Board the Sea Spirit to join this 13-day Arctic cruise from Edinburgh, Scotland to Longyearbyen, Norway. Long days and short nights give you ample opportunity to experience this region the way the Vikings did centuries ago. Enjoy stops in the Faroe Islands, Kirkwall, and the Shetland Islands before venturing to the Arctic region of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. There, you can explore stunning high Arctic landscapes with your expert guides, and spot wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, walruses, arctic foxes, and countless species of seabirds.
Enjoy the charming city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland
Explore St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall's most famous sites in town
Experience true High Arctic wilderness in the Svalbard achipelago
Visit Kirkjubøur, the cultural center of the Faroes in the Middle Ages
Welcome to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and the starting point of your trans-Atlantic expedition. To provide you with more time to enjoy this metropolis rich in history and culture, enjoy pre-cruise hotel accommodations near the city center. Relax and take a stroll through town, enjoying both medieval and classic 18th-century architecture. The famous Edinburgh Castle rises majestically above it all.
Enjoy the morning and early afternoon at leisure. Each corner of Edinburgh’s old streets opens beautiful unexpected vistas of green hills or a blue flash of the distant sea. In the afternoon, you will be transferred from the hotel to the ship in the nearby Port of Leith. Before dinner, there’s time to explore the Sea Spirit, your home-away-from-home for the next nine days
Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Archipelago, is a small, quiet town, with a gentle pace of life. It was first mentioned in the Orkneyinga saga in 1046. Such a long history has left a rich heritage that you explore today on an included tour. The most famous sites in town are the sandstone St. Magnus Cathedral, considered to be the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland, the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace.
We leave town and head west, passing through the gently rolling landscape of Orkney’s largest island, Mainland, and into the Neolithic Heartland, an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness, stop at the Ring of Brodgar – a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5,000 years. Then continue on to the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, with remarkable dwellings first revealed beneath the sand dunes by storms just 150 years ago. Return to the ship for dinner and a late-evening departure.
Fair Isle is a real paradise for birdwatchers. A huge number of birds inhabit the lush grasslands and spectacular cliffs. Over 345 species have been recorded here – more than anywhere else in Britain. During our walk across the island, we hope to see northern fulmars, kittiwakes, northern gannets, puffins, and great and arctic skuas.
em>National Geographic Traveler had designated the Faroe Islands as “authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so”. Nature has spared no colors in painting the islands: deep-green hills, bright blue sea, colorful houses and boats, and puffins’ orange-red beaks make the landscape unforgettable.
The rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking heritage and their love of the sea. Explore the archipelago with possible stops in:
Tórshavn. This would include a visit to Kirkjubøur, the ecclesiastical and cultural center of the Faroes in the Middle Ages. It was the site of the Bishop’s residence until the Reformation when the Faroese diocese was abolished. The imposing Gothic ruin of the late 13th-century Saint Magnus Cathedral still dominates the site. The Roykstovan, standing on the wide, stone foundation of a portion of the Bishop’s palace, has been the home of farmers in Kirkjubøur for centuries and occupied by the same Faroese family for 17 generations. There are magnificent views to the west and the islands of Koltur, Hestur, Sandoy, and Vágar.
Klaksvík, the second-largest town in the Faroes and an important fishing and shipping port. Charcoal gray, snow-dusted mountains create a spectacular backdrop to your visit. The town originated from four farms which grew into four villages and ultimately into a modern town in the late 1939s. Some light hiking and birdwatching are possible in areas selected by local guides and your expedition team.
Your expedition team will also search for more remote areas of the archipelago to visit or pause, where you take advantage of the ship and possibly Zodiacs to see bird cliffs and other natural wonders that are otherwise difficult to access.
Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that this day at sea is not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows and balconies.
Jan Mayen hosts the landscapes of breathtaking beauty and the northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet – the Beerenberg. The island is wild and uninhabited not including members of the Norwegian weather stations. The signboard at the entrance door says (translated from Norwegian): “Theory is when you understand everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody understands why. On this station, we combine theory and practice in a way that nothing works and nobody understands why”. Northern fulmars, Kittiwakes, and Brünich’s guillemots breeding on steep cliffs and slopes represent the birdlife of Jan Mayen.
This is a real expedition in a true High Arctic wilderness. As such, our route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions we encounter. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. We exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, discover incredible scenery, and walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us.
We anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands in the western part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
To complete the Arctic experience we also explore places rich with history. Our area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and even an abandoned polar research station. The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.