- Helsinki, Finland
Starting Price£11,663 GBP
Perfect for first-time visitors to the Arctic, this voyage highlights four spectacular destinations near the top of the world and provides an unforgettable taste of the region, featuring giant icebergs, towering mountains, granite cliffs, iconic wildlife, traditional Inuit culture and more.
Your adventure begins in the remote Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, renowned for its stunning scenery and abundant, varied wildlife such as polar bears and walrus. From there, sail south to the mysterious, volcanic Jan Mayen, a nature reserve so remote that few have ever been fortunate enough to explore this Arctic treasure. The next stop is Greenland’s beguiling east coast, where you will cruise deep into Scoresbysund to marvel at the overwhelming beauty of the world’s largest fjord system, gaze in awe at unimaginably vast icebergs, and admire the diversity of the flora and fauna that have fascinated explorers and visitors for centuries—and seize the opportunity to explore the remains of ancient Thule settlements. Your epic adventure culminates with a journey under the midnight sun to Reykjavik, where you can soak up Icelandic culture in a city that never sleeps.
Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, as part of the transfer package. As you embark this afternoon, you’ll hope to enjoy great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this seaside town.
Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, rewards you with austere beauty and opportunities to spot its abundant wildlife. Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and tundra in full bloom, with walrus, polar bears and Svalbard reindeer amongst your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see Arctic terns, skuas, Brünnich’s guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes and ivory gulls. If conditions permit, you could sail within 10 degrees of the North Pole!
While sailing south through the historic Greenland Sea toward Jan Mayen, your Expedition Team will keep you informed with presentations about the history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds “on the wing.” The team will also keep a lookout for the whales that frequent the waters here.
North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, the mysterious Jan Mayen rises from the depths of the North Atlantic. 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.
Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as we approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 meters) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea.
If we’re fortunate, we may get a close- up view of the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise along the coast of the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Your tour of Scoresby Sund—the largest, deepest and, some say, most beautiful multi-armed fjord system in the world— will offer plenty of opportunities to explore ashore or by Zodiac cruise.
At one moment you’ll be stepping back in time, exploring the remains of ancient Thule settlements with views of icebergs and towering mountains rising straight out of the sea, and the next you’ll be immersed in contemporary culture, meeting the locals and gaining an appreciation for their way of life in Ittoqqortoormiit, East Greenland’s northernmost community. At the mouth of the sound, this remote settlement boasts a blend of traditional and modern lifestyles and is geographically closer to Iceland than it is to its nearest Greenlandic neighbors to the southwest. Here, you’ll have the chance to support local Inuit artisans by purchasing unique handicrafts.
In terms of wildlife, grazing muskoxen are a possible sight, as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population lives in this region. Polar bear sightings are also a remote possibility, as are encounters with more elusive Arctic wildlife, such as the Arctic hare. Seabirds to watch out for nesting atop the steep cliffs of the sound include little auks, fulmars and guillemots.
As we sail south, the Denmark Strait is your pathway toward Iceland. Take in a presentation, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a film— there are many things to do during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.
You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.
Due to local regulations in Svalbard, flightseeing and other helicopter-supported adventure options are not available on these voyages.
- Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- Transfer from Longyearbyen town center to port on embarkation day
- Group transfer to downtown Reykjavik on disembarkation day
- Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
- Mandatory Transfer Package*
- International airfare
- Arrival transfer in Oslo
- Airport transfer in Reykjavik
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
- Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities