From the lush green mosses and bustling bird cliffs of Iceland to the stark, sublime volcanic beauty of Jan Mayen and following the ice edge to the Arctic wonderland of Svalbard, you will delight in the breathtaking contrasts as you sail across the Arctic Circle to the High Arctic attempting to reach N80˚ latitude. From the comfort of our state-of-the art vessel, we keep a close watch for tail flukes as whales prepare to dive or a pronounced blow as they surface for breath, and our binoculars are constantly focused on the pack ice looking for the majestic polar bears. Zodiac excursions reveal glacier-filled fjords and walruses hauled out on ice floes. Stretch your legs on guided hike across arctic tundra or enjoy a guided kayak along towering bird cliffs if you have signed up our kayak program.   

Day 1Reykjavik, IcelandArrival enjoy free time
Day 2 ReykjavikVisit the Westfjords area and Grimsey Island
Days 3-5Westfjords, Iceland Explore the Westfjords region
Day 6At SeaSail across the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island
Day 7Jan MayenWhale watching, dolphins and Beerenberg volcano
Days 8-9At SeaPolar bears, walrus, harp seals breeding season, sea birds and whales
Days 10-12Svalbard ArchipelagoArctic wilderness at its best
Day 13 LongyearbyenDisembark
Iceland Jan Mayen Spitsbergen


Sylvia Earle
Exterior Greg Mortimer

The Sylvia Earle is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 132 guests. This vessel has been designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull. This cutting edge nautical technology allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption and emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchor-less while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. There are four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to and from Zodiacs.

Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Arriving in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred your hotel.

Enjoy free time exploring this beautiful city with its many shops, museums, galleries and the Hallgrimskirkja church.

Alternatively you may wish to organise your own excursion to Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and the tectonic plate boundary where North America and Europe are pulling away from each other.

In the evening, dine at your leisure (dinner not included) in one of the many lovely restaurants.

Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik (or similar)

Day 2 Reykjavik Embarkation

Greg Mortimer External

In the morning your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board Sylvia Earle.

Enjoy a classic tour of Reykjavik on a panoramic tour to experience the city’s unique architecture and culture before embarkation.

Once onboard meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Day 3-5 Westfjords, Iceland


One third of Iceland’s coastline is in the Westfjords, and the entire peninsula is carved and cut by long fjords. The Westfjords region is home to Látrabjarg; the westernmost point in Europe, and one of the continent’s most remarkable seabird breeding cliffs, a delight for bird-lovers. It is one of the best places in Iceland to photograph puffins, an opportunity you’ll have on a shore excursion from Patreksfjordur.

We plan to explore the Westfjords region, featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords offering kayaking excursions, hiking trails, and birdwatching.

In true expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity based on weather and sea conditions. We plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions filled with many deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen only by the few adventurers that make their way here.

Day 6 At Sea

Black legged kittiwake Arctic Wildlife

We sail across the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island accompanied by sea birds while keeping a close watch for whales. Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures and presentation from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active at the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre.

Day 7 Jan Mayen

At Sea

The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge 2,277-metre (7,470 foot) Beerenberg volcano is the northernmost active volcano in the world, and it last erupted in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is favourable, we will try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land on front of the Norwegian station at Olonkinbyen, stop to visit the weather station before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) to the other side of the Island where our vessel will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta, and our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship.

Days 8-9 At Sea

Polar bear and cub Spitsbergen

The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities (bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice). Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue north, retracing the route of Dutch explorer Willem Barents who discovered Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea, named after him. It is breeding season for the harp seals, and we hope to see them breeding on sea ice. As we approach Svalbard, our focus will be on spotting polar bears hunting on the pack ice.

Day 10-14 Svalbard Archipelago

Rechercheffjoredn Svalbard

Svalbard offers Arctic wilderness at its best. The members of our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor our day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options, based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions and the possibility of encounters with wildlife.

Phenomenal fjords, magnificent mountains ranges, and a polar desert rich in fossils, set the stage for heroic tales of early exploration. See walrus hauled-out on sea ice or on beaches. On land, we stretch our legs on walks across tundra carpeted in brightly coloured wildflowers. We visit towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots, and scree slopes that hold Svalbard’s largest little auk colonies. Most memorable will be encounters with the majestic polar bear on pack ice. Your Expedition Team is just as keen as you are to find them – they will be on constant watch to spot these inspiring creatures.

If you have chosen an optional activity such as kayaking, you will have an opportunity to enjoy that activity when conditions allow. For those who are enthusiastic to participate in a polar plunge, as soon as conditions are suitable, you will hear the announcement to prepare for an exhilarating dip – a memory you will savour for years to come.

Day 15 Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen Spitsbergen Svalbard

Farewell your expedition team, before further enjoying explorations of fascinating Longyearbyen to learn the town’s history, its geology, flora, fauna and the modern community that call the place home. Visit Svalbard Museum and Galleri Svalbard, Office of the Governor, Svalbard Church, Nybyen (new town), some of the town’s mines including Santa Claus Mine, and make a quick photo stop at the famous beware of polar bear street sign. Afterwards, transfer to the airport to continue your journey.

NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

To book this cruise contact us on 1300 784 794 or email:

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.