Ice, wildlife, and adventure—that is what draws us to the icy waters sweeping down from the Arctic Ocean. This is an expedition for the seasoned traveler—suited more than ever to the special capabilities of the ultimate expedition ship, National Geographic Explorer, and our expert naturalist staff. Like the brave sailors of the golden age of exploration who set out with no set itinerary—seeking adventure, knowledge and the unknown—we are completely dependent on ice, wildlife and weather conditions, allowing nature to guide us to her wonderful surprises. From Arctic Svalbard, just 600 miles from the North Pole, National Geographic Explorer probes the ice—with the quest of exploring the ice’s edge all the way from Svalbard, Norway to eastern Greenland, ending in Iceland. Now that’s exploration!
Explore Arctic Svalbard, the polar bear capital of the planet, to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, on the sea ice.
Navigate the arctic wilderness of the Greenland Sea to Iceland’s wild western coast, with expert naturalists and a fully equipped expedition ship—making multiple stops en route completely dependent on ice, wildlife and weather conditions.
Watch for huge walruses, whales, and reindeer, and spot rich birdlife.
Glide between soaring ice floes, exploring via ship, Zodiac and kayak.
Itinerary - 17 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Oslo, Norway
Fly overnight to Oslo. On arrival, check into Oslo’s Continental Hotel (or similar) and explore this charming city. Stroll amid Oslo’s famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in parkland. Visit the Fram Museum, dedicated to the wooden ship sailed by Norwegian polar explorers Nansen and Amundsen. The evening is at leisure.
Day 3 — Oslo/Longyearbyen/Embark
Depart Oslo on a charter flight, and enjoy breathtaking vistas en route to Longyearbyen. Embark National Geographic Explorer. (B,L,D)
Days 4 through 16 — Exploring Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland
Our day-by-day itinerary, in keeping with the nature of an expedition, will be a thoughtfully considered framework based on our long experience in this dynamic arctic region. We’ll take full advantage of our ‘human resources’—our experienced Captain, expedition leader and naturalists—as well as our technological
resources. Armed with the latest satellite imagery, we’ll chart where the ice is impenetrable, and where there are leads guiding us to exciting discoveries. We have an ice-strengthened hull and forward-searching sonar, plus agile Zodiacs and kayaks, allowing us to make forays among the icebergs. The Undersea Specialist will deploy the ROV, bringing back imagery few, if any, have ever seen. And with unforgettable days in the ice and two photographers on board, you’ll have assistance to get your best photos ever.
We begin in Svalbard, Norway—a place of deep fjords, snowcapped mountains, and massive ice sheets. Nowhere can the polar bear be seen more reliably in its natural environment than here. Venture to the foot of vast tidewater glaciers, kayak among sparkling icebergs, hike the tundra, and explore fjords that split the coastline.
Svalbard’s wonders are a prelude to days ahead of discoveries on unknown shores, following the ice’s edge. Our quest is to discover the Arctic’s grand wilderness. Be on deck as our captain navigates between icebergs that drift from the calving glaciers. And if the ice yields, we’ll aim for Scoresbysund, on the east coast of Greenland, still awakening from winter’s long icy grip. If the ice is unrelenting, we’ll explore a bit further south where there are spectacular fjords reliably ice-free at this time of year, as well as intriguing native villages such as Tasiilaq where Lars-Eric Lindblad took intrepid travelers dog-sledding 40 years ago.
The finale of our journey is the west coast of Iceland: the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, home to a huge population of razorbills, Flatey Island, a former trading post, and Isafjordur, a picture postcard of Icelandic life.
Day 17 — Reykjavik/Disembark/Home
Our grand adventure takes us to Iceland’s lively capital city, Reykjavik. Have a guided overview of the old town, and visit the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to our flight home. (B,L)
Photographers Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson have collectively photographed more than 60 stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. They have spent most of their careers working in Europe, shooting stories from the Arctic and Scandinavia to Italy and France. Both Sisse and Cotton have been awarded numerous prizes by Pictures of the Year International, the National Press Photographers Association, White House Press Photographers Association, and Communication Arts. Today they are based in Glasgow, Scotland, yet spend most of the year on the road producing magazine stories and videos for the Geographic.
Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson will join the following departure: