Discover the wonders of Svalbard, a realm bathed in almost constant daylight, where the thrill of encountering polar bears, witnessing walruses on sea ice, and hearing the cries of guillemots from towering cliffs heighten your excitement. In East Greenland, journey into the vast expanse of the world's largest fjord, Scoresbysund. Explore Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the planet's most isolated Inuit settlements, cruise amidst radiant icebergs shaped into fantastical forms, and stroll across tundra adorned with vibrant flowers, savoring the taste of delicious wild berries.
Upon reaching Longyearbyen, an Aurora Expeditions representative will meet you and transfer you to the group hotel. Upon arrival, visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk to collect luggage tags and consult with the ground operations team for pre-embarkation details or information on dining, cash withdrawal, or last-minute shopping. The rest of the day is free, and meals are self-funded.
Stay at Funken Lodge (or a similar accommodation).
This morning, your hotel will collect your luggage for sanitization and direct transfer to the port, ensuring it reaches your cabin before you board. Make sure your cabin luggage has clear tags with your name and cabin number, and keep valuables with you throughout the day. After breakfast, join a guided city tour of Longyearbyen with fellow expeditioners.
On the way to Camp Barentz in Advent Valley, your guide will provide insight into Longyearbyen's history. At Camp Barentz, a traditional 'lavvo' hosts a presentation, and you can meet huskies and purchase souvenirs. Return to town for a visit to the Svalbard Museum before boarding the vessel in the late afternoon.
Following the tour, transfer directly to the pier for embarkation. Settle into your cabin, attend safety briefings, and experience the excitement of departure. In the evening, join the Welcome Dinner to acquaint yourself with fellow expeditioners, the Expedition Team, and the crew, celebrating the beginning of an exhilarating adventure.
Svalbard presents the epitome of Arctic wilderness. The seasoned Expedition Team, with their extensive experience in the region, will craft the itinerary, considering prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions, and wildlife opportunities. Explore phenomenal fjords, majestic mountain ranges, and a fossil-rich polar desert, setting the backdrop for tales of early exploration. Witness walruses on sea ice or beaches, stroll through tundra adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and visit cliffs resonating with nesting guillemots and puffins. The highlight is encountering the majestic polar bear on pack ice, a constant focus for the vigilant Expedition Team.
If you've opted for activities like kayaking, they'll be arranged when conditions permit. For those daring a polar plunge, you'll be notified when suitable conditions arise – an exhilarating experience to cherish for years.
While sailing towards East Greenland's coast, we might witness whales feeding in the nutrient-rich northern waters. Approaching East Greenland, anticipate encountering pack ice and the possibility of seeing seals and various seabirds, such as the northern fulmar and Brünnich’s guillemot.
The powerful icy currents that have isolated East Greenland from the Polar Basin attract abundant fish, seals, and whales. Weather conditions, along with concentrated ice, often lead to dense morning fog that dissipates only in the presence of the midday sun. Our experts will engage and enlighten us with captivating discussions on plants, animals, ice, and the heroic tales of exploration.
In the upcoming days, our options abound, and contingent on ice and weather conditions, we aim to explore the east coast of Greenland. The seasoned Expedition Team, with extensive experience in the region, will customize the itinerary daily to optimize the use of prevailing weather, ice conditions, and wildlife encounters. Typically, we strive for up to two landings or Zodiac excursions daily, including cruising alongside striking ice cliffs and observing whales feeding near the surface.
Prepare for a remarkable encounter with ice in East Greenland, featuring awe-inspiring scenery with deep fjords, narrow channels, towering ice-clad peaks reaching up to 2,000 meters (6,562 feet), and glaciers producing enormous drifting icebergs. The tundra landscape hosts musk oxen, arctic hare, and reindeer, along with ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers' huts, and cabins of present-day Inuit hunters. Notable is the visit to Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, offering an excellent museum, gift shop, Greenlandic sled dogs, and the chance to meet friendly locals.
Explore Scoresbysund, the world's largest fjord, and a preferred hunting ground of the local Inuit, showcasing massive glaciers and the birthplace of majestic Greenland icebergs. Beyond Scoresbysund lie Kong Oskar and Kaiser Franz Josef fjords, significant fjord systems rich in wildlife due to fertile volcanic soil and mountain protection. Spot musk oxen, arctic foxes, mountain hares, reindeer, and various bird species.
We'll attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited system within the Northeast Greenland National Park, followed by cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord to marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. Heading south along the coast of Liverpool Land, our route depends on ice conditions. Hikes across the tundra unveil ancient graveyards and summer villages from 3,000 years ago, offering glimpses of musk oxen, arctic hares, and grazing reindeer. The intricate waterways provide exceptional opportunities for exploration.
As we sail across the Denmark Strait towards Iceland, keep an eye out for whale spouts and capture images of the numerous seabirds accompanying the ship in the constant Arctic winds.
In the early morning, we arrive in Reykjavik and disembark around 8:00 am. Bid farewell to the Expedition Team and fellow passengers as everyone proceeds with their onward journeys. Transfer to your downtown hotel or to Keflavik airport.
Note: It is not advisable to book flights departing before 12:00 pm on the disembarkation day, considering potential delays at the end of the voyage.