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Northern lights dance across the Arctic landscape

Northern Lights Explorer

Kirkenes to Reykjavik - Example 19 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Join Greg Mortimer on this 19-day Northern Lights adventure from Kirkenes to Reykjavik. Start your cruise in the far north of the nation at North Cape. Travel to the south, stopping at the Lofoten Islands and Mount Torghatten, known for the hole in its middle. Enjoy a Zodiac trip through the Trollfjord, a gorge flanked by steep mountains and so narrow that can only be accessed by small ships. The island's northern region, which has spectacular glaciers, is an excellent area to search for whales and dolphins. Visit the Hornstrandir Peninsula, one of Iceland's remotest and most pristine places, which is home to deep and dramatic fjords, high bird cliffs, natural splendor, and Scoresbysund, the world's largest fjord system and a favorite hunting ground of the local Inuit. There are also opportunities for wildlife encounters.
Nordvest Fjord Eskimobugt Scoresbysund East GreenlandThe beautiful City Reine at Lofoten IslandsCruising past dramatic ice formationsLofoten Islands NorwayWhale breaching near the shipA bird soars through an arctic sunsetArctic Northern Lights Lofoten Islands, NorwayNorthern lights dance across the Arctic landscape
Highlights
  • Discover Vega Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Greenland’s Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system
  • See the splendid scenery of Iceland’s remote Westfjord
  • Witness the dazzling light show of Aurora Borealis
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kirkenes

Having made your way to Kirkenes, you are met and transferred to your group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with the ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.  

The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense. 

Accommodation: Thon Hotel Kirkenes (or similar)

Day 2: Kirkenes | Embark

This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage can be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. 

After a leisurely breakfast, check-out of your room before commencing an excursion of Kirkenes and surrounds. Transfer to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon, when you have time to settle into your cabin before attending the mandatory safety briefings, and enjoy the thrill of departure as you ‘throw the lines’ and set sail.

This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, friendly expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.

Day 3-6: Norwegian Coast

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Over the next few days you explore parts of Norway’s remarkable 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) coastline. Starting in North Cape, in the very north of the country, you make your way south, stopping in the Lofoten Islands and visiting mesmerizing Mount Torghatten, famous for the hole through its center.

The spectacular northern lights is a natural phenomenon that is most commonly seen in the sky above the Arctic Circle, between late autumn and early spring. As you are near North Cape in northern Norway, keep a close watch in hope of witnessing this dazzling spectacle in the night sky. The North Cape is located at a latitude of 71° 10´ 21 and is Europe’s northernmost point. Here you enjoy a short walk, visit the North Cape Hall and perhaps sample some local treats.

Enjoy a Zodiac cruise through spectacular Trollfjord, a gorge flanked by steep mountains and so narrow that it can only be accessed by small ships. In the Lofoten Islands, voted by National Geographic as one the of the most beautiful destinations in the world, you stroll through picturesque villages dotted with red and white fishers’ huts, surrounded by soaring granite peaks. Visit the Lofoten Seafood Center and learn about the impressive cod fisheries and perhaps sample some local seafood.

Crossing south of the Arctic Circle, you visit the Vega archipelago, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Vega Island is fantastic for birdwatching and here eider ducks are the main attraction, where they are raised for their down, which at one point accounted for one third of the islanders’ income. The islanders still make houses for the birds to nest in and in return, the ducks provide valuable down when they and their chicks leave the nests to continue their lives at sea. The archipelago reflects a traditional way of life that has not changed for more than 1,500 years. On nearby Torget Island, you plan to land and hike to Torghatten, a fascinating rock formation with an equally interesting legend describing the hole in the mountain as having been created by a troll’s arrow.

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy the crossing to Jan Mayen, accompanied by seabirds as you search for whales. Enjoy informative talks from the team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active in the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness center. Remember to look to the skies at night and hope for sightings of the northern lights.

Day 8: Jan Mayen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge Beerenberg volcano is the world’s northernmost active volcano, last erupting in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is friendly, you can try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the Norwegian weather station at Olonkinbyen, a settlement situated on the eastern side of the island. You hope to land in front of the station at Olonkinbyen, so as to visit before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) back across the island to where the Greg Mortimer is waiting for you in Kvalrossbukta, and the trusty Zodiacs can transport you back to the ship.

Day 9: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The series of onboard lectures continue as sail towards the wild coast of East Greenland. You can learn about sea ice, glaciers, the unique geology found in East Greenland and daring tales of European exploration. You are also in the prime zone to view the northern lights, so glance up to the skies and you might just see more than shimmering stars.

Day 10-13: East Greenland

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
In the coming days, a host of choices are available to you, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is yours to explore. The members of the experienced Expedition Team, who have made countless journeys to this area, use their expertise to tailor your voyage to suit the day-to-day conditions. This allows you to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and any opportunities for wildlife encounters. You generally attempt up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day, including cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface.

Be prepared to experience ice – and lots of it! East Greenland contains some of the Arctic’s most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks soaring up to 2,000 meters (6,562 feet), and glaciers birthing gigantic icebergs that drift throughout the fjord system, combine to create breathtaking scenes.

The tundra landscape is home to musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer. Throughout the area there are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers’ huts, and the cabins of present-day Inuit hunters. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community has an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs and provides the opportunity to meet the friendly locals.

Explore Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system and a favorite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers flow into this fjord, the birthplace of hundreds of majestic Greenland icebergs. It is a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund lie Kong Oskar and Kaiser Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and the surrounding mountains offering protection from strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from musk oxen and arctic foxes to mountain hares, and even reindeer, near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds, including the glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.

You can attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration, located within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord, you marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. You can then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with the passage dependent on ice conditions.

You stretch your legs on hikes across tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Inuit. You may see musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer grazing. The maze of calm, interconnecting waterways in this area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking. You can see ring seals, perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive narwhal, and maybe even a polar bear hunting on pack ice.

Day 14: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland, search for whale blows and photograph the many seabirds that trail your ship in the ever-present arctic winds. The dark night skies promise more opportunities to experience the northern lights.

Day 15-18: Iceland

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Over the coming days, you explore the Westfjords region, which features outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer, table-top mountains that plunge into the sea, and pristine north Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords that are ideal for kayaking, hiking and birdwatching. 

In genuine expeditionary style, you keep your itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity. You plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions, which is filled with deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen by the few adventurers that make their way here. In Húsavik, you hope to have magical encounters with the many whales that visit this part of Iceland, known as the country’s whale-watching capital.

Day 19: Reykjavik | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
During the early morning, you cruise into Reykjavik and disembark at approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you continue your onward journey. Transfer to Keflavik airport or to your centrally located hotel.

Note: It is not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation, as you may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

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Book now and save 10% off per person plus $1500 air credit on select 2024 Arctic and beyond departures. Bookings must be made and deposited by June 30, 2024. This promotion is valid for new bookings, is capacity-controlled, and is not combinable with other offers. A non-refundable deposit of $2,500 per person is required to confirm your booking within seven days of reserved berth/s. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.

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Per person starting at
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Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
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Aurora Stateroom Twin Share
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.
Included
  • 17 Breakfasts, 16 Lunches, 17 Dinners
  • 18 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • Transfer from airport to hotel on arrival Day 1
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, on Day 1
  • Tour of Kirkenes and transfer to ship Day 2
  • Transfer from pier to airport or hotel on Day 22
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.
  • Add-on activities should be reserved at the time of the booking.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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