The remarkable islands of the archipelago known as Svalbard are part of Norway, lying far to the north of the Norwegian mainland and high above the Arctic Circle. Explore these wild and rugged mountains by zodiac and on foot; then, head to the Greenland Sea and visit an isolated Inuit community. Following northeastern Greenland, sail to the volcanic island of Iceland, concluding your tour in the capital city of Reykjavik.
Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland
Your adventure begins with an overnight stay in thoroughly-modern Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital city.
Day 2: Embarkation Day
Join your ship after breakfast in your centrally-located hotel.
Day 3: Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), Iceland
Named long ago for Irishmen (Westmen) enslaved by the medieval Norse-Gaels, this small archipelago is one of Iceland's gems. Here you'll learn of the area's fascinating history and famed volcanic geology while touring the town of Heimaey. There's also a good chance you'll spot large colonies of Puffins on one of the outlying islands.
Day 4: At sea
Sail through the Denmark Strait en route for mysterious Greenland. Your onboard Expedition Team keeps you informed and entertained with presentations about area wildlife - especially the thousands of seabirds you'll see soaring above your ship.
Days 5-9: Eastern Greenland
During your tour of Greenland's remote eastern coast, you'll enjoy sea-level Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. Sail the ice edge searching for walrus and polar bears. Visit the remains of ancient Thule settlements, and keep an eye out for grazing musk oxen, since 40% of the world's population of this fascinating mammal live on the east coast of Greenland.
Days 10-11: Greenland Sea
While sailing the historic Greenland Sea, you'll learn about the wildlife and history of Spitsbergen, your next stop, thanks to onboard presentations from your Expedition Team.
Days 12-14: Exploring Spitsbergen
Largest of the Norwegian-ruled Svalbard Islands, Spitsbergen is famed for its abundant wildlife and austere beauty. Here you'll visit spectacular glacier fronts, steep-walled fjords and the tiny international research community of Ny Alesund. Wildlife-viewing opportunities include walrus, polar bears, and the unique Svalbard reindeer. Birders will thrill to see Arctic Terns, Skuas, Long-tailed Ducks, Kittiwakes and Glaucous Gulls. As an added bonus, when conditions are right, you'll sail within 10Â° of the North Pole!
Day 15: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Your Arctic adventure ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen on September 3. The next available flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo leaves September 4, 2011, so you will need to book an overnight stay for the 3rd. Want to stay longer, or arrive earlier? Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.