Arctic Explorer - Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen & Iceland

Arctic Explorer - Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen & Iceland

12/08/22 to 30/08/22
Dates
12/08/22 to 30/08/22
Ship
Vega Class
Duration
19 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
£ 26,790
Per Cabin
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Trip Details

Get away from it all on our 19-day Arctic Explorer cruise from Norway to Iceland via the remote Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land in the Russian High Arctic where pioneers and scientists stepped ashore. This remarkable journey takes you past Spitsbergen’s towering glaciers calving spectacular icebergs across the Greenland Sea to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Watch polar bears carrying their cubs and fluking whales in the icy waters. Join us on our voyage of discovery as we sail from ice-bound islands to hot springs, spouting geysers and gushing waterfalls.

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Trip Highlights

Get away from it all on our 19-day Arctic Explorer cruise from Norway to Iceland via the remote Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land in the Russian High Arctic where pioneers and scientists stepped ashore. This remarkable journey takes you past Spitsbergen’s towering glaciers calving spectacular icebergs across the Greenland Sea to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Watch polar bears carrying their cubs and fluking whales in the icy waters. Join us on our voyage of discovery as we sail from ice-bound islands to hot springs, spouting geysers and gushing waterfalls.

Learn more about Russian history from our on-board team of experts
Listen out for gigantic glaciers calving magnificent icebergs into the icy fjords of Spitsbergen
Get your binoculars ready at the large seabird colony at Rubini Rock off Hooker Island in Franz Josef Land
Explore the remote island of Jan Mayen in the middle of the Greenland Sea
Witness thousands of Atlantic puffins, bubbling hot springs and gushing waterfalls in Iceland
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Tromso Day 1

Known as the Arctic gateway, Tromso is a remote Norwegian city at 69° north, 250 miles above the Arctic Circle, where you can take in the soft glow of the midnight sun. Make time to attend a midnight concert at Tromso’s distinctive Arctic Cathedral or learn more about early polar explorations at the Polar Museum. Famed for the Northern Lights on winter nights, you can find out more about this natural spectacle at the Science Centre.

At sea Day 2-3

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Alexandra Land Day 4

The Franz Josef Land archipelago is one of the planet’s last great nature reserves where polar bears, whiskered walrus and bowhead whales can be seen. Only accessible by icebreaker, 1,000 km from the North Pole, Alexandra Land is the gateway to the Russian High Arctic. The remote airstrip at Nagurskoye airbase recently gained notoriety when Russian scientists discovered a secret Nazi military base and weather station said to have stored some of Hitler’s looted gold.

Zemlya Georga Day 5-6

Prince George Island is the largest island in Franz-Josef-Land. Much of the island is under an ice cap with tabular mountains and some ice-free lowlands where only mosses and lichens live on the sparse tundra. Cliff-dwelling birds include little auks, Brünnich's and black guillemots, northern fulmars, black-legged kittiwakes and glaucous gulls. Much of the area was mapped on the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition (1894-97) in the mistaken belief that Franz Josef Land extended to the North Pole.

MacKlintok Island Day 7

Dominated by sea ice and almost completely glaciated, the sprawling land is very much the domain of some of the world’s most stunning wildlife. They share the real estate with colonies of ivory gulls, Brünnich’s guillemots and little auks. Although one of earth’s least trodden chunks of rock, Cape DIllon, to the west, reveals traces of the pioneering age from the Fiala Ziegler (1903–05) and the 1874 Tegetthoff expeditions who climbed Cape Brünn to map the island.

Hooker Island Day 8

Rubini Rock is the largest seabird rookery in Franz Josef Land where flocks of screeching seabirds - Brünnich’s guillemots, kittiwakes, black guillemots, little auks and glaucous gulls - create their nests. Formed from towering cliffs of volcanic columnar basalt, the rock sits in Tikhaya Bay, or Tikhaya Bukhta, where visiting ships weigh anchor. On shore lie the ruins of a Soviet-era research and polar expedition base. Polar bears roam free and the island’s cushiony tundra supports lush vegetation and lichens.

Kvitoya Day 9

Almost completely covered by the Kvitøyjøkulen ice cap, Kvitøya (White Island) is the easternmost island in Svalbard. Part of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, the ice-free land is barren and rocky. Huge numbers of female Svalbard walrus calve at Kraemerpynten in the east, one of the archipelago’s greatest haul-out sites. It was also here in 1897 that a balloon expedition to the North Pole, led by Salomon August Andree, ended and all three passengers perished at Andréeneset.

Nordaustlandet Day 10

One of the three largest islands in Svalbard, separated from Spitsbergen by the icy Hinlopen Strait, Nordaustlandet is mostly covered in ice caps including Austfonna. Part of the Nordaust- Svalbard Nature Reserve, the coasts are made up of rocky beaches and cliffs filled with seabirds. In the north, you may spot polar bears in their denning area and snorting Atlantic walruses hauling out, while Svalbard reindeer roam the cushiony tundra of this polar desert.

Alkefjellet Day 11

The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet - meaning guillemot mountain - on the northeast coast of Spitsbergen overlooking the icy Hinlopen Strait, teem with 60,000 breeding pairs of Brünnich’s guillemots. Our Zodiacs will get up close to this incredible sight where arctic foxes and glaucous gulls hunt for chicks as they hatch. The rocks are an excellent example of doleritic intrusion dating back to the Jurassic or lower cretaceous age, made more spectacular by cascading meltwater waterfalls.

Barents Island Day 12

Uninhabited Barentsøya, or Barents Island, lies between Spitsbergen and Edge Island to the south. Part of the Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, barren glacial areas dominate the eastern side of the island, while the west has large flats covered in tundra vegetation where arctic fox skulk around and the once-declining Svalbard reindeer are thriving. Polar bears congregate at denning areas to the south at Freemansundet sound near Kapp Waldburg where a kittiwake colony nests on steep cliffs.

Hornsund Day 13

Considered by some as the most beautiful fjord in Spitsbergen, Hornsund is surrounded by spectacular landscape, mountains, glaciers and drift ice (bergs and growlers) due to a unique polar current that also attracts migrating polar bears. The climate creates a high-polar ecosystem drawing scientists to study the concentrated mix of subarctic and high arctic fauna in one small space. Part of the South Spitsbergen National Park, most of Svalbard’s little auks breed here and you can often see Svalbard reindeer.

At sea Day 14

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Jan Mayen Island Day 15

The snow-covered stratovolcano Beerenberg dominates the ice cap and glaciers at the northeast end of Jan Mayen Island. Halfway between Svalbard and Iceland, the only residents on this Norwegian island are members of the Norwegian Armed Forces or working at the meteorological station. During a nature walk to the station, and along the black sandy beach, you can see numerous plant species. Nesting northern fulmars, Brünnich’s and black guillemots and little auks make the island an important birding area.

At sea Day 16

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Akureyri Day 17

In northern Iceland on Eyjafjördur, Akureyri is known for its colourful old town, heart-shaped traffic lights and woodlands. Nearby tours of Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland, include lava formations, hot springs, caves and rifts, boiling mud pools, volcanic craters, the roaring Godafoss waterfall and Game of Thrones locations. Puffins nest on the inhabited island of Grimsey that crosses the Arctic Circle, while Hrísey island is said to have powerful healing energies.

Isafjordur / Viga Island Day 18

Surrounded by fjords in the Westfjords region, Isafjordur is a bustling fishing town in northwest Iceland with colourful wooden 18th- and 19th-century houses. Nearby is Sudavik, home to the Arctic Fox Centre. Iceland’s only mammal, the arctic fox lives on the lush tundra of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve - the northernmost peninsula in the Westfjords. Offshore, Vigur Island is a bird sanctuary popular for puffins but also arctic terns and eiders. You will also find Iceland's smallest post office.

Reykjavik Day 19

In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by Iceland's geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.

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Rates Include
One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
Transfer from the port to the airport on return
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
Use of rubber boots for shore landings
Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
*Itineraries & prices are subject to change*
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Itinerary Map
Cabins
Number of Guests
Oceanview
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview cabins features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
£ 26,790
Balcony
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room, a luxurious ensuite bathroom and your own private 6 sq.m. balcony.
Price From
£ 31,590
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
£ 46,890
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
£ 56,390
Other Available Dates
If you really like this cruise but the date is not suitable for you, we are glad to offer other dates for the itinerary.
Please find below all our date offerings.
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