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. The average cruising speed for m/v Plancius is 10.5 knots.The North Atlantic Odyssey cruise searches the waters of the North East Atlantic for a variety of marine life. The expedition crosses paths with dolphins as well as large baleen whales on the way to mysterious Jan Mayen with its massive volcano. The pack ice towards Svalbard may reveal surprises.
Day 1: Northward bound
You board the vessel at midday in Vlissingen, headed north. Far north.
Day 2: Sea life on the move
Crossing the North Sea, you stand an excellent chance of spotting minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including orcas (killer whales), are also native to these seas.
Day 3: Sights of the Granite City
You arrive in Aberdeen, the Granite City, frequent winner of the Britain in Bloom competition. This is the true start of your trip. Several cetaceans, including orcas (killer whales), are native to these seas. To the south you see the lighthouse on Girdle Ness that was designed by the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed Scottish writer who gave us such classics as Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. More passengers join you in Aberdeen.
Day 4: Birds, seals, and world-famous knits
At Fair Isle, in the Shetlands, the roughly seventy inhabitants (renowned for their knitwear) welcome you for a walk to the local bird observatory. This location is a haven for sea birds, though you may also spot grey seals.
Day 5 – 6: Jan Mayen marine life
You sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, 300 nautical miles northeast of Iceland. Your two days at sea do not pass idly, however. Keep a close lookout for any spouts of water from the surrounding seas, heralding the arrival of a minke, fin, orca, or blue whale.
Day 7: Snow-capped seaside volcano
Jan Mayen is a stark volcanic island crowned by the snow-capped summit of Mt. Beerenberg. From the slopes of this imposing 2,300-meter-high (7,545 feet) volcano, broken glaciers grasp out into the frigid sea. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, you can now visit the weather station. You can also walk to the remains of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station amid the thick moss beds of this stark volcanic landscape.
Day 8 – 10: Under the midnight sun
Basking in the midnight sun, you sail north along the edge of the sea ice in search of bowhead whales, harp seals, polar bears, and a variety of seabirds. You then change direction after about 79° north, cutting west to the rocky edges of the continental shelf of west Spitsbergen. Here you have a good chance of seeing fin whales and – near the glacial mouths of the gaping Spitsbergen fjords – surfacing minke whales.
Day 11: The Arctic island of Spitsbergen
Forlandsundet, between the main island of Spitsbergen and the narrow Prins Karls Forland, is a place of great beauty and fascinating wildlife. Walruses sometimes haul out here. Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or head south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation.
Day 12: Journey’s end in Longyearbyen
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Highlights you might experience
The ice-strengthened vessel Plancius is an ideal vessel for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic. Full ship info >>