Day 1: Bergen, NorwayEmbark the vessel and celebrate the start of your exciting expedition. 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: Olden, NorwaySituated at the end of the innermost arm of the lovely Nordfjord, with steep mountains towering over both sides of the valley, Olden is one of the most charming and idyllic places in Western Norway. Depart by coach from the village center, passing an old (1759) church, picturesque Floen and Olden Lakes, and the colorful farms of Rustøen. Enjoy numerous waterfalls descending from ice fields, and the long white expanse of Melkevoll Glacier. Ascend through woodlands to the Briksdal Inn for a trek in the Norwegain mountains. Take a 45 minute walk to the foot of Briksdal Glacier crossing a river, climbing above a waterfall, and enjoying fantastic views of Jostedals Glacier. Listen for the thunderous sound of calving and soak in the serene setting before returning to the Briksdal Inn for a cup of coffee or tea and cakes.
Day 3: 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. Drive along Eagle's Road where there are splendid views to the fjord below and the mountains all around. Arrive in Herdalssetra – a summer farm consisting of 30 small, wooden houses with turfed roofs. During the summer months some 450 goats roam freely in this picturesque setting, as well as cows, sheep and fjord ponies (the blond pony native to the west coast). Learn about the goat cheese making process and savor samples of both white and brown cheese varieties. Next, travel to the Norwegian Fjord Centre to gain insight into the history, culture and life on the farms that cling to the sheer mountainsides around the fjord.
Alternatively (and weather permitting), the more energetic can spend a few hours kayaking the quiet and spectacular Geirangerfjord in 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. Enjoy an amazing perspective from which to view the cascading waterfalls and steep mountain walls that rise as high as 4,920 ft.
Day 4: Kristiansund, NorwayLocated halfway up the long Norwegian coast, Kristiansund is spread out across a swathe of rocky islands all linked together by bridges. Take a scenic drive along Atlantic Ocean Road to Geitøya (Goat Island), board a boat and shuttle across to Håholmen Island, a meeting place, home and working site for fishermen, seamen and traders for many centuries. Adventurer Ragnar Thorseth took over Håholmen from his grandfather who had been a permanent island resident until 1978. Learn about Mr. Thorsten’s voyages with Viking ship replicas and enjoy some refreshments before returning by boat to Geitøya. Conclude with a 3.1 mile long undersea drive through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel between Averøy Island and Kristiansund Town reaching a depth of 820 ft below sea level!
Alternatively, join members of the Expedition Team for a scenic 5 mile nature trail hike. Situated on Averøya Island, Mount Gulltanna (Mount Golden Tooth), is 1,935 ft above sea level and on clear days offers a grand view to the coastal Atlantic Ocean Road and inland fjords. This excursion option also includes a drive through the undersea Atlantic Ocean Tunnel.
Day 5: Vega Archipelago, NorwayThis Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a myriad of islands scattered in the Norwegian Sea and home to one of Norway’s largest eider duck colonies. Visit the Eider Duck Museum, which provides insight into the islander's unique traditions as guardians of these birds and describes the process of producing eiderdown and details the archipelago's UNESCO status. Later, stop in at the Coastal Museum and make a brief visit to see the Vega Church in Gladstad, a wooden church dating from 1864.
Day 6: Narvik, NorwayTake a train journey on the Ofoten Railway line through the stunning Rombak Valley to the small hamlet of Katterat Station along the Norway/Sweden border. Opened in 1902, the line shipped iron-ore from Kiruna in Sweden down to Narvik's ice-free harbor, and was the northernmost, coldest and harshest railway construction project the world had ever seen. Follow a hiking trail as it winds down the mountain through alpine and arctic forest, down to sea level and the Narvik Fjord. Learn about the area’s interesting foliage and geological history from a local guide. Explore the ruins of Rombak settlement, which was devastated by floods in the 1960s. Be courageous and join in an optional swim in the cold, crystal clear waters at the head of the fjord. Warm up afterwards at the bonfire where coffee or tea and a light lunch will be served outdoors. Journey by inflatable boat back to Sildvik for the return drive to Narvik.
Day 7: 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 learn about the region’s 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 exquisite dining experiences.
Day 8: Bear Island, NorwayApproaching Bear Island (Bjørnøya), whale watching is a top priority as they are in record numbers in this area. Witness a kaleidoscope of thousands of seabirds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. Explore the rugged coastline of Bear Island by zodiac, and if weather conditions are favorable, make a landing. Encounter the amazing flurry of life on this remote island, now a nature reserve. Expedition Team members provide insight into the environment, terrain, and 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. 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. Keep an eye out for polar bears as Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000.
Take advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions with a flexible itinerary. 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 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 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. 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 a marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures.
Ice Cruising – With Silver Explorer’s strengthened hull, 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 cruise by Zodiac for an even closer look.
Day 13: Longyearbyen / OsloArrive at Longyearbyen in the early morning. Disembark the Silver Explorer and travel by chartered 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; 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; Silver Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service plus dinner at Officer's table and 4 hours Internet service per voyage segment and 2 hours worldwide phone use per voyage segment.
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 Longyearbyen and Oslo and includes applicable transfers between the airport/pier)]; fuel surcharge may apply.