Whale Safari: Fair Isle - Jan Mayen - Spitsbergen Cruise

Rinie van Meurs
Spot the Minke whale
Jan Molenveld-Oceanwide Expeditions
Travelers exploring the arctic with zodiacs.
Rinie van Meurs
Polar bear relaxing on an iceberg.
Rinie van Meurs
Showing off his beautiful tail
Erwin Vermeulen
Surfacing Humback Whales
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
Ortelius' dining area.
Monica Salmang-Oceanwide Expeditions
The bar and observation lounge aboard the Ortelius.


  • Watch for minke and orca whales native to the Scottish waters
  • Visit ancient stone towers built by the Picts on the Shetland Islands
  • Tour the volcanic and glacier-covered Jan Mayen Island
  • Sail along the edge of sea-ice and into elaborate fjord systems

Set sail for an 10-day whale safari on the Ortelius. This Arctic expedition cruise offers countless possibilities to spot whales including minke, blue, fin, and orca. Harbour porpoise and white-beaked dolphin can also be spotted in the icy waters. Taking your eyes away from the sea, the glacier-covered islands, winding fjords, and tundra provide beautiful scenery and play host to a myriad of other wildlife including polar bear, reindeer, and seabirds. Experience all the Arctic has to offer on this one-in-a-lifetime expedition cruise.

Day 1

Embark in Aberdeen, Scotland

Arrive in Aberdeen, famed as the Granite City and many times a winner of the Britain in Bloom competition, and embark on your trip. As you reach the North Sea, see the lighthouse on Girdle Ness to the south, designed by the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Scottish waters offer excellent possibilities to spot minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including orcas, are also native to these waters.

Day 2

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Shetland Islands

At Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, you are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants (famed for their knitwear, examples of which you can see) to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Later, on Mousa, one of the smaller Shetland Islands, visit one of the best preserved brochs in Scotland. Brochs are circular stone towers probably built by the Picts. During a night excursion watch thousands of storm petrels return to their burrows or crevices. By day view grey seals, black guillemots, red-throated divers, arctic skuas, and wonderful spring flora.

Days 3-4

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Sailing to Jan Mayen

Sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During your two days at sea there is plenty of time to watch for the blow of a minke, fin, or blue whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps you might run into a pod of orcas, who can often be quite curious about boats such as the Ortelius. 

Day 5

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Jan Mayen Island

Jan Mayen is a volcanic island of breathtaking beauty and mystique, dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities hope to visit the weather station. Walk across the island to Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of fulmars. Plan to sail by Koksletta where thousands of little auks and Brünnich's guillemots breed close to a glacier, watched over by glaucous gulls.

Days 6-7

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

At Sea

In the midnight sun, sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for different species of whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of seabirds, until the sea-ice stops the ship, then sail to North Spitsbergen.

Day 8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Northwest Spitsbergen

Depending on the position of the sea-ice, sail into Raudfjord or one of the other fjords in Northwest Spitsbergen, where you have chances of seeing polar bears at the heads of the fjords, where seals are sunbathing on the fjord-ice. At Fuglesangen have an opportunity to see thousands of little auks on their breeding grounds.

Day 9

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Prins Karls Forland

Fuglehuken, the northern tip of Prins Karls Forland, is probably the place where Willem Barentsz made the first landing in Spitsbergen. It is an area with beautiful seabird-colonies and many remains of the polar bear hunting period of a century ago. Later look for walruses at Sarstangen, Engelskmansbukta or Poole-Pynten. In the evening land at Alkhornet, another seabird colony where at the slopes one can find reindeer and arctic foxes.

Day 10

  • Breakfast

Disembark in Longyearbyen

Disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, for flights south to Oslo and onward home.

 Quadruple PortholeTriple PortholeTwin PortholeTwin WindowTwin DeluxeSuperior
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate.
- Due to the extreme nature of itinerary destinations, travel insurance is mandatory for all cruises aboard the Ortelius - including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance.

Fares include:
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- AECO fees and governmental taxes
- Comprehensive pre-departure materials

Not included:
- Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights
- Pre- and post land arrangements
- Transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes
- Meals ashore
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is mandatory)
- Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges
- The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided)

Please note: It is agreed that if fuel prices will exceed US Dollar $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure Ortelius reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night.
Arctic, North America, Europe, Jan Mayen, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Svalbard, Scotland, United Kingdom, Canada, Aberdeen, Longyearbyen, Shetland Islands, Raudfjord, Prins Karls Forland, Western Europe, Scandinavia, United Kingdom & Ireland
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