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Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland

Northern Odyssey

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Albatros
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Embark on a 12-day cruise from Aberdeen to Longyearbyen aboard the Ocean Albatros, island-hopping from Scotland to Svalbard near the North Pole. Cruise through lush green landscapes, visiting Orkney, Shetland, Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen, and finally Svalbard. The 12-day adventure on Ocean Albatros promises fair-lighted days, diverse wildlife sightings, and breathtaking seascapes. Explore charming towns like Lerwick and Vágur, discover the Norse heritage in Tórshavn, and reach the enigmatic Jan Mayen, Earth's northernmost volcano. Continue to Svalbard, a high Arctic paradise teeming with wildlife, where the sun never sets during summer.
Lighthouse near TorshavnGrass-roofed houses of the Faroe IslandsWalruses huddled together on the iceLongyearbyen, SvalbardLerwick, Shetland, Scotland
Highlights
  • Discover Lerwick, and immerse yourself in its rich history, Viking heritage, and bustling town atmosphere
  • Experience the small village of Vagur in the Faroe Islands, surrounded by stunning nature and offering opportunities for birdwatching and hiking
  • Discover the enigmatic and isolated island of Jan Mayen, with its active volcano, remote location, and extreme polar environment
  • Explore Aberdeen's famous Granite City and witness its prestigious and powerful granite buildings
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Aberdeen, Scotland | Embark

Your journey begins in Aberdeen, Scotland's famous Granite City. The city of Aberdeen is one of the wealthiest in the UK and has a long and illustrious history. The modern town grew from a rich fishing and shipbuilding tradition and has since become the UK's leading port serving the oil and gas industry. The glittering granite buildings for which the city is nicknamed demonstrate the prestige and power of northern Scotland's economic hub.

Your expedition vessel awaits embarkation in the city's bustling harbor, with comfortable staterooms ready to welcome the guests. After your mandatory safety briefings and lifeboat drill, your floating home for the next eleven days will sail out of Aberdeen and chart a course for the ancient Isles of Shetland.

Day 2: Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the morning of the second day of your voyage, Ocean Albatros will arrive at Lerwick on the Mainland of Shetland. The Shetland Islands consist of over a hundred islands, of which only sixteen are inhabited year-round. The islands form the northernmost part of the United Kingdom, located approximately 300 km north of the Scottish mainland. 

The history of Shetland dates back to the Neolithic period, and Shetland was part of the Kingdom of Norway until the late 1400s; the Norn language, derived directly from Old Norse, was spoken on the islands until the 1850s, peppering the placenames and slang of Shetland with Viking heritage. Norse connections are strong here, from the Shetland flag to the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival, held annually in midwinter. Modern Lerwick is a prosperous, bustling town that thrives on the oil, gas, and green energy industries and increasingly on tourism. Enjoy a stroll through the town's busy high street, lined with independent shops selling local products, immerse yourself in history at the Shetland Museum and Archives, or watch the local ferries come and go from the busy harborfront. 

An optional coach excursion exploring the highlights of Shetland is offered on this day.

Day 3: Vagur, Faroe Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Vagur is a small village on the windy island of Suðuroy, the southernmost of the Faroe Islands. Being one of the largest and most isolated islands in the archipelago, Suðuroy locals are known for their distinctive language dialect, history, and practical, no-nonsense attitude. The village is typically Faroese, with colorful clapboard houses clustered around the village harbor, which sits at the end of a sheltered fjord backed by sweeping layered basalt mountains.

The village of Vagur was first referenced in Norse literature in 1350 when it was mentioned that several dogs and their owners lived there. The town has been a hub for the Faroese fishing industry since and was where Nólsoyar Páll constructed the first Faroese ship in centuries, challenging the long-standing Danish trade monopoly.

Vagur sits amid some of the Faroe Islands' most spectacular nature, offering many opportunities to see these islands' wild side. The large lake Vatnið sits on the edge of the village. It is an excellent spot to visit the islands' native bird life - with further opportunities to birdwatch and learn about the island's fishing history at the nearby coastline of Vágseiðið. Many hiking trails begin in Vagur, including the spectacular trail to Eggjarnar, which overlooks the dramatic cliffs of the west coast of Suðuroy, exposed to the raw fury of the North Atlantic. The town also hosts several excellent museums, including the works of local painter Ruth Smith.

Day 4: Torshavn, Faroe Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in the early morning at Torshavn, one of the smallest capitals in the world, ruling the scattered eighteen islands that make up the Faroes. An autonomous country within Denmark, the Faroe Islands are roughly equivalent to Norway, Iceland, and Scotland. 'Føroyar' (as the islands are locally known) is a corruption of the Old Norse, roughly meaning 'Sheep Islands,' hinting at the island's long sheep farming tradition and Norse roots. The local Faroese language is closely related to Icelandic and Old Norse and, indeed, to the Norn language once spoken in Shetland and Orkney (with which the Faroes share ancient historical ties).

While not as cold as nearby Iceland, the Faroe Islands are nonetheless known for their challenging weather, mainly due to their isolated location in the North Atlantic - here, the frigid sea rules life and experiences four seasons in the same day (or even hour!) is not uncommon. Nonetheless, their northerly location creates long, light summer days, and while the weather is rarely warm, the climate is perfect for exploring!

Centered around the grass-roofed Parliament on Tinganes (one of the oldest in the world), Tórshavn - or simply 'Havn' as the locals call it - has a fascinating history. Originally a trading post established by Norwegian kings and operated as a monopoly by the Danish crown, Torshavn was proclaimed a town in 1866 and has been the capital of the islands ever since. In the aftermath of British occupation during the Second World War, a narrowly contested referendum almost resulted in Faroese independence, after which the islands were granted autonomy.

Today, the Faroes operate as their nation, excluding foreign affairs, defense, and policing (which are handled by Denmark), and Torshavn is a modern, bustling city in miniature. Explore Skansin, the 16th-century fort that found a modern use as the British garrison during WWII, experience Faroese culture at the Listasvn Føroya Art Museum, or shop for snuggly woolen goods in the city's many boutique shops. Explore the old Faroes in the Cathedral town or the new Foroes in the architectural marvel of the Nordic House cultural center. Alternately, unwind on a sunny terrace on Bryggjubakki (the waterfront area modeled on Copenhagen's famous Nyhavn) and indulge in a fresh local seafood lunch with a view of Tinganes- perhaps with a crisp local beer to match! 

An optional coach excursion exploring the highlights of the Faroe Islands is offered on this day.

Day 5: At Sea, en route to Jan Mayen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leaving the Faroe Islands behind, Ocean Albatros will spend a day at sea en route to Jan Mayen, an isolated volcanic island roughly equidistant between Greenland, Svalbard, and Iceland. Here, warmer water from the Atlantic meets the cold waters of East Greenland, often producing murky, foggy conditions. However, the mixing of currents produces rich waters that nourish the area's wildlife - from the vast shoals of herring so crucial to towns like Tórshavn to the whales that grow more common as you approach the shores of Jan Mayen.

Days at sea are never dull. Various activities onboard are available for you to enjoy engaging the mind, body, and soul. Join your knowledgeable Expedition Team lecturers in the Theatre to hear specially crafted lectures on local history, wildlife, geology, culture, and more, unwind with a massage in the Albatros Polar Spa, or watch the seabirds gliding along the ship from the hot tubs as the Ocean Albatros flies across the Arctic Circle into parts unknown.

Day 6: Jan Mayen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The active volcanic island of Jan Mayen lies approximately mid-way between Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland. If not exactly in the middle of the Greenland Sea, it is located precisely on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is why it is volcanic. This enigmatic and isolated island is the only active volcano in Norway and the northernmost active volcano in the world - although the almost perpetual clouds and fog hovering over the summit can make it hard to spot! The volcanic peak of Mt. Beerenberg reaches an altitude of 2,277m - making it one of Norway's 300 summits exceeding 2000m.
 
The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, a mixture of scientists running the meteorological station and Norwegian Military personnel. Subject to strong winds and large swell, landing on this incredibly remote island can be challenging; try to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin of Jan Mayen is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows, and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. On the bare rock of the shores, creeping tundra plants and squabbling seabirds eke out a living in the extreme polar environment of the island.

Day 7-8: At sea, en route to Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
From Jan Mayen, set a northeasterly course, aiming for the high Arctic islands of Svalbard. Situated approximately 800km north of the Norwegian mainland, Svalbard is highly remote and isolated; Longyearbyen, the island's "capital," lies only 1200km from the North Pole, 800km closer than Oslo.

Sailing to Svalbard requires a ship capable of handling any ice or rough weather that may be encountered in these northern seas. To the west of Jan Mayen lies the West Ice, a vast expanse of floating sea ice that hugs the coast of East Greenland, occasionally drifting across the Greenland Sea to Svalbard even in summer. Luckily, Ocean Albatros boasts Polar Code 6 and Ice Class 1A ratings, making her ideal for all but the thickest Arctic ice. The unique X-Bow design of the hull also offers enhanced stability in rough seas. 

Keep your binoculars close at hand as you approach Svalbard. These islands are a haven for wildlife; as you migrate northwards, so do the whales, seals, and birds that live on and around this magnificent archipelago during the summer. As you approach Svalbard, you can expect the concentration of wildlife to increase. As you near the continental shelf offshore of Svalbard during your second afternoon at sea, keep watch for the seabirds that come to feed on the abundant plankton that rises to the surface. Once hunted to near-extinction for their oily blubber, the whales that were once rare here are now staging a comeback and can sometimes be seen off the coast of Svalbard in summer - a true conservation success story!

Day 9: Kongsfjorden Region

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the 'night' (what is a night when the sun never sets?), your vessel will have repositioned past the saw-toothed mountains of  Prins Karls Forland and arrived in magnificent Kongsfjord. Surrounded by craggy mountains, bounded by the magnificent Kongsbreen and Kongvegen Glaciers, and crowned by the Three Crowns (a set of pyramidal mountains said to represent the monarchies of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark), this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and tranquil corners anywhere in the world. 

Your first landing will be at the small settlement of Ny Ålesund. Situated further north than Longyearbyen, Ny-Ålesund is Earth's northernmost settlement, if a group of scientific stations, a post office, and a single shop open for a few hours can be described as such.

These islands' geographical location has made them the staging post for exploratory and scientific expeditions for centuries - a proud legacy that continues today. The setting is spectacular, and the scientific projects are as fascinating as the history of the town, which has hosted the Nobile, the Norge, and the Fram, Amundsen, Nansen, and Nordenskiöld, all legends of polar exploration who passed this lonely outpost seeking to push the boundaries of humanity. The remnants of these expeditions (such as the mooring mast of the Norge) can still be seen today.

Day 10: Northwestwern Spitzbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of Europe's largest protected wilderness areas, North West Svalbard, was declared a national park in 1973. The area is famed for its history, which documents some of the earliest human arrivals on Svalbard. While Norse explorers may have sighted these icy shores during the Viking Age, the first definite arrival was the expedition of William Barents, the legendary Dutch explorer for whom the Barents Sea is named. While now protected from human disruption, when Barents arrived in 1596, he noted the vast numbers of whales and seals, soon prey to English and Dutch whalers, who came within a decade of Barents to pillage the area's wildlife. The area occupied the triple point between land, sea, and ice, and as such, was the perfect location to harvest the gentle giants of the oceans.

Sites used to dismember whale carcasses and render them for their precious oil include the Dutch settlement of Smeerenburg, where the remains of 16th-century blubber ovens and building foundations can still be seen. Other sites, such as nearby Ytre Norskøya, record the darker side of this industrialized slaughter, where hundreds of young men who hoped to make their fortunes are buried thousands of miles from home. 

Today, all that remains from this period of history are bones and the scant remnants of human habitation. Slowly reclaimed by creeping Arctic nature, the region is now a nature lovers paradise. Tiny Arctic poppies and purple saxifrage defy the brutal conditions to flower in the summer, while geese, eider ducks, and other seabirds return to the island to raise their young. Walrus can be found hauled out on beaches, and you must always be on the lookout for wandering polar bears in this now-again wild region. Your experienced Expedition Team will constantly look for wildlife (including polar bears) throughout the voyage and always inform you if they spot something exciting!

Day 11: Central Spitzbergen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you retreat from your voyage's northernmost point, set a course for central Spitzbergen. Measuring around 400km in length from north to south, Spitzbergen is the largest island of Svalbard, the archipelago it is synonymous with. The island of Spitzbergen experiences a polar tundra climate, with short, cool summers and long, dark, brutally cold winters. Nonetheless, life clings on here, and Svalbard's extraordinary wildlife can be found throughout Spitzbergen. 

On your final full day in Svalbard, head to wherever offers you the best opportunities for landing, exploration, and wildlife experiences, guided by your experienced Expedition Leader and Captain - such is the essence of an Arctic expedition! You can find a particularly spectacular glacier and launch the fleet of Zodiacs to explore the hinterland where ice meets land meets sea. You may notice a colony of seabirds or a herd of reindeer and come ashore to observe them. Or you can be lucky enough to spot a polar bear, king of the Arctic, as you cruise along the coastline towards your final destination of Longyearbyen, the 'capital' of Svalbard.

Day 12: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
During the evening, the Ocean Albatros will reposition to return to the port of Longyearbyen. Even this tiny town will feel like a metropolis after days of isolation in the wilderness of the Arctic! Longyearbyen contains the world's northernmost well, nearly everything! This remarkable little city is not only the northernmost town in the world (if one excludes the tiny research community of Ny-Ålesund, slightly further north on Svalbard) but also hosts the world's northernmost civilian airport, schools, bank, and supermarket. The town's rugged frontier edge belies a core of warm Nordic hospitality and coziness - 'koseligt' as the Norwegians say! After bidding a fond farewell to the crew and Expedition Team of Ocean Albatros, enjoy some time at leisure to explore Longyearbyen before heading to Svalbard Airport to join your flight back to Oslo- with memories to last a lifetime.

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Albatros

Ocean Albatros BBQ Deck
Ocean Albatros Fitness
Ocean Albatros Pool Deck

Dates & Prices

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Save 30% Off
Book by April 30, 2024, and save 30% off on select Arctic and Antarctica 2024-2025 departures. This promotion is valid for new bookings and cannot be combined with other promotions. To qualify, personal details and deposit payment must be received within seven working days of the booking. For trips with less than 90 days until departure, personal details and full payment must be received within 48 hours of the booking. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
Applies to May 26, 2025 departure

Per person starting at
$7,495
Ocean Albatros Cat GOcean Albatros Cat G
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Category G
Single Stateroom (Porthole) - 14 m2 Standard single Stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located State Room close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures.
Ocean Albatros Cat FOcean Albatros Cat F
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Category F
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) - 22 m2 There are four Triple Staterooms on board Ocean Albatros featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
Ocean Albatros Cat EOcean Albatros Cat E
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Category E
French Balcony Stateroom - 14 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard Stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
Ocean Albatros Cat DOcean Albatros Cat D
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Category D
Albatros Stateroom (Porthole) - 13-22 m2 The standard Stateroom on Ocean Albatros is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The State Rooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Albatros. The standard State Rooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and a bathroom. The State Rooms are located on deck 3 and 4.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category C
Balcony Stateroom - 18-22 m2 The most abundant type of Stateroom on Ocean Albatros located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility within this category.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) app. 24 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat BOcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category B
Balcony Suite approximately - 25-32 m2 Ocean Albatros has 6 Balcony Suites on board located on decks 4 & 6. The suites feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom, and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Albatros Cat AOcean Albatros Cat A Balcony
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Category A
Junior suite - 39 m2 The 4 junior suites aboard Ocean Albatros have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Albatros Premium SuiteOcean Albatros Premium Suite
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Premium Suite (Freydis Suite)
Premium suite - 45 m2 – FS (Freydis Suite) The second largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck.4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.
Ocean Albatros Family SuiteOcean Albatros Family Suite
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Family Suite (Brynhilde Suite)
Family suite - 52 m2 – BS (Brynhilde Suite) The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. The Double-Bedroom, Family Suite is going to be located on Deck 7, featuring two interconnecting French Balcony Suites, accommodating up to 5 people on two double beds and a sofa bed. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea, and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $345/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more.
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Special photo workshop
  • Near-port walks with the expedition team
  • Dinner drink package
  • Full board on the ship
  • Free coffee, tea, and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Taxes, tariffs, and landing fees
  • Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.
  • Single room supplement and cabin upgrades
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea and dinner-drink package)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 16 per person per day)
  • Transfer to the ship in Aberdeen
  • Optional Transfer Package: Flights between Longyearbyen - Oslo and Group Transfer between the vessel and Longyearbyen Airport. To be booked 11 months prior to departure at additional cost.

Map

When to Go

Jan
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Apr
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Dec
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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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