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An polar bear makes its way across the rocks.

Across the Arctic Circle

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Onboard the Greg Mortimer, embark on a 15-day Arctic Circle expedition cruise. The Orkney and Shetland Islands reveal a rich Scottish heritage, while Vikings, fjords, and fishing communities appear along Norway's stunning coastline, including a visit to the famous Lofoten Islands. Crossing the Arctic Circle to Svalbard reveals a panorama of towering cliffs teeming with nesting birds, a frozen wonderland of glistening glaciers, and a realm ruled by the enormous polar bear.
Visit Neolithic sites of the Orkney islandsDiscover ancient cultures of the Orkney islandsWalruses playing around on the beach.An polar bear makes its way across the rocks.
Highlights
  • Visit picturesque villages that were once strongholds of Scottish clans
  • Encounter Neolithic sites dating back more than 5,000 years
  • Search for the mighty polar bear and encounter enormous walrus haulouts
  • Experience some of the north’s most spectacular fjords and glaciers in Svalbard
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: Aberdeen

Having made your way to Aberdeen, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. 
Enjoy a light refreshment this evening as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing. Afterward, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).

Day 2: Embark Aberdeen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
This morning, your luggage will be collected from your hotel, sanitized, and delivered to your cabin on board. Ensure your luggage has cabin tags with your name and cabin number, and keep valuables with you.

After breakfast and check-out, leave your luggage in the foyer and keep day items in your hand luggage. We'll explore Aberdeen, visiting Kings College Chapel and St Machar Cathedral, then head to Glen Garioch Distillery for a tour and tasting. The day continues with a trip to Huntly Falconry Centre for a birds of prey demonstration.

Return to Aberdeen to board the Greg Mortimer ship in the late afternoon. Settle into your cabin, attend safety briefings, and join the Welcome Dinner to meet the crew and fellow travelers as we set sail for an exciting adventure.

Day 3-4: Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, nine kilometers (six miles) north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history, and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings, and reminders of World War II occupation – to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, and clifftop paths and bleak moors beckon the keen hikers among us, while our kayakers use paddle power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.

Discover the rich history in Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands. Initial impressions are misleading, as the harbor area looks modern. Still, the narrow winding streets and lanes of the old town, which have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries are appealing. Everything west of Kirkwall is known as West Mainland, an area of rich farmland, rolling hills, and moorland, with dramatic cliffs along the Atlantic coastline. Some of the main archaeological attractions we may see include the standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and the chambered tombs of Maes Howes that to this day still have unresolved mysteries.  

You can choose from a selection of shore excursion options that best suit your interests and level of fitness: 

Option 1. Orkney Treasures - Skara Brae 
Explore the World Heritage heartland of Orkney, known for its prehistoric archaeology. Visit the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and Skara Brae, an ancient village preserved for 5000 years. Learn about its history and see the dwellings uncovered by storms 150 years ago. Visit Skaill House, built in 1620 on Norse-period grounds, and discover its 400-year history and impressive collection.

Option 2. The Heart of Neolithic Orkney 
Explore Orkney's Neolithic Heartland, a World Heritage Site rich in pre-historic archaeology. Visit the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, Europe's oldest known stone circle. Stop by Barnhouse, a Neolithic village, and the bird hide by Harray Loch. End the day at St Magnus Cathedral, showcasing the Vikings' architectural skill. Discover Fair Isle, a bird watcher’s paradise located between Orkney and Shetland. Spot seabirds and eastern rarities at the European bird observatory and enjoy warm hospitality from the villagers. Explore the island's beauty, famous knitwear, and shipwrecks.
 

Day 5: Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites and offer a taste of traditional island life. We plan to visit some of Shetland’s best-preserved and most complex archaeological sites, brochures – fortified Iron Age towers. 

Day 6: At sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As we sail towards the Norwegian coastline, the bridge or the outer decks offer an excellent and warm vantage point for birdwatching. Our historians and naturalists will delight us with their informative talks.

Day 7: Bronnoysund, Norwegian Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We spend three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands.

You can choose from a selection of shore excursion options that best suit your interests and level of fitness:

Option 1. Hike the Mythical Mountain of Torghatten (2.5 hours)
Grade: Intermediate/Difficult
Embark on a quest to discover mythical trolls and explore Norway's Mt. Torghatten, famous for its hat shape and central hole. Start your hike at the trailhead, enjoying stunning sea and island views. The tunnel through the mountain, seemingly small from a distance, reveals its grand scale up close: 525 feet long, 115 feet high, and up to 65 feet wide, created by sea erosion. Legend says it was carved by an arrow from the Horseman of Hestmannen Island.

Option 2. Norwegian Aquaculture Centre (2.5 hours)
Grade: Easy
Discover fish farming at the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre. See life in the sea with underwater cameras and learn about aqua-farming. A coach will take you to the Centre, where you'll see outdoor mini-aquariums and learn about modern fish farming. Norway leads in eco-friendly aquaculture and exports fish worldwide. Discover Norway's aquaculture history and local history at the indoor exhibition.

Note: It is recommended to wear layered clothing and proper walking/hiking shoes. This hike covers approximately 2.5 km (1.5 mi) and involves loose gravel and rocks, boulders, stone steps, and a consistent incline.

Day 8: Reine & Leknes - Norwegian Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crossing the Arctic Circle, we go to the stunning Lofoten – meaning puma’s foot – Islands. This is a land scoured by ice and legend, the towering crags with their sharp edges, standing in silent protection of the villages below.

As you traverse the scenic vistas of Lofoten, marvel at majestic mountain peaks and expansive fertile lands that once set the stage for Viking sagas. Your expedition begins in Sund, where you will visit a blacksmith at the Fishery Museum, famous for his beautiful cormorants made of steel. The decorative wrought iron cormorants are famous worldwide and can be found in the Pentagon, the Kremlin, and the King of Norway's palace.

Drive through the scenic landscapes of Lofoten to Norway's renowned Haukland Beach, a paradisiacal haven with its pearly white sands and sapphire waters, embraced by lush greenery and towering peaks, evoking the essence of an Arctic paradise. We will have ample time to hike from Uttakleiv, to Haukland Beach—a gentle stretch over hills and along the coastal path to the pristine white sand beach.

Upon reaching the Viking Museum in Borg, immerse yourself in an exhibition showcasing archaeological discoveries and meticulous recreations of Viking dwellings. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of a Viking village, gaining a vivid understanding of the daily lives of these seafaring people a millennium ago. The museum endeavours to authentically recreate the Viking village atmosphere, complete with handicrafts, traditional buildings, and era-specific cuisine. As part of this immersive experience, you'll be treated to a soup crafted from an ancient North Norwegian recipe, prepared over an open fire—a culinary journey back in time amid the fascinating history of the Vikings.

Day 9: Svolvaer, Norwegian Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
You can choose from a selection of shore excursion options that best suit your interests and level of fitness: 

Option 1: Guided hike towards Tjeldbergtind (3 hours)
Hike to the mountain top in Lofoten for a 360-degree panoramic view of the archipelago's peaks, lakes, and surroundings. Wear layered clothing and hiking boots for the 5 km (3.1 mi) hike on uneven terrain with steep inclines. Good physical condition is required. Adverse weather may affect sight visibility.

Option 2: Taste of Lofoten (1.5 hours)
Enjoy a unique gastronomic experience with real flavors in Lofoten, where the inhabitants have been using unique ingredients for centuries. See the fish racks on the way to the tasting venue and taste dried Arctic cod, salmon, Lofoten lamb, cloudberries, locally produced yogurt, and roe/caviar from Arctic cod.
Note that the tour includes tastings of eight delicacies and drinks are not included, but available for purchase.
 

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Our team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology, and epic tales of early explorers. As we cross to Bear Island, keep watch for various species of whale. 

Day 11-14: Bear Island & Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
We approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp, and explore the coastline, entering a different world – that of the polar desert. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make our visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As Hornsund is the southernmost fjord in Svalbard, we keep a lookout for polar bears, and Zodiac-cruise along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seals, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here in Svalbard, we continue our exploration into human history dating back 400 years, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. If the skies are clear we may catch a glimpse of the dramatic Hornsundtind, peaking at 1,430 metres (4,695 feet).

Dramatic folds characterise the geological landscape of Bellsund and here we will enjoy magnificent vistas, steep bird cliffs and lush vegetation, always an open invitation to arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink-footed geese make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and as the fjord branches, there are numerous places to explore.

Polar bears pass through the area on their way to the west coast, and if we are lucky, we may encounter the elusive and alluring white beluga whale.

Day 15: Longyearbyen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
During the early morning, we cruise into the remote village’s port, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s' capital.' After bidding farewell to newfound friends, we are transferred into town, where there is time to explore and shop before transferring to the airport in the afternoon.  

Note: After the voyage, the operator does not recommend booking flights departing before 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case of delays. 

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

Kayak in Antarctica
Greg Mortimer- Comfortable Dining
Greg Mortimer

Dates & Prices

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Deals

Save 20% Off + Air Credit on 2024 Arctic & Beyond
Book now and save 20% 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.

Code: ADVDEAL24
Applies to Jun 6, 2024 departure

Per person starting at
$14,195
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
Greg Mortimer
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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.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony Stateroom
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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.
Greg Mortimer
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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.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony StateroomGreg Mortimer
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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!
Greg Mortimer
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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.
Greg Mortimer
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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
  • 14 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 14 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, in Aberdeen on Day 1
  • Half-day city tour of Aberdeen on Day 2, prior to embarkation.
  • Departure transfer from pier to airport or hotel on Day 15.
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.

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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