Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden as you begin your arctic cruise.
Sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to Ringed and Bearded Seals, seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation. You will have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there continue to Moffen Island on which Walruses haul out.
At sea, on your way to Greenland, you may see the edge of the East Greenland sea-ice. Keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds.
Approaching Greenland sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making your first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen. The small lakes are home to geese. Sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where you can see Musk Oxen from the ship.
Land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers and their young. In the afternoon sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ø and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
The first half of the day spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where you also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colors of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Today reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons. Here zodiac cruises along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have your first landing near Maane Glacier.
Later land on Danmark Ø where you will find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are excellently preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening continue sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.
Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. You may also spot Rock Ptarmigans and Great Northern Divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change color. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colorful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colors of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometer in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. Land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. You may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
In the morning land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of Seal, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After dinner sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
Spend the whole day at sea and you will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
In the morning arrive in Akureyri and are taken by a chartered bus during a 6 hours drive through North Iceland to hotels in Reykjavik (not included in cruise fare).