• Discover majestic fjords, icebergs, and glacier-filled bays
• Kayak through spectacular Geirangerfjord – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Witness the 1,500-year-old tradition of caring for eider ducks in the Vega Islands
• Ride aboard the famous Ofoten railway
• See blond fjord ponies and sample local goat cheese
• Drive through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel 250 meters below sea level
• Look for seabirds: gannet, cormorant, shag, skua, guillemot, kittiwake and terns
• Cross the Arctic Circle
• Observe swimming seals and walrus haul-outs
• Watch for the king of the Arctic: polar bear
|Day 1||Bergen, Norway|
|Day 2||Olden, Norway|
|Day 3||Geiranger, Norway|
|Day 4||Kristiansund, Norway|
|Day 5||Vega Archipelago, Norway|
|Day 6||Narvik, Norway|
|Day 7||At Sea|
|Day 8||Bear Island, Norway|
|Days 9-12||Cruise & Explore Svalbard|
|Day 13||Longyearbyen, Svalbard|
Embark the Silver Explorer. Meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Situated at the end of the innermost arm of the lovely Nordfjord, with steep mountains towering over both sides of the valley, Olden is one of the most charming and idyllic places in Western Norway. For the first excursion of our voyage, we will depart by coach from the village centre, passing an old (1759) church, the picturesque Floen and Olden Lakes, and the colorful farms of Rustøen. On both sides, numerous waterfalls descend from the ice field, and in front of us we see the long white tongue of the Melkevoll Glacier. The road ascends through woodlands to the Briksdal Inn and the start of our nature trek.
Norwegians measure mountain hikes in hours, not kilometers. Trails wind in and around natural obstacles of rock and rivers, making linear measurements altogether irrelevant. Our walk to the foot of the Briksdal Glacier will take about 45 minutes, during which we will cross a river, climb above a waterfall, and upon arriving, enjoy fantastic views of the Jostedals Glacier. The Briksdal Glacier itself is a study in color with its varied shades of blue and turquoise. We will listen for the thunderous sound of calving and soak in the serene setting before returning to the Briksdal Inn for a cup of coffee or tea and cakes.
Of Norway’s many fjords, Geirangerfjord is doubtless the most beautiful. Impressive mountains, numerous waterfalls as well as farms clinging to the steep hillsides give the fjord its unique character. Our visit starts by driving the Eagle's Road where there are splendid views to the fjord below and the mountains all around. We soon reach Herdalssetra – a summer farm consisting of 30 small, wooden houses with turfed roofs. The setting is picturesque and during the summer months some 450 goats roam freely, as well as cows, sheep and fjord ponies (the blond pony native to the west coast). Goat cheese is produced at Herdalssetra and we will learn more about the process and have the opportunity to sample both white and brown cheese varieties. Following our visit, we travel to the Norwegian Fjord Centre where we can gain some insight into the history, nature, culture and life on the farms that cling to the sheer mountainsides around the fjord.
Alternatively (and weather permitting) choose to spend a few hours kayaking the quiet and spectacular Geirangerfjord with two-person kayaks. Geirangerfjord is one of nature’s masterpieces and on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Its description as “the world’s most beautiful fjord” is no exaggeration and it is amidst this dramatic mountain setting that we can experience some spectacular sea kayaking. Our kayaks provide an amazing perspective from which to view the cascading waterfalls and steep mountain walls that rise as high as 1500m.
Located halfway up the long Norwegian coast, Kristiansund is spread out across a swathe of rocky islands all linked together by bridges. Today we take a scenic drive along Atlantic Ocean Road to Geitøya (goat-island) where we board a boat and shuttle across to Håholmen Island. The small island has been meeting place, home and working site for fishermen, seamen and traders through many centuries. The adventurer Ragnar Thorseth took over Håholmen from his grandfather who had been a permanent island resident until 1978. In Håholmen, we will learn about Mr Thorsten’s voyages with Viking ship replicas and enjoy some refreshments before returning by boat to Geitøya. Our excursion concludes with an undersea drive through the 5-km-long Atlantic Ocean Tunnel between Averøy Island and Kristiansund Town, during which we will reach a depth of 250 meters below sea level!
Alternatively, join members of the Expedition Team for a scenic nature trail hike. Situated on Averøya Island, Mount Gulltanna (Mount Golden Tooth) is 590 meters above sea level and, on a clear day, offers a grand view to the Atlantic Ocean Road along the coast and to the inland fjords inland. Our planned hike is 8km roundtrip, climbing to 390 meters above sea level from its start to the summit. This excursion option includes a drive through the undersea Atlantic Ocean Tunnel.
The Vega Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a myriad of islands scattered in the Norwegian Sea and home to one of Norway’s largest eider duck colony. Of the 6,000 Vega islands, 59 were once inhabited by families that made their living from fishing and from eider down harvesting. Today, there are no year-round residents, but the population returns in the summer to continue the 1,500-year-old tradition of caring for the eider ducks and harvesting their precious down. The eider ducks return to their breeding ground in the Vega Archipelago every year and lay their eggs from May into June. In the fishing harbor of Nes, we will visit the Eider Duck Museum, which provides insight into the islander's unique traditions as guardians of these birds and describes the process of producing eiderdown duvets. Nearby exhibitions detail the archipelago's UNESCO status and document the history of Lånan – the largest egg and eiderdown farm in Helgeland. Before returning to the pier we will stop in at the Coastal Museum to have a look at their motor collection and later make a brief visit to see the Vega Church in Gladstad, a wooden church dating from 1864.
Our outing today begins with a train journey on the Ofoten Railway line through the stunning Rombak Valley to the small hamlet of Katterat Station along the Norway/Sweden border. Opened in 1902, the “Ofotbanen” line shipped iron-ore from Kiruna in Sweden down to Narvik's ice-free harbor, and was the northernmost, coldest and harshest railway construction project the world had ever seen. Upon arrival at Katterat we follow a hiking trail as it winds down the mountain through alpine and arctic forest, down to sea level and the Narvik Fjord. Our local guide will discuss the area’s interesting foliage and geological history. Once down at the fjord, we can explore the ruins of the old Rombak settlement, which was devastated by floods in the 1960s. If the sun is shining you may be courageous enough to brave a swim in the cold, crystal clear waters at the head of the fjord. Warm up afterwards at the bonfire where coffee or tea and a light lunch will be served outdoors. A brief journey by inflatable boat takes us back to Sildvik for our return drive to Narvik.
Binoculars in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theatre to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the regions endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable experts in a variety of scientific fields present lectures and seminars. Onboard diversions may include photographic workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Approaching Bear Island (Bjørnøya), whale watching is a priority. They are in record numbers in this area. As we move closer to this Arctic island, we witness a kaleidoscope of thousands of seabirds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. With our Zodiacs, we explore the rugged coastline of Bear Island, and if weather conditions are favorable, make a landing. Together we will encounter the amazing flurry of life on this barren island, now a nature reserve. Expedition Team members will enhance your visit by providing insights to the environment, the terrain, and the wildlife that exist in these extreme conditions.
An expansive Arctic Ocean archipelago woven between the North Pole and Norway, Svalbard is one of the last major European wilderness areas with pristine mountains, fauna, deep fjords, picturesque icebergs, and massive ice sheets. Our goal is to explore the west coast of Svalbard’s breathtaking and dramatic Spitsbergen Island. We will locate wildlife and spend the maximum amount of time possible hiking on the tundra. Svalbard is home to approximately 3,000 polar bears and we hope to encounter a good number of them during our trip.
We will travel along the same routes as famous polar explorers such as Andrée, Nordenskiöld, Amundsen and Nobile. We will trek along beaches blanketed with walrus, get to know the indigenous reindeer, and maybe even spot the arctic fox or bearded seal. Seabirds, such as ivory gulls, auks and puffins, will be our constant companions as we admire their playfulness and grace. We might even encounter a few whales. A variety of known species frequent the area, in particular Minke and beluga.
Our flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favorable ice and weather conditions. Whether cruising by Zodiac amongst floating icebergs or heading ashore for a guided walk, our adventures will bring us up close to mystical settings. Each day our Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on changing weather, ice conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
Here are a few of the places we hope to visit:
- • Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Listen for the crash of white thunder as huge chunks of ice fall into the fjord. Amidst floating icebergs jewels, watch for bearded seals, the rare beluga whale and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favorite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting little auks. We may visit the Polish research station or the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts.
- • Bellsund – Pushing about 50 miles (80 kilometers) into Spitsbergen is the more than 12-mile wide Bellsund. At the entrance of the fjord, we are likely to encounter some common eiders, Arctic terns and Arctic skuas. Snow bunting and purple sandpipers are also common in the area. Our plan is to explore the seldom-visited Van Keulenfjord, where we will witness awe-inspiring landscapes as we trek along the tundra.
- • Prins Karls Forland – Off the west coast of Spitsbergen, we encounter the island home of Forland National Park with cragged mountains, massive glaciers and remarkable wildlife. The entire island and the surrounding seas make up Forland National Park. Members of the Expedition Team takes us ashore at Poolypnten, a well-known walrus haul out, where and our marine biologist explains the habits and habitat of these amazing creatures.
- • Ice Cruising – With the strengthened hull of the Silver Explorer, we have the perfect platform to search for walrus and polar bears as we devote at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, our Expedition Leader may choose to take us out in the Zodiacs for an even closer look.
We will arrive at Longyearbyen in the early morning. Following breakfast on board, disembark the Silver Explorer and travel by our specially chartered flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Rates Arctic 2014
|Per Person USD|
Rates Arctic 2015