From impressive icebergs to iconic wildlife and traditional Inuit culture, this expedition to the four Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Greenland and Iceland, gives you a generous sampling of four unique Arctic regions. This voyage is ideal for first time visitors who want a taste of everything the Arctic has to offer. Beginning in Norway, your adventure takes you to Spitsbergen, renowned for its stunning scenery and abundant, varied wildlife such as polar bears and walrus. From there, sail south to the mysterious, volcanic Jan Mayen, a nature reserve so remote that few before have been fortunate to explore it. Then, venture to Greenland’s east coast, cruising deep into Scoresbysund to discover the world’s largest fjord system and icebergs larger than you could ever imagine. Finally, to cap off your epic expedition, you’ll sail under the midnight sun to Reykjivik, where you disembark and can soak up Icelandic culture.
Day Place Highlights Day 1 Oslo, Norway Explore this vibrant city Day 2 Longyearbyen Embark on your voyage in Longyearbyen Day 3-6 Spitsbergen View Polar bears, walrus, seabirds and incredible landscapes Days 7-8 Greenland Sea Whales & sea birds Days 9-10 Jan Mayen Volcano, Sea birds Days 11-15 East Greenland Visit Thule settlements and Scorebysund fjord complex Days 16-17 Denmark Strait Cross the Denmark Strait Days 18 Reykjavik, Iceland Disembark in Reykjavik
The expedition ship Ocean Adventurer is designed to carry 132 travelers in comfort and has a classic style and feel. She was originally built in Yugoslavia in 1976 and has undergone several renovations; in 1999, 2002 and her most significant in 2017. The Ocean Adventurer is ice-strengthened and a beautiful small ship upon which to discover the wonders of Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland.
Your arctic adventure begins in Oslo, where you may arrive at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving you can explore this city at your leisure. Oslo is known for its green spaces and museums. Spend the night at the airport hotel.
After breakfast, the group will transfer to the airport and board the private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. You will embark in the afternoon. Enjoy great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this seaside town.
Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest of the Norwegian Svalbard islands, rewards you with abundant wildlife and dramatic beauty. Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and steep- walled fjords with walrus, polar bears and Spitsbergen reindeer among your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see arctic terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes and ivory gulls. When conditions are right, you could sail within 10 degrees of the North Pole!
While sailing south on the historic Greenland Sea toward Jan Mayen, you’ll learn about the wildlife and history of your next stop as well as Greenland. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds on the wing. Take in a lecture, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie—there are many things to do during your time at sea.
North of the Arctic Circle, about 450 km east of Greenland and 550 km north of Iceland, is the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants.
Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as you approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 2,277 meters high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. If you’re fortunate, you may get a close-up view of the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Your tour of Scoresbysund, the largest and deepest multi-armed fjord system in the world, will offer plenty of opportunities to explore ashore or by Zodiac cruise. Step back in time, exploring the remains of ancient Thule settlements with views of icebergs and towering mountains rising straight out of the sea, and immerse yourself in contemporary culture, meeting the locals and gaining an appreciation for their way of life in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland’s most remote community. At the mouth of the sound, this remote settlement boasts a blend of traditional and modern lifestyles and is actually closer to Iceland than it is to its nearest Greenlandic neighbours to the southwest. Here, you’ll have the chance to support local Inuit artisans by purchasing unique handicrafts.
In terms of wildlife, you may see grazing muskoxen as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population live in this region. Polar bear sightings are also a remote possibility, as are encounters with more elusive arctic wildlife, such as the arctic hare. Seabirds to watch out for nesting atop the steep cliffs of the sound include little auks, fulmars and guillemots.
At sea, the Denmark Strait is your pathway toward Iceland. Your Expedition Team will keep you informed and entertained with presentations about the history of exploration in the Arctic and the seabirds you’ll inevitably see soaring above your ship.
You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, you will be transferred to a central downtown location.