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Shorter days in the high latitudes means darkening evening skies, so on this voyage we stay close to the coastlines of the Arctic Circle, skirting around the Norwegian and Greenland seas, and exploring remote islands and villages of the region. As night falls, we look skywards hoping to catch the magic of the northern lights.
M/V Sylvia Earle
17 nights premium boat
2 nights premium hotel
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive at Kirkenes airport (KKN) and make your way through to the arrivals hall where you will be met by a representative and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with your cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a welcome reception and pre-embarkation briefing. The rest of the evening is at your leisure.
Hotel in Kirkenes to be confirmed
This morning, your luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to the port and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please ensure that your luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be kept with you throughout the day. Before boarding, you will taken on an excursion of Kirkenes and it's surrounds. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon. Settle into your cabin before the important on-board safety briefings and enjoy the thrill of departure as we set sail. Get to know your fellow expeditioners and your friendly expedition team at the Captain's welcome dinner, celebrating the start of a thrilling adventure.
M/V Greg Mortimer
Over the next few days we explore parts of Norway's remarkable 1,000-kilometre coastline. Starting in North Cape, in the very north of the country, we make our way south, stopping in the Lofoten Islands and visiting mesmerising Mount Torghatten, famous for the hole through its centre.
The spectacular northern lights is a natural phenomenon that is most commonly seen in the sky above the Arctic Circle, between late autumn and early spring. As we are near North Cape in northern Norway, keep a close watch in hope of witnessing this dazzling spectacle in the night sky. The North Cape is located at a latitude of 71° 10' 21 and is Europe's northernmost point. Here we enjoy a short walk, visit the North Cape Hall and perhaps sample some local treats.
Enjoy a Zodiac cruise through spectacular Trollfjord, a gorge flanked by steep mountains and so narrow that it can only be accessed by small ships. In the Lofoten Islands, voted by National Geographic as one the of the most beautiful destinations in the world, we stroll through picturesque villages dotted with red and white fishers' huts, surrounded by soaring granite peaks. Visit the Lofoten Seafood Center and learn about the impressive cod fisheries and perhaps sample some local seafood.
Crossing south of the Arctic Circle, we visit the Vega archipelago, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Vega Island is fantastic for birdwatching and here eider ducks are the main attraction, where they are raised for their down, which at one point accounted for one third of the islanders' income. The islanders still make houses for the birds to nest in and in return, the ducks provide valuable down when they and their chicks leave the nests to continue their lives at sea. The archipelago reflects a traditional way of life that has not changed for more than 1,500 years. On nearby Torget Island, we plan to land and hike to Torghatten, a fascinating rock formation with an equally interesting legend describing the hole in the mountain as having been created by a troll's arrow.
Enjoy the crossing to Jan Mayen, accompanied by seabirds as we search for whales. Enjoy informative talks from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active in the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre. Remember to look to the skies at night and hope for sightings of the northern lights.
The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge Beerenberg volcano is the world's northernmost active volcano, last erupting in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is friendly, we will try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island's west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the Norwegian weather station at Olonkinbyen, a settlement situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land in front of the station at Olonkinbyen, so as to visit before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) back across the island to where the Greg Mortimer will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta, and our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship.
Our series of onboard lectures continue as sail towards the wild coast of East Greenland. You will learn about sea ice, glaciers, the unique geology found in East Greenland and daring tales of European exploration. We are also in the prime zone to view the northern lights, so glance up to the skies and you might just see more than shimmering stars.
In the coming days, a host of choices are available to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. The members of our experienced Expedition Team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor our voyage to suit the day-to-day conditions. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and any opportunities for wildlife encounters. We generally attempt up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day, including cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface.
Be prepared to experience ice - and lots of it! East Greenland contains some of the Arctic's most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks soaring up to 2,000 metres (6,562 feet), and glaciers birthing gigantic icebergs that drift throughout the fjord system, combine to create breathtaking scenes.
The tundra landscape is home to musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer. Throughout the area there are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers' huts, and the cabins of present-day Inuit hunters. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community has an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs and provides the opportunity to meet the friendly locals.
Explore Scoresbysund, the world's largest fjord system and a favourite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers flow into this fjord, the birthplace of hundreds of majestic Greenland icebergs. It is a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund lie Kong Oskar and Kaiser Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and the surrounding mountains offering protection from strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from musk oxen and arctic foxes to mountain hares, and even reindeer, near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds, including the glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.
We will attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration, located within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord, we marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions.
We stretch our legs on hikes across tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Inuit. We may see musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer grazing. The maze of calm, interconnecting waterways in this area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking. We will see ring seals, perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive narwhal, and maybe even a polar bear hunting on pack ice.
Crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland, search for whale blows and photograph the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present arctic winds. The dark night skies promise more opportunities to experience the northern lights.
Over the coming days, we explore the Westfjords region, which features outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer, table-top mountains that plunge into the sea, and pristine north Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords that are ideal for kayaking, hiking and birdwatching.
In genuine expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity. We plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland's remotest and most pristine regions, which is filled with deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters.
Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen by the few adventurers that make their way here.
In Húsavik, we hope to have magical encounters with the many whales that visit this part of Iceland, known as the country's whale-watching capital.
You will disembark after breakfast, at approximately 8.00 a.m and transfer to Keflavik airport (REK) or to your centrally located hotel.
Greenland has an Arctic climate with average temperatures in the North that do not exceed 10° C in the warmest summer months. In the southern part of the country and the innermost parts of the long fjords, the temperature can, however, rise to more than 20° C (68° F) in June, July and August.
UTC±00:00 to UTC-04:00
Church of Denmark
Greenlandic however, Danish and English are recognised languages.
Seasonal Climate Despite the northern latitudes the climate in Norway is not extreme, due to the affects of the North Atlantic Drift. Between May and September is the best time to visit this region, with summer temperatures reaching the high teens and rain a regular feature year round along the coast. North of the Arctic Circle the sun does not set between the middle of May and the end of July, so you can expect to encounter the midnight sun during this period.
2 Pin Round
Whilst landings are included in the cost of your trip as per the outline itinerary, some departures aboard the \i MV Sylvia Earle\i0 have additional optional activities which can be pre-booked with the ship operator directly. These will be charged at an additional fee, depending on the activity and we recommend booking these in advance to ensure availability. Please speak to a member of our Polar team who will advise you on the booking process.
Parkas You should look for a lightweight, roomy, wind and water-resistant parka with some insulation. Bright colors are more visible - and thus safer - in polar environments. Gloves Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good. Socks Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet. Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.
Complimentary waterproof boots will be supplied on-board. However, if you have extra small or large feet, you are advised to bring your own. Also ensure you take good walking boots and trainers for relaxing.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself. Please note that a 15kgs luggage weight limit is sporadically enforced on the internal flight to Ushuaia, occasionally charges may be levied against passengers taking luggage in excess of 15kgs.
Sunglasses and sun cream Insect repellant Personal toiletries A refilllable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards Seasickness remedy Walking poles
M/V Sylvia Earle, Zodiac
The MV Greg Mortimer is a 104-metre ship, purpose-built in 2019 for expedition travel. Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the vessel is being built to world-class polar standards and has been designed in close consultation with expedition specialists. The MV Greg Mortimer is limited to just 132 passengers and guests can enjoy some added comforts such as spacious stateroom cabins, a large mud room with easy boarding access and a hydraulic viewing platform, offering unobstructed views of the wildlife. Other features include a library, Wellness Centre with a gym, sauna and spa and a multimedia room for keen photographers wishing to edit their photos after a day of exploration. As a modern and custom-designed ship, this vessel is at the cutting edge of nautical technology and will ensure a comfortable and safe passage through polar waters.
The lead-in prices on our website are based on triple outward facing, Stateroom cabins. All staterooms have private bathrooms, ample storage, with twin beds. Many of the stateroom categories, have floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in most of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. A full layout of the deck plan can be found under the Polar Ships section on our website. Your confirmed cabin type will appear on your Booking Confirmation, which will be sent on receipt of your deposit payment.
Meals are served in the large, spacious dining room with an open seating arrangement, perfect for swapping stories with your extended expedition family. A range of courses is offered at each meal time and you can enjoy a variety of house wines, beers and soft drinks which are included with your evening meal. Complimentary coffee, tea and snacks are available throughout the day and any additional drinks can be purchased at the fully-stocked bar.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.