mountains and massive glaciers. Your focus during the time here is searching for walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and, of course, the polar bear. The flexible itinerary allows you to take the best advantage of ice and weather conditions. Shore walks and Zodiac adventures bring you up close to mystical landscapes, icebergs, and wildlife.
Day 14: Festningen and AlkhornetThe highlight of Festningen (the fortress) is an impressive dike of rock that runs along the top of a small cliff where fossilized footprints of dinosaurs have been found.
Alkhornet features a towering horn of rock which is the nesting site for thousands of Guillemots and Kittiwakes, while foxes and reindeer take advantage of the lush tundra vegetation below the cliffs.
Day 15: LongyearbyenDisembarkation will take place after breakfast. A transfer will take you into the center of the town where you are free to enjoy a walk around town. Longyearbyen boasts an outstanding Arctic museum, an art gallery and a number of other cultural attractions for you to enjoy. It is advised for you not to book any flights departing Longyearbyen earlier than the afternoon of disembarkation day.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on the Expedition, all passengers must purchase medical and emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum medical coverage of $200,000 USD and this insurance must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, and evacuation expenses. Clients must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Accommodations onboard Expedition; all meals onboard (excluding drinks other than coffee, tea and water); shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; complimentary rubber boots on board; Edinburgh meeting point to ship transfer; Longyearbyen airport transfer depending on your flight details; and an expedition parka.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; gratuities are at your discretion; items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions.