Day 1: Bergen, Norway / EmbarkEmbark the Silver Explorer and celebrate the start of your exciting expedition – “Majestic Fjords & Arctic Svalbard.” Meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Day 2: Geiranger, NorwayOf Norway’s many fjords, Geirangerfjord is doubtless the most beautiful. Impressive mountains, numerous waterfalls as well as farms clinging to the steep hillsides give the fjord its unique character. The excursion takes you uphill past the wooden, octagonal Geiranger Church, through the wild Flydal valley where a scenic overview stop is made, and continues around hairpin bends to Lake Djupvatn, and the summit of Mount Dalsnibba (1,500 meters.) From here, there is an amazing panorama of mountains, waterfalls and lakes.
Alternatively (and weather permitting) the more energetic can spend a few hours kayaking the quiet and spectacular Geirangerfjord with two-person kayaks. Geirangerfjord is one of nature’s masterpieces and on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Its description as “the world’s most beautiful fjord” is no exaggeration and it is amidst this dramatic mountain setting that you can experience some spectacular sea kayaking. The kayaks provide an amazing perspective from which to view the cascading waterfalls and steep mountain walls that rise as high as 1500m.
Day 3: Ålesund, NorwayThe coastal town of Ålesund is noted for its characteristic Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) buildings, making it one of the most picturesque towns in Norway. Narrow streets are crammed with buildings topped with turrets, spires and gables that bear decorations of dragonheads and curlicues.
Renowned for its extraordinary quantity of birdlife, Runde Island’s cliffs are a sanctuary for 100,000 puffins, 50,000 kittiwakes and thousands of guillemots, fulmars, razorbills, gannets and shags. If lucky, you may even spot a great skua or white-tailed eagle. Take the Zodiacs in for a close-up look and may even have time to make a landing to explore on foot. While there are only about 100 human inhabitants on the island, there are 70 different species of nesting birds with 240 species observed. In addition to birdlife, naturalists will also help spot the many varieties of plants found on the island.
Day 4: Trondheim, NorwayTrondheim is situated where the river Nidelva meets the Trondheimsfjord, with an excellent harbor and sheltered conditions. It was the capital of Norway until 1217 AD and is today the third largest city in the country. As part of the city tour, visit the Nidaros Cathedral located in the middle of the city center on the site where it is believed that King Olav Haraldsen was buried after he was killed in 1030 AD during battle. Please note that the Cathedral is also a Parish Church, and may be closed to touristic visits. Also, visit the Sverresborg – Trøndelag Open Air Museum, which was originally a fortification built ca. 1182/1183 AD by King Sverre Sigurdson. There are more than 60 vintage buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries brought here from Trondheim and surrounding areas.
Alternatively (and weather permitting), offer a hike in Bymarka/Gråkallen recreation area. Bymarka offers a variety of trails and terrain. Enjoy the tranquility of a hike through the woods and climb to the top of Mount Gråkallen for a view of the city, the fjord and distant mountains.
Day 5: At SeaBinoculars in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theater to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the regions endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable experts in a variety of scientific fields present lectures and seminars. Onboard diversions may include photographic workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Day 6: Leknes, Lofoten Islands, NorwayVarious seabirds have found their home in Eggum, located on the western side of Vestvågøy Island. On the birding excursion, see (if lucky) gannet, cormorant, eiderduck, shag, great skua and Arctic skua, black guillemot, kittiwake and Arctic tern. En route, pass the Borgpollen Bay where you may observe black-throated diver, red-throated diver, tufted duck and scaup. Further on, during a stop by Lake Storied, have the possibility to see ruff, black tailed godwit, bluethrout, slavonian grebe and a variety of ducks. Alternatively, choose to visit the remarkably well-preserved Nusfjord Fishing Village. Also, visit the Lofotr Viking Museum. Discovered in the 1980s when a farmer was ploughing his land, excavations revealed the remains of the largest building ever (83 meters long) to be found from the Viking realm. Tour the reconstructed long house and gain insight into the life of a Viking chieftain.
Late this afternoon, hope to cruise with the Silver Explorer in the Trollfjorden in the north of the Lofoten Islands, one of Norway's narrowest and most spectacular fjords and home to the legendary troll. Only 2 kilometers long and 30 meters wide at its entrance, the fjord is dominated by the surrounding Vesteralen and Blafjellet mountain ranges. Be out on deck and enjoy the beautiful scenery as the Captain skilfully navigates the ship into and out of the fjord.
Day 7: Tromsø, NorwayTromsø has a proud tradition of being the starting point for many Polar expeditions. The Polar Museum opened on 18 June 1978 – 50 years to the day after Roald Amundsen left Tromsø on his last and fatal expedition to search for the missing Umberto Mobile and his airship. The Museum is housed in an historic customs warehouse dating back to 1830, and has an idyllic setting on the waterfront. The museum visit allows you to view exhibitions that feature hunting and trapping in the Polar regions, and the famous Norwegian Polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen.
The Arctic Alpine Garden is the world’s northernmost botanic garden. In fact, Tromsø lies at approximately at the same latitude as the northernmost point in Alaska, however Tromsø has a longer growing season thanks to the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream and the long daylight hours of summer. What makes the Arctic Alpine Garden remarkable is its ability to sustain delicate alpine plant life under the cold, stressful, and insular conditions of this region.
Day 8: Bear Island, NorwayApproaching Bear Island (Bjørnøya), whale watching is a priority. They are in record numbers in this area. As you move closer to this Arctic island, witness a kaleidoscope of thousands of seabirds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. With Zodiacs, explore the rugged coastline of Bear Island, and if weather conditions are favorable, make a landing. Together, encounter the amazing flurry of life on this barren island, now a nature reserve. Expedition Team members will enhance your visit by providing insights to the environment, the terrain, and the wildlife that exist in these extreme conditions.
Days 9 - 12: Cruise & Explore SvalbardAn expansive Arctic Ocean archipelago woven between the North Pole and Norway, Svalbard is one of the last major European wilderness areas with pristine mountains, fauna, deep fjords, picturesque icebergs, and massive ice sheets. The goal is to explore the west coast of Svalbard’s breathtaking and dramatic Spitsbergen Island. Locate wildlife and spend the maximum amount of time possible hiking on the tundra. Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000 polar bears and you hope to encounter a good number of them during the trip.
The flexible itinerary allows you to take advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions. Whether cruising by Zodiac amongst floating icebergs or heading ashore for a guided walk, adventures will bring you up close to mystical settings. Each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine the best course depending on changing weather, ice conditions, and the wildlife encountered. Here are a few of the places you may visit:
Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Listen for the crash of white thunder as huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. Amidst floating icebergs, watch for bearded seals, the rare beluga whale and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favorite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting little auks. You may visit the Polish research station or the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts.
Bellsund – Pushing about 50 miles (80 kilometers) into Spitsbergen is the more than 12-mile wide Bellsund. At the entrance of the fjord, you are likely to encounter some common eiders, Arctic terns and Arctic skuas. Snow bunting and purple sandpipers are also common in the area. The plan is to explore the seldom-visited Van Keulenfjord, where you will witness awe-inspiring landscapes as you trek along the tundra.
Prins Karls Forland – Off the west coast of Spitsbergen, encounter the island home of Forland National Park with cragged mountains, massive glaciers and remarkable wildlife. The entire island and the surrounding seas make up Forland National Park. Members of the Expedition Team take you ashore at Poolypnten, a well-known walrus haul out, where and a marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures.
Ice Cruising – With the strengthened hull of the Silver Explorer, you have the perfect platform to search for walrus and polar bears as at least one day is devoted to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, the Expedition Leader may choose to take you out in the Zodiacs for an even closer look.
Day 13: Longyearbyen / Disembark / OsloArrive at Longyearbyen in the early morning. Following breakfast onboard, disembark the Silver Explorer and travel by charter flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
All ocean-view suite accommodation; all onboard meals and entertainment; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees.
Airfare; government fees and taxes; transfers and luggage handling; passport expenses; items of a personal nature; air charter package [$500 per person (one-way between Oslo and Longyearbyen and includes applicable transfers between the Longyearbyen airport/pier)]; fuel surcharge may apply.