|Day 1||Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen||Embarkation|
|Days 2 & 3||Northwest coast of Spitsbergen||Kongsfjorden or Magdalenefjorden, 14th July Glacier, Smeerenberg|
|Days 4 & 5||Northern Flanks of Spitsbergen and Nordauslandet||Woodfjorden and Leifdefjorden|
|Days 6 - 8||East Coast of Spitsbergen||Hinlopen Strait, Zodiac cruise along glacial wall, and Edgeoya Islands|
|Days 9 & 10||Spitsbergen’s Southwest Fjords||Hornsund & Bellsund Fjords, glaciers and wildlife|
|Day 11||Longyearbyen||Isfjorden, cruise ends in Longyearbyen|
The Greg Mortimer is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 120 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.
Today enjoy a guided tour of colourful Spitsbergen’ capital Longyearbyen. You will explore the remote outskirts of the town and visit the local museum. In the late afternoon you will board the ship and settle into your cabin as the ship pulls out to see. Meet your expedition team and fellow travellers. Cruise along the beautiful Isfjorden where you will be escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin.
Cruise northwards along the west coast of Spitsbergen, stopping at intriguing places like Kongsfjorden or Magdalenefjorden. Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay) is incredibly scenic, the fjord is headed by two giant glaciers. There’s ample time ashore for hiking on the lush tundra amongst the summer flowers and observing the remarkable bird cliffs near the 14th July Glacier, where even a few puffins nest between the cracks in the cliffs.
Keep watch for polar bears and Arctic fox and feel a sense of history at the 350-year-old remains of a Dutch whaling settlement, Smeerenberg on Amsterdamøya. The name Smeerenberg literally means blubber town in Dutch. This is a place of extraordinary legends, of thousands of men living there during the 1630s, a town complete with shops, gambling dens and the like. In reality, only 400 men and fifteen ships visited Smeerenberg during its peak in the 1630s for whaling purposes.
As the ship cruises along the north coast, explore rarely-visited places such as Woodfjorden and Leifdefjorden in search of the mighty polar bear. From Zodiacs enjoy magnificent views of sweeping glaciers winding their way into the sea. You may walk on smooth raised beach terraces to a superb viewpoint or hike in the mountains on the tundra where pretty coloured wildflowers and lichen grow and where reindeer graze. You may also have the opportunity to visit trapper huts of yesteryear where Russians and Pomors would hunt and survive the cold harsh winters, all while remaining alert for wandering polar bears and their cubs. Keep your eyes peeled for walrus feeding on clams or hauled out on the beach in wallows. Listen to the cacophony of sea birds and see them feeding. If conditions allow, the ship may push north into the pack ice in hopes of finding polar bears ranging over the frozen landscape on the hunt for seals.
Along the northeast coast of Spitsbergen enter a different world – a polar desert. If ice conditions allow the ship will pass south through the narrow Hinlopen Strait. The strait is flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils, which you will discover for yourself when you go ashore. You may visit Alkefjellet in the Strait, where a series of one-hundred-metre-high dolerite towers are home to nearly a million nesting Brünnich’s guillemots that occupy every available nook and cranny. Cruising along you may see eider ducks and geese, and perhaps spot Arctic fox on a hike and the beautiful ivory gulls. As the Greg Mortimer passes between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya, cross a major polar bear migration route and the beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset. The spongy ground is richly covered with bright green mosses, a variety of delicate and colourful flowers, particularly the yellow marsh (bog) saxifrage, various mushrooms, fungi, clear bubbling streams and small tarns. Tiny (micro) flowers such as Mouse Ears grow in Spitsbergen creating faerie like mossy rock gardens. Explore this beautiful terrain on foot, marvelling at the contrast between the colourful soft ground and the barren, rocky terrain from further north. Reindeer antlers lie scattered along the ground. The ship will round South Cape, Spitsbergen’s most southerly point, before continuing northwards along the west coast of Spitsbergen.
Enter the spectacular Hornsund Fjord where you may take an early morning Zodiac cruise to admire the beautiful ice walls of the Samarin Glacier or take a stroll beneath the towering seabird cliffs at Sofiebogen. In Bellsund Fjord be on the lookout for beluga, or white whales. Bellsund Fjord is a fjord that splits into two branches. It was named Bellsund after a nearby bell-shaped mountain by William Barentsz in 1596. Visit the remnants of a Norwegian beluga whaling station from the 1930s. Across the fjord at Vårsolbukta is a lush and stunning landscape, where reindeer roam, Arctic flowers bloom in abundance and Arctic fox may be seen patrolling the little auk colony, where several thousand birds nest amongst the boulders, coming and going in huge flocks.
During the early morning the ship will cruise back into Longyearbyen. Farewell your expedition team and fellow expeditioners. A transfer is included into town, where there is free time before an onward transfer to the airport in the afternoon.