PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. The on-board expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Itineraries may mention places that require permission to land, which must be granted by the relevant national authorities. Such permission is not granted prior to the publishing of these itineraries. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Ortelius is 10,5 knots.The Spitsbergen and Northeast Greenland cruise sails waters filled with breath-taking scenery. The expedition passes through areas that are home to seals, seabirds, whales, and polar bears, topped off with nighttime viewing of the Northern Lights.
Day 1: Largest town, biggest island
You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it. In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.
Day 2: Route to Raudfjorden
Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.
Day 3 – 4: Onward to east Greenland
You may eventually see the jagged edge of the east Greenland sea ice flashing into sight ahead, depending on the conditions. Keep watch for whales and migrating seabirds here.
Day 5: Tundra, mountains, and icebergs
As you approach Greenland, you may sail through the sea ice into Foster Bay and land at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (where Norwegian trappers hunted for polar bear and Arctic fox in the first half of the 20th century), there is a sprawling tundra populated by musk oxen, with geese floating the small lakes. From here you sail through Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, surrounded by towering mountains and bright interior icebergs. An alternate route is Sofia Sound, a narrower waterway.
Day 6: The islands of Antarctic Sound
You arrive at Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt and the intended landing site. In the afternoon you head into Antarctic Sound, where you find the islands of Ruth, Maria, and Ella. Maria is the most likely spot for a landing.
Day 7: Alpefjord’s lofty peaks
In the morning you enter Segelsällskapets Fjord, with the streaked slopes of the Berzelius Mountains bordering the north side. You land on the south shore, where ancient sedimentary formations lie right at your feet. A hike takes you near a small lake with good chances to see musk oxen, Arctic hares, and ptarmigans. In the afternoon the ship ventures into Alpefjord, aptly named for the spire-like peaks that thrust up around it. You may then embark on a Zodiac cruise around Gully Glacier, which once blocked access to the interior of these waters. Continuing deep into the fjord, you experience a definitive Greenland adventure.
Day 8: Sights of the Arctic autumn
The first half of the day you spend in Antarctic Havn, an extensive valley where you can spot groups of musk oxen. At this time of year, the sparse vegetation is dressed in the fiery colors of autumn.
Day 9: Inuit neighborhood of yesteryear
Today you reach Scoresbysund, sailing along the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. You may also enjoy a Zodiac cruise past one of the glacier fronts, along with a visit to the basalt columns and ice formations of Vikingebugt. The afternoon goal is to visit Danmark Island, where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular stone tent rings indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, with easy identifiable entrances, bear-proof meat caches, and grave sites. In the evening, you continue sailing the berg-crowded fjords to the west.
Day 10: Colors of the cape
The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, one of the world’s most cherished iceberg attractions: The austere blue-white of the icebergs sets sharp against the brooding red backdrop of the sediment slopes. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord, with the chance to see musk oxen and warm autumnal foliage.
Day 11: Enormous bergs, Arctic hares
In the morning you encounter colossal icebergs, some over 100 meters (328 feet) high and more than a kilometer (.62 mile) long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 400 meters deep (1,312 feet). You then land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.
Day 12: Settlement at Scoresbysund
Today you make a tundra landing on Liverpool Land, in Hurry Inlet. The afternoon stop is Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement in Scoresbysund at about five hundred inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and musk oxen. In the afternoon you sail south, passing the picturesque landscapes of the Blosseville Coast.
Day 13: Sea life under the northern lights
A sea day grants you the opportunity to spot whales and seabirds – and at night, the magical northern lights.
Day 14: Journey’s end at Akureyri
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Akureyri, where on request you can transfer (T) by chartered bus (a six-hour drive that you must book in advance) to the Reykjavik city hall, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Highlights you might experience
Fortified for both poles of the planet, the ice-strengthened Ortelius is thoroughly outfitted to provide you an up-close experience of the Arctic and Antarctic. Full ship info >>