Norway's Fjords and Arctic Svalbard
Venturing far off the beaten track plied by big cruise ships, our nimble ships enable us to: Explore the rare northern fjords, threading the ice-carved narrows and standing on the bow as the captain noses up to glacier termini. Every day is active and engaging. The towns and hills above the fjords are ideal for walking. The protected inlets of stunning fjords are perfect for kayaking. In Svalbard too, you can hike, Zodiac cruise through the ice, or even kayak along the face of massive glaciers. You’ll have a choice of activities, plus your choice of naturalists to join - a moveable feast of personalities, insights, and interests.
We will see polar bears in their natural habitat, and are likely to observe natural behaviors from hunting for seals amid the floes to frolicking cubs - all viewable from the proximity and safety of our ship’s deck rail. In addition to the bears, we’ll have the opportunity to see and observe walrus, fascinating creatures and wonderful photo subjects. Reindeer and elusive arctic foxes. Fur seals. And a glory of birds.
Travel and explore in excellent company under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, an undersea specialist, a wellness specialist and a video chronicler. Their knowledge and passion for the fascinating Arctic region is the key to your extraordinary experience.
DAY 1: U.S./Bergen, Norway (Via Copenhagen)
Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen.
DAY 2: Bergen, Norway/Embark
Arrive in the Hanseatic town of Bergen, the gateway to the fjordlands. Stroll historic Bryggens Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before embarkation. (L,D)
DAY 3: Nordfjord
Today we enter lovely Nordfjord, the "gateway to the glaciers". We spend the morning at the end of the fjord, where we are transported up the Loen Valley via coach through some incredibly beautiful scenes: a turquoise-colored lake on one side and breathtaking mountains all around. A number of relatively flat trails lead along valleys shaped by massive glaciers (more strenuous hikes are also an option). And, we walk to a tongue of the large Briksdal Glacier. This afternoon be on deck as our ship sails back out of the fjord amid high peaks. (B,L,D)
DAY 4: Smola
Visit the scenic little island of Smola, where we have been specially invited by the locals to make a rare ship call. (B, L, D)
DAY 5-6: Exploring the Fjords of Norway
The coast of Central Norway is rugged with mountainous islands and steep-walled fjords. The Expedition Leader and Captain will discuss with the local Norwegian pilots the many landing possibilities where options are many: Zodiac along vertical rock faces, paddle serenely in a deep fjord surrounded by cascading waterfalls, or venture ashore for a hike with our naturalist staff. Over the years, we’ve discovered a number of special places, including Melfjord. This narrow channel is surrounded by high granite cliffs polished smooth by massive glaciers, and is one of the most spectacular spots on our voyage. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten Archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages by the sea backed with jagged peaks. By Zodiac, we view nesting seabirds: Atlantic puffins, razorbills and guillemots. Later, we go ashore on the island of Vaeroy, where cod fishing is still a major part of the economy. Be on deck as we cruise into one of the most famous fjords in Norway, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord, and search the cliffs for Norway's mythical beings: trolls. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: Tysfjorden
There’s no denying that the Norwegian fjords are beautiful, and today we explore places along the Norwegian coastline that raise the standard of landscape-pulchritude to new heights. Our nimble ship enters Tysfjorden, where mile after mile of vertical walls surround us and only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Zodiac and kayak along steep-walled fjords, and find inspiration in the birch forests and tumbling waterfalls. The u-shaped valley of Hellemobotn cuts nearly to Sweden and has a trail to hike almost to the border. (B,L,D)
DAY 9: Tromso
Tromso is known as the “gateway to the Arctic” because so many Arctic expeditions originated here. Visit the Polar Museum and the Arctic Cathedral, where the unique architecture evokes snow and icebergs. (B,L,D)
DAY 10: Bear Island
Zodiac around mist-shrouded Bear Island, populated by thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls. This is a birdwatcher's paradise. (B,L,D)
DAY 11-15: Exploring Svalbard
Svalbard lies north of the Arctic Circle, where the summer midnight sun never sets. In true expedition style, we let nature dictate our day-to-day movements here and this, by the way, is one of the great attractions of this expedition. Our flexible itinerary and years of experience here allow us to take the best advantage of ice and weather conditions. With our fully stabilized, ice-class expedition ship, we are able to probe deep into the ice where polar bears hunt. Join our spotters on the Bridge, scanning the ice and islands for huge walrus, bearded and ringed seals, arctic foxes, reindeer, some of the largest whales on Earth — and polar bears. A sighting brings everyone rushing in excitement to the ship’s bow! Our expert staff gets you out daily. Depending on conditions, we may land on Edgeøya to hike the tundra, abloom with summer wildflowers. We often sail deep into Hornsund, where even first-time kayakers can paddle in a quiet cove surrounded by sparkling bergs. We may venture to the stunning Monacobreen glacier, or get close-up views of the iconic creatures of the ice by Zodiac. Back aboard, view underwater video from our ROV taken 1,000 feet below the surface, or spend time on deck with a National Geographic Photographer getting tips in an inspiring landscape. Every day is different, every day an adventure. (B,L,D)
DAY 16: Longyearbyen/Oslo
Disembark in Longyearbyen and visit the Svalbard Art Gallery and Museum. Then, proceed to the airport for our charter flight to Oslo. Check in to the SAS Radisson Blu Airport Hotel. (B,L)
Day 17: Oslo/Home (B)
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