Day 1 – Spitsbergen
Enjoy a tour of Longyearbyen upon arrival, before boarding Polar Pioneer and setting sail along breathtaking Isfjorden, featuring dramatic bird cliffs, sweeping glaciers and gorgeous mountain ranges.
Days 2 to 3 – Spitsbergen
Awake as our ship sails along Spitsbergen’s west coast and its outstanding aqua-blue ice cliffs. The nutrient-rich Gulf Stream provides us with relatively mild temperatures, a delight for Atlantic puffins and Brünnich’s guillemots that have settled on these cliffs. Embark on a thrilling tundra hike, keep an eye out for reindeer and Arctic fox and gaze at the majestic glaciers from our Zodiacs. We also attempt to explore the remains of the 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement.
Day 4 to 6 – Spitsbergen
As we continue our adventure along Spitsbergen’s northwest coast in to the Arctic Ocean, whales, pack ice and maybe even polar bears keep us on alert. As Polar Pioneer continues and turns south into Woodfjorden, we search for ringed, bearded and harp seals and keep an eye out for fascinating walrus haul outs on the beaches. With almost 24-hour daylight, enjoy tundra walks and take the time to observe at the microflora. Depending on ice conditions, we may cross latitude 80° North – a cause for celebration.
Day 7 to 8 – Spitsbergen
Air and sea temperatures start lowering due to the frigid Arctic currents around Spitsbergen’s northeast, creating a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even at summer time, there’s a chance pack ice could bar our way, but our Russian crew and expedition team ensure we reach the highlights of the European Arctic. We’ll attempt to sail through the narrow Hinlopen Strait, where we’ll Zodiac cruise along the busy bird cliffs of Alkefjellt as well as walk along the east coast's polar desert, filled with stunted glaciers and exposed fossil fields.
Day 9 to 10 – Spitsbergen
Ice conditions and weather changes dictate our expedition plans. We may be able to reach South Cape and head north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, two magnificent deep fjords boasting superb glaciers and wildlife. In case ice stops us, we’ll change our itinerary and spend more time exploring the jewels of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts.
Day 11 – Spitsbergen
A midnight cruise of Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen, where you’ll enjoy a day dog sledding around Spitsbergen interior before setting off again this afternoon on the next leg of our Arctic adventure.
Day 12 to 13 – Spitsbergen/Greenland Sea
As we head back north, we enjoy the last moments in Spitsbergen. We cruise past calving glaciers and land ashore to learn about the area’s rich history and observe Spitsbergen’s fascinating wildlife. (Note: as this expedition is a combination of two itineraries, these days may stop at some places already visited on the voyage’s first leg.)
Day 14 to 15 – Greenland Sea
As Polar Pioneer sails across the Greenland Sea, we search for fin whales, pack ice and sea birds. Our expert naturalists and guest lecturers provide us with great interpretation of the Arctic’s flora and fauna as well as early explorers’ epic adventures through illustrated talks.
Day 16 to 18 – Greenland
When going to Greenland for the first time, seeing ice is often an awe-inspiring moment. Even in summer time, bays and inlets can still be frozen. However our experienced Captain and team of expedition experts know alternative options to keep us busy with exploration! In Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, we enjoy walks across the tundra as we visit old trapper’s huts and observe musk ox, Arctic fox and eider ducks; we spend some time admiring the stunning hanging gardens of Kap Humboldt; Kong Oskar Fjord provides gorgeous glacier-carved mountains as a delightful backdrop.
Day 19 to 21 – Greenland
We reach Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord. The huge Greenland icecap continuously sweeps down gigantic glaciers, making it the birth place for some of the world’s largest icebergs! Our Zodiacs take us through an incredible maze of icebergs, as we head to the shores for some exciting tundra hikes, and a visit to Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the rare villages of the East Greenland coast.
Day 22 – Greenland
Keep watch for musk ox and narwhals as we sail along the breathtaking mountains of the Blosseville Coast, before our attempt to cruise through Rømer Fjord.
Day 23 – Greenland/Denmark Strait
We continue on with our Arctic adventure and cruise across Denmark Strait on our way to Iceland. We take time to reflect on our various experiences, gaze at northern fulmars and black-backed gulls, and spot dolphins and whales from the ship’s bow.
Day 24 – Iceland
Polar Pioneer docks in Iceland early this morning; after breakfast, there is a group transfer to downtown Reykjavik or the airport to carry one with your further travel arrangements.