Special Offers

  • 10% Early Sign-up Discount for reservations booked and paid in full by Aug 31, 2019
  • Free Economy Class roundtrip airfare or reduced fares in Business Class if booked by September 30, 2019

Svalbard Region and Scoresby Sund aboard the Silver Explorer

Overview

This inspiring journey brings you to some of the world’s most spectacular and remote destinations—the Svalbard Archipelago and East Greenland. You’ll venture from Tromsø, Norway, to the wonderland of Svalbard and Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago. A stunning landscape of snow-capped peaks, icy fjords and glaciers, and colorful tundra harbor a rich parade of wildlife, from walrus and musk oxen to the mighty polar bear, plus a host of birds—don’t forget to pack your binoculars! In East Greenland, discover Scoresby Sund, a huge and utterly breathtaking fjord system where whales, narwhals, walrus, and seals frolic, and meet the local inhabitants of Ittoqqortoormiit, the only permanent settlement in the region. All along the way your Expedition Leaders will share their phenomenal knowledge of this incredible region of the Arctic.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1, Sep 17, 2020
Tromso, Norway

Tromsø surprised visitors in the 1800s: they thought it very sophisticated and cultured for being so close to the North Pole—hence its nickname, the Paris of the North. It looks the way a polar town should—with ice-capped mountain ridges and jagged architecture that is an echo of the peaks. The midnight sun shines from May 21 to July 21, and it is said that the northern lights decorate the night skies over Tromsø more than over any other city in Norway. Tromsø is home to only 69,000 people, but it's very spread out—the city's total area, 2,558 square km (987 square miles), is the most expansive in Norway. The downtown area is on a small, hilly island connected to the mainland by a slender bridge. The 13,000 students at the world's northernmost university are one reason the nightlife here is uncommonly busy.

Day 2, Sep 18, 2020
Day at Sea

Today you head north from Tromsø towards Bear Island. Grab a seat in the Observatory Lounge or in the top deck whirlpool and look out onto the incredible seascape, or treat yourself to a day at the spa and fitness center before your busy days exploring shore sides begin.

Day 3, Sep 19, 2020
Bear Island, Norway

Almost half way between Tromsø and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna. Because of the large numbers of birds and the isolated location, Bear Island has been recognized as an Important Bird Area. It was once a hotspot for whaling and walrus hunting, and at one stage even mining. Bear Island received its name because of a polar bear encountered by early explorer Willem Barentsz. Today polar bears rarely visit the island and its only settlement is a meteorological station manned all-year round on the north side.

Day 4, Sep 20, 2020
Svalbard Southern Region, Norway

Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Northern places like Magdalenefjorden and Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.

Days 5-7, Sep 21-23, 2020
Svalbard Southern Region, Norway

There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the Northern Hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.

Days 8-9, Sep 24-25, 2020
Days at Sea

Over the next two days you make your way to Greenland. Take advantage of the Silver Explorer and all of her amenities. Enjoy delicious meals in the two restaurants, head to the observation decks to watch for whales and birds, and learn more about the area in the Polar Library.

Days 10-12, Sep 26-28, 2020
Scoresby Sund, Greenland

Scoresby Sund is the ultimate fjord system; likely the longest, largest and deepest of any in the world. The massive fjord is tucked into the eastern coast of Greenland and on the icy western edges of the Greenland Sea. Scoresby Sund’s scale deserves several days to explore, especially while plying the waters between castle-sized icebergs as they gently drift under the persuasion of the Arctic waters in the mighty fjord. Scattered in the remote bays and smaller fjords are places to discover old Inuit settlements, slowly growing over with Arctic willow and dwarf birch. The lower slopes of many mountains are draped in the herbs and grasses favoured by muskox, Arctic fox, lemmings, Ptarmigan, Barnacle Geese, and Snowy Owls. Tundra walks give impressive views of landscape, flora and fauna. Not to be neglected, the waters of Scoresbysund warrant a vigilant eye for sightings of whales, seals, narwhals, beluga whales and walrus.

Days 13-14, Sep 29-30, 2020
Ittoqqortoormiit / Day at Sea

On the northern side of the entrance to the Scoresby Sund fjord system stands Ittoqqortoormiit, the only permanent settlement in the region. The population here is approximately 430 people, largely dependent on a subsistence lifestyle. The inhabitants make their living hunting seals, narwhals, muskoxen and polar bears. Ittoqqortoormiit is the northernmost settlement on Greenland’s east coast, apart from a few meteorological and military stations. Brightly colored, quaint little houses and dogsled enclosures dot the rocky slopes of the settlement. It must be incredible to live here every day enjoying the magnificent views of Kap Brewster and the Volquart Boon Coast to the south. The following day is at sea.

Day 15, Oct 1, 2020
Reykjavík, Iceland

Arrive in the morning in Reykjavík. The nation's nerve center and government seat, Reykjavík is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. In AD 874, Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson saw Iceland rising out of the misty sea and came ashore at a bay eerily shrouded with plumes of steam from nearby hot springs. Today most of the houses in Reykjavík are heated by near-boiling water from the hot springs. Natural heating avoids air pollution; there's no smoke around. You may notice, however, that the hot water brings a slight sulfur smell to the bathroom.Prices are easily on a par with other major European cities. A practical option is to purchase a Reykjavík City Card at the Tourist Information Center or at the Reykjavík Youth Hostel. This card permits unlimited bus usage and admission to any of the city's seven pools, the Family Park and Zoo, and city museums. The cards are valid for one (ISK 3,300), two (ISK 4,400), or three days (ISK 4,900), and they pay for themselves after three or four uses a day. Even lacking the City Card, paying admission (ISK 500, or ISK 250 for seniors and people with disabilities) to one of the city art museums (Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, or Ásmundarsafn) gets you free same-day admission to the other two.

Highlights

Highlights

View some of the largest bird colonies in the Northern Hemisphere off the shores of Norway's Bear Island
Search the craggy coastlines of Svalbard for walruses, seals, and polar bears
Cruise by Zodiac along the largest and longest fjord in the world while exploring rich wildlife
Meet the inhabitants of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the few settlements in East Greenland

Details

Length: 15 days
Cost From: $14,900  
Arrive: Tromso, Norway
Depart: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lodging: 14 nights aboard a 132-passenger vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, Whale Watching, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Cruise collection 2020 brochure

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