Day 1: Longyearbyen / EmbarkBoard the Polar Pioneer in the late afternoon, settle in and sail down magnificent Isfjorden, flanked by bird cliffs, vast glaciers and jagged mountains.
Days 2 - 3: Northwest Coast of SpitsbergenThe exploration of Spitsbergen's northwest coast features calving icebergs, mountain and tundra hikes, historic whaling stations and trappers' camps. Hopefully you will see Brunnich's guillemots, little auks, and kittiwakes in their thousands. Board Zodiacs for close views of ice cliffs, walrus haulouts and possibly even polar bears. Reindeer roam the tundra and you will too, photographing wildflowers like saxifrage, moss campion, bell-heather and hairy lousewort.
Days 4 - 5: Crossing the Greenland SeaCrossing the Greenland Sea, sail through the Polar Basin's nutrient-rich waters, searching for fin whales and beluga whales, encroaching pack ice, and seabirds. Expert naturalists and guest lecturers entertain with fascinating, illustrated talks on Arctic plants and animals, and epic tales of such early explorers as Nansen, Andrée and Scoresby. These are relaxed days, wonderful for getting to know fellow expeditioners and preparing for a landing, if conditions permit, in the world's largest national park – Greenland's northeast coast. The region is home to polar bear, walrus, Arctic hare, and musk ox. From Zodiacs you'll watch for ringed, bearded, harp, and hooded seals.
Days 6 - 8: Kaiser Franz Josef FjordIce is often the overwhelming first impression of Greenland. An ice cap covers 81 percent of the island and pack ice, even in summer, may fill northern bays. Ashore, cozy trappers’ huts beckon from across the tundra, where musk ox, Arctic fox, and eider ducks roam. These are just some of the delights in Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord. Lively cascades at Kap Humboldt provide a microclimate for spectacular hanging gardens. Kong Oskar Fjord offers spectacular glacier-carved mountains.
Days 9 - 11: ScoresbysundIn Scoresbysund, the world’s biggest fjord, the vast Greenland icecap sweeps down in massive glaciers that calve explosively, creating giant icebergs. Near Sydkap, your Zodiacs weave through a maze of grounded icebergs, some more than 30-meters high, sculpted with deep green tunnels and aquamarine lakes. Enjoy a warm Ittoqqortoormiit welcome, from Inuit happy to share their culture and explain the challenges of Arctic life. Kayakers find ideal paddling conditions, winding their way through interconnected waterways, watching for polar bears and narwhals.
Day 12: Sailing SouthSailing south along the Blosseville Coast, searching for musk ox and narwhals and marvel at the mountain scenery that dominates the skyline. If weather permits, head for Rømer Fjord, a deep waterway with stunning mountain views.
Day 13: Across Denmark StraitAs you sail across Denmark Strait towards Iceland, take time to reflect on all you have seen, enjoy the flight show of northern fulmars and black-backed gulls, and spot dolphins and orcas in their feeding grounds.
Day 14: Reykjavik, IcelandArrive early in the morning in Isafjordur, a stunning fishing town in Iceland’s northwest. After breakfast, bid farewell to Polar Pioneer and her crew and catch a flight to Reykjavik or continue your adventure by exploring Iceland.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage, including coverage for emergency medical evacuation. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The policy provider, policy number and emergency contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Reverse Itinerary: 8/18/2013 (Reykjavik, Iceland to Longyearbyen, Norway)
Sea Kayaking Option: $1,195 per person (8/5/2013, 8/18/2013). If you wish to take this option you need to advise ExpeditionTrips.com at the time of booking. Please note that sound sea kayaking experience is essential.
Ship's accommodation; all public areas are open to all passengers; all meals on board ship; all shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs; lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services; medical services (There is a resident doctor and well-equipped clinic on board); port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities; pre-departure information and briefing; sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen; transfer to/from ship to airport (or airport to ship); flight from Isafjordur to Reykavik in economy class (or reverse).
Air transport to and from the ship (unless otherwise indicated); visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes; hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary; optional excursions not included in the ship cruise itinerary; laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls; emergency evacuation charges; sea kayaking supplement; fuel surcharge may apply.