Remote means remarkable on this Arctic adventure during the region’s spring awakening. Weave through towering fjords and secluded cliffs blanketed in Atlantic puffins. Visit polar islands accessible only by ship, including the world’s most northern volcano, breeding site of hundreds of thousands of northern birds. Large masses of pack ice still intact provide ample opportunity to spot roaming polar bears and possibly a bear cub, or two. Defined by endless moments of bird and bear sightings, this trip delivers a polar experience teeming with wildlife.
Cindy Miller Hopkins
Cindy Miller Hopkins is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer with thousands of publications to her credit. Her images can be seen on the pages of text books, travel brochures, calendars, and other consumer products, as well as U.S. and international magazines and newspapers.
As a special guest of Quark’s, on the Fair Isle, Faroes, and Spitsbergen: Birds and Bears expedition, Cindy will be available to help you with your camera, as well as your photography, both on and off the ship. In addition to hands on help from Cindy, guests can expect photography workshops. Some of Cindy’s lectures are for those newer to photography - Point & Shoot Basics and Beyond, Composition, People or NO People? That is the question!, and Vacation Photos Worth Framing; and for those guests looking for something a bit more advanced - Digital Image Management, Metadata, The Missing Link, and Marketing.
Regardless of your skill level, Cindy, and Quark’s onboard team of expert photographers, will be able to assist photography enthusiasts, whether just starting out, or trying to go pro.
Spitsbergen Destination Guide
Our Spitsbergen destination guide is your best resource for learning everything there is to know about the Realm of the Polar Bear. Visitors can experience some the Arctic’s best outdoor adventure, learn about a rich culture and history, explore Longyearbyen, the world’s northern-most town, and witness the midnight sun in all its glory.
The guide features details about what you can experience on our expeditions, useful travel tips and even a packing checklist.
Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief
- Encounter iconic Arctic wildlife, such as whales, reindeer, seals, seabirds and the iconic polar bear
- Explore the volcanic and glacier-covered Jan Mayen island, in the heart of the North Atlantic Ocean
- Visit abandoned whaling stations, a bird observatory and other significant sites, and learn about the storied history of the region
- Cruise in a Zodiac to get up close to wildlife and diverse landscapes
Day 1 — Embark in Aberdeen, United Kingdom
A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theatres, shops, cafés and restaurants to explore. Be sure to be out on deck, camera in hand, as your ship sets sail this afternoon. The area’s coastal waters offer excellent possibilities for spotting bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and minke whales.
Day 2 — Fair Isle
The U.K.’s most remote inhabited island, the extraordinary Fair Isle is located halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Boasting a rugged beauty, Fair Isle’s landscape is diverse, with fields and moors dominated by seaside cliffs and an astounding amount of sea stacks, natural arches and caves.
Day 3 — Torshavn, Faroe Islands
Known for its beautiful, unspoiled landscape, with verdant pastures giving way to rugged, steep cliffs, the Faroe Islands have a storied past, though the details of the archipelago’s early history are a bit hazy. The first settlers may have been seventh-century Irish monks seeking solitude on these islands far removed from any continent. Their isolation ended in 800 AD, with the arrival of Norse farmers, and Norwegian colonization continued throughout the Viking Age. Today, many of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, now a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, are descendants of Norwegian Vikings.
Day 4 — At Sea
Say goodbye to the Faroes as we cruise toward the world’s most northerly volcanic island, Jan Mayen. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside your ship, attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea. With your binoculars and camera at the ready, keep your eyes peeled for the blow of a humpback, blue or fin whale. Encounters with minke whales or orcas are also possible, since their curiosity often brings them near the ship. If you’re lucky, you may even see harp seals.
Days 5 and 6 — Jan Mayen
North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, lies the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants.
Day 7 — At Sea
As our ship sails farther north, spend some time with your shipmates in the lounge, swapping stories and photos, or pause for a moment on the bridge, joining in as your Expedition Team looks out for whales, dolphins, seals and a variety of seabirds.
Days 8 to 10 — Spitsbergen, Svalbard
Rugged, wild, unspoiled and situated entirely within the Arctic Circle, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is utterly unforgettable. From immense glaciers to polar deserts, the landscape here is as varied as the wildlife.
Day 11 — Disembark Longyearbyen
The time has come to say farewell to your newfound friends and Expedition Team. After disembarking, spend the day exploring the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen or catch your homeward flights.