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Iceland

Spitsbergen, East Greenland & Iceland

From €6,800pp
Depart From
Reykjavik, Iceland
Departure Date
August 2019
Duration
13 Days
Destination
Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Svalbard & Jan Mayen
Price
From €6,800pp
Enquire Now

Dramatic coastlines, glimmering fjords, wild creatures that take your breath away – the three Arctic islands of this 13-day trip are filled with sights that invigorate all the senses.

The Arctic is a place of extremes, where stories of Viking conquests and ancient myths from northern cultures add a layer of enchantment and mystery to the stark, ice-covered land.

Traverse from the glaciers of Spitsbergen to the rocky eastern coast of Greenland and the sheer wintery beauty of Iceland. Hike through wildflower-strewn landscapes, cruise crystal clear waters by zodiac or take a kayak out on an expedition to remote coves.

There are plenty of chances along the way to spot bearded seals, walruses, whales and, of course, magnificent polar bears. Once you breathe in Arctic air and glimpse the pristine land at the top of the world, nothing feels quite the same.

Why you'll love this trip:

  • Seek out unforgettable Polar Bears sightings while roaming the hunting grounds of this ruler of the Arctic
  • Discover the history of Greenland with explorations of the ruins of ancient Thule settlements and learn about the Inuit life in Ittoqqortoormiit
  • Experience how this incredible environment is ever-changing while cruising through freshly birthed icebergs in Scoresbysund
  • Kayaking on crisp, clear Arctic waters is a unique and intimate way of exploring this amazing region. Book early as these activities can sell out fast

Is this trip right for you?

  • As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are very cold. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
  • Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.
  • This trip takes places during the time of year that Spitsbergen enjoys 24-hour daylight. Just one of the benefits of this is that incredible wildlife can be seen at any time of the day – be prepared to be woken at any time so as to not miss out on exciting animal sightings.
  • Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you.

Day 1: Longyearbyen

Your voyage will embark in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. An arrival transfer is included if you arrive today. Please ensure you arrive prior to 3.00pm as embarkation will take place at 4.00pm.

Accommodation: Cruise ship (1 night)

Meals Included: Dinner

Days 2- 5: Exploring Spitsbergen

Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest of the Norwegian-ruled Svalbard islands, rewards you with abundant wildlife and austere beauty.

Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and steep-walled fjords with walrus, polar bears and Spitsbergen reindeer among your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see arctic terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes and ivory gulls. When conditions are right, you could sail within 10 degrees of the North Pole!

Accommodation: Cruise ship (4 nights)

Meals Included: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners

Possible landing sites in Svalbard:

  • Lilliehöök Glacier

In 1906, His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco visited Lilliehöök Glacier to conduct scientific investigations. His great-great-grandson, HSH Albert II, visited the glacier a hundred years later as part of a scientific investigation, this time to further our understanding of the arctic clam, a species that lives for more than a century. The growth rings of a single clam’s shell contain evidence of the chemicals encountered by the clam. Scientists can determine the variations of the water’s temperature and pollutant content by studying the shell

 

  • Longyearbyen

Eighteen hundred people inhabit the administrative capital of Svalbard, which is situated on the shore of Isfjorden. The settlement was founded in 1905 by John Munroe Longyear, the majority owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston.

 

  • Monaco Glacier

HSH Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer of oceanography, led an expedition to Svalbard in 1906. His team used sophisticated photographic techniques to understand the shape and position of several glacier fronts. Monaco Glacier honors the expedition, the prince and the principality over which he reigned.

 

  • Hornsund

The most southerly fjord in Svalbard offers some of the most spectacular scenery, with dramatic calving glaciers, drifting pack ice and majestic peaks (the highest of which are often shrouded in mist). A Polish research station has operated on the northern shore of Hornsund since 1957.

Part of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, this pristine area is rich in wildlife—reindeer, arctic fox and polar bears can often be spotted hunting for food, while ringed seals bask on the fast ice.

The following Optional Activities are available to participate in and must be booked in advance (additional costs apply) as space is limited:

 

  • 14th Of July Glacier

Named after France’s Bastille Day (the 14th of July), in honor of the arctic expeditions of His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco, this massive glacier is actually two smaller glaciers merged into one.

Situated in Krossfjord, a bay on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, the glacier is teeming with wildlife. Nesting atop the towering bird cliffs are purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese, arctic tern and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Bearded and ringed seals also frequent the waters here.

  • Kayaking

Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions.

Kayaking is open to all levels of experience, however kayaking in the polar waters is not suitable for novice kayakers. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory course prior to the voyage which includes how to do a wet exit. In addition regardless of your experience, we recommend you take part in some kayaking practise prior to the voyage to ensure that you are comfortable on the water in the icy conditions.

Included Optional Activities: 

  • Hiking

Hiking is a great way to appreciate the immense windswept landscapes of the Arctic. The tundra comes alive during the brief arctic summer, with bursts of color from shrubs and plants that eke out a living in this polar environment.

You’ll find each hike is different - exploring communities, shorelines or glaciated landscapes, often on the lookout for wildlife. Hiking participation is optional and your Expedition Team will advise you of what levels of activity you can expect prior to each excursion.

Days 6- 7: Greenland Sea

While sailing the historic Greenland Sea, you’ll learn about the wildlife and history of Greenland, your next stop. On deck you’ll learn to identify seabirds on the wing. Share photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie; there are many things to do during your time at sea.

Accommodation: Cruise ship (2 nights)

Meals Included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Days 8- 11: Eastern Greenland

During your tour of Greenland’s remote eastern coast, you’ll enjoy Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. Visit the remains of ancient Thule settlements, and keep an eye out for grazing muskoxen; 40% of the world’s population lives here.

Finally, you will sail through spectacular Scoresby Sund, the birthplace of many icebergs and, some say, the most beautiful fjord system in the world.

Accommodation: Cruise ship (4 nights)

Meals Included: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners 
 

Possible Landing Sites and Wildlife Sightings- Eastern Greenland:

  • Rødefjord

The Red Fjord, or Rødefjord, is named for the colorful sandstone located on its western side. The stone has been “stained” red by hematite, creating an oddity in this part of Greenland.

  • Scoresby Sund

Revered by many as the most beautiful fjord system in the world, Scoresby Sund is definitely the longest and largest. The sound was named after William Scoresby Jr., a whaler, scientist and man of the cloth, who was famed for mapping more than 400 miles of Greenland’s coastline.

  • C. Hoffmann Halvø

This is often the best location for getting close to muskoxen. The peninsula is also home to wheatears and snow buntings, and you may spot rock ptarmigans or great northern divers while at sea.

  • Denmark Island


Encounter some of the most stunning icebergs before hiking across Denmark Island, which offers stupendous views of Scoresby Sund and Fønfjord below.

Day 12: Denmark Straight

At sea, the Denmark Strait is your pathway east, towards Iceland. Your onboard Expedition Team will keep you informed and entertained with presentations about the history of exploration in the Arctic and the seabirds that you’ll inevitably see soaring above your ship.

Accommodation: Cruise ship (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch dinner 

Day 13: Disembarkation Day in Akureyri

You’ll disembark in Akureyri, and transfer to your waiting charter flight to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Special Information:

Your ship is scheduled to arrive back at the pier in Akureyri at between 7 amd 8am. After breakfast, you will disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Reykjavik domestic airport.

From there, you will be transferred to a central downtown location, from where you can make your way to the International Airport or to your Reykjavik accommodation if you are staying on in the city. Please ask our agents about booking an extension stay.


IMPORTANT: Onward flights should not be booked until after 2.00pm but an overnight in Reykjavik is recommended in case of any weather related flight delays.

On board the Ocean Adventurer:

This sturdy expedition ship was built in 1975 and underwent an $8 million refurbishment in 2017 which included new engines and refurbished cabins and public spaces. All her cabins are ensuite with exterior views. The Ocean Adventurer is the perfect ship for people who enjoy soft adventure with creature comforts.

Ship Specs:

  • Staff and Crew: 84
  • Guests: 132
  • Length: 101.1 metres
  • Breadth: 16.2 metres
  • Draft: 4.5 metres
  • Propulsion: Diesel Twin Engines, 5200 horsepower
  • Ice Class: 1A
  • Cruising speed 12 knots in open water
  • Lifeboats: 4 partially enclosed

Ship Amenities:

  • Bar staffed by a professional bar tender (drinks added to ship board account)
  • 24 hour tea and coffee available
  • Theatre style auditorium for presentations
  • Polar library
  • Clinic with licensed Doctor
  • Wifi in certain public areas (data usage charges apply)
  • Optional webmail account for email (charges apply)
  • Ship to Shore telephone communications (charges apply)
  • Polar boutique selling essentials, souvenirs and clothing
  • On board laundry service (charges apply)
  • Gym with a selection of fitness equipment
  • Please note: the Ocean Adventurer does not have an elevator

Cabin Amenities:

  • All cabins have ensuite facilities
  • All cabins have external views
  • Cabins serviced daily
  • Hairdryer
  • Bathrobes
  • Shower gel and shampoo provided
  • In room safe
  • Climate control
  • Electrical current 220 volts.  Plugs are standard European two round pin plugs

Other Inclusions on the Ocean Adventurer:

  • Expedition Parka to keep
  • Expedition boots on loan
  • Downloadable Photographic journal documenting your voyage
  • Presentations by the Expedition team and onboard experts
  • All meals and snacks on board
  • All shore landings and zodiac cruising according to the daily programme
  • All luggage handling on board the ship
  • All port charges and taxes
  • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum of US$100,000 per person

Price is per person sharing and includes:

  • Shore landings, excursions and activities as outlined in itinerary
  • Meals: 
    • 12 breakfasts
    • 11 lunches
    • 12 dinners
  • Transport:
    • Ship (The Ocean Adventurer)
    • Zodiac (small craft)
  • Accommodation:
    • Cruise ship (12 nights)
  • Expedition Parka to keep
  • Expedition boots on loan
  • Downloadable Photographic journal documenting your voyage
  • Presentations by the Expedition team and onboard experts
  • All luggage handling on board the ship
  • All port charges and taxes

Please ask us about adding great value:

  • Flights from Dublin to Rekjavik
  • Travel insurance
Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information please call us on 021 427 7094 or 01 696 5135, email info@shandontravel.ie, request a call back using the red button or submit an enquiry through the form below.

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