Day 1: Oslo / Longyearbyen, NorwayDeparting from Oslo, take a charter flight to Longyearbyen. Embark the vessel, meet Expedition Team members and attend a Zodiac briefing. Familiarize yourself with the vessel and meet some fellow travelers.
Days 2 - 5: 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.
Days 6 - 7: Cruising the Greenland SeaThe knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Gather in The Theater to hear their fascinating tales of adventure and to learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Other onboard diversions include spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Days 8 - 10: Scoresby Sund, GreenlandScoresby Sund is named for the Arctic explorer and whaler William Scoresby who charted the region in 1822, an impressive undertaking considering the vastness of the area. Enjoy three full days to explore the largest and longest fjord in the world, and the days will indeed be full – filled with discoveries of spectacular icebergs and fascinating wildlife. The onboard ornithologist will point out a variety of bird species. Watch for pink-footed geese and whooper swans as well as ducks, guillemot, auk, puffin, fulmar, kittiwake and tern.
The excitement and anticipation will be high for everyone on board – Expedition Team members as well as guests. Together, experience the best of the region. Plans may include a cruise by Zodiac along the coastline to look for polar bear and musk ox, and a landing at Danmarksø to see the excellently preserved remains of an Inuit settlement, abandoned about 200 years ago. If lucky, you may be able to add lemmings and narwhals to your growing list of animal and bird species seen on this voyage.
Day 11: Crossing the Denmark StraitOn the way to Iceland, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and whales. When not attending an informative lecture, take some time to peruse the well-stocked Library, enjoy a fine cognac in the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship.
Day 12: Grundarfjördur, IcelandThis morning anchor along the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, just 60 miles (97 km) off the coast of Reykjavik, at the port of Grundarfjördur. The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is known for its rugged mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, lava caves and glaciers. The adventure today takes you along the dramatic coastline to the Snaefellsjokull ice cap. The peninsula is dominated by the Snæffellsjokull glacier, which was made popular in the Jules Verne’s classic Journey to the Center of the Earth. First stop at Djúpalónssandur where you can admire the strange rock formations.
After a short drive past the cliffs of Londrangar, arrive in the tiny fishing village of Arnarstapi. Here you will find an idyllic setting with interesting lava formations and an abundance of birdlife. A scenic drive takes you to Budir, famed not only for its dramatic, black lava surroundings but also for its yellow sand beach. You might be lucky enough to spot seals as they bask on the skerries out in the bay. Continuing over “The Old Hag’s Pass” or Kerlingarskard, head towards Stykkisholmur, where you make a short stop at Helgafell – The Holy Mount. Even those not up to the climb are sure to enjoy listening to the guide tell of local heroines and the combination of spiritual forces attributed to this spiritual site. Your outing concludes with a brief visit to charming Stykkisholmur.
Day 13: Reykjavik, IcelandDisembark Silver Explorer after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
All ocean-view suite accommodation; all onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; 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.