STYLE: Small Ship Expedition Cruise
Trip Code: ACQEUAS
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)
Ideal for first-time guests to the polar regions, Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes and Jan Mayen allows you to venture to some of the most remote islands on Earth, observe fascinating history and culture, and experience the dreamlike wonder of the midnight sun. Sailing across the North Atlantic, you will be immersed in the Arctic’s rugged beauty, highlighted by visits to the awe-inspiring and unspoiled destinations of Fair Isle, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen.
Prepare to be amazed by an environment different from anything you’ve ever witnessed, featuring immense fjords, towering glaciers, soaring sea stacks and coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds by the thousands. Observe reindeer, seals and whales in their natural habitat under a sunlit sky in the middle of the night. Guided by the most knowledgeable and passionate team in the industry, go where few others have gone, and return forever changed by the rich history, distinct culture and unforgettable backdrop of the Arctic.
Arrive any time on Day 1 and make your way to your included hotel. The gateway for your arctic adventure, the Scottish city of Aberdeen has many monikers, but its most famous is Granite City, as it was once the granite capital of the world. Wandering the streets, you’ll soon see why, as the Victorian buildings sparkle in the sun. A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theatres, shops, cafés and restaurants to explore.
Today you will have some free time before being transferred to the port to board your ship. As you set sail this afternoon, you’ll want to be out on deck, camera in hand—the area’s coastal waters offer excellent possibilities for spotting bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and minke whales.
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. Despite its small size, the island offers activities for history, nature and photography buffs alike. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in local artefacts, photos, knitwear and other historic memorabilia. Don’t forget to snap a shot of the circa 1935 classic red phone booth by the post office! In terms of wildlife, orcas are native to the waters around Fair Isle, and they sometimes come close in pursuit of seals. The island is best known for its coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds in spring and summer. The star attraction is the Atlantic puffin, a clown-like bird that clings to the steep slopes. Photographers will surely want to capture pictures of their bemused expressions, and Fair Isle’s easily accessible grassy banks make it one of the best places in the Shetlands to observe these colourful creatures. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, storm petrels, razorbills and guillemots are also likely to be spotted, soaring over the open waters. Visitors to this community of crofters, artisans and artists may be able to pick up a traditional Fair Isle sweater to keep you warm during the rest of your arctic voyage. Be sure to pick one up, along with a matching hat, scarf and mittens at the town hall.
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. We will have two days to explore this unspoiled and seldom-visited archipelago made up of 18 rugged islands located about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The mighty North Atlantic is omnipresent wherever we go with no place on the Faroe Islands farther than 3 miles (5 km) from its shores. The sea has always dominated life on the Faroes – throughout history as much as today: rich fisheries, magnificent ocean views and thriving sea bird colonies make up this rare Nordic jewel – often referred to as Europe’s best kept secret. We will spend a day exploring the outer islands of the archipelago which are separated by narrow sounds and fjords and delight in their surreal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, green valleys engulfed by steep dramatic mountains, protecting small picturesque villages with colourful turf-topped housed. Wind, weather and sea conditions will influence and shape our activity options, but we will of course always keep our eyes out for marine and bird life especially the iconic Atlantic puffin. Our second day in the Faroes will be dedicated to the capital city of Tórshavn, where the Vikings established their government in 825 AD. One of the world’s smallest capitals, the picturesque Tórshavn has a relaxed vibe and a number of historical and cultural sites. Meander the maze of narrow laneways of the Old Town, admiring the quaint wooden houses with traditional sod roofs and white paned windows. If you’re looking for more action, a hike up to the historic fort, built in 1580 to guard against pirate raids, offers stunning views of the port below. Or perhaps you prefer to wander the charming harbor, filled with cafés, pubs and old warehouses, and simply gaze out at the sea while sipping a latte.
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 can bring them near the ship. If you’re lucky, you may even see harp seals.
North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, is 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. 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. During the summer months, the island’s lower landscape is covered with grass, moss and a smattering of hardy flowers that add a cheery pop of colour to the otherwise barren black lava terrain. One site we hope to visit is Olonkinbyen and the surrounding area. Named after Russian-Norwegian polar explorer Gennady Olonkin, it’s the island’s only settlement and the location of the meteorological station, where you may have the chance to learn about polar research while seeing how weather is monitored at the top of the world. Another option might be the black sand beach at Kvalrossbukta, where the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a large fulmar colony can be found. In 1632, two Basque ships landed at the small bay and plundered the station. A Dutch party was sent here the following year to protect the land stations during winter, but all seven men perished from scurvy. Whaling in the area came to an end about 20 years later. If we’re fortunate, we may view the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by Bird Life 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). And if we are fortunate, you might see “sea parrots,” the Atlantic puffin again. The waters here are rich feeding grounds for marine life, so keep a lookout for minke, fin, blue or humpback whales.
As we sail 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, seals and a variety of seabirds.
Rugged, wild, unspoiled and situated entirely within the Arctic Circle, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is unforgettable. From immense glaciers to polar deserts, the landscape here is as varied as the wildlife. As we explore the fjords of the southwestern corner of this magical island, it won’t take long for you to see firsthand why Spitsbergen is the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.” Some areas we hope to visit include Hornsund and Bellsund fjords and the Lilliehöök Glacier. The possible landing sites at Hornsund, the island’s most southerly fjord, have rich histories. En route to Isbjornhamna, a bay at the southern end, where we hope to explore the former science station, you may have the opportunity to discover old whale bones. You may spot Svalbard reindeer and colonies of delightful little auks. A 12-mile (20 km) long sound, Bellsund lured miners a century ago to its natural resources. Today, visitors come to Bourbanhamna and Calypsobyen to see historic mining and trapper sites and marvel at the magnificent vistas. It may also be possible to hike along the colourful tundra, dotted with flowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Viewing reindeer here is likely, as they frequent the area.
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.
Follow in the footsteps of the Norsemen on Fair Isle and the Vikings in the Faroe Islands
Explore the volcanic and glacier- covered Jan Mayen island, in the heart of the North Atlantic Ocean
Encounter iconic Arctic and north Atlantic wildlife, such as puffins and other seabirds, reindeer, and whales
Cruise in a Zodiac to explore diverse landscapes and wildlife
The newest ship of this expedition fleet; Ultramarine; takes guests to the most isolated and breathtaking wildernesses on the planet. The ship has been purpose-built to meet the specific demands of the polar regions and is well appointed to let guests explore The Arctic and Antarctica safely and comfortably. It offers a robust portfolio of adventure activities. The mix of sustainability features create innovative operations to offer ultra-immersive polar experiences to guests on board . Experience the Antarctic in comfort as you sail aboard Ultramarine. The Expedition Ship can accommodate a maximum of 199 passengers and offers the most spacious suites in its category . The cabins are all elegantly designed and feature oversized windows with sleeping views, flatscreen TV’s and DVD players and spa - inspired bathrooms. Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features a best-in-class 70-day operational range and an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards.
The newest ship of this expedition fleet; Ultramarine; takes guests to the most isolated and breathtaking wildernesses on the planet. The ship has been purpose-built to meet the specific demands of the polar regions and is well appointed to let guests explore The Arctic and Antarctica safely and comfortably. It offers a robust portfolio of adventure activities. The mix of sustainability features create innovative operations to offer ultra-immersive polar experiences to guests on board .
Experience the Antarctic in comfort as you sail aboard Ultramarine. The Expedition Ship can accommodate a maximum of 199 passengers and offers the most spacious suites in its category . The cabins are all elegantly designed and feature oversized windows with sleeping views, flatscreen TV’s and DVD players and spa - inspired bathrooms.
Ultramarine is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, Ultramarine offers the most robust portfolio of adventure activities in the industry, breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other expedition ships its size. It also features a best-in-class 70-day operational range and an innovative mix of sustainability features that exceed all industry standards.
Length: 128m (420ft)
Breadth: 21.5m (70.5ft)Max
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.
Hiking excursions are among the most popular options in Antarctica as many itineraries are short and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Guided hikes lead you to amazing vantage points and allow even closer interaction with local wildlife, so don’t forget to pack your camera!Learn More
10 % offUSD 10,890 USD 9,870
28 % offUSD 14,190 USD 10,411
28 % offUSD 15,590 USD 11,419
Deluxe Balcony Suite
28 % offUSD 18,290 USD 13,363
28 % offUSD 18,990 USD 13,867
28 % offUSD 19,590 USD 14,299
28 % offUSD 24,990 USD 18,187
28 % offUSD 27,690 USD 20,131
10 % offUSD 19,590 USD 17,700
All meals on board throughout your voyage
Beer & Wine during dinner. Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
All shore landings per the daily program, weather permitting
Presentations by expedition team & special guests.
Downloadable photographic journal documenting the expedition
Expedition boots on loan for shore landings
An expedition parka to keep
Complimentary reusable water bottle
Hairdryer and bathrobe available in every cabin
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
Luggage handling aboard the ship
Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary
Arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package
Passport and visa expenses
Government arrival and departure taxes
Any meals ashore unless otherwise specified
Excess baggage charges
Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
Voluntary staff and crew gratuities
Package Price: $695 USD
Available upon request
Please note this itinerary may be subject to weather and ice conditions.
Season, availability & currency fluctuations