Arrive in Bergen in the afternoon and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore on your own, with dinner and overnight at the hotel.
After a leisurely morning and lunch at the hotel, set out to explore Norway's second largest city. Pass by venerable King Haakon’s Hall, the Rosenkranz Tower, and the old wharf of Bryggen — a World Heritage Site whose picturesque medieval gable houses date back to the time of the Hanseatic League. After a drive past gracious suburban homes and gardens, and a stroll in the fresh air, visit the Troldsal concert hall for a short performance by a Norwegian pianist. Embark on the Sea Adventurer in the evening.
The serpentine route through the 12-mile-long Geiranger Fjord is one of Norway’s premier scenic wonders. Mountains laced with numerous breathtaking waterfalls tower on both sides. Take a short tour of the tiny village of Geiranger, then board coaches and climb the road to Flydalsjuvet Gorge for breathtaking views.
The island of Runde has a mere 160 human inhabitants, but it is home to more than half a million seabirds representing more than 230 different species—puffins, kittiwakes, gannets, fulmars, storm petrels, razorbills, shags, and guillemots. From Zodiacs look for the seals that rest on some of the smaller offshore islands. This afternoon we sail the western coast of Norway, weaving among the dramatic fjords with their verdant slopes and towering cliffs.
Weather permitting, board Zodiacs to explore the intriguing inlets, rocky shorelines, and deserted coves of this wildly rugged and pristine coast.
Officially north of the Arctic Circle, the 19th-century trading station of Kjerringøy lies on a sleepy peninsula bathed by turquoise seas and backdropped by soaring granite peaks. Tour the historic district, most of which has been preserved as an open-air museum. In the afternoon, arrive at Røst, one of the 356 islands and rocky outcrops that make up the southern edge of Lofoten. By Zodiac explore the shores of this northern oasis that basks in the heart of the Gulf Stream, its mild climate attracting two million nesting seabirds to the cliffs of the outer islands.
Go ashore in Reine on Moskenesøy Island, one of the four main Lofoten Islands. Often hailed as the most scenic spot in Norway, the town sits on the shores of a blue-green lagoon surrounded by pinnacled mountain peaks. On an adjacent island visit the Lofotr Viking Museum, built at the site of an ancient Viking farm discovered in the early 1980s. This evening, as the ship cruises along the shores of Nordland and Trollfjord, watch for orca, minke, and pilot whales.
Disembark in Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” and take a cable-car ride up 1,800-foot Mount Storsteinen for amazing views. Visit the unique Arctic Cathedral which was built in 1965 and famous for its dazzling wall of blue and gold stained glass. Stop at the Tromsø Museum to see several exhibits on the fascinating Sami culture, a northern people whose livelihood depends on reindeer herding.
Go ashore in Skarsvaag and board a coach for the drive up to the 1,000-foot-high plateau that rises from the Barents Sea. The community of North Cape (Nordkapp) is commonly referred to as the northernmost point of the European continent. Here an impressive edge-of-the-world Visitors Center features historical exhibits and a film about the region. Return to the Sea Adventurer in time for lunch and set sail northward, across the Barents Sea.
For nearly three centuries, Bear Island — which sits halfway between North Cape and Spitsbergen — was the home of a major Barents Sea whaling station. Today, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, murres, dovekies, and multiple varieties of gulls make their home on the jagged cliffs and rocky pinnacles that rise vertically from the sea. Cruise by Zodiac along the eroded cliffs and make an island landing for a tundra walk among seasonal Arctic wildflowers to search for Arctic foxes.
Spend four days exploring the rugged coastline, spectacular narrow fjords, and offshore islands of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The primary goal is to locate wildlife, which is found here in abundance during the short summer season. The nature of polar expeditions requires flexibility regarding the daily schedule of activities, and landings may be weather and tide dependent. This list serves as a guideline of the places you may experience:
Hornsund: Spitsbergen’s southernmost fjord, Hornsund, is backdropped by soaring mountain peaks and rolling tundra which bursts into bloom during the summer. The Polish research station, established here in 1957, is a base for international research and exploration. Numerous seabirds soar overhead and Arctic foxes and groups of reindeer are often spotted in the vicinity.
Raudfjorden: This seldom-visited and spectacular waterway with its tidewater glaciers is surrounded by soaring mountain peaks. Watch for foraging reindeer on land, while dovekies busily tend to their cliffside nests, hidden among the rocks.
Moffen Island: A small, atoll-like island just a few feet above sea level, Moffen is a protected walrus sanctuary. Photographic opportunities abound with these massive creatures hauled out on the gravel shores. Polar bears and the rare Sabine’s gulls may also be found on this island.
Liefdefjorden: A dramatically scenic fjord, rugged mountains rise from the permanent ice cap and the Monaco Glacier spills into the sea, a favored feeding ground for thousands of kittiwakes. Whales and seals are common sights.
Disembark in Longyearbyen and explore this Arctic mining town. Transfer to the airport for your continued flights.