Arrive Oslo, Norway
Arrive in Oslo, Norway’s modern yet timeless capital, coexisting in close harmony with nature. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. This evening, join fellow guests for a welcome cocktail reception and briefing.
Longyearbyen | Long Year Town
Board an early morning charter flight to Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, also known as Spitsbergen, the sovereign Arctic archipelago of Norway. It is one of the most remote groups of islands on the planet, with nearly two-thirds of its surface covered in luminous glaciers. Tour the tiny town and its Arctic Museum. This afternoon, board your expedition cruiser.
Svalbard Islands | Spectacular Archipelago
Only a rare few have the opportunity to view the remote wilderness of the Svalbard Islands, and our knowledgeable Expedition Team and enrichment specialists reveal their riches in depth, both aboard and on shore. In this archipelago, polar bears, walruses, Svalbard reindeer and an incredibly rich variety of birds are abundant, as are cathedrals of ice, glaciers and craggy mountain peaks. An amazing amount of diminutive flora surrounds this barren landscape, which comes alive with color under summer’s midnight sun. Your Captain and Expedition Team determine the day’s best sightseeing opportunities, which may include curated, intimate adventures amid these extraordinary regions:
Magdalenefjoren: A stunning fjord with rugged rock walls, Magdalenefjoren surmounts blue-hued glaciers crisscrossed by crevasses, with birds perched in the high cliffs. This “glacier coast” provides magnificent views of the slow-moving ice masses travelling out to sea as well as beaches frequented by walruses.
Ny Alesund: Once a mining town and launching pad for early Arctic expeditions, Ny Alesund is now home to a polar research station where scientists study meteorology, seismology, atmospheric sciences and marine biology. Conditions permitting, visit the small community, including a museum, art gallery and the northernmost post office in the world.
Hinlopen Strait: Navigate this passageway between the main island of Spitsbergen and the island of Nordaustlandet to arrive at the Alkefjellet, or “auk cliffs,” towering rock faces that drop directly into the sea and provide a home to colonies of auks.
Wahlbergoya: Located in the center of the southern entrance to Hinlopen Strait, this island, named after Swedish botanist Peter Fredrik Wahlberg, is a favorite summer haul-out for walruses.
Monaco Bay and Glacier: Located in Northwest Spitsbergen, Monaco Bay is frequented by a variety of wildlife populations, including polar bears, walruses, harbor and bearded seals, and a multitude of seabirds.
Liefdefjorden (Loves Bay): In far northern Svalbard, this is an excellent area for spotting polar bears and other Arctic wildlife. Throughout your landings and days of cruising in Spitsbergen, your primary objective will be to search for polar bears as they hunt in their true natural habitat — be it on land or among the ice floes. Each landing is under the close supervision of your bear guardians, who have the best knowledge about where to find the white giants.
At Sea | Cruising the Arctic Ocean
As ‘Le Boreal’ plies toward Greenland, spend the day at sea with new friends and the Expedition Team, who continue engaging, exciting discussions and lectures that promise an enlightening knowledge-rich experience while you cruise.
Greenland | East Greenland & Scoresby Sound
For the next two days, explore the rarely visited east coast of Greenland and Scoresby Sound, the largest and longest fjord system in the world. Embark on thrilling, twice-daily Zodiac excursions through the fjord’s glistening and intricate network, taking in its islands and icebergs, and searching for common residents that include the musk ox and reindeer. Throughout your explorations, informed enrichment specialists impart meaningful, in-depth know-how about the region. Ice conditions permitting, disembark for a visit to Ittoqqortoormiit, a small settlement founded in 1925 and one of the most isolated villages in Greenland.
Cruising the Denmark Strait | Confluence of Waters
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea cruising the narrow strip of water that separates Greenland from Iceland, and connects the Arctic Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Engage in ongoing conversations with your Expedition Team and enrichment specialists aboard and watch for seabirds and whales from the deck in between the insightful lectures they present.
Iceland’s West Fjords | Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Today, explore the spectacular Hornstrandir Peninsula, an unspoiled wilderness on Iceland’s remote West Fjords. Designated as a nature reserve in 1975 and free of any roads, Hornstrandir still appears as it would have when the Vikings first arrived. Your treks this morning reveal tranquil wildflower meadows, striking waterfalls and other geological features. This afternoon, visit the small village of Hesteyri, where you are welcomed by the local villagers.
Akranes | Thrilling Langjökull Glacier
The glacier-carved West Fjords continue to provide a scenic backdrop as you journey to the Langjökull Glacier. Disembark for an adventurous visit aboard special expedition trucks, stopping en route at the shimmering Hraunfossar waterfall before arriving at the entrance of Langjökull glacier. There, explore Langjökull’s labyrinth of ice tunnels and caves, all revealing breathtaking shades of blue and depths of ice. Following lunch in nearby Húsafell, return this afternoon to Akranes to board ‘Le Boreal.'
Westman Islands | Volcanic Archipelago
This morning, arrive in the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), a giant rock that is stack-studded, volcanically active archipelago on the south coast of Iceland. Explore the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Heimaey Island, home to all of Iceland’s seabirds, among them the iconic puffin. Visit remote Heimaey Island, where a new mountain, Eldfell (“Mount Fire”), was created during a 1973 eruption. Excavations of the ruins suggest there were inhabitants as early as 100 BC. Today, the island’s 4,500 locals reside alongside upwards of eight million puffins each summer. Visit the local village, seeing ruins of historic farmhouses from the year AD 650. Later, trek to Helgafell to observe the volcanic landscape with your insightful guides. This afternoon, conditions permitting, board your Zodiac for an up-close view of Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Iceland’s southernmost point.
This morning, disembark ‘Le Boreal’ in Reykjavik and transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or continue on in Iceland with a Reykjavik extension.
Note: This cruise includes regular Zodiac boat excursions, walks over uneven terrain and optional, challenging hikes. Due to the nature of expedition cruising, this itinerary is also subject to change and is for guidance purposes only.