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Big blue icebergs at glacier lagoon on Iceland

Toward the High Arctic: From Iceland to Svalbard

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Join Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavik to begin a spectacular voyage toward the high Arctic from Iceland’s volcanic wonderland. Along the way, stop at four Arctic islands: Iceland, Grimsey, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen. Marvel at the rugged cliffs of the Icelandic western and northern coasts, and visit the famed Snaefellness peninsula. From here cruise to the enigmatic island of Jan Mayen and the glaciated islands of the Svalbard archipelago. In early summer, the air is filled with migrating birds and the sun never sets. When approaching Svalbard, look for whale, seal-hunting polar bears on the pack ice, walruses, and millions of sea birds. There are few wilder, more magnificent and untouched places than the Arctic Islands of the North Atlantic: discover the immense beauty of this unique region.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Reykjavik, Iceland | Embark
Day 2 : Snaefellsnes
Day 3 : Northern Iceland and Vigur Island
Day 4 : Grimsey Island
Day 5 : At Sea
Day 6 : Jan Mayen
Day 7 : At Sea
Day 8 : Bellsund
Day 9 : Ny Ålesund | Kongsfjorden
Day 10 : Poolepynten | Isfjorden
Day 11 : Longyearbyen | Disembark

Highlights

  • Marvel at the rugged cliffs of Iceland's west coast
  • Discover striking volcanic landscapes on Jan Mayen
  • Cross the Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island
  • Look for polar bears, walruses, whales, and seabirds

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Big blue icebergs at glacier lagoon on Iceland A polar bear rests on an iceberg Arctic puffins Walking through vast arctic landscapes. Walruses huddled together on the ice Explore the Arctic
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Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland | Embark

Board Ocean Atlantic in the afternoon. After a mandatory security review and drill, enjoy dinner as the captain sets a course toward Iceland's west coast. 

Day 2 Snaefellsnes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, sail along the 100-kilometer long Snaefellsnes peninsula, which with its dramatic cliff coast, hardened lava floods, sandy beaches and volcanic peaks, is a picture of Iceland in mini-format. Round the tip of the peninsula and enjoy the view of the nearly 1,500-meter-high snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull, which was the center of Jules Vernes novel "The Journey to the Center of the Earth." The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became in 2001 the Snæfellsjökull National Park. Make a landing here, then spend the afternoon passing Iceland’s westernmost point and the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg.

Day 3 Northern Iceland and Vigur Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, sail into Isafjardardjúp, and take a walk on the island of Vigur at the mouth of Hestfjördur to enjoy the view of the steep mountains and see the terrific aerobatics of the Arctic Terns. A local guide will take you on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.

Around lunch, leave Isafjardardjúp and sail toward the West Fjords, which always offer one unforgettable experience after another. Finish the day sailing along the coast of Hornstrandir, the northernmost part of the West Fjords. From here, there are only 300 kilometers to the eastern coast of Greenland. In 1975 the area was converted into nature reserves, and currently has some of the strictest rules to protect the peculiar and fragile nature. Along the coast, there are good opportunities to see whales and seals, and the mountainside is alive with the rich bird life. Cruise past Hornvik Bay, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, where you can see two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe where millions of seabirds breed.

Day 4 Grimsey Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, the ship will have arrived at the island of Grimsey, which is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland and is the only part of Iceland with an Arctic designation. The Polar circle crosses the island at 66 ° 33 'N, and gives the island one full day of 24-hour sunlight every year in June.

Over 100 inhabitants reside on the little rocky island, all living close to the harbor in the only city in the island. The fishing banks in the surrounding seas make the economy flourish, the port is expanded, and there is a small airport with daily flights to the mainland and the school for the children. The island has been inhabited since the settlement of Iceland and is mentioned in the sagas as an important land, rich in fish and birds.

The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grímsey, and bird cries can be heard 24 hours a day over the bright Arctic summer. Up to 36 different species breed on the island and have their nests on the rocks. One of Iceland's largest tern colonies is here, and it is said that the runway must be cleared for terns before the aircraft can land.

Make landing by Zodiacs during the morning to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life.

Day 5 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend today aboard Ocean Atlantic as the captain sets course to the next destination. Enjoy inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s history and about nature, wildlife and climatology from onboard lecturers. 

Day 6 Jan Mayen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Approximately in the middle of the North Atlantic lies the enigmatic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. And if not exactly in the middle, at least it is located precisely on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the reason for its volcanic existence. And enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog that hovers above it. Jan Mayen belongs to Norway, and the mountain Beerenberg is one of the higher of Norway’s 300 summits above 2,000 meters.
 
The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defense. Attempt a landing at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus, board the Zodiacs and Ocean Atlantic to continue the voyage north.

Day 7 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Listen to a lecture from experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.

Day 8 Bellsund

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As the ship approaches the Svalbard archipelago, it should be possible to spot the largest island, Spitsbergen, during the afternoon. The route for this day and next depends much on weather conditions, pack ice coming from the Arctic Sea and calving glaciers, and solid winter sea ice. The vessel has an ice class of 1B and the Captain should be able to safely approach the edge of the ice to give you the opportunity to look for polar bears, hunting for seals.
 
The west coast enjoys warmer currents coming up through the Atlantic, permitting entry to the southern fjord of Bellsund on this first taste of Svalbard exploration. Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.
 
Stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff, where the tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks, and which the Svalbard reindeer love to graze. Enjoy a walk along the beach – and spot remains from early industrial eras.
 
During the night the ship will sail north along the coast of Spitsbergen.

Day 9 Ny Ålesund | Kongsfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night, the ship will have passed Prins Karls Forland and arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. This early summer visit provides both the challenge and gift of the voyage: winter ice might block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will provide the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of year the migrating birds have just arrived, and they are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months. 

Make the first landing at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, but not considered a "town," as it consists of a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours. Make a short landing here to meet the scientists and wander through the tiny town center.

Continuing the exploration of Kongsfjorden, Ocean Atlantic will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. As you will immediately see, the name is a bit misleading: Blomstrand is now an island - the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. Cruise through this strait on Zodiacs and make a landing on the island. 

Day 10 Poolepynten | Isfjorden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night the ship will have entered Forlandssundet, which separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. The destination is Poolepynten (Poole Point), a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by herds of walruses who can be seen (and smelled!) from a distance. The large mammals flaunt their tusks and whiskers, as well as their considerable bulk. 

After the visit, turn southbound toward the entrance to the Isfjorden. 

On the way toward Longyearbyen, get your last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard. 

Day 11 Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Early in the morning the ship has returned to the starting point in Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the expedition team and crew, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport to head home.
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Applies to Jun 12, 2021 departure

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Per person starting at
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Category G
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Category G - Single
Size 9-10 m². Cabins feature a single bed, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
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Category F
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Triple Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, and a fold-out single bed, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub, and a porthole. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
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Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
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Category D
Size 11-12 m². Featuring two single beds, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on the Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
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Category C
Size 12-13 m². This Standard Cabin has two single beds, private bathroom, and a window. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
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Category B
Size 20-23 m² Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a sofa bed that enables triple accommodation, a relaxing sitting area, private bathroom and windows. Partly obstructed view. Located on the Magellan and Hudson Deck (Deck 7 & 8).
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Size 35 m². These 2-room suites are designed with a large double bed or two twin beds, an elegant living room, a large private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).

Notes

INCLUSIONS
  • Charter flight Longyearbyen-Oslo
  • 11-day/10-night cruise with Ocean Atlantic in a shared outside/inside double cabin with private bathroom/toilet in the category chosen
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary
  • Near-port town walks with the expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Full board on ship
  • Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails   
  • Taxes, tariffs and AECO fees 
  • Special photo workshop
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
EXCLUSIONS
  • Hotel accommodation in Longyearbyen
  • Travel insurance
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 15 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned under "Inclusions"
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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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