Arctic – Crossing the Arctic Circle
Arctic (departing from Scotland, arriving to Spitzbergen)
WHY CHOOSE THIS TOUR?
- unique safari – polar bear, whale watching and much more
- crossing the Arctic Circle
- fusion of spectacular nature and history
Follow the Vikings’ way from northeast Scotland to the land of the midnight sun. Our enthusiastic historian and expert naturalist reveal the Orkney and Shetland islands, from Stone Age villages and Viking relics, to world class distilleries and spectacular birdlife, including cheeky puffins. We follow migrating whales along Norway’s dramatic coast, visit picturesque fishing villages and toast our Arctic Circle crossing. In Spitsbergen, we enter a polar wonderland, where delicate wildflowers adorn tundra and the summer sun never sets. This spectacular wilderness is the breeding ground of walrus, reindeer, millions of birds and polar bear.
Day 1 – Aberdeen, Scotland
Welcome on board Polar Pioneer mid-afternoon in Aberdeen, we set sail north.
Day 2 – 3 – Orkney’s archipelago
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, a treasure trove of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5000-year-old, World Heritagelisted, Neolithic sites to Viking relics, from reminders of World War II occupation to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, inviting our Zodiacs and kayakers to explore coastlines. At Fair Isle we visit traditional crofts to admire local knitwear and nearby colonies of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins.
Day 4 – Shetland’s 100 islands
Warmed by Gulf Stream currents and near 24-hours’ daylight, the Shetland’s 100 islands are peppered with nature reserves and archaeological sites. These include the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof, the world’s best preserved broch (fortified Iron Age tower) on Mousa, and remnants of Viking conquest along the coast.
Day 5 – Norway’s coastline
As we sail towards Norway, our historian and naturalist delight us with fascinating talks and inspire our birdwatching.
Day 6 – 9 – Crossing the Arctic Circle
An intricate maze of islands protects Norway’s coastline. We celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle and visit special places, like Sør Gjaeslingan, once home to a busy cod-fishing fleet. Today it provides fantastic birdlife, including kittiwakes, terns and skuas that migrate here each summer. Continuing north, we pass by Torghatten, a mountain with a distinctive hole through it, and learn the fable of lost love and a troll’s arrow. Majestic scenery delights in Lofoten Islands, from romantic beaches to narrow fjords hemmed by granite walls. Share the water with orcas, the skies with puffins.
Day 10-13 – Crossing the Barents Sea
We cross the Barents Sea, past often fog-shrouded Bear Island, favourite nesting ground for fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls. Beyond Spitsbergen’s South Cape, we explore South Spitsbergen National Park, a sanctuary for barnacle geese and eider ducks, before entering the iceberg-laden waters of Hornsund. Surrounded by polar desert on a grand scale, we search for reindeer, ringed and bearded seals and the mighty polar bear. Learn of human history dating back 400 years and if lucky, we’ll encounter the elusive beluga whale.
Day 14 – Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
We disembark in Longyearbyen, bid goodbye to expedition staff and are transferred to the airport for our onward journey.
- tour in Longyearbyen and transfer to airport
- 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
- air transport to and from the ship
- visa, passport and vaccination charges
- 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
- fuel surcharge (if applicable)
- extended stay in Scotland or Spitzbergen
- Prices quoted are per person, based on twin-share. No single travel fees apply if you are willing to share your cabin (triple & twin cabins only).
- Fuel surcharge may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases.
- Type of cruise and final price depend on specific date of cruise. We will be happy to inform you of further details.
- The price is subject to availability and actual airfare cost.
- Difficulty level of this tour – average.