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Arctic puffins

Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes and Jan Mayen

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)
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Travel to some of the most remote islands on the planet, where only a small number of adventurers have ever left their footprints. This 14-day sailing expedition on Ocean Adventurer shows you the region’s rugged beauty and whaling and Viking history, visiting the awe-inspiring and unspoiled destinations of Fair Isle, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen, and Spitsbergen. See diverse wildlife of this far-flung region, from Svalbard reindeer to dolphins, seals, and whales. Having continuous daylight for part of the voyage means optimal chances to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat at any time of day or night!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Day 2 : Embarkation in Aberdeen
Day 3 : Fair Isle
Days 4-5 : Exploring the Faroe Islands
Days 6-7 : At Sea
Days 8-9 : Jan Mayen
Day 10 : At Sea
Days 11-13 : Spitsbergen, Svalbard
Day 14 : Longyearbyen | Disembark

Highlights

  • Follow in the footsteps of the Norsemen on Fair Isle and the Vikings in the Faroe Islands
  • Explore the volcanic and glacier covered Jan Mayen island
  • Encounter iconic arctic wildlife, such as puffins, reindeer, whales and seabirds
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to explore diverse landscapes and wildlife

Ship

Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Arctic puffins Arctic fox during spring in Svalbard Colorful homes in Longyearbyen, Svalbard A mother polar bear and her young relax on the Arctic landscape Grass covers the houses of the Faroe Islands, blending them into the landscape.

Day 1 Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Arrive in Aberdeen and make your way to the hotel that is included for the night. The gateway for your arctic adventure, the Scottish city of Aberdeen has many monikers, but its most famous is Granite City, as it was once the granite capital of the world. Wander the streets of Aberdeen and see Victorian buildings sparkle in the sun.  A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theaters, shops, cafés, and restaurants to explore. 

Day 2 Embarkation in Aberdeen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
You will have the morning to explore and do as you please. Once boarded, be out on the deck with your camera as the ship sails on the coastal waters that offer excellent possibilities for spotting bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and minke whales. 

Day 3 Fair Isle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, explore Fair Isle's diverse landscapes with fields and moors dominated by seaside cliffs and an astounding amount of sea stacks, natural arches and caves. 

Despite its small size, the island offers activities for history, nature and photography buffs alike. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in local artifacts, photos, knitwear and other historic memorabilia. Don’t forget to snap a shot of the circa 1935 classic red phone booth by the post office!

See orcas in the waters around Fair Isle, and they sometimes come close in pursuit of seals. This island is best known for its coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds in spring and summer. The star attraction is the Atlantic puffin, a clown-like bird that clings to the steep slopes.  Capture pictures of their bemused expressions and Fair Isle’s easily accessible grassy banks make it one of the best places in the Shetlands to observe these colorful creatures. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, storm petrels, razorbills and guillemots are also likely to be spotted, soaring over the open waters. 

Visitors to this community of crafters, artisans and artists may be able to pick up a traditional Fair Isle sweater to keep you warm during the rest of your arctic voyage. Be sure to pick one up, along with a matching hat, scarf and mittens, at the town hall.

Day 4-5 Exploring the Faroe Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
These two days let you explore the unspoiled and seldom-visited archipelago made up of 18 rugged islands located about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The mighty North Atlantic is omnipresent wherever you go with no place on the Faroe Islands farther than 3 miles (5 km) from its shores. The sea has always dominated life on the Faroes – throughout history as much as today: rich fisheries, magnificent ocean views and thriving sea bird colonies make up this rare Nordic jewel – often referred to as Europe’s best kept secret. 

Explore the outer islands of the archipelago on your first day. This is separated by narrow sounds and fjords and delight in their surreal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, green valleys engulfed by steep dramatic mountains, protecting small picturesque villages with colorful turf-topped housed. The activities available on this day are influenced by the weather condition during this day but always keep your eyes out for marine and bird life especially the iconic Atlantic puffin.

On the next day, visit the capital city of Tórshavn, where the Vikings established their government in 825 AD.  Meander the maze of narrow laneways of the Old Town, admiring the quaint wooden houses with traditional sod roofs and white paned windows. Hike up to the historic fort, built in 1580 to guard against pirate raids, offers stunning views of the port below or perhaps wander the charming harbor, filled with cafés, pubs and old warehouses, and simply gaze out at the sea while sipping a latte.
 

Day 6-7 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Cruise toward the world’s most northerly volcanic island, Jan Mayen. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside your ship, attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in the polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea. With your binoculars and camera at the ready, keep your eyes peeled for the blow of humpback, blue or fin whale. Encounters with minke whales or orcas are also possible since their curiosity can bring them near the ship. If you’re lucky, you may even see harp seals.

Day 8-9 Jan Mayen

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Jan Mayen is a rarely visited island that only 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute live here. If the weather permits, go out on the deck and watch as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 meters) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. During the summer months, the island’s lower landscape is covered with grass, moss and a smattering of hardy flowers that add a cheery pop of color to the otherwise barren black lava terrain.

Visit Olonkinbyen, named after Russian-Norwegian polar explorer Gennady Olonkin, it’s the island’s only settlement and the location of the meteorological station where you can get the chance to learn about polar research while seeing how weather is monitored at the top of the world. Another option might be the black sand beach at Kvalrossbukta, where the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a large fulmar colony can be found. In 1632, two Basque ships landed at the small bay and plundered the station. A Dutch party was sent here the following year to protect the land stations during winter, but all seven men perished from scurvy. Whaling in the area came to an end about 20 years later.

See the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). You can also see “sea parrots,” the Atlantic puffin again. The waters here are rich feeding grounds for marine life, so keep a lookout for minke, fin, blue or humpback whales.

Day 10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you sail farther north, spend some time with your shipmates in the lounge, swapping stories and photos, or pause for a moment on the bridge, joining in as your Expedition Team looks out for whales, seals and a variety of seabirds.

Day 11-13 Spitsbergen, Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Explore the fjords of the southwestern corner of this magical island and see firsthand why Spitsbergen is the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.” Some areas to visit include Hornsund and Bellsund fjords and the Lilliehöök Glacier. 

The possible landing sites at Hornsund, the island’s most southerly fjord, have rich histories. En route to Isbjornhamna, a bay at the southern end, where you can explore the former science station and discover old whale bones. Find Svalbard reindeer and colonies of delightful little auks. 

​A 12-mile (20 km) long sound, Bellsund lured miners a century ago to its natural resources. Today, visitors come to Bourbanhamna and Calypsobyen to see historic mining and trapper sites and marvel at the magnificent vistas. It may also be possible to hike along the colorful tundra, dotted with flowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Viewing reindeer here is likely, as they frequent the area.
 

Day 14 Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The time has come to say farewell to your newfound friends and Expedition Team. After disembarking, spend the day exploring the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen or catch your homeward flights.

Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)

Aberdeen

Per person starting at
$4,995
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Triple
Averaging 128 sq. ft. (12 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths and one upper berth. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Lower Deck Twin
Averaging 133 sq. ft. (12 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Lower Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Main Deck Twin with Porthole
Averaging 118 sq. ft. (11 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Main Deck Twin with Window
Averaging 139 sq. ft. (13 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and two windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Superior
Averaging 142 sq. ft. (13 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Upper Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Deluxe
Averaging 160 sq. ft. (15 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Upper and Captain’s Decks, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Suite
Averaging 215 sq. ft. (20 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Captain’s Deck, it has windows with exterior views and private facilities. Cabin 403 has a bathtub; other Suites have shower stalls.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
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Owner's Suite
Averaging 290 sq. ft. (27 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Bridge Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Standard Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a Premium Cabin is 2 times the shared rate.

Insurance: Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person is included. Travelers should have a minimum US$50,000 (or equivalent) of emergency medical coverage prior to embarkation. It is recommended that you and all members of your party have comprehensive travel insurance covering trip cancellation, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage, and repatriation. Contact us for details.

This fare includes:
• Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
• All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
• Beer and house wine during dinner
• All shore landings per the daily program
• Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
• All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
• Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
• Photographic journal documenting the expedition
• Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
• Official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
• Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
• Complimentary reusable water bottle
• Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin
• Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
• All luggage handling aboard the ship
• Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
• One night’s pre-expedition hotel night in Aberdeen
• Group transfer from Aberdeen hotel to ship on embarkation day
• Group transfer from the ship to Longyearbyen airport or a designated drop-off location downtown on disembarkation day

This fare does not include:
• International airfare
• Arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in Inclusions
• Passport and visa expenses
• Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
• Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
• Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
• Excess-baggage fees on international flights
• Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
• Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
• Phone and Internet charges
• Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
• Additional overnight accommodation
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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